Thursday, February 23, 2017

ama nesciri

I'm thinking of turning myself in.
crossing rt 161, Aroostook County,
Presque Isle to Ft Kent Maine 22feb17
"The increased threat of deportation has sent many immigrants into hiding." (NYTimes morning briefing, 23feb17)

Presque Isle, Maine, UMPI

I came here from a dark watery place. Before that I was in deep hiding somewhere outside known terrain. I was the conception of two agents intent on snuggling me into this existence before their sleepy cells took to snoring somnolence.
Presque Isle Maine, 22feb17
When I appeared out of the shadows I immediately went into hiding, assuming an identity with pastiche facts and dates and formulas of social incognito that allowed me to move quietly and freely through school corridors and work greetings without being recognized,

Now, some seventy plus years later, I return to the spiritually hidden place of pre-conception.

I look out.  

There are bare trees.

tree, Fort Kent, 8:30am
View from Fort Kent, Maine
over St John River to Clair, NB Canada

Canada is across the road 

Nobody knows my name.
Mt Katahdin, Millinocket Maine, 21feb17
I love 

to be


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

wisdom seeks for wisdom

Rev. Suzuki’s talk
July 22, 1965
We are studying now the sutra of the sixth patriarch, in the evening lecture, and PRAJNA (this is of course Sanskrit word) we mean, wisdom, but this wisdom is not intellect, or knowledge.  This wisdom is so-called our inmost nature, which is always in incessant activity.  Zazen practice is to….wisdom seeking for wisdom is zazen practice, if I use technical term.  Wisdom seeks wisdom is zazen practice, and our everyday life is wisdom.  Realization of our precepts is our everyday life.  When wisdom…When our everyday life is based on wisdom we call it percepts.  When we sit, we do not do anything; we just sit.  There’s no activity of our mind.  We just sit and all what we do is taking inhaling and exhaling.  Sometimes you will hear some birds singing, but that is not actually….you are not hearing.  Your ears will hear it.  You are not hearing it.  Just, you know, sound come, and you will make some response to it, that is all.  This kind of practice is called “wisdom seeks for wisdom”.
Originally offered: July 22nd, 1965 | Modified October 27th, 2009 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 
And may we find. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

reading paper about sila, pranna, and samadhi

Speed limit is 75 on 95 in northern maine from Benedicta to Houlton,

Then follow 12 wheeler up into Presque Isle.

Arrive tired. A fairly constant condition.

We tossed snow pieces over high banks off helipad at hospital in Millinocket.

Such a good


Monday, February 20, 2017

evolving out of garbled grunts and groans

In dialogue with a student:

RE: how we might think differently about the election, 
a philosopher’s point of view
"Political parties have become the sacred."
"The Dalai Lama discusses ...  how irrational it is that we blame others instead of their words - they are not their words and if they were in a state of happiness they probably wouldn't be speaking in the manner in which they do."(MW)
I like the way you weave our texts through your comments.  The above quotes catch my attention. It is true the political parties have become the sacred -- it helps explain our belief and fidelity to them. Even (one might say) the observation that Mrs. Clinton was anointed by her party to be the ordained candidate without sufficient or honest debate as to her ascendancy.
Like the phenomenon of SBNR (spiritual but not religious) we looked at briefly in class, Mr Trump arrived not really republican and no longer democrat and punched his way through the religious establishment much to the astonishment and (to many) the sacrilege of apostasy against the hierarchy of both parties.
Your statement suggests that this phenomenon of the breakthrough renegade himself mirrors the falling from grace of the traditional churches (Dems/Reps) and an early example of an ersatz new Martin Luther smashing the establishment into a new landscape that is unrecognizable and unpredictable.
And here we can retrieve your second statement -- that it is his words, his manner of speaking, the implications of which make us nervous and wondering where the syntax and tone will shake out and into what new dogmatic or evangelistic pronouncements. Is it possible that we are in a new and uncharted vocabulary that is being sounded into the forming chaos of a type of post big bang? That the man who has emerged with an unrecognized glossolalia is merely echoing the emergence into language as did our ancient ancestors evolving out of garbled grunts and groans up from inarticulate gestures toward articulation and understandable discourse?
(Yes, ok, a bit flowery and far-fetched prose -- but do get the point.) Perhaps the Dalai Lama is saying we might not like the words, but do not condemn the man -- he is trying to come to word.
Coming to word is a mighty accomplishment. Fact, feeling, experience, thought, and possibilities swirl and bump and twist in seemingly random patterns of interaction and diversion until they coalesce around an impulse of expression seeking to find its way into the world as word, as word become speech, word become language, word become flesh, become the spirit of interconnectivity that allows many the opportunity to move together toward ways of acting that recognizes and benefits what might be called community.
Is this the birth pang we are experiencing? Or is it a crapshoot, (an enterprise whose outcome is determined by chance) the rolling of dice that could just as easily become the near-edge of real danger? 
Our ethics begin to take on the role of a young reporter on the beat coming upon an unexpected slowly developing event that resembles something between creation and devastation. She wants to report on what is taking place. She watches. She reports. She is captivated by the fog and mist and the forming creature taking shape behind it all.
She is not the enemy. She does not hate what is trying to form itself. But she is uncertain, and a little frightened. 
Perhaps we all are.

