Tuesday, January 19, 2021

happy no-birth, dear dōgen zenji

This:

Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), also called Dogen Kigen or Dogen Zenji, was a Japanese Buddhist monk who established Soto Zen in Japan. He is also known for the collection of his writing called Shobogenzo, a masterpiece of the world's religious literature.    https://www.learnreligions.com/eihei-dogen-450198

 And this:

Dōgen Zenji was a Japanese Buddhist priest, poet, philosopherwriter, and founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan.

He is known for his extensive writing including his most famous work – Shōbōgenzō, but also Eihei Shingi, the first Zen monastic code written in Japan  https://www.insightstate.com/quotes/dogen-zenji-quotes/

 Leads to this:

#1 ”In a mind clear as still water, even the waves, breaking, are reflecting its light.” 

#2 ”Do not think you will necessarily be aware of your own enlightenment.” 

#3 ”Enlightenment is like the moon reflected on the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great, the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the entire sky are reflected in one dewdrop on the grass.” 

#4 ”But do not ask me where I am going, As I travel in this limitless world, Where every step I take is my home.” 

#5 “Forgetting oneself is opening oneself” 

#6 ”Cause is not before and effect is not after”

https://www.insightstate.com/quotes/dogen-zenji-quotes/

Dōgen Kigen, along with Francis of Assisi, these two, are the guiding inspiration of meetingbrook dōgen & francis hermitage.

We are grateful novices sitting and walking in the long shadow of their vision, poetry, wisdom, and direct connective simplicity. 

The ten thousand things sing through our mere attending presence moving through this moment, as it is.

as credits begin to roll

Final day sunrise

Hate travels south —  remnant trolls

Following in tow

beyond abilities

 Just because my soul

Is saturated with scorn . . .

I still see slim moon

Monday, January 18, 2021

meaningless mimicry of mindless minions

 I listen to hate.

The sound of lies recruiting lies.

Men and women who’ve lost their souls.

One more day of empty bodies.

Then they fly off.

To mausoleums.

a good man

 Martin Luther King Jr.

A good man.

Even today.

Someone who cared, helped meaningfully, then had his life taken by racists for whom ugly acts are a menu laid out before their eyes as they sit with smug certainty at family dinner gatherings. Their sacrificial snacks eaten with purity on white table covering.

We remember you today.

We honor you, Martin.

We break bread, and, in desolation, pray for your continuing spirit, on this day, in this time, a birthday repast.

Αγάπη, an αγάπη of inclusive imagination.

a martyr for mendacity

 And still, amid fears of a reprise of January 6, the outgoing president of the United States, who led chants of twelve more years, does not say to his followers “I have lost. America goes on. Biden defeated me. Honor our traditions and constitution. He is your president. Be good citizens.”

But this is 2021.

Schoolyard politics are all the rage.

I am not sure. I suspect one of the MAGA crowd, disillusioned with sorrow, will attempt to put the failed king of the mountain out of his inglorious indignity by making him a martyr for mendacity and once glorious untouchability, a Mar-a-Lago sacrifice for the wealthy class of privileged superiority, a mounted head for adulation and worshipful obeisance, stuffed, a taxidermy of righteous mis-memory, a recumbent pseudo-savior come to fest and rest without a tear being shed.

I’d prefer an old fashioned prison cell. 

Where yarns could be spun. Appeals filed. Commissary chits exchanged. And weekly bible study reading about the failed Jesus who was not as great as this fellow with no one to pardon him, no one who really cares, complaining about the grub, waiting for his odd and photogenic family to one day visit him when their busy schedules allow.

Last night, at practice, we read about metta, loving kindness, good will.

I wish him well.

Would that we all might be, with him safely tucked away, well!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

I am . . . this place

 One of four wonderful photos from friend in Vankleek Hill Canada.


