Saturday, April 18, 2015

not all are so fortunate


The secrets and spies of countries, their idiot compacts with weapons and torture.

(That's off my chest.)

It's a sick and cynical world of depraved wealth and noxious patriotism.

(C'mon mate, it ain't that bad.)

Yeah? Except when it is. So seldom does anyone learn of it.

Around the world. The cruelty. The monetizing of human worth for someone's passing pleasure or national payday.

Friday, April 17, 2015

where our spirit’s walk


Lockdown today in prison. So we go to Moody’s Diner. And we’d been on-time/early first time in long time. Timely doesn’t always pay.
Our original Buddha-Nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy — and that is all. Enter deeply into it by awakening to it yourself. That which is before you is it, in all its fullness, utterly complete. There is naught beside.  
Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva's progress toward Buddhahood, one by one; when at last, in a single flash, you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing the Buddha-Nature which has been with you all the time; and by all the foregoing stages you will have added to it nothing at all.  
You will come to look upon all those eons of work and achievement as no better than unreal actions performed in a dream. That is why the Tathagata said, "I truly attained nothing from complete, unexcelled Enlightenment. Had there been anything attained, Dipamkara Buddha would not have made the prophecy concerning me." He also said, "This Dharma is absolutely without distinctions, neither high nor low, and its name is Bodhi."  
It is pure Mind, which is the source of everything and which, whether appearing as sentient beings or as Buddhas, as the rivers and mountains of the world which has form, as that which is formless, or as penetrating the whole universe absolutely without distinctions, there being no such entities as selfness and otherness. 
(--from Zen Teachings of Huang Po, - Huang Po (d. 850), Daily Zen) https://www.dailyzen.com/journal/
At poetry today in Quarry Hill there were many A.S. Milne poems by Tina, Lydia, and Sheilah. They were cheerful. Walt read from his wife’s mother’s booklet of poems. And I read Jane Hirshfield.

One by Sheilah, reading Siegfried Sassoon, resonated:

                                                                ALONE 

"When I'm alone"—the words tripped off his tongue
As though to be alone were nothing strange.
“When I was young," he said; "when I was young..."

I thought of age, and loneliness, and change.
I thought how strange we grow when we're alone,
And how unlike the selves that meet and talk,
And blow the candles out, and say good night.

Alone... The word is life endured and known.
It is the stillness where our spirits walk
And all but inmost faith is overthrown.


Siegfried Sassoon
 (1886-1957)

The question remains as institutions, lineages, denominations, and nations all fall apart or fail -- how will we move on into new expressions of beloved forms and familiar expressions?

Begin in your own way, I say.

Sip tea.

Know re-forming affection for one’s mates!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tat tvam asi -- you are that


There's nothing you can do.

What's gone is gone.

Then, do that.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Is that so; it is


In the film, well seasoned monk carries statue of Avalokiteśvara to top of mountain far above floating monastery.

Where she belongs.

Beyond.

 Overlooking.

wandering; wary


Spring jaunt finally free to walk Maine roads. 

Winter trudge, unconvinced, sits on barn chair eyeing sky for signs of lingering snowstorms.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

here we are, again: half and half and


Four lines by Paul Simon written for Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, which inaugurated the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington DC on Sept. 8, 1971:
HALF OF THE PEOPLE ARE STONED 
AND THE OTHER HALF ARE WAITING FOR THE NEXT ELECTION  
HALF THE PEOPLE ARE DROWNED 
AND THE OTHER HALF ARE SWIMMING IN THE WRONG DIRECTION  
(lyric by Paul Simon, for Leonard Bernstein’s 8Sept1971 Mass, A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers)
That’s the thing about poetry and art.

True then, true now.

Bernstein’s lifelong desire, [conductor Maurice] Peress said, “was to compose works — ‘hineh ma tov u ma naim’ — that all men should live as brothers.
Read more: http://blogs.forward.com/the-arty-semite/208291/bernsteins-mass-gets-rare-performance-at-queens-co/#ixzz3XKM1tBkx
 Oremus, iterum!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Sitting these days


Walking these days.


Sunday, April 12, 2015

one asks -- when have we three never met?

Orthodox Easter.

