Thursday, July 30, 2015

return to yes

Yes.

No more killing trophy big game animals. 

No more bullying or shooting people for diddly mistakes. 

No more political or religious posturing.

Return.

To yes.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

course of nature

Cats stalk chipmunk in front room.

It's just a fact.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

where did the cat go?


Maria Popova relates the story of Zen Master Soen sa Nim speaking to a young child after the death of a cat.

“What happened to Katzie? Where did he go?” 
Soen-sa said, “Where do you come from?” 
“From my mother’s belly.” 
“Where does your mother come from?” Gita was silent. 
Soen-sa said, “Everything in the world comes from the same one thing. It is like in a cookie factory. Many different kinds of cookies are made — lions, tigers, elephants, houses, people. They all have different shapes and different names, but they are all made from the same dough and they all taste the same. So all the different things that you see — a cat, a person, a tree, the sun, this floor — all these things are really the same.” 
“What are they?”
"People give them many different names. But in themselves, they have no names. When you are thinking, all things have different names and different shapes. But when you are not thinking, all things are the same. There are no words for them. People make the words. A cat doesn’t say, ‘I am a cat.’ People say, ‘This is a cat.’ The sun doesn’t say, ‘My name is sun.’ People say, ‘This is the sun.’
So when someone asks you, ‘What is this?’, how should you answer?”
“I shouldn’t use words.” 
Soen-sa said, “Very good! You shouldn’t use words. So if someone asks you, ‘What is Buddha?’, what would be a good answer?” 
Gita was silent. 
Soen-sa said, “Now you ask me. “ 
“What is Buddha?” 
Soen-sa hit the floor. 
Gita laughed. 
Soen-sa said, “Now I ask you: What is Buddha?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“What is God?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“What is your mother?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“What are you?” 
Gita hit the floor. 
“Very good! This is what all things in the world are made of. You and Buddha and God and your mother and the whole world are the same.”
Gita smiled.
Soen-sa said, “Do you have any more questions?” 
“You still haven’t told me where Katz went.” 
Soen-sa leaned over, looked into her eyes, and said, “You already understand.” 
Gita said, “Oh!” and hit the floor very hard. Then she laughed.

http://www.brainpickings.org/2015/07/27/dropping-ashes-on-the-buddha-death/

She also tells the rest of the story:

As she was opening the door, she turned to Soen-sa and said, “But I’m not going to answer that way when I’m in school. I’m going to give regular answers!” Soen-sa laughed.


Monday, July 27, 2015

a time being; in mind of


We have to learn to read.

To understand stories.
The Buddhist myth about Siddhartha’s fateful encounters with an old man, an ill man, a corpse, and a renunciate can be taken as historically factual, or as an imaginative way to represent why Siddhartha left home, or as a literary device that may have nothing to do with the actual life of the Buddha. Yet the myth is an effective way to story his teaching. Understood symbolically, this polyvalence is not a problem, because that is how myths work. It is not a matter of literal truth or falsity. As Rabbi Akiva Tatz writes in Letters to a Buddhist Jew, “All my stories are true. Some happened and some did not, but they are all true.” 
A better way to evaluate a myth—a symbolic story—is to consider what happens when we try to live according to it. The most important criterion for Buddhism is whether a story promotes awakening. A myth that is interpreted for me still needs to be interpreted by me, by what I do with it—and what it does with me. A story about the suffering of old age, illness, and death challenges the stories with which we try to ignore our mortality: the importance of money, possessions, fame, power. Letting go of those preoccupations opens up other possibilities: different stories, and perhaps a different relationship with stories.
(--The World is Made of Stories, --byDavid Loy) 
 http://www.tricycle.com/feature/world-made-stories
I have nothing to say; words do not appear to grasp it. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

poems sent to place miles away

And at conversation we spoke about "mind" -- how there is joy in realizing we share the same one.