A response:

Haiku
      (for pic 289)


No need to climb, sits

Each snow flake on ladder rung, 

Sees . . . I am  . . . this place


(wfh, 17jan21)

Saturday, January 16, 2021

one truth time and again

 This morning, before rain, walking Ragged with ensō, the three of us on meditation walk, I worked on mantra for the overcast step by step, at hosmer brook trail arriving at these words:

Blessed be you, source of all being, creating word, holy spirit 

As it is in the beginning, as it is now, as it is becoming

World without end, amen.

Walking through one truth time and again.

λόγος, ου, ὁ

At Friday evening conversation, this came up: 

Strong's Concordance
logos: a word (as embodying an idea), a statement, a speech
Original Word: λόγος, ου, ὁ
Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Transliteration: logos
Phonetic Spelling: (log'-os)
Definition: a word (as embodying an idea), a statement, a speech
Usage: a word, speech, divine utterance, analogy.
HELPS Word-studies

3056 lógos (from 3004 /légō, "speaking to a conclusion") – a word, being the expression of a thought; a saying.  3056 /lógos("word") is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit. 

[3056 (lógos) is a common term (used 330 times in the NT) with regards to a person sharing a message (discourse, "communication-speech").  3056 (lógos) is a broad term meaning "reasoning expressed by words."]

https://biblehub.com/greek/3056.htm

Every word of 3056 is vital.

speaking to a conclusion

a word

being

the expression of

a thought

A saying

A Hegelian dialectic describes how we live, grow, and have our being, a never ending circle/spiral of thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Or, expressed differently:

Source

Creation

Reconciliation

The constant returning to source.

The constant experience of creation, diversity, difference, and diversion.

The constant practice of conversation, dialogue, wording/action arriving at new beginning, inchoate source.

Father, Son, Spirit.

Source, Exptession, Aggiornamento. 

History and Etymology for aggiornamento

borrowed from Italian, from aggiornare "to bring up to date" (from a-, verbal prefix — going back to Latin ad- AD- — + giorno "day," going back to Late Latin diurnum, from neuter of Latin diurnus "daily") + -mento -MENT — more at DIURNAL entry 1

NOTE: Italian aggiornare in the sense "postpone, defer" is attested earlier than in the sense "bring up to date" and is probably a loan from French ajourner, itself in this sense dependent on English ADJOURN; likewise aggiornamento was probably a loan from French ajournement.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/aggiornamento

And if we really pay attention, perhaps the word will become flesh, and we will save the world from linear desolation, returning it to recurring and reconciling re-creation.

My word!

Or as Richard Hugo ended his poem “The Right Madness On Skye” —

“Take my word. It’s been fun.” 

It has been. It is. It continues to be.

how fortunate

 It was Martin’s birthday yesterday.

How fortunate he’d been with us.

May such births happen often!

Friday, January 15, 2021

they do not intend to mislead

Student:

 My point of view is that no one is telling the truth, but believers of religion fall under truthfulness.  They mean well and they just happen to believe the bullshit fed to them.  They do not intend to mislead. But when you fall in a large class (Religion) of people and you all believe in the same thing it adds strength to what you believe in. Stories are told about Jesus Christ and people just happen to believe the stories.    (per.mo)

Tutor:

Here I want to emphasize that we are ready to contemplate the very nature of “stories” as they come forward in our mythologies and histories.

A story is what we tell when trying to convey either experience or intuition. Stories have to be heard and processed according to the mind that originated them and the mind that receives them. 

They are a version of a felt reality that must be contemplated with a wisdom and a skepticism available to the reader or listener.

you’re in you’re out

Student:

Hatred develops in the mind because people of one religion view others as going against their beliefs and values. People not understanding that when man was free there was no religion and there was peace.    (per. mo)

Tutor: 

Yes, religion divides. But I would focus on this phrase you’ve made. There’s a particular structure of the mind, or consciousness, that operates on the dualistic principle that “you’re in or you’re out”. In its deficient mode, it decides to eliminate those who are ‘out.’ Hate, I suspect, is the deficient mode of the dualistic structure of consciousness. 

We are not condemned to remain in that structure, but that structure has condemnation as its primary function.   