theme: to care is to change

In Canada it is family day.

In America it is presidents' day.

In prison this morning it was Immanuel Kant and J.S.Mill and Nel Noddings, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sam Cooke.

How do you arrive at what’s correct? one man asked. And what about ego?

Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, was one response. Ego and integrated ego. The isolated self and the team player.

If you don't change, you don't care; if you don't care, you don't change.

Philosophy, it can be argued, is a family arête.*

In discussing arête, Plato leads the examination of humankind’s quest for excellence. Henry Marrou describes arête as “the ideal value to which even life itself must be sacrificed.” Although Marrou considers ludicrous the translation of the word from ancient Greek to mean virtue (he prefers valor), virtue is the term used by translator W.K.C. Guthrie in two of Plato’s dialogues to describe this quality that is made and not born in us, the quality of excellence toward which we strive in our daily conduct in society 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

gracias, tibi

Not in church this morning

Not that kind of church

Dripping roof water, white noise waves, a trilling phone alarm in another room

All the baptisms, confirmations, communion and go-in-peace

Are unwalled, without vestments, no longer arguing pastor or priest, male or female, born once or born again

There is a freedom from that mind and time

Stay-at-home fruit juice and walnut raisin toast sunlight on February porch

I don't know who Jesus was, whether he liked jews catholics or protestants better

I don't know whether accepting him as personal lord and savior punches your ticket to glory

Or if Albert Camus is sitting in Algerian cafe smoking and thinking about absurdity

As the United States sells off sanity and buys crazy

Terrorists storing their dangerous ideas in foldaway tents and going on holiday

Until retirement benefits click in and yield 5.7% on the dollar

And jesus' 21st century caption reads "if you see me, say something" -- an invitation to

Post-prayer non-liturgical unfrocked morning ordinariness with half and half in coffee

As the apocalypse takes shape in idiots' minds looking to buy guns and shorting options

And nothing we know of arrives at end of driveway looking to befuddle us with bagels and donuts

Ita missa est

gracias, tibi

Saecula saculorum

Hoc est enim corpus meum?

Deus ibi est . . . 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

breathing, itself, here

Cough from another room.

Furnace blows warm air through vents from basement.

Box of Tylenol opened.

Blood pressure high.

Pain from mouth pervades.

I've been thinking about last nights conversation. How compassion walks down dark alleys. Dumpsters full of debris and detritus call out resentment and condemnation wanting your compliance and complicity.

Instead of sorrow for those hurting as well as those doing the hurting.

Kuan Yin, Bodhisattva of compassion, hears the cries of the world.

Mary, Mother of Sorrows, feels in her heart the distress and difficulties of the suffering.

No blame.

No recrimination.

No protestations of failed righteousness or sinful deviancy.

Rather, attentive presence. Listening awareness.

Rigpa and condolence.

An offer of nearing humanity in an atmosphere of distancing greed, anger, and delusion.

And then, death.

Of self.

Of separation.

Of tendentious opinions signaling arrogant dismissal of other.


Face to face with what is the face of oneself.

Without barrier, border, or boundary.




Friday, February 17, 2017


ji ji mu ge 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

long day

When it

Is time for

Sleep --



here, ever-present origin itself said, I am

If God is presence,
then God is
wherever someone
is present to

If we’ve stopped
believing in God
it’s that we
fail to be

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

God is alone; I am, nearly, there

My soul, 

find peace 

in God 


(--psalm 61)

an open gate held by snow

No need to look up names or faces from decades gone by.

When ambulances and police cars speed by, lit up, all that is needed is prayer.

Surely it is someone of ken to someone thinking of them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

where’s the love

The New York Times is only the mess-anger.