Like the Small Hole by the Path-Side Something Lives in

BY JANE HIRSHFIELD
Like the small hole by the path-side something lives in,
in me are lives I do not know the names of,


nor the fates of,
nor the hungers of or what they eat.


They eat of me.
Of small and blemished apples in low fields of me 
whose rocky streams and droughts I do not drink.


And in my streets—the narrow ones, 
unlabeled on the self-map—
they follow stairs down music ears can’t follow,


and in my tongue borrowed by darkness,
in hours uncounted by the self-clock,
they speak in restless syllables of other losses, other loves. 


There too have been the hard extinctions, 
missing birds once feasted on and feasting.


There too must be machines 
like loud ideas with tungsten bits that grind the day.


A few escape. A mercy.


They leave behind 
small holes that something unweighed by the self-scale lives in.


Source: Poetry (September 2012).


And "fado" is "a type of Portuguese singing, traditionally associated with pubs and cafés, that is renowned for its expressive and profoundly melancholic character." http://www.britannica.com/art/fado

Fado

BY JANE HIRSHFIELD
A man reaches close
and lifts a quarter 
from inside a girl’s ear,
from her hands takes a dove
she didn’t know was there.
Which amazes more,
you may wonder:
the quarter’s serrated murmur
against the thumb
or the dove’s knuckled silence?
That he found them, 
or that she never had,
or that in Portugal,
this same half-stopped moment,
it’s almost dawn, 
and a woman in a wheelchair
is singing a fado 
that puts every life in the room
on one pan of a scale, 
itself on the other, 
and the copper bowls balance.

Source: Poetry (September 2012).

Saturday, July 25, 2015

truth be told

Hammering nails from old wood, pulling from demolition, an afternoon’s decomposition. Just this. Nothing else. I no longer find opinions to be interesting.  

Friday, July 24, 2015

the achieving of integration

Armin hit the wooden fish (moktak), seven of us sang “happy birthday” to the woman in Maryland whose birthday was yesterday.

It was a sweet exercise.

She’s hurting, they sing for her, and maybe, in an exercise of magical perception and conscious evolution, she might have heard the melodic metta being transported across the miles from maximum security prison.

That’s what prison is for -- thoughtfulness and well-wishing.
According to Hegel, the relationship between self and otherness is the fundamental defining characteristic of human awareness and activity, being rooted as it is in the emotion of desire for objects as well as in the estrangement from those objects, which is part of the primordial human experience of the world. The otherness that consciousness experiences as a barrier to its goal is the external reality of the natural and social world, which prevents individual consciousness from becoming free and independent. However, that otherness cannot be abolished or destroyed, without destroying oneself, and so ideally there must be reconciliation between self and other such that consciousness can "universalize" itself through the other. In the relation of dominance and subservience between two consciousnesses, say lord and bondsman, the basic problem for consciousness is the overcoming of its otherness, or put positively, the achieving of integration with itself. The relation between lord and bondsman leads to a sort of provisional, incomplete resolution of the struggle for recognition between distinct consciousnesses. 
 (--Hegel: Social and Political Thought, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)  http://www.iep.utm.edu/hegelsoc/#H4
Sometimes, even the most unlikely experiences define new neural pathways through human consciousness.

You are not alone.

Never were.

Otherness is self-recognition of distinct intersubjectivity.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

other words and other worlds

From Ruth Ozeku novel "A Tale For The Time Being," these words:
   I love to fly. Have I mentioned that? There is truly no feeling more splendid or more transcendental. Sometimes zazen comes close. I am sitting zazen every day. Thank you for suggesting it. I am comforted to know that you are sitting too. 
   I'm afraid my day is approaching and my next "official" letter to you may be th Mothe last one you receive from me. But no matter what nonsense I write in it, please know that those are not my last words. There are other words and other worlds, dear mother. You have taught me that.  (p.258)
Part lll begins with a quote from Dogen Zenji:
Do not think that time simply flies away. Do not understand "flying" as the only function of time. If time simply flew away, a separation would exist between you and time. So if you understand time as only passing, then you do not understand the time being. 
To grasp this truly, every being that exists in the entire world is linked together as moments in time, and at the same time they exist as individual moments of time. Because all moments are the time being, they are your time being.
--Dogen Zenji, Uji (p. 259)
For the time being we share this world.