Thursday, January 14, 2021

existential ontology, zen stretch

 Nothing holds the one and the many together.


Emptiness connects what is of itself and what is triune

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

one week gone

Better late

than 

never.

(But 

the long

pain

and 

devastating

demoralization —

crippling.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

images from away

Morning photos arrive. Her friend’s mother, they, there, doing home hospice. 

The quiet grace of it.

 ...

Haiku

      (for the vigiling)

 

It is that still time


when only love moves within 


each gesture gazing


(wfh, 12jan2021) 

Monday, January 11, 2021

1-11-2021

First things first: 

 "Let us approach the Lord with praise and thasnksgiving."

(Invitatory for Monday of the 1st Week of Ordinary Time)

What if the 'Lord' were everyone and everything in existence? 

Now, then, to come?

Am I to approach each and all with appreciation?

With gratitude?

Is this what is to appear first?

If reality is the elocution of numbers, then 1.11.2021 is a good beginning articulation.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

to redeem the honor

 Student:

It’s relatively easy to talk about how my code is prison code and because of that I would never talk to this person or group of people, but then again, that would be limiting myself. I want more out of life than this place, whereas I was once restricted to this place, my mind and spirit are now free to think as I please. My mind is on a leash, I am not strangled by the hyperbole noose that my mind used to have on me. Because of that I chose to adhere to these five virtues, amongst many others, because I know that they have pulled me away from my previous  way of thinking, and that’s from being restricted in thinking and how I view the world.

Frankly, any man can call me what they please, what they don’t realize that it only goes towards furthering strengthening my stoic outlook, my love, my patience, my discipline, and my faith. Having all said and done, this class has definitely helped me in a way that I didn’t think of at the beginning of the course, and I will be taking my virtues along with me for the long haul. So, to answer estriction.my question: Is it possible to redeem the honor that I lost? Maybe not in a worldly sense…

(per.js)


Tutor:

I enjoyed your extended essay on virtues chosen and their relevance to your current thinking and life situation. 

I find myself thinking at end (with your ellipsis) how the virtues you chose stand on their own, if you will, at the origin or our awareness. By that I mean that it is the cultivation and practice of virtue and particular virtues that prepare us for further choices down the road. 

What if, I wonder, all the particular religions and various practices of spirituality, are, in their essence, simply the ways we enwrap virtues with containers to preserve and study according to the preferences of the container and the keeper of the container. Each religion a container. Each virtue giving itself to each and any container. 

I further suspect that the person who practices and embodies these profound virtues will find themselves comfortable in any manifestation of the virtues, any spiritual practice that honors them, any faith that abides by them. 

This thought gives me comfort. It also suggests how we might bridge the current divides between sects, denominations, religions, and philosophies. It recommends a wide-minded contemplation and practice. 

I’ll take a virtuous person any day over a narrow-minded person jealously guarding their container at all costs. 

Thanks for the prompt. I liked your meditation. 

in times of trials and tribulation, toward soul

 Student:

To me, hope lies in a future with my God, and the many promises thereof that I have read and have come to believe from experience. For example, I believe that I have the faith to hope in a brighter future than ever before after this brief time of incarceration (I’ll do about 7 on 10 years). My God gives me the hope to stand strong in times of trials and tribulation knowing that those who accept punishment and are trained by it, can persevere.   (per.jn)

Tutor:

Some current thinking is that God is in the future, is not-yet, and that we and God are forward-moving potentialities-sive-actualities seeking one-an-other in integrity and wholeness.

Student:

From what I am gathering, the virtue of Charity becomes innate in us and we want to spread it, along with the joy that comes from knowing and loving our God when we realize or come to know and to feel the love that He has for us. When we come to grips with the truth (which I am not quite there yet), then all we will want to do is to love others. And when we do, then we shall find rest for our souls.

 Tutor: 

Good ending

I found myself reinterpreting your final sentence to read: “…we will find the rest of our soul.”

