Saturday, September 24, 2016

life without opposite, amen

Here, we are, beginning again, opening mouth and heart and mind to you, to what is true and what is created new with every view seeing love emerge!

In the name of our father/mother, and of us all, and of that which is -- holy -- as it was in he beginning, still is now, and ever will be, what we call the world, endless and boundless, we say yes, and yes...

Let us pray

life without opposite, amen

Here, we are, beginning again, opening mouth and heart and mind to you, to what is true and what is created new with every view seeing love emerge!

In the name of the father/mother, and of us all, and of that which is -- holy -- as it was in he beginning, still is now, and ever will be, what we call the world, endless and boundless, we say yes, and yes...

Let us pray

Friday, September 23, 2016

deer me

Standing in middle of street in St Andrews by the Sea after day of rain.


Earlier, the other way, sharing road with a few apple eaters.


A piece of cherry pie -- is what I choose with chai tea.

And all is well.

monks' hour

4:35am

Lighthouse to east.


Monastics, earlier, (como si), on edge.


The darkness and solidity of attending -- (¿cómo se dice?) prayer.

¡Gracias!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

秋天 - qiūtiān (autumn in Chinese)

jing, (revere, or take reverential care of)



Reading Chinese philosophy first day of autumn.
The idea that a kindness received has the power to induce the recipient to respond in kind continued to be an important aspect of the concept of de and contributed to the development and conception of what were to become key Confucian virtues. This mutual dynamic of de "virtue or "kindness and bait "response was thought to be in the very nature of things; some early thinkers seemed to believe it operated with the regularity and force of gravity. At the very least, it was thought to be a natural and spontaneous tendency of human nature. In poetry of the period, we find examples such as the following:
     There are no words left unanswered, 
     No de "kindness" left unrequited           [without bao].
(--p. xii Confucian Moral Self Cultivation, by Philip J Ivanhoe, c2000)


Just to be alive -- 

On a Thursday. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

au revoir à l'été

O Canada

summer packs bags

Leaves out of Fredericton

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

watching homeland

It's so difficult knowing someone is right when they don't know it about themselves.

Probably what a psychotherapist or zen master experiences everyday.

no, thanks, I'll pass

Last days of summer.

There are cats in this room.

An indefinite sense of disconnection.

Washing machine runs.

see me feel me touch me conceal me

I am

Out of touch

For a while

In order

To find out

What is

Going wrong

With being

In touch

Monday, September 19, 2016

morning arrives

Morning sitting.


Morning prayer

Sunday, September 18, 2016

love is too naked and empty for us.

The woman wanted to know why fear, as in fear of the lord, should be touted as a desirable thing -- why fear?

It's because fear in this case suggests terror in the face of love.

If, as some suggest, god is love, then it is that we have terror about what love demands -- demands, not like a martinet threatening us with pain and punishment -- but terror at the demand of love to let go of anything other than love.

The prospect of dropping all opinions, judgments, and beliefs -- is terrifying to us.

To stand defenseless and vulnerable in the presence of what is there with open readiness to accept and receive what is there for your absorption -- is a fearful and unnerving prospect.

Love is too naked and empty for us.

There's nothing to hold onto.

There's only a voidness of presence without concealment surrounding our unveiling release of anything we've thought was us -- now dropped -- a falling away that has no precedence but imaginative oblivion where no calling out has any sound nor any glance a thing to see.

Here we are in love.

"Love is" -- the woman said on sun porch today.

Yes.

Love is without anything that is not itself.

It is within itself and nothing other.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

woman sitting



Saturday morning

unconcealed

Once you find what is missing 

you have nothing

Because what is missing 

is nothing

Friday, September 16, 2016

an idiot's QED

We spoke of bullshit in prison today.

Later, Donald Trump announced at a news conference that President Obama was born in the United States,

Quod erat dēmonstrandum .

Thursday, September 15, 2016

What are we doing here? What are we doing, here? What are we, doing here?

[The following remarks were delivered as an expanded invocation at UMA college graduation ceremony at Maine State Prison in Warren Maine on 25 June 2016.]

HERE WE ARE!.  Which makes the job of pronouncing an Invocation easy. We are here, and yet — we are a reluctant community.

An Invocation is the action of calling people in, of calling us to show up, to be here, and to ponder WHAT IS this “HERE”

So, as I look around, it seems obvious that, yes, here we are.  Easy.

But, we are a reluctant community. We “struggle against” things, have a knack of creating difficulties for one another, often “offering opposition”  to what we find wherever we are. What is not easy is to come to see who we are, what the real revelation of our being-here is.

And so I will introduce a difficulty — by wondering aloud, and asking — if we are calling one another here — WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?

Let’s look at three responses to that question, and see if they are helpful to our understanding what is here and what we are doing with what is here:

1. (First, a very short poem)

Here’s what e.e.cummings the poet says in four lines, without punctuation. He writes 13 words:
seeker of truth 
follow no path
all paths lead where 
truth is here
Can you hear the two ways we might read these lines for our purposes here today?

     1.
seeker of truth, 
follow no path
all paths lead “where” — 
truth is “here”
or . . .