And, in other words, other worlds.

My mother often used the phrase "in other words." 

hoc olfacit*

Sandra Bland died in jail cell from cigarette smoke in trooper's nostrils.

Men with guns and tasers want only to smell your "Yes sir, sir!"

...

• [Latin, "this smells"] 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Quando Omni Flunkus Moritatus

Sonny has a way with words.

He also went to hospital last Friday with unstable palpitations. He stayed overnight. His heart was making him dizzy. He fell in his cell. He has the bruises to show it.

This morning during our Ilu Coto (illusion of boundary) at prison he asks Saskia to read the paper he wrote in response to article in Philosophy Now, The Party Without Me, by David Rönnegard.
https://philosophynow.org/issues/108/The_Party_Without_Me

Sonny responds, these excerpts:
-- Spiritual eyes cannot see if they are inhibited by belief. Emotions crave emotions and the intellect only gets in the way. Common spiritual sense can become victim to nonsense. My words to an Atheist, “Open your eyes, expressions of spiritual reality exist within each of us and also all about us. Spiritual reality does not depend on any belief system to exist.” 
--The Atheist is correct, the physical consciousness is extinguished when we die and “good riddance.” The physical consciousness is created by our physical senses and is commonly conceptualized as perception. This in turn is provided by evolution. All personally internalized beliefs die with us since none has any foundation in Heaven. 
--Don’t worry about Heaven. Mr. Atheist, you are headed to Heaven whether you believe in God or not. Everybody returns to heaven carrying with them their life experience. That’s right, we remain ourselves after death, but will not understand why and what we were in life. There is no punishment, only an understanding. Hell as it is portrayed in popular culture does not exist. Hell is what beliefs make out of life. 
--You cannot deny God, you can only deny a culturally constructed conception of God. 
--Infinite awareness is our Heavenly fate as we leave our erroneous beliefs behind.
--After death we KNOW.
                                 --(HRE Jr., July 2015, MSP Warren) 
Knowledge without belief; I wonder if such a state would free us from our ridiculous internecine slaughter?

So, for now, we converse with one another. We explore the illusion of boundary, false barriers, erroneous divisions.

Mostly we are listening to one another listening to one another as each listens to the one each other attempts to hear within la diferencia that holds us together.

Finally, some Latin:
1.  SI MINOR PLUS EST ERGO NIHIL SUNT OMNIA 
              If less is more, then nothing is everything.
2. Richard de BuryPhilobiblion, I, 9:
POSTREMO PENSANDUM
QUANTA DOCTRINAE COMMODITAS SIT IN LIBRIS
QUAM FACILIS, QUAM ARCANA!
QUAM TUTO LIBRIS HUMANAE IGNORANTIA PAUPERTATEM
SINE VERECUNDIA DENUDAMUS!
HI SUNT MAGISTRI QUI NOS INSTRUUNT
SINE VIRGIS ET FERULA,
SINE VERBIS ET CHOLERA, SINE PANNIS ET PECUNIA.
SI ACCEDIS, NON DORMIUNT;
SI INQUIRENS INTERROGAS, NON ABSCONDUNT;
NON REMURMURANT SI OBERRES; 
CACHINNOS NESCIUNT, SI IGNORES 

And finally, one must consider how great the ease of learning 
there is in books, how yielding, how trusty! 
How safely we reveal, without shyness, in the face of our books 
the poverty of our human ignorance! 
They are teachers who instruct us without switches or rods, 
without slaps or anger, without notice of rags or riches. 
If you approach them, they are not asleep; 
If you ask a question, they do not hide; 
They do not mutter at you if you make a mistake; 
When you are ignorant, they do not know how to laugh at you.  