An intriguing thought – that our souls are partial until, with the virtues leading us to truth, we discover that our soul is everything and everyone in existence -- then, now, and forever. 

Saturday, January 09, 2021

nineteen beats a troubled heart

               (for 6jan2021)

1.

     katauta:


slow death ravages

no cure for hypocrisy

next time, think, if there is one


2.

     recitative:


what can we do? no-


thing rises to look over 


troubled souls, hearts gone, minds dark

inclusive imagination, alium nomine domine

Student: 

Believing in the spirits and through communication is not easy at all. Currently being in prison has hindered a lot of my rituals that I would normally preform on the outside with family. I think the worst part of this is trying to follow my religion. This prison is highly Christian, Muslim, and Catholic and a lot of these people look at the Pagan, Odin, and Druid culture as if we worship the devil. During this class I have tried to be open minded and I take a lot away from others mistakes. I had recently a friend who is highly Christian and he found out that I wasn’t walking his same path. 


This lead to some serious issues one because he thinks that my soul is damned to burn I the pit of hell. Right now it is all he can talk about and to an extent it drives me nuts now because our relationship has changed from friends to almost enemies. I have accepted that he is Christian and if my religion is bothering him to that extent I am fine in walking away from him. This is where the fact of why Indians like this class comes into play. I cannot or rather will not judge him based on his culture and I found that this class did a lot of judging of others cultures. 

So I found that I don’t like being a judgmental person and I also think that we weren’t able to really get effective communication when we sat down with each other. We seemed to argue rather than what we needed to do. However, these discussions and journal entries have helped me review what I would consider honor, respect, and my morals. I also think this gave me a better understanding of what philosophy is how I would define philosophy as deep thinking.  

(per.gm) 

Tutor:

Opinionated judging is what people do when inclusive imagination has not yet been born in them. Which is always troubling to experience with those in the Christian metaphor, because inclusive imagination is, in my opinion, one of names of God resonating in the Christ-reality.

balance

You're not wrong.

I'm not right. 

“Right and wrong are temporal, but time is neither right nor wrong. Right and wrong are the Dharma, but the Dharma is neither right nor wrong. In the balance of the Dharma, wrong is balanced. In the balance of the Dharma, right is balanced. And so, in learning of complete and utter Awakening, in hearing the Teachings, doing the training, and realizing the effect, this is profound, vast, and wonderful. Some hear of unsurpassed Awakening from good friends, and some hear of it from the sutras. What one hears first is, “Not doing wrong action.” If one does not hear “not doing wrong action,” one is not hearing the Buddhas' true Dharma but demonic talk. Know that hearing “not doing wrong action” is hearing the Buddhas' true Dharma.” 
(-- from, Shobogenzo: The Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching, from student's paper))

We've fallen out of balance.

Here's my hand.

Help me up.

We can find our balance, don't you think? 

Friday, January 08, 2021

current of life

Prayer is intentional participation in a shared reality for the good of each. 

 The Alchemist “The boy was beginning to understand that intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it is all written there.”  (--quote from student's paper)

We pray tonight. 

and lead us

Let the sorrow of having experienced ignorance and cynicism find solace in wisdom. 

Hold the violators accountable. President. Senators. Representatives. 

Those who inflamed and those who rioted, threatened, and soiled democracy with infamy.

Let us be seen and known for what we are, henceforth and openly, in public sight.

Some of us turn within. We look at our resemblance to chicanery, deceit, and blind ambitious power.

Prayer begins.

God, come to my assistance!

Lord, make haste to help us!

We have offended.

May the Lord protect us, defend us from all evil, and lead us to life, authentic and compassionate life, now, and going forward!

Amen.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

none are so blind

“In a dark time, the eye begins to see.” (Theodore Roethke)

It is a dark time.

Will those who intentionally turn away their eyes ever be able to see?

It takes courage to see what you are looking at.

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

show them the door

 There must be a door to exit those who cannot be trusted to represent democracy, civility, and decency.