"Christ, the Pantocrator" by BJU Museum and Gallery. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons 
благословенный Пасха


"Andrej Rublëv 001" by Andrei Rublev - The Yorck Project: Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

capable joy


It's the rare person who's never thought about it.

 I did. 

Suicide, as an idea, is common. As an actual attempt, not near the thought.

The thoughts promulgated by an intensely competitive and unfeeling way of life in contemporary times -- thoughts that suggest reality show stars, political cruelty, athletic celebrity, and Wall Street's excessive looting are the only ideals worth accomplishing -- cannot sustain a vital interest in the simple ordinary acts of attention to one another and humane kindness to all.

Perhaps a shift toward an attractive way of life, philosophy as a way of life -- thoughtful, playful, creative and contemplative  -- with shared interests in becoming liberated from deluded ambitions, freeing oneself and whole communities toward a capable joy. 

Enough already with failure-future thinking; we must find joyful-present feeling worth living and sharing.

( response to: “Best, Brightest — and Saddest?", Op Ed by Frank Bruni, 11April2015, NY Times) http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/opinion/sunday/frank-bruni-best-brightest-and-saddest.html?_r=0

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Je me souviens

The promise was life together. 

Not near.

We go on.

gaze, loving what is seen


Silence advances. Not unlike a fading mind. Whoosh of blood in head.

Before the world comes to be again, while only mute light in east arises, when men's minds are asleep and plans folded on nightstand, I watch for a spell.

"Don't make."

Don't make the world today.

Let it remain in silence. Be gateway through into God space.

Wonder.

As we are looked also on by nothing other but looking Itself.

Gaze.

Loving what is seen.

Friday, April 10, 2015

two gates; worth, opening


The Gate

BY MARIE HOWE
I had no idea that the gate I would step through 
to finally enter this world 

would be the space my brother's body made. He was 
a little taller than me: a young man 

but grown, himself by then, 
done at twenty-eight, having folded every sheet, 

rinsed every glass he would ever rinse under the cold 
and running water. 

This is what you have been waiting for, he used to say to me. 
And I'd say, What? 

And he'd say, This—holding up my cheese and mustard sandwich. 
And I'd say, What? 

And he'd say, This, sort of looking around. 
Marie Howe, "The Gate" from What the Living Do. Copyright © 1997 by Marie Howe.


the gate

Lasciate ogni speranza
Voi ch'entrate

abandon all hope
ye who enter here

the inscription at the entrance to the inferno
of Dante's Divine Comedy

courage!  

behind that gate 
there is no hell

hell has been dismantled
by theologians
and deep psychologists

converted into allegory
for humanitarian and educational
reasons

courage!
behind that gate
the same thing begins again

two drunken grave-diggers
sit at the edge of a hole

they're drinking non-alcoholic beer
and munching on sausage
winking at us
under the cross 
they play soccer
with Adam's skull

the hole awaits
tomorrow's corpse
the "stiff" is on its way

courage!

here we will await 
the final judgment

water gathers in the hole
cigarette butts are floating in it

courage!

behind that gate
there will neither be history
nor goodness nor poetry

and what will there be
dear stranger?

there will be stones

stone 
upon stone
stone upon stone
and on that stone 
one more
stone

(From Sobbing Superpower by Tadeusz Różewicz. Copyright © 2010 by Tadeusz Różewicz and Joanna Trzeciak)

153

 Where were they before they were caught?

What wordless evocation brought them starboard into empty net?
"When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.' So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them; and though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' Now none of the disciples dared to ask him, 'Who are you?' because they knew it was the Lord. Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. This was now the third time that Jesus appeared to the disciples after he was raised from the dead" (John 21:1-14).
The question 'Who are you?' is twin to 'What is this?'

Ask them. Over and over. Again and again, ask these questions. They are empty nets thrown over worn rails of wooden minds.

Bobbing. Sinking into depths.

With unrecognized appearances.

