Aug 31, New Year's Eve .
In the morning, September.
In Vermont, a 42nd birthday.
A voice in good spirits!
τίς εὐδαίμων, "ὁ τὸ μὲν σῶμα ὑγιής, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν εὔπορος, τὴν δὲ φύσιν εὐπαίδευτοςLet's return to silence. It is the language of god.
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when
undeveloped, leads to such great harm as the
mind. The mind, when undeveloped, leads to
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed,
leads to such great benefit as the mind. The
mind, when developed, leads to great benefit.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when
undeveloped and uncultivated, brings about such
suffering and stress as the mind. The mind, when
undeveloped and uncultivated, brings about
suffering and stress.”
“I don’t envision a single thing that, when developed
and cultivated, brings about such happiness as
the mind. The mind, when developed and
cultivated, brings about happiness.”
(-- The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya 1.23–24, 1.29–30. Trans. Thanissaro Bhikkhu.)It is not mine to envision, it is mine to turn and twirl within the appearance itself.
Cease practice based on intellectual understanding,
Pursuing words and following after speech,
And learn the backward step
That turns your light inward
To illuminate yourself.
Body and mind of themselves
Will drop away and your original face
Will be manifest.
—Dogen, 1200-1253We want words.
Through such experiences, one thing was becoming clear to me: the dangerous power of the face, of the suffering face, the excluded face, the face of a victim. A story of suffering may become a morality tale or be co-opted by theory. A face calls in a different way.
The Jewish philosopher Emmanuel Levinas famously argued that to be human is to be responsible for the suffering of the other, for the person whose well-being our very existence may be threatening. This obligation to others is encountered and symbolized in a unique way in the face-to-face relation. The faces of others present persons genuinely different from us, exposed to us. The vulnerability of the human face presents us with the claim: do not kill me. In a sense, Levinas says, the bare face of another says “do not deface me”; allow me, it says, my otherness without violation, shame, or indifference.4
Wherever we are kept from seeing the face of the other, I was slowly seeing, whether of the other who stitches our clothing, or dies from our taxpayer-supported bombs, we make it easier for ourselves to act as if we, too, are not responsible for that other. It is an option only the privileged have available to them.
(--from, Is Your Spirituality Violent? The Emergence of Violence as a Theme in My Theological Life and Work, by Tom Beaudoin, Santa Clara University http://www.scu.edu/cm/upload/Microsoft-Word-Beaudoin-s-Is-Your-Spirituality-Violent.pdf
What are the powers of violence that our spiritual commitments fail to comprehend? How can those who want to call themselves Christians avoid the demand for the spiritual practice of fostering an anticapitalist, nonviolent relation to God and our sisters and brothers, especially our sisters and brothers whose faces we will and can never see? For too long, the facelessness of the economic and religious other—student, worker, gay priest, terrorist suspect—has kept God faceless. But now Jesus returns to open for us the gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, and says to postmodern, consumer capitalist, American Christians: whatever you did to the most faceless of my sisters and brothers, you did to me. An idoloclastic strain in the Christian tradition may now be married to the ethical demand of our time: Jesus calls us by remaining faceless, by being present in and through our relation to the faceless. Jesus is the faceless man, who is kept anonymous by the way our spirituality fails to challenge our economic and religious practices. Jesus is the faceless man, whose flourishing is pinned, governed by our practices.
Yet early Christianity also described Jesus as a parrhesiast, one who spoke confidently, freely, frankly. As a ritual reactivation of the dangerous memory of this parrhesia, we can ask, and ask again: How often do student voices about tuition inform university policies? How often do we ‘consumers’ hear from those who make our computers and cut our flowers? Who speaks for those arrested in the “war on terror”? When have gay priests been encouraged to speak of their reality? Does Christian spirituality search out the face and the voice, not of the random other, but of the other of the body of Christ and of the globalized economic body—the other on whom we depend and to whom we are related through politics, church, or economy?
What would a nonviolent Christian spirituality look like, both in the Catholic world and on the American scene? Might we have to free ourselves from the desire for spirituality itself?
(-- Ibid)To gaze on life, gaze with life, gaze as life -- this is a real radical reality -- one wherein we see what is taking place, feel what we are seeing, and act without acting from within the action taking place as us in the occasion and circumstances wherein we find ourselves nothing-other than what is unfolding within, among, and between (what we have previously believed or thought of as) us and the world, self and other, subject and object, me and you, us and them, this life and afterlife, heaven and hell, haves and have nots, 1% and 99%, black and white, saved and damned, smart and stupid, living and dying.
When a shepherd sees that his sheep have scattered, he keeps one of them under his control and leads it to the pastures he chooses, and thus he draws the other sheep back to him by means of this one. And so it was when God the Word saw that the human race had gone astray: he took the form of a slave and united it to himself, and by means of it won over the whole race of men to him, enticing the sheep that were grazing in bad pastures and exposed to wolves, and leading them to the pastures of God.
This was the purpose for which our Savior assumed our nature, this was why Christ the Lord accepted the sufferings that brought us salvation, was sent to his death and was committed to the tomb. He broke the grip of the age-old tyranny and promised incorruptibility to those who were prisoners of corruption. For when he rebuilt that temple which had been destroyed and raised it up again, he thereby gave trustworthy and firm promises to those who had died and were awaiting his resurrection.
(--from Office of Readings, Second reading, Aug 12; From a treatise On the Incarnation of the Lord by Theodoret of Cyr, bishop)
When Buddhism says, ‘It’s an illusion, it’s empty,' I think back to when Ignatius said, 'Your self -- that's your problem. You have to conquer self, kill the self.' It’s that tradition, both in Christianity and in Buddhism, in which we are challenged to let go of what is so comfortable and what we cling to as who we are, if we're going to open ourselves to reality and truth. -- Jerry Brown, Politics and PrayerThen, let it.
5. Jesus said, "Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.The boy and I walked out and back.
For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]”
(--from The Gospel of Thomas)