Surely the outgoing president, clawing senators and congresspeople, and irresponsible fawning pundits, should all be shown that door, immediately, for sanity’s and integrity’s sake.

voting, our, asset, off

May it be so! 

 “In this country we have one great privilege which they don’t have in other countries,” [Mark] Twain once said on the issue of voting. “When a thing gets to be absolutely unbearable the people can rise up and throw it off. That’s the finest asset we’ve got – the ballet box.”

https://checkyourfact.com/2019/09/16/fact-check-mark-twain-voting-difference-illegal/

Monday, January 04, 2021

we welcome ensō to the hermitage community

Driving back to Maine from Burlington Vermont. 



This gentle soul, a mix of Border Collie and St. Bernard. He was rescued from North Carolina. He'd had a good home, they think. Both shelter places, in North Carolina and Vermont, described him as wonderful, gentle, and good company.  


Quarantining in front room while cats wonder what that new smell is in their house.


Bonne chance to everyone! 


And welcome!


The first thing he did upon arriving home with us was to attend his first Sunday Evening Practice in bookshed, thumping his tail and snorting through the silent sitting. Those attending on zoom knew someone new was present but were too well disciplined to say anything until three bells brought bows followed by introduction to the new meditation face in our midst.



(Ps. 'Chance' was his name coming into and from the two shelters. Ensō will be his new first name, with 'Chance' as respected backup as long as needed. 

His papers say his birthday is 29 December. If so, then he was two years old on 29dec20. Why not? Isn’t everyday our birthday? Our new beginning day?)

Bonne année à vous et à tous les vôtres! 

And to us all!

...   ...   ...

Addenda:

Ensō was born on the feast day of the notable Thomas à Becket.

St. Thomas Becket, also called Thomas à Becket or Thomas of London, (born c. 1118, Cheapside, London, England—died December 29, 1170, Canterbury, Kent; canonized 1173; feast day December 29), chancellor of England (1155–62) and archbishop of Canterbury (1162–70) during the reign of King Henry II. His career was marked by a long quarrel with Henry that ended with Becket’s murder in Canterbury Cathedral. He is venerated as a saint in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion.  (--from, britannica.com)  

And from Jean Anouilh's Becket:

ACT TWO

KING. Does it amuse you—working for the good of my people?~ Do you mean to say you love all those folk? To begin with they're too numerous. One can't love them, one doesn't know them. Anyway, you're lying, you don't love anything or anybody.

 

BECKET. There's one thing I do love, my prince, and that I'm sure of. Doing what I have to do and doing it well.

 

KING. Always the es—es . . . What's your word again? I've forgotten it.

 

BECKET. Esthetics?

 

KING. Esthetics! Always the esthetic side, eh?

 

BECKET. Yes, my prince.

 

[p. 54].  

(--from, Anouilh, Jean  Becket; or, The Honor of God. Translated by Lucienne Hill. New York: Coward-McCann, 1960. 128 pp.)

Sunday, January 03, 2021

ensō

In Zen, ensō (円相, "circular form")[1] is a circle that is hand-drawn in one or two uninhibited brushstrokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create.


The ensō symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, elegance, the universe, and mu (the void). It is characterised by a minimalism born of Japanese aesthetics.

(—Wikipedia)


                                                    Ensō (c. 2000) by Kanjuro Shibata XX

Saturday, January 02, 2021

alpine service

 In Burlington Vermont, meeting Saint Bernard Border Collie mix.

Tomorrow we’ll drive him home to Maine. 

A good boy.

Friday, January 01, 2021

no, one sees god, and lives

 What is going on between us . . .(?) (!)

That sentence, seemingly a question, these six words, might be the clearest description of God so far this new year.

The year is young, however, and God, perhaps, will not be so easily satisfied with such designation.

Still, as exclamation, the movement, breath, and activity of God ... is

What is

Going on

Between us

alors

Bonjour!

Bonne année!

Bonne chance!