Id rather be sending the Four Bodhisattva Vows to a sister practitioner in Georgia.*

Instead, I comment:
Anybody seen the Republican Party?   
McConnell? Ryan?  
All they wanted was their meal ticket in the White House. They are beyond being embarrassed. They are like white rich looters during a national catastrophe, like the Wall Street crowd. Their response is, “Hang in there, Mr President, a little longer. We’ve almost got the place cleaned out.”  
It’s hard not to be livid over the cynicism and hypocrisy of our Republican senators and representatives. They turn a blind eye to the radical ideological incompetency of the administration while concurrently blindsiding the American people with a cat-burglary dismantling of every safety alarm to unprotect citizens from an ascendant theft-ridden ideology.  
Have all good ideas and effective leadership abandoned this country and gone to new undisclosed locations?  Is this survival reality show the one program available in actual time? Is active resistance and peaceful non-cooperation our new and only political reality?
(Thanks be to goodness I scored a large Whitman's Sampler for therapeutic calming this Valentine’s Day. I’ll need a rehab stay following the current and coming insanity of our political collapsing dam...and/or chocolate overdose.)


Four Vows of the Bodhisattva, 
Upaya Zen Center version

Creations are numberless, I vow to free them.
Delusions are inexhaustible, I vow to transform them.
Reality is boundless, I vow to perceive it.
The awakened way is unsurpassable, I vow to embody it.

Monday, February 13, 2017

if words are prelude to action, these words augur frightening acts to follow

 The words he spoke:
MILLER: Well, I think that it’s been an important reminder to all Americans that we have a judiciary that has taken far too much power and become in many case a supreme branch of government. One unelected judge in Seattle cannot remake laws for the entire country. I mean this is just crazy, John, the idea that you have a judge in Seattle say that a foreign national living in Libya has an effective right to enter the United States is -- is -- is beyond anything we’ve ever seen before.   
The end result of this, though, is that our opponents, the media and the whole world will soon see as we begin to take further actions, that the powers of the president to protect our country are very substantial and will not be questioned.  
(--excerpt, Transcript, Face the Nation, comments by Stephen Miller, senior policy advisor to DT/45, 12Feb2017) 
Sounds like?

What’s rolling out

Is nothing

We want to hear

Nor will the people, listening


Sunday, February 12, 2017

via con dios

each breath


inside and out

where zen gaze and contemplative listening intersect


By Jeffrey McDaniel

In an effort to get people to look 
into each other’s eyes more, 
and also to appease the mutes, 
the government has decided 
to allot each person exactly one hundred   
and sixty-seven words, per day. 

When the phone rings, I put it to my ear   
without saying hello. In the restaurant   
I point at chicken noodle soup. 
I am adjusting well to the new way. 

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,   
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.   
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn’t respond, 
I know she’s used up all her words,   
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times. 
After that, we just sit on the line   
and listen to each other breathe.

Jeffrey McDaniel, “The Quiet World” from The Forgiveness Parade. Copyright © 1998 by Jeffrey McDaniel. 

Saturday, February 11, 2017


What an odd notion, being born.
The same is true of the big bang or the potential end of the universe. Time doesn’t begin or end in an absolute way. It is a convenient way of using words. Time is simply a concept that fits various physical models. But its origin is as much in metaphysics as in physics. When someone believes he will die and go to Heaven for eternity, the typical, casual definition of “eternity” is a long, long time. But that’s not true, because whatever is eternal must be outside time. Ultimately, the only participation we can have in time, outside time, or with a dimension of inconceivable time, occurs in our consciousness. Whatever we can experience determines the nature of time. It is just as true to say that the big bang is occurring right now as to date it back to 13.8 billion years, because only when we think about the event do we draw the big bang into the world of human experience, and thinking happens in the now.   
None of these conclusions are speculative–quantum physics and cosmology deal with them–and cosmologists and quantum physicists argue over them–every day. Without settling the vexing questions of “What came before the big bang?” “Where did time originate?” and “What is the timeless like?” we only want to point out that time has no meaning outside a specific frame of reference. There is no “real” time, only models of time constructed in human awareness. Once we realize this simple fact, the capacity to move beyond all models, to truly lose our fear of death, come alive. The spiritual concept that we were never born and will never die then becomes viable, too.
(--from, What Came Before the Big Bang? A Surprise Answer, about, Reality is Structured Consciousness, by Depak Chopra and Menas KaFatos
What a curious way of thinking, being dead. 

etymology of “great”

great (adj.) Look up great at
Old English great "big, tall, thick, stout, massive; coarse," from West Germanic *grautaz "coarse, thick" (source also of Old Saxon grot, Old Frisian grat, Dutch groot, German groß "great"). If the original sense was "coarse," it is perhaps from PIE root *ghreu- "to rub, grind," but "the connextion is not free from difficulty" [OED]. It took over much of the sense of Middle English mickle, and itself now is largely superseded by big and large except in reference to non-material things.