And morning scents of falling water dripped along frying sustenance.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

After-thought


Silence says nothing well.

from what might never occur, otherwise


Something about this week dwelling the ordinary that slips from mind the very notion of resurrection. Then these words appear:
Thinking of the second coming or of Jesus “returning” often raises the same kind of problems that we saw with the ascension. People who still think that “heaven” is a long way away, up in the sky, and that that’s where Jesus has gone, imagine that the second coming will be an event somewhat like the return of a space shuttle from its far-off orbit. Not so.  Heaven is God’s space, God’s dimension of present reality, so that to think of Jesus “returning” is actually, as both Paul and John say in the passages just quoted, to think of him presently invisible , but one day reappearing. It won’t be the case that Jesus will simply reappear within the world the way it presently is. His return— his reappearing— will be the central feature of the much greater event that the New Testament writers promise, based on Jesus’s resurrection itself: heaven and earth will one day come together and be present and transparent to each other. That’s what they were made for, and that’s what God will accomplish one day. It has, in fact, already been accomplished in the person of Jesus himself; and what God has done in Jesus, bringing heaven and earth together at immense cost and with immense joy, will be achieved in and for the whole cosmos at last. That is what Paul says at the heart of one of his great visionary prayers:
           His plan was to sum up the whole 
           cosmos in the king— yes,     
           everything in heaven and 
           on earth, in him. (Eph. 1: 10) 
This means that the second coming takes on all the dimensions present in Israel’s scriptures, the dimensions of the whole creation singing with delight when Israel’s God comes to “judge” the world (Pss. 96; 98). “Judgment” in this sense is like the “judgment” given when a poor widow finally has her case heard, the bullies who have been oppressing her are firmly rebuked, and she is vindicated. “Judgment” is what happens when someone who has been robbed of home and dignity and livelihood is upheld , with everything restored. “Judgment” is what happens when a forest that has been damaged through overzealous logging , on the one hand , and acid rain, on the other, is wisely replanted and the source of pollution identified and stopped. The world is out of joint, and God’s “judgment” will perform a great act of new creation through which it will be restored to the way God always intended it to be.
(--An excerpt from “Simply Jesus,” by N.T. Wright, in Martin, James; Lewis, C. S.; Wright, N. T.; Tutu, Desmond; Tutu, Mpho; Wolff, Catherine; Patchett, Ann; Moss, Candida; Crossan, John Dominic; Morris, Jonathan; Groome, Thomas H. (2013-03-12). The 10 Best Books to Read for Easter: Selections to Inspire, Educate, & Provoke: Excerpts from new and classic titles by bestselling authors in the field, with an Introduction by James Martin, SJ. (Kindle Location 527). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.)
A phenomenology of appearance, making manifest that which is there, only mostly unseen.

Heaven is God’s space, God’s dimension of present reality...”.

Intending reality from probability, some might say, is a mystical way of drawing out what could be from what might never occur.

So too prayer.

Or the poet sensing the hearing of song only just departing the chaos of felt evocative emergence.

Fact is, we really don’t know judgment at all.

What are we friends for? For this


Bird and Johnson basketball rivalry documentaries seemed the menu for dawn into daylight early snowy April morning.


Difference and sameness, like last night's end of class, can only be grasped by 100% correct relationship.


The ethic of immediate connection without delusive separative thought.


How we are who we are by being and doing what we are.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Stop in the name of foisting delusion

If you run away from police you might be shot in the back.

If you move toward police you might be shot in the chest.

There's no arguing with someone who can shoot you any time they choose.

Be careful. A dangerous threat is expanding day by day.

It appears someone with a gun, criminal or police, is someone to avoid.

Self protection, to a Buddhist, is delusory. This delusion grows exponentially.

There is something very odd about the practice of protecting a self nowhere found.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

to be; developed


A friend asks about meetingbrook.

I think of Conner’s thinking about Merton.
Perhaps we can begin by looking at a few descriptive definitions of contemplation given by Merton in one of his last works: The New Man
"Contemplation is the perfection of love and knowledge." (p.13)

"Contemplation goes beyond concepts and apprehends God not
as a separate object but as the Reality within our reality,
the Being within our being, the life of our life. 11 (P.19)

"Contemplation is a mystery in which God reveals Himself as
the very center of our own inmost self." (ibid.)

