entering this mystery of nowful presence


Poetry and prose by eco-poet and Dharma teacher Tarchin Hearn

Consider how you are clothed in stardust,
galaxies and the gravity of celestial bodies.
Consider all the lives that nourish you, support you,
and lend their beingness to your being.


She was born into this extraordinary world;
a living planet,
a dancing of millions of interdependent species,
this mystery that grows us;
flowerings of wonderment, reverence and awe.

It’s what we are.
It’s what we’re in.

It’s who we’re with.
It’s where we are,
and . . .
why we are.

It’s what she was, is and will be,
–  in spite of exponential population growth, leading to masses of people living knee to elbow, cheek by jowl, mingled together in cities with oceans of anxiety, jungles of fantasy, storms of desire and frustration, and all the while shopping to survive, lost in a global culture of technology and mechanization, that, driven by market forces, requires ever increasing human intervention, micro-management, and control.

In a heartfelt moment of nostalgia and deep aspiration,
her parents named her Sophie to remind them (and their daughter) of a world of living wisdom, a world that was moment by moment, bit by bit, one creature after another, gradually slipping away.

She grew in body and spirit and interrelatedness.
She might have gone to a regular school.
She might have been ‘successful’.
She might have striven to get somewhere, to prove herself, to be someone
but instead
somehow . . .
She fell into a life of deepening and discovery,
cultivating the ancient arts of kindness and communal being-ness and clear-seeing presence and unrestricted reverential enquiry.

She explored how bodies and minds of myriad species are weaving together this mystery of nowful presence.
She cultivated awareness practices of buddhadharma and meshed them with science, personal healing and social responsibility to enter a way of living that, in an age of anxiety and uncertainty, was awesomely inclusive and joyously life affirming.

One day she decided to take robes; to commit herself to a life of health and naturalness and service.  This is her story and . . .
it could be your story.


Ueda Kyoko - Her Life, 2010


As you sew your robe,
do a mantra of loving-kindness with each stitch.
Consider this robe that clothes you:
the robe of your body, the robe of emotions,
the robe of thoughts, and feelings and memories,
the robe of relationships,
of friendships, companionships, and casual meetings through life,
the robe of blessings and teachings and teachers,
the robe of all your ancestors, leading back to the beginnings of earth,
and the robe of your current life activities,
rippling out in myriad ways and directions,
reverberating into unknowable futures through the lives of all you touch.

Consider how you are clothed in stardust,
galaxies and the gravity of celestial bodies.
Consider all the lives that nourish you, support you,
and lend their beingness to your being.
Blue-jay, maple and may-fly,
Tui, flax and cricket.

And every once in a while, consider
what is there, when there’s no robe,
when there is total nakedness!

Who is it that is stitching?
Who is hosting these threads of your life
– this visible robe for the nourishing of everyone?

Life is not a journey,
we are eternally here.
Life is not a learning,
there is no knowledge to accumulate.
Life is not a testing,
there is no authority to judge.

Dwelling in a space of love,
tendrils of curiosity reaching forth in all directions,
we feel our way,
softening and sensitizing into the richness of community,
a living world within us, around us and through us.

Apprentices of wonderment and awe,
probing and questioning,
sampling and savouring
with calm abiding and vivid discernment exquisitely intermeshed,
we touch our home,
this world of you and me and all of us together,
beyond words.

Tarchin Hearn

At the time of the Buddha, robes were simple clothes made from discarded fabric, sometimes bits of tattered cloth from funeral shrouds.  Sewing these many pieces together symbolized the reconnecting of the many different aspects of our life; aspects that are also parts of other being’s lives.  The making and on-going mending of a robe was an opportunity to contemplate wholeness and connectedness; this seamless garment, this cloak of many colours.  Wearing such a robe would remind us of the wholeness and inter-beingness of life and provide the opportunity for others to glimpse a possibility of wholeness.  To be clothed like this goes along with a willingness to be truly seen.

Originally the robes were utterly functional – just as wholeness is utterly functional! They were worn to keep warm or cool, to stave off biting insects, protect from the sun and to preserve a basic modesty.  Today, religious traditions have, by and large, lost touch with the simple, straightforward and practical.  They have replaced the grace of divine ordinariness with institutionalised ‘ordination’.  For many seekers, the robe is bought ready-made off the rack, and we are prided or shamed by the richness or poverty of the colour and weave.  We might ask what need have spiritual beings for needles and threads?  With our air-conditioned buildings and pesticide protected nature, robes have lost most of their original functions and now, more often, serve to identify the wearer as being a religious someone who belongs to a particular tradition or cult.  Robes have become uniforms, badges of office, tokens of authority and myriad other functions far from the original, simple, natural intent.

To glimpse the wholeness and unity of beingness,
To value the vast dance of diversity, the unique one-off-ness of each individual,
To marry these two – seamlessly – in the temple of our lives,
This is to enter the ancient and venerable order of divine ordinariness.

Each day brings opportunities for a fresh ordination.
Each moment of living we don our robes anew.
One morning, in such a moment, the following verse blossomed in my mind.
It felt like my voice whispering through the cells of my body,
Reminding me of how I might move through the day.
It could be your voice.
It could be our prayer.
May it touch us deeply.

Being the fullness of the human animal that I am,
Uniquely clothed in this continuously morphing collage of sentience,
Abiding in the monastery of a world that is utterly and profoundly alive,
I wander in unpretentious openness, wonderment and service.

sarva mangalam

© Tarchin Hearn, June, 2011

Tarchin Hearn: Natural Awakening - The Way of the Heart

Natural Awakening – The Way of the Heart
Tarchin Hearn

Image credit: Ueda KyokoHer Life 2010 – Kinushi Silk dyed with red iron oxide, 37.5 x 53 inches

UEDA says that her tapestries and sculptures are metaphors for the varying cumulative experiences that human beings have in the course of their lives and how they have spent their time. The translucent quality of her richly layered works suggest our ability to “read” and comprehend those layers of human experience.

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