3. QUANDO OMNI FLUNKUS MORITATUS 
               When all else fails play dead. 
https://vaipui.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/the-latin-corner/ 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

ataraxia

Inner life.  Inner peace.  Inner emptiness.

A vantage point worth seeing.
Epicurus is considered a major figure in the history of science as well as philosophy.  He argued that we should only proportion belief to empirical evidence and logic, and he propounded the scientific view of atomism, according to which all facts in the macroscopic world are caused by the configuration of atoms or indivisible elements in the microscopic world.    In ethics he is famous for propounding the theory of hedonism, which holds that pleasure is the only intrinsic value.  As we shall see, however, his view of pleasure is far from the stereotypical one.  For Epicurus, the most pleasant life is one where we abstain from unnecessary desires and achieve an inner tranquility (ataraxia) by being content with simple things, and by choosing the pleasure of philosophical conversation with friends over the pursuit of physical pleasures like food, drink, and sex. http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/epicurus/
And seeing, taking refuge in wisdom, truth, and community.

as if all worlds were there

What we think we know has to be scuttled to know what we think.

Knowing is thinking, but thinking will always be changing with what is presenting itself  to us.

Hence, the thinking of knowing is changing with each 'this' appearing 'here.'

With this thinking, here is a new set of words for my tombstone:

He wanted
This 
To be written
Here

Monday, July 20, 2015

just barely not dead

Someone writes about causes and conditions of their current life: “...it's not an unacceptance it's literally too much to bare.”  

I like what seems to be a substitution of the word “bare” for “bear.”

To let into the open? Or, to hold up and carry? Both have their wisdom, both their demands. Both, however, involve suffering.

Last night at end of reading at table section of Sunday Evening Practice, Robert Thurman’s words are written: ”For the enlightened, life is art, and for the unenlightened, art gives life.” We took time to unpack the reading titled “The Wonderful Ambiguity of Art” (in Inquiring Mind, Vol 18, #2, Spring 2002).

It leads me to think of our friend. It leads me to think of ourselves.

Pain is disorienting. It narrows the world into a tight unyielding place. It is an unsharable, uninhabitable by others, place. No one can share or take away your pain. What another or others can do is be present to your pain. Attending. Offering whatever comfort possible. Being there as another human being can be there. 

It is difficult to be in pain. It is difficult to be with someone in pain. These two difficulties are not the same. But they are in correspondence. This correspondence might be an unsatisfactory solution to the problem of pain. But it is something. Perhaps not much. But something.

A friend of ours suffers pain and works hard to find suitable plans to move beyond pain to genuine healing strategies to be incorporated into her life.

We practice contemplation, conversation, and correspondence with her. 