"Contemplation is the highest and most paradoxical form of
self realization, attained by apparent self-annihilation." (ibid. ) (1)
These quotes show us the mature Merton in his approach to contemplation. Yet they remain in continuity with the body of his writings. In a much earlier work entitled: What is Contemplation?, Merton had written: 
Why do we think of the gift of contemplation. infused contemplation, mystical prayer, as something essentially strange and esoteric reserved for a small class of almost unnatural beings and prohibited to everyone else? It is perhaps because we have forgotten that contemplation is the work of the Holy Spirit acting on our souls through His gifts of Wisdom and Understanding with special intensity to increase and perfect our love for Him. These gifts are part of the normal equipment of Christian sanctity. They are given to us at Baptism, and if they are given it is presumably because God wants them to be developed.... But it is also true that God often measures His gifts by our desire to receive them, and by our cooperation with His grace, and the Holy Spirit will not waste any of His gifts on people who have little or no interest in them. (2)

(--fromTHE MEANING OF THE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE ACCORDING TO THOMAS MERTON by Fr. James Conner, OCSO), .http://www.thomasmertonsociety.org/conner.htm

It is the practice. No-name, no-affiliation, no-fuss practice.

The gifts of God are unpossessable.

Only encounterable.

open, but screened

Nobody else’s definition satisfies the word each one of us must become.  

Delusion conceives of things as  
Existent or nonexistent,  
As being real or unreal,  
As born or unborn. 

In an uncluttered place,  
Concentrate your mind,  
Remain steady and unmoving,  
Like a polar mountain.  

Observe that all phenomena 
Have no existence,  
That they are like space,  
Without solid stability,    

Neither being born nor emerging.  
Unmoving, unflagging,  
Abide in oneness:  
This is called the place of nearness.  
                                      (--from the Lotus Sutra, circa 1st Century BCE/CE)
Not sociology but ontology interests. Not behavior but feeling. Not pedantry but poetry.

The silence of the room. Smoke from chimney. White dog asleep on bed. Night snow dripping from eaves. Sun through clouds.

From “The Universe --- Solved” blog:
Our real free-will-wielding consciousness is in the mind of the “sim player”, wherever it may be.  
Some possibilities…  
1 We live in a post-human simulation written by humans of the future. This is Nick Bostrom’s “Simulation Argument.” “God” is thus, effectively, a future human, maybe some sniveling teen hacker working at the 2050 equivalent of Blizzard Entertainment. We are contemporaries of the hacker. 
2 We live in a simulation created by an AI, a la “The Matrix.” God is the Architect of the Matrix; we may be slaves or we may just enjoy playing the simulation that the AI created. We may be on earth or somewhere entirely different. 
3 We live in a simulation created by an alien. God is the alien; again, we may be slaves or we may just enjoy playing the simulation that ET has created. 
4 Stanford physicist Andrei Linde, the developer of the “eternal chaotic inflation theory” of the multiverse, once said “On the evidence, our universe was created not by a divine being, but by a physicist hacker.” That would make God a physicist – a future human one, or one from another planet. 
5 We live in a digital system, which continuously evolves to a higher level due to a fundamental law of continuous improvement. Physicist Tom Campbell has done the most to develop this theory, which holds that each of our consciousnesses are “individuated” parts of the whole system, interacting with another component of the system, the reality simulation in which we “live.” God is then a dispassionate digital information system, all that there is, the creator of our reality and of us. We are effectively a part of God. 
 “The kingdom of God is within you” – Jesus  
“He who knows his own self, knows God” – Mohammed  
“There is one Supreme Ruler, the inmost Self of all beings, who makes His one form manifold. Eternal happiness belongs to the wise, who perceive Him within themselves – not to others” – from the Vedas, original Indian holy text  
“The first peace, which is most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its Powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.” – Native American  
(--from Jim Elvidge, “Who is God?” on blog “The Universe -- Solved,” Musings on the Nature of Reality, http://blog.theuniversesolved.com,  
We don’t really know. So we conject. Then clench. Argue. And defend. Still, we don’t know.