Thursday, December 31, 2020

fierce and freeing forms of compassion

First, the Abstract: 

This paper argues that effective compassionate action must address two kinds of human cause of suffering.The first kind, pointed out by Buddhist epistemology, are universal human tendencies of misperception and mis-reaction, tendencies of delusion, greed, and ill-will.The second kind of cause of suffering, pointed out by Christian liberation theologies, are socio-economic systems which incorporate individuals into structures of inequity that organize resources and ways of knowing in oppressive ways.Effective contemplative practice is essential to address the first cause of suffering: deluded misperception and reaction, since social analysis alone does not remove the pervasive, unconscious misperception that some persons matter more than others, a misperception that distorts anyone’s attempt to build better social systems.Contemplative practices (from various spiritual traditions) that deconstruct that delusive tendency can also empower human capacities of discernment, love, compassion, peace, courage and creative responsiveness essential for effective work for social change.On the other hand, social analysis is essential to address the second kind of cause of suffering, oppressive social structures, which, if not addressed, promulgate systemic patterns of harm while socially conditioning individuals into the first cause of suffering: delusion, greed and ill-will.Contemplative practice that lacks social analysis may also prop up oppressive structures, by improving people’s ability to tolerate, but not to challenge, those structures.The conclusion is that neither contemplative practice nor social analysis alone effectively addresses enough man-made causes of suffering.Each must inform and empower the other to provide what is necessary for effective compassionate action.

 

Then, from body:

This deluded habit of misperception is not solved by social analysis or activism alone, because the mind that engages in social analysis is the same mind that unconsciously mistakes everyone included in its analysis for its reductive thoughts of them, perpetuating habits of misperception that exclude many from genuine care and compassion, even when we think we are working for social justice. When those of us seeking to dismantle oppressive social systems remain unconsciously identified with our own patterns of deluded perception, those patterns become woven into whatever new social system we may create (Knitter 2009, 200). In recent history, this has been evident, for example, in the actions of communist regimes of Russia, China, Cambodia, and Eastern Europe, which came into power under high ideals of social equity, then instituted death-dealing policies against masses of people whose lives held little value within the new regime.


Another sign that this basic habit of misperception is operative when we work for social change is how often dysfunctional rage and anger are experienced by social justice activists, anger that lacks awareness of its own tendencies of misperception. Many social justice activists report that, over time, they become caught in recurrent feelings of painful rage and anger, making it difficult to work effectively, to attract support, and often contributing to burnout (Gross in Gross & Reuther 2001, 181; Knitter 2009, 175; Makransky 2016, 89-90). Such dysfunctional anger is supported by the habit of reification and misperception described above, which triggers endless reactions to our own fragmented images of ourselves and others. Such reactive habits of anger, in themselves, lack any means to stay in touch with the fuller humanity and potential of everyone involved, especially those who oppose our positions. Such habits prevent us from accessing our fuller capacities for discernment, more inclusive care, inner replenishment, inspiration, and energy (Dass & Gorman 1985, 159-160). 

By pointing out this tendency to mistake our reductive thoughts of persons for the persons, I am not arguing against the need to confront oppressive social systems and behaviors. Rather, to confront such things effectively we need a kind of knowing that can maintain awareness of the fuller personhood of everyone involved, including those we may confront, and for this a contemplative practice is essential. The Buddhist epistemology I draw on here assumes that there is much to be confronted in persons—all their ways of thinking and acting that are harmful to themselves and others. But in the moment that we confront others out of anger, even supposedly righteous anger, we tend not to sense their deep dignity and human potential beyond the single, reified image that our anger has made of them. And to declare our anger ‘righteous’ does nothing to correct that error. 

