Thursday, September 06, 2012

Wake Up Time!


© Nicole Raisin Stern
1996. Black & white line drawing.
Fountain pen on hemp & cereal straw paper.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Teapot no. 69 (569) ~ pouring tea in the red rocks

"I'll flow to you as a river * I'll curl around your shore * I'll pour myself out to you * We'll become an Ocean Door"
The Hebrew Psalm and the psalm translation(119:34) is one I found while counting the Omer this Omer-counting season. It is from Rabbi Yael Levy's "Way In" Omer emails that I received.
and here's an extract of the poem by Antonio Machado:
Extracto de Proverbios y cantares (XXIX)
Caminante, son tus huellas
el camino y nada más;
Caminante, no hay camino,
se hace camino al andar.

Al andar se hace el camino,
y al volver la vista atrás
se ve la senda que nunca
se ha de volver a pisar.
Caminante no hay camino
sino estelas en la mar.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Very Short Sutra on the Meeting of the Buddha and the Goddess

Thus I have made up:
Once the Buddha was walking along the 
forest path in the Oak Grove at Ojai, walking without 
arriving anywhere
or having any thought of arriving or not arriving
and lotuses shining with morning dew
miraculously appeared under every step
soft as silk beneath the toes of the Buddha
When suddenly, out of the turquoise sky,
dancing in front of his half-shut inward-looking 
eyes, shimmering like a rainbow
or a spider's web
transparent as the dew on a lotus flower,
--the Goddess appeared quivering
like a hummingbird in the air before him
She, for she was surely a she
as the Buddha could clearly see
with his eye of discriminating awareness wisdom,
was mostly red in color
though when the light shifted
she flashed like a rainbow.
She was naked except 
for the usual flower ornaments
Goddesses wear
Her long hair
was deep blue, her two eyes fathomless pits of space
and her third eye a bloodshot
ring of fire
The Buddha folded his hands together
and greeted the Goddess thus:
"O Goddess, why are you blocking my path.
Before I saw you I was happily going nowhere.
Now I'm not sure where to go."
"You can go around me,"
said the Goddess, twirling on her heels like a bird
darting away,
but just a little way away,
"or you can come after me.
This is my forest too,
you can't pretend I'm not here."
With that the Buddha sat
supple as a snake
solid as a rock
beneath a Bo tree
that sprang full-leaved
to shade him.
"Perhaps we should have a chat,"
he said.
"After years of arduous practice
at the time of the morning star
I penetrated reality, and now..."
"Not so fast, Buddha.
I am reality.
The Earth stood still,
the oceans paused,
the wind itself listened
--a thousand arhats, bodhisattvas, and dakinis
magically appeared to hear
what would happen in the conversation.
"I know I take my life in my hands."
said the Buddha.
"But I am known as the Fearless One
--so here goes."
And he and the Goddess
without further words
exchanged glances.
Light rays like sunbeams
shot forth
so bright that even
Sariputra, the All-Seeing One,
had to turn away.
And then they exchanged thoughts
and the illumination was as bright as a diamond candle.
And then they exchanged mind
And there was a great silence as vast as the universe
that contains everything
And then they exchanged bodies
And clothes
And the Buddha arose
as the Goddess
and the Goddess
arose as the Buddha
and so on back and forth
for a thousand hundred thousand kalpas.
If you meet the Buddha
you meet the Goddess.
If you meet the Goddess
you meet the Buddha.
Not only that. This:
The Buddha is the Goddess,
the Goddess is the Buddha.
And not only that. This:
The Buddha is emptiness
the Goddess is bliss,
the Goddess is emptiness
the Buddha is bliss.
And that is what
and what-not you are
It's true.
So here comes the mantra of the Goddess and the Buddha, the unsurpassed dual-mantra. Just to say this mantra, just to hear this mantra once, just to hear one word of this mantra once makes everything the way it truly is: OK.
So here it is:
Hey, silent one, Hey, great talker
Not two/Not one
Not separate/Not apart
This is the heart
Bliss is emptiness
Emptiness is bliss
Be your breath, Ah
Smile, Hey
And relax, Ho
And remember this: You can't miss.

~Rick Fields, printed in Dharma Gaia: A Harvest of E
ssays in Buddhism & Ecology, pp. 3-7.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Elohai Neshama
© Nicole Raisin Stern
Colored pencil and fountain pen on paper.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Adon Olam ~ Teapot no. 61 (561)

Adon Olam ~ Teapot no. 61 (561) ~ Tea with the Buddha babies

...Wondrous messengers that they are... 

Thank you, Yuki, thank you, Jesse, thank you, Bodhi,

 for coming through today; it's been a while.