From Professor Andrei Linde’s (b.1948) faculty page at Stanford:
What is the origin and the global structure of the universe? 
For a long time, scientists believed that our universe was born in the big bang, as an expanding ball of fire. This scenario dramatically changed during the last 30 years. Now we think that initially the universe was rapidly inflating, being in an unstable energetic vacuum-like state. It became hot only later, when this vacuum-like state decayed. Quantum fluctuations produced during inflation are responsible for galaxy formation. In some places, these quantum fluctuations are so large that they can produce new rapidly expanding parts of the universe. This process makes the universe immortal and transforms it into a multiverse, a huge fractal consisting of many exponentially large parts with different laws of low-energy physics operating in each of them. 
Professor Linde is one of the authors of inflationary theory and of the theory of an eternal inflationary multiverse. His work emphasizes the cosmological implications of string theory.
I fill bird-feeder.

Sip tea.

Breathe.

The Plum Village community says that Thay is back home there from hospital. Resting.

On wall the writing says, 
“There is no time now         
and nothing like this.”
 Cat looks out open, but screened, window.

As do I.


Monday, April 06, 2015

Camus and Chinese mountain hermits

A student writes: “We’re always talking about the economy, and being told that we need to be out there consuming for the sake of its betterment.”(TR)
...
Chinese mountain hermits still seek and find an alternate way to live and look at the words you write. http://www.sinodaily.com/reports/Chinas_mountain_hermits_seek_a_highway_to_heaven_999.html
Camus, according to A Life Worth Living: Albert Camus and the Quest for Meaning (public library | IndieBound), historian Robert Zaretsky,
Camus achieves with the Myth what the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty claimed for Montaigne’s Essays: it places “a consciousness astonished at itself at the core of human existence.”  
For Camus, however, this astonishment results from our confrontation with a world that refuses to surrender meaning. It occurs when our need for meaning shatters against the indifference, immovable and absolute, of the world. As a result, absurdity is not an autonomous state; it does not exist in the world, but is instead exhaled from the abyss that divides us from a mute world.
http://www.brainpickings.org/2014/09/22/a-life-worth-living-albert-camus/?utm_content=bufferfd112&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer
It is a question whether the world has anything to say about returning to the source, nature, or whether it is mute.

"In the 1980s no one paid the hermits any attention, because everyone had a chance to make a buck and improve their lives materially," said the shaggy-bearded author. "People thought it absurd to go in the opposite direction."
Now he notes more well-educated former professionals among the denizens of what he calls "hermit heaven", and one who did not want to be named told AFP he was a government official on sabbatical.
"You get a much wider mix, people who are jaded or disillusioned in the current economy and are seeking something more," said Porter. (op cit)
Nobody else’s definition satisfies the word each one of us must become. 

Smigus Dyngus

Watch out for flung water

Easter Monday 

Upon us

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Sunday morning walk at STILL;MARBLES


Snow squall.


Window apparition.


Waterfall joy.


community, no matter what

If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. (Mother Teresa)


Hence, joy, when light arises of a morning.

A light grasp on life.

Greg Boyle (of Homeboy) reads Hafiz:

With That Moon Language 
Admit something. 

Everyone you see, you say to them 
"Love me."  

Of course you do not do this out loud: 
Otherwise,Someone would call the cops. 

Still, though, think about this, 
This great pull in us to connect. 

Why not become the one 
Who lives with a full moon in each eye 
That is always saying, 

With that sweet moon 
Language 

What every other eye in this world 
Is dying to 
Hear?  
                                - Hafiz -

knock, knock, knocking

Let us pray.

On this day, Lord God,
    you opened for us the way to eternal life
    through your only Son’s victory over death.
Grant that as we celebrate the feast of his resurrection
    we may be renewed by your Holy Spirit
    and rise again in the light of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
    one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

(Office of Readings, Vigils)

Saturday, April 04, 2015

comes night, awaiting fire

The Sowing of Meanings

              by Thomas Merton

See the high birds! Is their's the song
That dies among the wood-light
Wounding the listener with such bright arrows?
Or do they play in wheeling silences
Defining in the perfect sky
The bounds of (here below) our solitude,

Where spring has generated lights of green
To glow in clouds upon the sombre branches?
Ponds full of sky and stillnesses
What heavy summer songs still sleep
Under the tawny rushes at your brim?

More than a season will be born here, nature,
In your world of gravid mirrors!
The quiet air awaits one note,
One light, one ray and it will be the angels' spring:
One flash, one glance upon the shiny pond, and then
Asperges me! sweet wilderness, and lo! we are redeemed!