     2.
seeker of truth 
follow no path
all paths lead where truth is, here

Either way we read it, the poet is suggesting we might want to consider what we are doing with what is here.

Yes, this gathering, today, is a celebration of personal and academic accomplishment. Men who are in prison have studied and pondered and said YES to learning, to sharing knowledge, insight, and experience, and forming community.

Perhaps, certainly, we are called here — to open our minds and hearts —  to hear and see a new form of intellectual, spiritual, educational, and corrective community — one where the individual learns understanding conversing together.

And so, we wonder — Is this what we’re doing here? — To be fully here and aware, greeting the truth of one another by following no other path than “truth” — revealing and concealing itself in our midst?

2. (Second)

Here’s what novelist and poet Alice Walker wishes us to ponder about what might be revealing itself right here in our presence:

Alice Walker writes:
"Where do we start? How do we reclaim a proper relationship to the world?
It is said that in the Babemba tribe of South Africa, when a person acts irresponsibly or unjustly, he is placed in the center of the village, alone and unfettered. All work ceases, and every man, woman and child in the village gathers in a large circle around the accused individual. Then each person in the tribe speaks to the accused, one at a time, about all the good things the person in the center of the circle has done in his lifetime. Every incident, every experience that can be recalled with any detail and accuracy is recounted. All his positive attributes, good deeds, strengths and kindnesses are recited carefully and at length. The tribal ceremony often lasts several days. At the end, the tribal circle is broken, a joyous celebration takes place, and the person is symbolically and literally welcomed back into the tribe. 
(--from pp.27-28, in Sent by Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit After the Bombing of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Seven Stories Press, Published: Tuesday, January 1, 2002)
Can you hear what she is describing here with this piece of writing? She is suggesting that what we are doing here is a radical rethinking of what it means to fail and succeed — NOT falling back to old and antiquated ways of condemnation and punishment, but moving ahead to new and creative ways of actively reminding one another that we all fall and fail, that none of us wish to be thought about or remembered by our worst moments in life, and that there is a regenerating, restorative, and re-habilitating power in our ability to rethink acceptance, mercy, and (yes) forgiveness.

Do we have the inspiration, the psychological, and spiritual ability to reform community? YES, we do — when we look at one another and see what is here — the hidden longing and the reluctant but revealing welcoming of new community-creating-individuals.

3. (Third, and finally)

One day, way back in the early days of the Tanakh, the Hebrew Scriptures, we’re told of Moses, who’s life was complicated.

One day, as Moses was surveying the royal projects, he rescued a Hebrew slave by killing his abusive Egyptian master. In danger of being exposed, Moses fled Egypt, … Moses went to Midian, where he found refuge with Jethro, a desert priest.
[We often, it seems, find ourselves in a desert, in dark, dry, desolate places — fleeing punishment or persecution — trying to figure out what the sentences writing our lives, mean.]

Anyway, this fellow Moses, instead of being incarcerated or executed for the murder he committed, climbed a mountain and talked to a very mysterious SOMEONE who claimed to have a set of rules and a new template for contemplating what life here on earth might be about. Moses started acting all Highway Patrol or Stop and Frisk with this SOMEONE and politely requested to see or hear some proof about what this SOMEONE’S name was, and where he came from, and just what this SOMEONE was doing in the neighborhood.

Here is what the Elohist writer in the literary account in Exodus 3 said about the encounter:
Then Moses said to Elohim, [Elohim is a name for God used in Hebrew Scriptures even as they were trying to figure out what in God’s name was God’s name.] “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The Elohim of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” Elohim said to Moses, “Ehyeh-asher-ehyeh.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘Ehyeh has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:13–15) http://barrybandstra.com/rtot4/rtot4-06-ch3.html

Can you hear what this mysterious SOMEONE is telling us? We are being told that the SOMEONE who chose Moses (remember, the murderer) — this SOMEONE wanted THE NAME to be known by to be — (and this is the literal translation of the Hebrew “Ehyeh-asher-ehyeh.”) “I shall be there, as who I am, shall I be there.” (This phrasing, this NAME, contains all the things a student of humanities & philosophy might encounter in their studies: Time, Presence, Being, Appearance, Form, Truth, Meaning, Doubt, and, not to mention, “What the heck kind of an answer is that?”
In other words, this SOMEONE said they would be there, would be HERE — will be anywhere — in such a way that… we might not know, might not recognize, might even consider to be SOMEONE to be punished, disregarded, treated poorly, even to let die in ways no one would want to die.

We are being asked to keep our eyes and ears open to the learning needed to recognize one another as the manifestation of the SOMEONE WE ARE.

[This is our Invocation, our calling in, our being called in, to who we are, where we are. As a footnote: In an Independent Study shared with a student this last semester, here, from two sides of plexiglass, speaking through phone devices, the student wrestled while studying the Bhagavad Gita or Song of God — with the age old question of whether we have what is called free-will or whether we are determined to act the way we act based solely on past causes and conditions. He didn’t like the idea that his birth family might somehow be thought of as contributing to his crime and his very, very long sentence. Here’s what he/we came up with — when we don’t show up, when we are absent from our lives, unaware, and not considering the truth of what is revealing itself right in front of us, then we are unfree and we are determined to act as the circumstances dictate. But, if we show up, if we do consider carefully what is presenting itself before us, if we are clear-headed, present here and aware, then our action and choice is more likely to be free and healthy.]