For now.
RT: This question, Is loving your enemy a life practice?, I like that question. It is a life practice, certainly, for everyone. It relates to the idea of, Is this a householder practice or is it a monk practice? I think it’s both. Everyone has that practice. Everyone has the same life purpose, which is the quest of happiness for oneself and for others. Human beings are such social animals. We’re very connected with the feelings of those we’re close to, so we can’t really be happy when the ones we are close to are unhappy.  
The most important enemy for everyone is their own illusion that makes them unrealistic or exaggerates their sense of self-importance in the world. Ironically, you’re the super secret enemy. Whether lay or householder, everyone has that internal enemy. 
What Sharon Salzberg and I are really hoping to do in this book, Loving Your Enemies: How to Break the Anger Habit & Be a Whole Lot Happier, we’re using the word “love” in the Buddhist meaning of “love,” which means “the wish for the happiness of the beloved.” It isn’t the meaning of love where you somehow desire that one or you want them or want them to love you.  
If you love your enemy, that means you want your enemy to be happy. If your enemy is happy, then why would they be bothered to be your enemy? Being someone’s enemy is no fun. It does not add to happiness. You take up energy towards someone because you think loving your enemy doesn’t just mean caving into your enemy. It means first of all liberating yourself. Martin Luther King said famously that he was not going to hate the oppressing white people of the South, because the burden of hate was too much to bear for the hater. Hate poisons your life. He was going to love them no matter what they did. Because that made him happier. That’s the kind of practical understanding of the “love your enemy” teaching of Jesus and Buddha and other great spiritual teachers in history. The problem in our society is the ego psychology and conventional wisdom about “look out for #1.” That conventional wisdom thinks that “love your enemy” is to some a principle no one can ever live by, and we don’t think that’s correct.  
Take the example of people who are being most unrealistic—people who are beating monks to death and torturing them. Why shouldn’t you be angry or hate that person? Well, the person who is doing that is very unhappy. They are being ordered by a higher-up. The person who creates the policy is afraid of Tibetans or afraid of religion, or they are afraid that Tibetans are going to demand their country back and China is going to lose their territory.The person who is tormenting the Tibetans feels they have to get rid of the Tibetans in order to be happy.  
If you love that person and say, I can just be like them, do it my way, I want to get rid of them, then there’s the endless, vicious circle back and forth between you and the enemy. Or you say, Well, is what these people really want ownership of Tibet? Is that what is going to make them happy? If someone gets a bigger house, does that automatically make them happy? Maybe for a second. But then they worry about the bigger house and how to take care of it. A possession can’t make you happy. Therefore, what is it that they really want? They want love in their life. They want to be respected. They want to have wealth. How can there be a method of them getting that without destroying Tibet? That love, in the sense of wishing their happiness, will cause your actions to be effective in relation to that person.  
(Robert Thurman Interview, in Origin Magazine)  http://www.originmagazine.com/2013/12/01/robert-thurman-interview/ 
While we’re still alive, we wish one another happiness. Doesn’t matter your religion, politics, ethnic origin, class status, wealth, or any other variable. 

If you are alive, we wish you happiness.

If you are dead, we wish you happiness.
RT: People in Tibet have an expression. When you reach a certain degree of venerableness and age, and people ask, “How are you?,” there is an expression that people use that means, “Just barely not dead.” Some people might be frightened by it but I think it’s quite funny. In that light, what makes me fully alive is anything. Really just being alive is enough.  (Ibid)
If you are just barely not dead, we wish you happiness.

And a life of art.

“The work of art unpins everything, undoing us in the process; it raises a million questions that amount to one question: who are we and what are we doing here?             
 (-- Norman Fisher)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

letter to oneself:


Let's suppose we wished the hand of God has been intermixed into this current stretch of apprehension and uncertainty. As such, God is as uncertain as you and as interested in you as those you allow to be troubled with you as to the next step, next move, next difficult act of trust in what is revealing itself before you.

If there is such a presence as God-presence, then such a presence is admixed within the complexity of our situation and circumstance. We, poor examples of clear vision and loving kindness, stumble along with doubt and confusion, distress and despair, tears and sighs, wondering where help will come from. Our insufficient awareness struggles to see.

I suppose there seldom are clear and easy trajectories of sight and understanding about the course of our lives. Some folks, maybe. I don't know. But for the rest of us, not so much.

But-- and here's the kicker -- you are loved. By your kids, by your kids’ other parent, by your mom and dad, by your wider relatives, by your friends and passing acquaintances, by your medical familiars, soft-serve vendors, the nursing personnel, the guy who flies the plane and taxi driver sipping his coffee.

Surprised that everyone does, indeed, love you? Yeah, problem is the vast majority of most of us have poor understanding of what love is what love looks like what love tries to leave out of its behavior. But, under it all it is love that breathes us into each body into each set of eyes into each next circumstance of our lives.

