(In praise of learning)
if water takes shape
whatever carries it holds
each drop as itself
Big Daddy in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" said it clearly and pointedly, and it resonates regarding Mr. Trump: "What's that smell in this room? Didn't you notice it Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?...There ain't nothin' more powerful than the odor of mendacity...You can smell it. It smells like death."Even escaping to beautiful Celtic Colours music does not take me far enough away from my desultory opinions.
One can only trust, with joyful anticipation, that the prevailing smell will disappear soon and the White House will throw open the windows to aerate the office, to return the fresh air of truth and authentic governance.
The way things are here and now, according to Buddhism, is neither existence nor non-existence, but rather the middle way of dependent co-origination. When this dynamic process of interconnected becoming is radically thought through, according to Nagarjuna, there is no (substantial) “thing” that comes into and goes out of existence. And this means that each and every phenomenal event is marked by—in the words of his famous eightfold negation—“non-origination, non-extinction; non-destruction, non-permanence; non-identity, non-differentiation; non-coming (into being), non-going (out of being).”28 The “uncompounded” is thus not someplace else, but is this world of non-substantial becoming seen aright. According to Nagarjuna, the root of samsaric existence is the activity or disposition (Sk. samskâra) that compounds phenomena into reified forms, forms that we attach ourselves to and then suffer the loss (of control) of. The “wise one” who sees into this vicious circle, therefore, ceases to “act” in the sense of “to create compounds.” But this cessation is presumably not a cessation of all “activity” as such; indeed, as Garfield puts it, by ceasing the activity of reification “we can achieve. . . a nirvana not found in an escape from the world but in an enlightened and awakened engagement with it.”29 The right effort to attain nirvana is thus not a will to nothingness, but leads rather to the realization that there is nothing to “attain.”30 Thus asamskrta refers not to an eternal realm outside the conditioned world of becoming, but to a more originary way of perceiving and dwelling in the world of dependent co-origination.
(—in, Zen After Zarathustra: The Problem of the Will in the Confrontation Between Nietzsche and Buddhism, by Bret W. Davis, Project Muse, kindle)An enlightened and awakened engagement with the world.
Kol Nidre ) (Aramaic: ) is an Aramaic declaration recited in the synagoguebefore the beginning of the evening service on every Yom Kippur. Strictly speaking, it is not a prayer, although commonly spoken of as if it were. This dry legal formula and its ceremonial accompaniment have been charged with emotional undertones since the medieval period, creating a dramatic introduction to Yom Kippur on what is often dubbed "Kol Nidrei night". It is written in Aramaic, not Hebrew. Its name is taken from the opening words, meaning . The formula proactively annuls any personal or religious oaths or prohibitions made upon oneself to God for the next year, so as to preemptively avoid the sin of breaking vows made to God which cannot be or are not upheld. (also known as Kol Nidrey or Kol NidreiJews. Introduced into the liturgy despite the opposition of some rabbinic authorities, it was attacked in the course of time by some rabbis and in the 19th century expunged from the prayer book by many communities of western Europe. has had an eventful history, both in itself and in its influence on the legal status of the The term  refers not only to the actual declaration, but is also popularly used as a name for the entire Yom Kippur evening service.
The Sandokai is the work of Master Sekito Kisen (in Chinese: Shítóu Xīqiān) who was born in in southern China in 700 AD and died in 790 AD. This was an era in which Zen grew in popularity and began to emerge as a distinct school with many strong, dynamic personalities like Bodhidharma and Eno. However there were also disputes especially between the Northern school of Zen which emphasised a step by step, contemplative practice, and the Southern school which taught sudden awakening.
Few facts are known about Sekito’s life. It is said that at the age of sixteen he was ordained as a monk by the sixth patriarch, Eno. Eno had numerous disciples of which the most important were Seigen and Nangaku. From these two evolved the two schools, Soto and Rinzai. Sekito eventually studied with Seigen and it was from him that he received dharma transmission.
The name Sekito means “stone head” and derives from his doing zazen on a rocky ledge where he practised continuously day and night with great determination.
What does Sandokai mean?
San: the idea of difference, duality,phenomena, existences
– shiki (thesis). eg. Mountains and rivers, parents and children, satori and illusions, life and death, existence and non-existence.
Do: the idea of identity, origin, the void, essence – ku (antithesis).
Kai: mixture, fusion, interpenetration, harmony in a broad deep sense –
San and Do are both necessary for equilibrium, harmony. Intimately blended they realise the Middle Way. San enters Do, Do enters San: that is Kai. So, Sandokai means the harmony of phenomena and essence.
Why did Sekito write it? It alludes to the split between the Northern and Southern schools as well as other dichotomies eg. one and many, light and dark, sameness and difference. It was also customary for a zen master as he neared the end of his life to sum up his life’s teaching in a testamentary poem.
The Sandokai is very important in the Soto Zen tradition. It is chanted every day in Soto Zen temples throughout the world.
Well, you know that I love to live with you
But you make me forget so very much
I forget to pray for the angels
And then the angels forget to pray for us
(—from, So Long, Marianne, song by Leonard Cohan)We are moving from perspectival viewing to aperspectival seeing. Where everything is looking from everywhere and everywhere is being seen.
(—from, Archaic Torso of Apollo, poem by Rainer Maria RilkeWe don’t see angels because there is nothing to see. Angels are the intelligence behind everything that is. Mostly, we cannot see behind us. Mostly, we cannot read situations. And if angels are the intelligence behind situations, and we are ignorant of the readout of situations, then we need help with literacy.
There is no intelligence the equal of the situation.Arrive anywhere, intelligence is there. Leave anywhere, intelligence remains there and is waiting for your next step, next arrival.
(—from, Love, poem by Charles Olson)
Many arrivals make us live
(—from, Manifestation, poem by Theodore Roethke)Angels are arrivals at situations longing to be seen.
Who is like God
A powerful life-force
Now, to get something absolutely clear, you must understand that angels are not humans who have died and gone to heaven. Angels are a different kind of being altogether. For most of the Church, angels are pure intelligences (that is they have no physical bodies) and are among God’s first created beings (insofar as we can talk about creation being ordered or taking place in time). Angels are guiding principles of creation. Stratford Caldecott goes so far as to identify the kinds of animals mentioned in Genesis 1.24 (not each specific animal but the fact that God created them of, or according to, every kind) as angels. He writes:
“I am sure the Book of Genesis still contains many mysteries. We read the story of Adam naming the animals, and then we discover that at least one of the animals in the Garden is an angel. The serpent is that creature of God sometimes called the Archangel Lucifer. What if all the animals in the story were angels? In fact, what if the story is about the relationship of the archetypal Man with archetypal Angels: and the archetypal Animals are none other than the angels of tradition” (The Radiance of Being, 54).
(Angels in Creation: Reflections on Our “Older” Siblings for Michaelmas, 9?29/16, by David Russell Mosley)Intelligence behind the manifestation of each thing. A resignation of presence.
to beThere is no future and no past.