For, like a grain of fire
Smouldering in the heart of every living essence
God plants His undivided power --
Buries His thought too vast for worlds
In seed and root and blade and flower,

Until, in the amazing light of April,
Surcharging the religious silence of the spring,
Creation finds the pressure of His everlasting secret
Too terrible to bear.

Then every way we look, lo! rocks and trees
Pastures and hills and streams and birds and firmament
And our own souls within us flash, and shower us with light,
While the wild countryside, unknown, unvisited of men,
Bears sheaves of clean, transforming fire.

And then, oh then the written image, schooled in sacrifice,
The deep united threeness printed in our being,
Shot by the brilliant syllable of such an intuition, turns within,
And plants that light far down into the heart of darkness and oblivion,
Dives after, and discovers flame.


(
- from Selected Poems of Thomas Merton)

Out of love


Second Reading
From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday
The Lord's descent into the underworld

Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
    He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
    I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
    See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
    I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
    Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

(--from Office of Readings, Holy Saturday, Vigils)

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Esse est percipi


"To be is to be perceived." So said George Berkeley. He relied on God to perceive what humans cease perceiving.

So -- what do you see?

This year emptiness is form.



The ordinary serves as liturgical.



I wash dishes afterward.



And these thy gifts.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

no cliché

April fools 
Us
At times
Not

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

thought what?

Question: Tell me -- if you were to see God, what would you see?

Answer: [silence]

Ha! I thought so.

Monday, March 30, 2015

the art of not being missed


Social epistemology. We rely on others to know what we believe we know.

Yet, it is our responsibility to know what we know as best we can.

I know I will not go to monastery this week.

This week will be something else.

Larry Darrell would understand.

"The path to salvation is narrow and as difficult to walk as a razor's edge." (Epigraph to W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge.)

Sunday, March 29, 2015

One drops one drop at a time


In the beginning was the myth. And the myth became words. And words longed to become poem.
And what is not poetry usually deadens our imagination.
The way the Orthodox teachers look at the story of Adam and Eve is quite different from the way it is generally understood in the West. In the West, commentaries tend to emphasize the themes of disobedience, guilt, sin, and remorse, including a fairly heavy hint that the sin of our first parents was somehow sexual in nature–an attitude that would have enormous impact on the development of Western psychology many hundreds of years later. 
For the East, by contrast, the story of Adam and Eve is, at its heart, a story of disintegration, fragmentation, and estrangement. The man and the woman–and the world in which they lived–were torn apart by their behavior, and vast gaps came to exist between God and man, between heaven and earth, between one person and another, between the genders, and finally within the human personality itself. Each and every person is internally fragmented and externally isolated from the outside world, right down to the ultimate depths of his or her being. Fragmentation within the human personality is observed essentially as the division between the mind and the nous or heart. 
Webber expands on this theme of the divorce between the mind and the heart throughout the first two chapters. Explaining that this divorce is where much of our problems lie.
Western psychotherapy is often concerned not only with healing the mind, but also with encouraging patients to come to terms with their feelings and emotions. Moreover, at least in everyday speech, it is assumed that the source of these emotions or feelings is the heart. 
In the East, we can discern another scheme. Here, the one thing that can be said of the mind is that it is divorced from the heart. In this fallen state, it issues a constant stream of logismoi, the torrent of ‘thoughts’ that accompanies our daily lives. However, in a less demonstrable way (the Fathers do not really talk about emotions), the mind is also the source of emotion and feeling. These originate in the mind as logismoi which are then felt, in a reactive way, in the physical body; these reactions are what we call feelings. Feelings then, in fallen man are as broken and unreliable as the thoughts that give them birth.
(--from Daylight Rising blog)
https://daylightrising.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/logosmoi/
If we are deadened by meaningless sentences droned by obfuscating assassins selling out human compassion, you would think someone would say "Enough!" And fall into silence.
Wherein this silence would reveal sound aching for creative expression, the way ice on wood footbridge longs to drop into melting flow of mountain brook at March's end.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

still changing


That’s what stillness is. It is the point of exchange.

Where past hands off to future what is there at present.

And what is there at present?

Change.