But, again, there's an additional consideration: yes, everyone loves you, and no, some are just not yet aware of how and how much they love you, or how and in what way you feel you prefer to be loved by them. So, at times, they (from above list)  seem distracted or short tempered, argumentative or unkind, presumptive or dismissive, sweet or over sweet, or perhaps just bored with the routine and stuff of their own lives. This happens. Often.

And yet -- they all really love you. How do you know? You know because (here it comes, the buried lead in a 1st term journalism intern's first assigned writing), there's nothing else but love!

TNEBL! 

It's an indefinable intuition usually grokked and vaguely realized at 2AM on Thursday vigil-watch on high-sea ocean trawlers just outside entrance to Black Sea in late autumn. And at bottom, at root, it is the only thing any of us really want really long for really value.  Love is awkward for many of us. It is a stretch. We're ambivalent about recognizing it within ourselves and within others.

But you. But we. But all of us, are both loving and loved. That's the God-presence. That's what we long to discover in ourselves and others -- no matter how annoying we and others are.

So here's my prayer for you, and correspondingly, my bottom line: "I want love to grow in me [in you] through this."

Good journey...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

present-centered recollection

Spective; retro-, pro-, per-, propter-

Seeing.

Before. Beyond. Through. Near at hand.
In what ways do the modern accounts differ? While mindfulness (sati) is often equated with bare attention, my conversations with—and recent studies of works by—the learned monks Bhikkhu Bodhi and Bhikkhu Analayo, and Rupert Gethin, president of the Pali Text Society, led me to conclude that bare attention corresponds much more closely to the Pali term manasikara, which is commonly translated as “attention” or “mental engagement.” This word refers to the initial split seconds of the bare cognizing of an object, before one begins to recognize, identify, and conceptualize, and in Buddhist accounts it is not regarded as a wholesome mental factor. It is ethically neutral. The primary meaning of sati, on the other hand, is recollection, non-forgetfulness. This includes retrospective memory of things in the past, prospectively remembering to do something in the future, and present-centered recollection in the sense of maintaining unwavering attention to a present reality. The opposite of mindfulness is forgetfulness, so mindfulness applied to the breath, for instance, involves continuous, unwavering attention to the respiration. Mindfulness may be used to sustain bare attention (manasikara), but nowhere do traditional Buddhist sources equate mindfulness with such attention.
(--from,  A Mindful Balance, by B. Alan Wallace) http://www..com/interview/mindful-balance-0
Yes.

"Present-centered recollection."

Says it. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Todd, Doug and I talk about loving kindness in prison

Ramadan ends.

I buy a globe of the world at Good Will.

There’s no certainty.

I watch a Harold Camping documentary.

He was thinking a lot about the end of the world.

I don’t think much of it.

I think

     not so

        much of it.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

what's in a name

Hospital bed set up. Air mattress extraordinaire.

Who knows who might visit and want such a snoozer?

Waits in front room.

Clock ticks.

Ready.

Wait...

Let's call it, instead, adjustable bed adjustable mattress.

Seems better description.

Domine labia mea aperies et os meum adnuntiabit laudem tuam

4 AM, hour of unfamiliar animal screech outside closed gate on Barnestown Road.

Cats and dog take to stairs and windows, their domestic habitat perches, as continuing short bursts of calling-screech goes back and forth then up toward Hope.

One dog then the other I accompany out through barn to do their vigil pee.

All is predawn still. 

Only unheard chant of Cistercian monastics in faraway choir stalls arrives  at mountain vale the insinuation of night office these men and women intone for the rest of us to the Unseen One we are mostly unaware of in our listening confusion.

The wind kicks up.

Night will yield.

Sleep resumes.

What is not known returns to itself after billions of years wandering away through uncharted meander toward some imagined solution to some imagined problem filling dense minds taken to road underbrush and fluid eddy swirl the movement through seeming final veil obscuring emergent rising light.

Rhythm peal of wind-sway tone from hanging pipes to ready prayer invite waking bird into the choir.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Tangled; web we weave

Delusion.

