Small town - Northern Poland

Almost forgotten,

moss covered mounds

in a forest

not so easily found,

no crosses here,

no stones of remembrance.


Cries of pain echo

the lamentations of tall trees

falling bodies leave

blood upon the leaves,

lorry departing

another load from the locked synagogue.


Revolver shot –

old man

unable to walk the path to the pit

one final solution.


Synagogue museum

respectful young Poles play

the wild music of lost

grey memories haunting the wintry woods.

Klamerz in Kazimierz

Kazimierz in Krakow

Another synagogue museum

Film clips from the thirties

Nazi documentaries 1943


Restaurants gleam with light

Goose necks washed down with kosher wine

Returned to the descendants of the Auschwitz dead

Property owners do well today


Rents are high

The district fashionable

One old lady from Schindler's list survives

Her memories of the film.


A photo on the museum wall

Close up - big head

His horsewhip under the chin - old woman

The guilt of not being there.




Closing words, Maenllwyd April 2003

This is our last morning together. So what abiding thought might one take away from visiting Maenllwyd? Perhaps it goes something like this. There is a strong tendency in modern philosophical thought to suppose that life is contained in texts, in language, and that all we need to do is to deconstruct and examine texts. This is completely an antithesis of Zen. Zen argues for a very intimate connection between language and silence. And unless there is silence, language can take off into what we have been calling "the secondary", so that one becomes progressively distanced from both the subject of mind and the object of mind, into a world that is somehow free-floating, nothing but cognition without contact, context without content.

The message of Zen, with its stress on clarity, silence, no words, no mind, is that all this effluvia of language is anchored in something which Buddhists call the essence of mind or the Buddha nature, which are simply words for silence. And this silence is simply the essence of suchness. One needs to be able to relax out of language into the silence of suchness, because this is where energy lies, life begins. So if you take away from Maenllwyd the awareness of the need for repetitive anchoring in silence, then the words can run, and there is no problem, because there is always the return to the safe anchorage. But if one forgets that, and takes off into increasingly abstract language, one ends up in the state which one started with, being an anxious academic. The anchorage lies in something quite non-academic, that is in simplicity, hearing, seeing, being in one's body, hearing the crows calling in the early morning, and the returning migrants tweeting in the trees. You know they come all the way from Africa, but you don't have to think about it.

So, before we have our tea, just take a walk around the yard. Be aware of the silence of the suchness of this dawn moment. The Tibetans have a lovely phrase. They say "when son and mother meet". What they mean is that the universe is always in the silence of suchness, that's the mother. And when the son, that is all of us, returns to the clear light of bliss, the clear light of silence, then the son and the mother meet.