For this reason, the power to confront harmful persons in many traditional Buddhist stories is understood as a fierce form of compassion rather than any ordinary form of anger. This is exemplified in stories of bodhisattva figures that fiercely confront an individual or group, out of compassion for all involved, and is also imaged in wrathful tantric Buddhist images of enlightenment. Fierce compassion is a power forcefully to confront someone who thinks and acts harmfully, both on behalf of those he harms and on behalf of his own underlying potential, his fuller personhood or Buddha nature.2 

Finally, the conclusion: 

In sum, individual forms of delusion, greed and ill-will have been the focus of Buddhism as the main cause of suffering, while systemic forms of delusion, greed and ill- will have been the focus of Christian liberation theology as the main cause of suffering. Yet both of these causes of suffering, individual and systemic, are mutually conditioning and mutually reinforcing. Neither can be adequately addressed unless the other is also addressed. This means that neither contemplative practice and action alone, nor social analysis and activism alone, are sufficient to address the world’s man-made
suffering. Each such practice must inform and empower the other. Another conclusion is that neither classical Buddhist epistemology nor Christian liberation epistemology alone are enough to inform effective compassionate action in the world. Both are needed to effectively address man-made suffering, and to illumine critical elements of the process toward individual and social awakening and liberation. 
 

(--from, The Need to Integrate Buddhist and Christian Liberation Epistemologies, by John Makransky, 2019, Buddhist-Christian Studies Journal)

As year ends, Thursday turns to see where it's been. Just so, Friday tidies its room wondering what welcome might wish to be extended to whatever could appear. 


In order to see things whole, you have to be seeing things whole. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

there we are

 The final Tuesday Evening Conversation of 2020 last night. 

Naturally we talked about death. Georgiana died in 2019 we learned earlier, a friend from bookshop days up from Charlottesville, a good woman, strong and confident.

D, at ninety two, talks freely about death. C, after multiple surgeries and years of hospital stays, also speaks openly.

With each breath, great teacher demonstrates, arrival and departure, coming and going, beginning and end.

Where are the dead? As with everything and everyone, the dead are within me as I am within them.

Listen!

The great gift with hospice is listening. We listen things into existence. We listen things out of existence.

It strikes me that when someone does not listen it might indicate they are terrified of death, departure, disappearance. 

The interminable talker attempts to stay death by fending away silence and perpetuating opinion and disagreement.

Silence is the field of awareness where death, like birth and surrounding life, arrives and departs with each accompanying breath.

Be silent, be still, even in movement — and know — I am, God.

Of course we want to know God.

God is what is here and now. 

May God be with you!

And with your breath, in your breath, as your breath, coming, and going, inside and outside, with you and without you, near and far, on its way, here and not.

Poet and stonemason, John M. comes to mind and images in Martha’s Vineyard. His wife, Kristin, died in 2016 in Chilmark. I learned that today. I stare out window. 

Light over past three hours has come up Barnestown road. Trees feel me feeling la tristesse. She was born on 4Oct in Paris. Those visits just after they met in Cambridge. 

My traveling there for Robert Lowell and Richard Hugo. The apartment off Harvard square with Ezra Pound quote on refrigerator, something about never trust a poet who uses the word “cosmic” in a poem.

John, equally impressive, reciting his poem Last Call walking Mt. Auburn street, he doing all the voices.

I sent a telegram from Philadelphia in 1978 for their wedding: “May you be for one another a resting place for time to change hands.”

The western union operator asked:

"Who wrote those words?"

“I did.” 

”You’re kidding.” 

“Why would I lie to you, I don’t know you. We only lie to those we know.” 

(This is now a serious koan for me.)

As is, and seems to be, everything, for me, now.

There we are!

                                                               ... Love

everyone you can.  The list gets longer and shorter.

We're seldom better than weather.  We're nearly as good

as a woman we met in passing once at Invergarry.

Don't be sorry, for him or for self.  Love the last star

broken by storm. And love you.  You hold it together.

 

  (—from poem, Villager, by Richard Hugo, in The Right Madness on Skye)


Tuesday, December 29, 2020

in manus tuas, domine, commendo spiritum meum

 There's no bread and no wine in bookshop as I read the words in the 1964 red missale romanum found tucked in second floor acquisitions amid german and dutch language books: 

Hoc est enim corpus meum

And,

Hic est enim calix sanguines mei.