It's not what you think it is.

It's the story told about what you think.

Never what is not thought.

Fact without opinion.

Something nearing truth.

As it is.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

searching for intelligent life

Is there life on other planets across the universe?

Is there life here?

By 'life' I mean intelligent life.

And intelligence means seeing and articulating connections.

For good of all.

Let's find some!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ralph, Ruth, their green photo flags

Walking cemetery in Lincoln. 

Good company.

A prayer in passing.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Missa est; Ita

The philosopher said don't look for trust, be trustworthy. 

The poet wrote,"What's madness but nobility of soul at odds with circumstance."

The hermit, saying nothing, walked the hills.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

précis; meetingbrook

Our spirituality is a continuing practicing through silence of contemplation, conversation, and correspondence.

A reminder on this Benedictine feastday.

Our way through this imagined place called existence, world, life.

the socks waving goodbye.

When a poet dies he does not take his words with him.

What he does take is everything yet to be brought into words into a world of his creation.

Sort of like what some people imagine occurs happens when God dies. Or died. Or will.

A good poet, like a good God, resides in the after-resonance of a poem, or a world that feels what has been created.
AT THE CLOTHESLINE  
             Millie was in the backyard hanging the
laundry. I was watching her from the kitchen
window. Why does this give me so much pleasure?
Because I love her in a million ways, and because
I love the idea of clean laundry flapping in
the wind. It’s timeless, a new beginning, a
promise of tomorrow. Clothespins! God, I love
clothespins. We should stock up on them. Some
day they may stop making them, and then what?
If I were a painter, I would paint Millie hanging
the laundry. That would be a painting that
would make you happy, and break your heart.
You would never know what was in her mind, big
thoughts, little thoughts, no thoughts. Did she
see the hawk circling overhead? Did she
hate hanging laundry? Was she going to run away
with a sailor? The sheets billowing like sails
on an ancient skiff, the socks waving goodbye.
Millie, O Millie, do you remember me? The man
who traveled with cloth napkins and loved you
in the great storm.
 
(Poem by James Tate, December 8, 1943 – July 8, 2015)

Nursia, Monte Cassino, Monte Subasio, Ragged/Bald

Good Benedict!

Ora et Labora.

Hermit monastic.

Ora pro nobis!

Abbot.

Laborare cum nobis!

Help us overcame the ‘three fundamental temptations’ of self-importance, lust, and anger. 

Grow a large community of followers around your vision for peace and wisdom.

Listening.

Friday, July 10, 2015

for all who suffer

Dirt, dry and tired

Walking circles

An evening ritual


Thursday, July 09, 2015

from French ignorer or Latin ignorare ‘not know’

People ignore you?

Get over it.

You’re not even there.

I’m telling you this because I’m not here.

Where is everyone?

Please ignore that question.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

About enlightenment, in light of grace

Yes.

Trustworthiness.

Is all.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

ausculta


“Listen," St Benedict said.

So, we try to.

Prayer of those who dwell in a Monastery of the Heart 


Loving God,
You who dwell in our hearts,
make for us a cave there
in which to hear your voice
more distinctly,
feel your care
more tenderly, 
understand your will
more clearly, 
and come to know
your presence
at every moment
of our lives
with new clarity
and new courage,
with new faith
and new urgency.
++
Enable us to grow
in the Benedictine spirit
in ways that make us
compassionate co-creators
of a world in process,
creative keepers
of the human community,
loving listeners
to the heartbeat of the world,
caring sisters and brothers
to its wounded
and bringers of peace
to a world in distress.
++
Let us sink into your Word,
let us nourish it to life,
let it lead us beyond
the burdens of the day
so that we may become
the people you desire us to be.
Give us hearts
where all may enter in,
ears to hear your call,
hands to do your will,
voices to sing your praise
and soul enough
to recognize You
in everything we do.
This we ask
through the intercession
of all the faithful monastics
who have gone before us
and through the grace
of the living God.
Amen.
— Joan Chittister

not art

Revolution?

