Raku Cookies – Merry Christmas 2020

Raku cookie of the Buddha for Christmas 2020.
The Buddha raku cookie for Christmas 2020, flanked by the Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet and The Eternal Fishnu. Buddha wanted a green/red Christmas theme, so he let out his breath until he turned green.

Merry Christmas!! Here are this year’s Christmas raku cookies!!

Raku Christmas Cookies

Raku Cookies are a tradition of the Order of the Common Area Ponds Zen Sect. That is the sect in which I’m ordained as a Zen priest. I was ordained by the Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet back on Bodhi Day 2017. Mrs. Hanamoku taught me how to make these raku cookies and we’ve kept up the tradition for four years now.

Raku cookie.
The Eternal Fishnu took this form as a shout-out to the Birthday Boy! The Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet wasn’t left out, taking the shape of a sunflish.

Raku cookies are hand-formed and painted with powdered sugar frosting using a single chopstick. The imperfection of the cookies is life itself. Life Is because of imperfection, wabisabi. Perfection is featureless. Science folks would say pure entropy is featureless. We notice what isn’t right and are oblivious to what is as we expect it to be. The neurons of all creatures are triggered by change.

Raku cookie of The Eternal Fishnu and the Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet.
The Rubber Ducky Buddha of Joliet and The Eternal Fishnu with their raku cookie Buddharupas.

Unlike raku ware pottery, which probably shouldn’t be used to for drinking or eating, Raku Cookies are meant to be eaten. This represents the impermanence of every thing.

When eating a raku cookie, first break it up into a few pieces, three to five, depending on the size. Observe each piece. Notice how we know how the pieces fit together. Are the pieces part of what was once one cookie? Or are those pieces part of One Universe and always will be?

Reassemble the pieces back into the cookie. The pieces could be glued together; carefully so it looks as good as new. But we see the cracks and “glue”. We see the fakery of wholeness. We’re not fooling anyone.

Imagine we instead embraced the change and wrap the cracks in gold leaf? Instead of attempting to hide the imperfection, we highlight it. The break indicates that life of going on. Life isn’t an immutable snapshot. That’s the art of cookie kintsugi. Within the Heart Sutra is the heart of Buddhism, and so it is within each piece of kintsugi art.

Now eat one piece. Where is it now? Your mind sees it, but it’s no longer there in that form. Is it possible to make a replacement for that piece? Sure, because that piece is still in your mind. Therefore, your hands can create the replacement. Could the new piece be exactly the same? No. We never step in the same river twice. Could it be “better” than the original? Maybe. We can only find out by trying.

Raku cookie of the Buddha for Christmas 2020.
Raku Siddhartha Gautama says, Happy Birthday, Jesus, my Brother!

The Spirit of Christmas

Is Jesus the One and only God? Yes. Of course. There is only One. The thing is, we must remember that the human form we call Jesus, Who we celebrate on Christmas, is just a Word. We can understand the concept of “King of Kings”, but the Spirit of Christmas is beyond the description of words.

However, It is always felt. It is felt when Words walk past our awareness like clouds while we’re in meditation, at church, or at Zion National Park (once you get past the bulk of tourists a few miles into a trail). It is standing in the river, not the water, banks, and sand.

The Eternal Fishnu raku cookie, as he appeared during the Devonian.
This raku cookie of The Eternal Fishnu. This is closer to the form he took during his hey-day, the Devonian. where he lead fish onto land. Those fish eventually became us. Yes, the Eternal Fishnu was a mahimahi – the perfection of a fish and all that is delicious. And all mahimahis are manifestations of him. So, do what you will with that information.

The Eternal Fishnu is a Mahimahi

The Eternal Fishnu is the Buddha of the period we call the Devonian. It is an era about 400 million years ago that brought about great transition. He watched over the Earth for over 100 million years while brave fish migrated onto land.

That migration opened great possibilities that eventually lead to us. The Eternal Fishnu balanced protecting the Earth from extreme calamities, but letting just enough flow through to keep those brave fish moving along the evolutionary process. The Eternal Fishnu was and is the guidance from a higher perspective than what we use in our daily lives. The One truth at the same time takes countless forms.

The Lunar Bodhi Day

Remember that the lunar Bodhi Day is coming up in a few weeks on January 20, 2021. It’s your Bodhi Day mulligan, in case you missed the secular Bodhi Day a couple of weeks ago.

Faith and Patience, and Merry Christmas!

Reverend Dukkha Hanamoku

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