In the sense of "excellent, wonderful" great is attested from 1848. Great White Way "Broadway in New York City" is from 1901, in reference to brilliant street illumination. The Great Lakes of North America so called by 1726, perhaps 1690s. Great Spirit "high deity of the North American Indians," 1703, originally translates Ojibwa kitchi manitou. The Great War originally (1887) referred to the Napoleonic Wars, later (1914) to what we now call World War I (see world).
"The Great War" -- as, until the fall of France, the British continued to call the First World War in order to avoid admitting to themselves that they were now again engaged in a war of the same magnitude. [Arnold Toynbee, "Experiences," 1969]
Also formerly with a verb form, Old English greatian “to become enlarged," Middle English greaten "to become larger, increase, grow; become visibly pregnant," which became archaic after 17c.
The Online Etymology Dictionary

good better best; great greater greatest

Student mentioned his name. Had to look up Ken Ham.
From Wikipedia:
Despite scientific evidence and consensus that the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old and the Universe about 13.8 billion years old,[2] Ham believes the age of the Universe to be about 6,000 years.[n 1]
From (DL): "I wonder if people created the bible to hold law and order to the land of that time. How would you get people to follow the rule? "
We do seem to have a passion for wanting people to do what we think is good for them and us. 
In conversation last night it was pointed out that most autocrats/supreme leaders start off wanting something 'better' for the populace. The people are often unsure what that means -- better? The autocrats (Mao Zedung,  Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler) decide to impose ‘better' on the people because they know better than the people what better means. What follows is mass murder and mayhem.
This process has been a staple of human history. Even Biblical history is filled with much smiting and smoting and large-scale elimination of 'enemies.'
We’re still trying to decipher exactly what compassion and forgiveness mean. 
We think about it. 
Every day.

Friday, February 10, 2017

something is not right

Russian involvement with DT/45 presidential campaign is receiving serious scrutiny.

Is that what "fake news" failed to see or report?

A fake election?

I don't think this will turn out well.

For anybody.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

worry appears to be justified

In a talk Richard Rohr said it's not a matter of being correct, but how we connect with others.

I've been following the rhetoric and actions of DT/45, the current president of the United States.

He is seldom correct.

And seems intent to disconnect us from each other.

This is a worrisome pattern of reactivity and narcissism.

I notice the level of worry rising gravely among those who think about these things.

The worry appears to be justified.

Prayer, Rohr might say, is living within the presence of God.

It is time for prayer.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

imitating clowns does not make a circus funny

It's becoming an odder country than we might have imagined.

A parody of itself.

I'm not fond of parodies.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

on the death of Leonard Lookner

"Better worlds (I suggest) are born, not made; and their birthdays are the birthdays of individuals. Let us pray always for individuals; never for worlds.” 
(e.e.cummings, in nonlecture 2, from “i: six nonlectures” 1953)
My prayer is gratitude for Leonard’s acquaintance, and for the better place he made Camden. 

I’ll miss his slanting gait along the roadside.

Monday, February 06, 2017

not a willing

Everytime I leave home I open the door to my home.
Beginning with a basic paradox of the mystical path, expressed by the Zen archer who looks away from the target while releasing the arrow, one of Heidegger's characters remarks about the approach to contemplation: the nature of thinking can be seen only by looking away from thinking. Thus we must turn from our impulse to calculate, looking away into the sky or across the hills of our being, in order to become receptive to the deep nature of thinking beneath its surface function as willing. As the second participant in the dialogue responds: In answer to your question as to what I really wanted from our meditation on the nature of thinking . . . I want non-willing. This non-willing comes into play as we look away from the target. One cannot willfully grasp non-willing but must be released into it. As the third participant in this [7] conversation remarks, You want a non-willing in the sense of a renouncing of willing, so that through this we may release . . . ourselves to the sought-for essence of a thinking that is not a willing. The contemplative thinker does not grasp the essence of thinking but is, rather, released to the essence of thinking. This distinction is not simply wordplay. If we expect to grasp a particular meaning, forcibly extracting the essence of the subject, then we remain on the level of calculative thinking. Even the use of ordinary syntax, a verb and its object, such as I know the essence of thinking, represents a subtle involvement with the mode of willful control. Contemplative thinking, by contrast, is perfect release, which is, fundamentally, release from willing. The contemplative no longer asserts, I know the essence, but reflects, I do not will to know, but await the essence in perpetual not-knowing. Significant cultural and scientific advances have developed from the ambitious willing of human beings to grasp essences and thus control energy, but it will never release us to the nature of contemplation. 
(--from, Coming Home, by Lex Hixon) 
Every time I arrive home I leave my home behind.