Exchanging between what was and what will be what is changing.

The present moment, then, is what is, changing.

And stillness is the exchange.

Mark this -- to be still is to become the exchange.

Movement evades. Stillness becomes.

The purpose of meditation (if it had a purpose) would be to see the change as it is happening.

Stillness is change as it is becoming what it will always be -- a transitional home to impermanence.

Nothing lasts.

Everything else is changing into what is becoming itself.

Stillness is the awakening encounter between what is becoming itself and what is no longer itself.

What is no longer itself is stillness becoming something else.

See this and see that.

See this and that and see what is pivoting toward what is not known.

Now, this instant, is not knowing becoming known as that which can only be the experience of change as the one thing that doesn’t change.

Change is the one changeless reality of human existence.

That is worth knowing.

Be still.

And know that.

I am.

(You are.)

God.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

it's all true, not one thing is true

Who knows the heart of a human being?

A plane dives downward into side of mountain.

Who is willing to ride the final 30 seconds with those in the plane?

The human mind need not break the world down into terrorist or traumatized.

We must find our way between these two possibilities.

We must die to the distinction.

We must deliberate and attempt to see everything all at once from every side.

And at the end the willingness to live as if you were everyone is how the long musing becomes empty silent awareness

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Don't do what God wouldn't do

God does not see sin.

Why should we?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

looking through notes

Listening to Public Radio while looking through notes.

“This is how we come to be where we are: someone finds us, and we are their message.” (wfh, 25mar1998)

I was writing about a small wood sign found on bank of Shenandoah River hanging on sticks matted with leaves and mud after what must have been a river rise from up-country Virginia. It still hangs from cut Yew bush alongside barn in Maine as sun rises over Melvin Heights off Molyneaux Road.
The first of these is meditation on the rarity of human birth: how, among the beings that populate the six realms of rebirth, those reborn as humans with access to the Buddha’s teaching are incredibly rare. The second meditation is on the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time of death, the recognition that one will definitely die, yet the time of death is utterly indefinite. The third preliminary practice is to meditate on the workings of the law of karma, how negative deeds done in the past will always ripen as suffering and how over the beginningless cycle of rebirth each of us has committed countless crimes. The prospect of eternal suffering lies ahead. And what are those sufferings? The fourth meditation is on the faults of samsara, visualizing in detail the tortures of the eight hot hells and the eight cold hells, the four neighboring hells, and the various trifling hells; the horrible hunger and thirst suffered by ghosts; the sufferings of animals, the sufferings of humans that we know so well, even the sufferings of gods. For in Buddhism, the gods also suffer.
The goal of such meditation is to cause one to regard this life as a prisoner regards his or her prison, to cause one to strive to escape from this world with the urgency that a person whose hair is on fire seeks to douse the flames. The goal of such meditation, in other words, is stress induction. This stress is the result of a profound dissatisfaction with the world. Rather than seeking a sense of peaceful satisfaction with the unfolding of experience, the goal of this practice is to produce a state of mind that is highly judgmental, indeed judging this world to be like a prison. This sense of dissatisfaction is regarded as an essential prerequisite for progress on the Buddhist path. Far from seeking to become somehow “nonjudgmental,” the meditator is instructed to judge all the objects of ordinary experience as scarred by three marks: impermanence, suffering, and no self.
What, then, are we to do?
One of the most famous statements in Buddhist literature occurs in the Diamond Sutra, where the Buddha says to the monk Subhuti:
In this regard, Subhuti, one who has set out on the bodhisattva path should have the following thought, “I should bring all living beings to final extinction in the realm of extinction without substrate remaining. But after I have brought living beings to final extinction in this way, no living being whatsoever has been brought to extinction.” Why is that? If, Subhuti, the idea of a living being were to occur to a bodhisattva, or the idea of a soul or the idea of a person, he should not be called a bodhisattva. Why is that? There is no dharma called “one who has set out on the bodhisattva path.”
(from, Tricycle, Winter 2012, The Scientific BuddhaWhy do we ask that Buddhism be compatible with science?Donald S. Lopez, Jr.)

Four billion dollars will flow from the U.S. to Afghanistan this year.

And many doctors do not tell their patients that their diagnosis is Alzheimer’s.