© Nicole Raisin Stern

Colored pencil and black fountain pen ink on paper 


Adon Olam: Hymn or Responsive Chant (by Reb Zalman Schacter-Shalomi)

You were cosmic LORD, YAH Malakh, before there even was a world
Then Your will all things did make, YAH Melekh we call You now.
Once when all things will cease to be YAH Yimlokh still true will be
You were, You are, eternally resplendent to infinity.
You alone, there are not two to join as friends, as lovers do.
Beginningless and without end You keep all one by plan and strength.
You are my GOD, REDEEMER, Life Protecting me in war, in strife.
My holy haven and my flag, my cup of health for what I lack.
Into Your hand I trust my breath, You breathe in me by night by day.
My body is Your tool, Your gift. With You as mine I'm not afraid.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

mystical tea

Teapot no. 60 (560) ~ mystical tea 
© Nicole Raisin Stern
Black fountain pen ink and colored pencil on paper

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Teapot no. 558 ~ tea with plum blossoms

© Nicole Raisin Stern

Teapot no. 58 (558) of my 6th Set of 100 Teapots
Watercolor and fountain pen ink on paper.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Living Waters Hamsa

Mayim Chayyim
"Living Waters"
מים חיים

Watercolor and fountain pen ink on paper.
by Neshama נשמה
Nicole Raisin Stern

Monday, February 27, 2012

V'achalta - Grateful Satedness

 Teapot no. 557 ~ Grateful satedness

 V’achalta, v’sa-va ta oo’vay-rach-ta

A Blessing After the Meal 
by Hannah Tiferet

"We ate when we were hungry and now we're satisfied.
We thank the Source of Blessing for all that S/He provides.
V'achalta v'sa-va-ta oo-vay-rach ta....

Hunger is a yearning in body and soul.
Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and Spirit make us whole.
V'achalta v'sa-va-ta oo-vay-rach ta....

Giving and receiving we open up our hands.
From Seedtime through Harvest we're partners with the land.
V'achalta v'sa-va-ta oo-vay-rach ta....

We share in a vision of wholeness and release
Where every child is nourished and we all live in peace.
V'achalta v'sa-va-ta oo-vay-rach ta.... "

* * *
A joyous way of acknowledging the food that we eat by saying Birkat HaMazon, the Blessing After Meals.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Bodhisattva Path

May I be the doctor and the medicine,
And may I be the nurse
For all sick beings in the world
Until everyone is healed.

May a rain of food and drink descend
To clear away the pain of thirst and hunger,
And during the eon of famine
May I myself change into food and drink.

May I become an inexhaustible treasure
For those who are poor and destitute.
May I turn into all things they could need,
And may these be placed close beside them.

Without any sense of loss or attachment,
I shall give up my body and enjoyments
As well as all my virtues of the three times
For the sake of benefiting all.

By giving up all, sorrow is transcended,
And my mind will realize the sorrowless state.
It is best that I now give everything to all beings
In the same way as I shall at death.

May I be a protector for those without one,
A guide for all travelers on the way.
May I be a bridge, a boat, a ship
For all who wish to cross the water.

May I be an island for those who seek refuge
And a lamp for those desiring light.
May I be a bed for all who wish to rest
And a slave for all who want a slave.

May I be a wishing jewel, a magic vase,
Powerful mantras and great medicine.
May I become a wish-fulfilling tree
And a cow of plenty for the world.

Just like space
And the great elements such as earth,
May I always support life
Of all the boundless creatures.

And until they pass away from pain,
May I always be the source of life
For all the realms of varied beings
That reach unto the ends of space.

~ Shantideva, A Guide to the Bodhisattva's Way of Life 

The Invitation

by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon...
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,

Thursday, February 09, 2012

My favorite day

“What day is it,?" asked Pooh.
"It's today," squeaked Piglet.
"My favorite day," said Pooh.”

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Thank you, Shirley...

 Seal heads are dark corks
dozens bobbing above the golden mirror
of the sea, reflecting me too
in their calm unworried eyes

As sky deepens to indigo, then purple,
bodies and drift wood merge into black silhouettes.
Star-silvered waves leave their footprints
and talk to me in quiet hisses
i listen. i listen.
"We are sisters of the sea" they say

~ Shirley Tudor

*  *  *
[written sometime in 2003]

Monday, January 09, 2012

Listening to the letters

We need space, they say.
That's why we do not touch.


We need to be close enough --
To whisper in your heart

All day.

As you breathe, we breathe
in the white spaces
Where all color forms.

~ Nicole Raisin Stern