No one has to take me in.

I don’t know

what to do.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

as with all games




It's over

it's about time

Something about being in time.

It's not that everything is happening at the same time.

It's that every event in time is present in the same place.

For us to see.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

and failure's no success at all

Once success called out, "hey!
Coming my way?"
I stood on corner, traffic
passing both ways, mute.
By nitefall, cobwebs
Closing ears and eyes,
i fell, into no way...
That I know

Friday, February 03, 2017

it's not a game

We might become human.

But not yet.

It requires intelligence and a good heart.

Without these, we become bigoted and buffoonish cartoon characters.

It seems there's a choice. The smart boys want you to play.

Leave it be.


Walk away.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

arriving feeling experiencing thinking exploring



(Finally, a feast for contemporary mind.)

against injustice, ignorance, and lust,

Ella Wheeler Wilcox died in 1919. Here is a poem of hers still breathing 98 years later:
To sin by silence, when we should protest,
Makes cowards out of men. The human race
Has climbed on protest. Had no voice been raised
Against injustice, ignorance, and lust,
The inquisition yet would serve the law,
And guillotines decide our least disputes.
The few who dare, must speak and speak again
To right the wrongs of many. Speech, thank God,
No vested power in this great day and land
Can gag or throttle. Press and voice may cry
Loud disapproval of existing ills;
May criticise oppression and condemn
The lawlessness of wealth-protecting laws
That let the children and childbearers toil
To purchase ease for idle millionaires.
Therefore I do protest against the boast
Of independence in this mighty land.
Call no chain strong, which holds one rusted link.
Call no land free, that holds one fettered slave.
Until the manacled slim wrists of babes
Are loosed to toss in childish sport and glee,
Until the mother bears no burden, save
The precious one beneath her heart, until
God’s soil is rescued from the clutch of greed
And given back to labor, let no man
Call this the land of freedom.
(--poem “Protest” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox, November 5, 1850–October 30, 1919, quoted in Brain Pickings


  (three haiku)

brown deer disappeared
into woods after graze hit --
may it go on well

black car sits still stunned
in dooryard, white fur from hit --
sticking out from hood

house roof did not burn
after stovepipe fire hit --
kindly town firemen

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

won't anyone save us from this troublesome man

It's the community, stupid!

It rises in resistance.

one of the awful consequences elections have

Mike Hager's mother, Naimma, died in Iraq.

[addendum: it seems the stated timing of his mother's death was not accurately told. She died some days before the ban. Still, in all, as with all deaths and inaccuracies, we acknowledge the sorrow experienced. 2feb17]

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

time it was and what a time it was

This, from Chicago:

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

As I was walking down the street one day
A man came up to me and asked me what the time was that was
On my watch, yeah
And I said
Does anybody really know what time it is
I don't
Does anybody really care
If so I can't imagine why
About time
We've all got time enough to cry
Oh no, no

And I was walking down the street one day
A pretty lady looked at me and said her diamond watch had
Stopped cold dead
And I said
Does anybody really know what time it is
I don't
Does anybody really care
If so I can't imagine why
About time
We've all got time enough to cry
Oh no, no

And I was walking down the street one day
Being pushed and shoved by people trying to beat the clock,
Oh, so I just don't know,
I just don't know
And I said, yes I said

People runnin' everywhere
Don't know the way to go
Don't know where I am
Can't see past the next step
Don't have to think past the last mile
Have no time to look around
Just run around, run around and think why

Does anybody really know what time it is
I don't
Does anybody really care
If so I can't imagine why
About time
We've all got time enough to die
Oh no, no
Written by Robert William Lamm • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, BMG Rights Management US, LLC 

Monday, January 30, 2017

endgame at the beginning

It's something grown out of the right wing brand, namely, destabilize the government and diminish any opposition while replacing it with brutal intimidating authoritarian regime brooking no criticism and caring nothing for a subservient majority.

How will he go?