I feel to be some reincarnated catholic priest as I turn pages of dates and seasons, liturgical rubrics and words of consecration.

This is where some place god in ritual and daily devotion. The transubstantiation of bread and wine into body and blood of christ.  

This unheated bookshed/retreat on 5th day of christmas, sun through glass door, wind roughing bird feathers landing on branches to crack open last season's sunflower seeds.

God, the trappist monk Matthew who died in 2018 is saying in concept film The Cloud of Unknowing, God is no thing.

Where is something when it is no thing?

Everywhere you look.

Seeing no—

thing.

Monday, December 28, 2020

that which is itself

Identity -- let's take a look at the word.

  • is, ea, id -- (demonstrative pronouns): (Latin), (id: neuter) -- that
  • entity: n that which is perceived or known or inferred to have its own distinct existence (living or nonliving)

So, we could say: That which is its own. Distinct existence. Perceived or known. To have that which is.

Identity doesn't have

to be 

separate.

It has that which is as a whole. (It is perhaps a misperception to see separation as a means to establishing a misinterpreted 'distinct' existence.) Yes, we are distinguishable. No, we are not separate.

Perhaps we need to issue a new kind of 'identity' card to all our fellow existents across, along, and actualizing this planet, galaxy, cosmos.

So, here we are.

Who are we?

 Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu had a dialogue:

Naturally, his first question to Bodhidharma was, “I have made so many monasteries, I am feeding thousands of scholars, I have opened a whole university for the studies of Gautam Buddha, I have put my whole empire and its treasures in the service of Gautam Buddha. What is going to be my reward?”

He was a little embarrassed seeing Bodhidharma, not thinking that the man would be like this. He looked very ferocious. He had very big eyes, but he had a very soft heart — just a lotus flower in his heart. But his face was almost as dangerous as you can conceive.

With great fear, Emperor Wu asked the question, and Bodhidharma said, “Nothing, no reward. On the contrary, be ready to fall into the seventh hell.”

The emperor said, “But I have not done anything wrong — why the seventh hell? I have been doing everything that the Buddhist monks have been telling me”.

Bodhidharma said, “Unless you start hearing your own voice, nobody can help you, Buddhist or non-Buddhist. And you have not yet heard your inner voice. If you had heard it, you would not have asked such a stupid question.

“On the path of Gautam Buddha there is no reward because the very desire for reward comes from a greedy mind. The whole teaching of Gautam Buddha is desirelessness and if you are doing all these so-called virtuous acts, making temples and monasteries and feeding thousands of monks, with a desire in your mind, you are preparing your way towards hell. If you are doing these things out of joy, to share your joy with the whole empire, and there is not even a slight desire anywhere for any reward, the very act is a reward unto itself. Otherwise you have missed the whole point.”

Emperor Wu said, “My mind is so full of thoughts. I have been trying to create some peace of mind, but I have failed and because of these thoughts and their noise, I cannot hear what you are calling the inner voice. I don’t know anything about it”.

(--in,  This and That, There and Here, Observations, feelings and emotions of a Dame Quixote)

Elsewhere, Bodhidharma's responses to Wu were: "No merit"; "nothing holy, vast emptiness"; and, (responding to the question 'Who are you?'), "I don't know."

The apparent difficulty of hearing the inner voice derives from the mistaken belief that it comes from elsewhere to be heard by someone. 

Perhaps the inner voice belongs no where else to no one other.

And, suddenly, the sound of --

That which is itself!

Sunday, December 27, 2020

every morning

Looking at brook

Seeing water tumbling

Meditation hike

Along mountain

Saturday, December 26, 2020

first take

What if creation were incarnation?

Hypostasis of before and beyond.

The union of divinity, humanity, and cosmos.

One thing.

What if it came about by and of itself? 

Virgin.

Parthenogenic.

And we are the mythology of christogenesis.

Unitive regenerative love.

Would you think it worth your while to be what you are for the moment experiencing everything as itself being itself?

I would think

So.