Such an odd wish.
Feelings of guilt and shame. And to tease out what was right from what was wrong. What the weathermen had right was our understanding of what the position of the United States is in the world. It was this knowledge that we just couldn’t handle. It was too big.  We didn’t know what to do. In a way I still don’t know what to do with this knowledge. I don’t know what needs to be done. And it still eats away at me as it did 30 years ago. 
(--words {almost accurate} of Mark Rudd, former member of Weather Underground, from documentary, 2003)
Add another dozen years, and the names Dohrn, Ayers, Whitehorn, Gilbert, Boudin, Oughton, Jaffe roll by on final credits. The Vietnam War, Flanagan said, made us all a little crazy. The murder of Fred Hampton in his bed was pivotal, and it was raw police excess.


The Vietnam War was cruel, illegal, terroristic, a lie, and tore this United States into shreds still not taped back together yet.
All the time I pray to Buddha 
I keep on 
killing mosquitoes. 
     (--Kobayashi Issa, Translated by Robert Hass)
I watched. It was the late 60s, early 70s. It made me deranged.

American casualties, 58,300. The number, following the war for them, of deaths, rises higher. http://www.vietnamwarcasualties.org

Or, 58,220, http://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics.html.

Or, 58,178, http://thewall-usa.com/summary.asp

And further:

Deaths in Vietnam War (1965–1974) per Guenter Lewy
Allied military deaths282,000
NVA/VC military deaths444,000
Civilian deaths (North and South Vietnam)587,000
Total deaths1,313,000
Estimates of the total number of deaths in the Vietnam War vary widely depending upon the time period and area covered by the data.
Guenter Lewy in 1978 estimated 1,313,000 total deaths in North and South Vietnam during the period 1965–1974 in which the U.S. was most engaged in the war. Lewy reduced the number of Viet Cong and North Vietnamese battle deaths claimed by the U.S. by 30 percent (in accordance with the opinion of United States Department of Defense officials), and assumed that one third of the battle deaths of the VC/NVA were actually civilians. His estimate of total deaths is reflected in the table.[1] 
Up to 155,000 refugees fleeing the final NVA Spring Offensive were killed or abducted on the road to Tuy Hòa in 1975.[78] Sources have estimated that 165,000 South Vietnamese died in the re-education camps out of 1–2.5 million sent,[79][80] while somewhere between 50,000 and 250,000 were executed.[79][81][82][83] Rummel estimates that slave labor in the "New Economic Zones" caused 50,000 deaths (out of a total 1 million deported).[79][81] According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, between 200,000 and 400,000 Vietnamese boat people died at sea,[84] although Rummel cites estimates ranging from 100,000 to 1,000,000.[81] Including Vietnam's foreign democide, Rummel estimates that a minimum of 400,000 and a maximum of slightly less than 2.5 million people died of political violence from 1975–87 at the hands of Hanoi.[81] In 1988, Vietnam suffered a famine that afflicted millions.[85]
(--Ibid)
So, yeah, insanity was rife. 
Writing shit about new snow 
for the rich 
is not art.

     (--Kobayashi IssaTranslated by Robert Hass )
Hard to figure out the criminals. 

Monday, July 06, 2015

What the Dalai Lama, Nietzsche, and the Grateful Dead have in common -- the exhortation to be kind!

The Grateful Dead perform their final concert. The Dalai Lama says he might be the last one. Friedrich Nietzsche uncompromisingly sought to accept all events and situations in his life.

This thought:
Write me a poem? the voice asked. 
But there is no me, 
      so no poem 
      nothing to be said --
done 
so in 
silence

Then, Nietzsche: 
I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things; then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse; I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.
(--Friedrich Nietzschesection 276, The Gay Science) 
Happy 80th Birthday, Tenzin Gyatso!

A good Dalai Lama.