In summary:

These three responses to the question WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE? are presented to us so that we ponder what kind of presence we might become in each others’ lives. So that we ponder what kind of community we long to be part of.

Here’s my thinking: We are a reluctant community. We’re uncertain we want to be here, unsure we really want to be with those we are with.)

If you’re an inmate, I’m pretty sure you don’t want to be in prison.
Many practitioners, People of the Book, might prefer to be in heaven with Yahweh/Elohim, or Allah, or Christ.
Many practitioners of Asian and East Asian philosophy and religion, might prefer to be free of self, free of ignorance, hatred, and delusion, all the dualistic categories we suffer through, and free to enter the liberating awareness of our inter-connection, non-dual consciousness or Nirvana.

Finally we conclude our Invocation

So HERE WE ARE! What are we doing here? Perhaps we are being tasked with creating a new kind of  Correcting Learning Monastic Human & Humane Experience Center. A place that might possibly be named the E.E. Babemba Moses What’s-Your-Name Learning Institute.

 I see us as a reluctant community longing to learn from one another what new truth, new “here”, and new thinking want to emerge about incarceration and liberation. Much has already been learned. And still there remains an unfathomable depth, distance, and intimacy yet to explore.

So now we pray — that we continue to learn how to be in a new and more profound HERE, a kind of LOVE and LEARNING that is REAL and TRUE.  Let us be intrigued by the words written by the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, 112 years ago:

The experience of loving, that now disappoints so many, can actually change and be transformed from the ground up into the building of a relationship between two human beings, not just a man and a woman. And this more authentic love will be evident in the utterly considerate, gentle, and clear manner of its binding and releasing. It will resemble what we now struggle to prepare: the love that consists of two solitudes which border, protect, and greet each other.   (Rome, May 14, 1904; Letters to a Young Poet)

HERE WE ARE — May we celebrate and welcome everyone into a new place of learning together!
This is our invocation — let’s show up — to see and say something ever-new and ever-present —into our being here!

…   …   …

[3 Gasshos ]

*to inmate students: Here you are — We greet you!  

*to family and friends: Here you are — We greet you!    

*to benefactors, corrections, and university representatives: Here you are — We greet you!

[ fin / ab initio —  Bill Halpin, MSP 15June2016]

Sorrows abound

Wherever we are.

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against (and a sword will pierce through your soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed,’” (Lk. 2:34-35). [1]



Friend in Florida with Lewy body dementia. Friend in Maryland with Ehlers Danlos. Friend in prison with heart condition, amputated foot, severe diabetes.

The vast numbers of frustrated people on verge of despair. Those who do not experience cool breeze, sunlight, and small joys of September.

For these -- I pray.

For you, and for me, I pray.


We are here -- for one another.

yes

is the only answer

not needing

a question

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

justicia

Documentary from The Empire Files by Abby Martin on Chevron vs the Amazon.

One further instance, if you watch, of power and uncaring greed choosing capital and corporate profit over people, nature, and decent justice.

I invite Chevron CEO John Watson to the hermitage for tea and toast to talk about fairness and justice.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

amusing: so funny; no want

1

Thurman says

Compassion is fun --

He's so funny

2.

There is

No place

I want 

To be

Monday, September 12, 2016

three at kennebec river


Green can leaning south--

southwest 247° into wind

and tide as river pushes against

...

           Richard worked just upriver

            at BIW -- enormous blue

            dry dock holding battleship --

             his memory drifting downriver


...

If I did love, I'd love

all the things I've seen,

the people I've known, you

I me mine, stepping off into buddhahood

Compassion, suggested Robert Thurman, is fun.

This observation stumped some who were at Sunday Evening Practice. That tuning in to the suffering of another might be something that causes joy?

I was looking at the half eaten three berry pie on the plate of the man beside me. On its edge, with crust crumb in a certain light of candle, seemed a likeness of bodhidharma. A small diversion during his words about compassion.

Later, on his plate, only edge of remaining crust beside fork. No more imaginative simulacrum. 

Like compassion, all images disappear into body of experience completing itself in reciprocity. We listen to one another. 

Then, with metta blessing, send out fruits of practice to every being, in all times and realms, especially those most in need of the kindness and care of bodhisattvas and bodhidharmas moving west and east.

We blow out table candles.

September cooling as headlights turn right onto barnestown road.


Monday morning wears two blankets as yurt dweller makes same turn with one headlight at 5:18am, her motorcycle coughing from cigarette smoke.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

as a pilgrim might do

Finally, the New York Times Editorial Board, an excerpt:
 He [Michael Bloomberg] was right about what we can’t do. But many of us can do this on a bright September day: Take the subway to Lower Manhattan. Walk a block or two, find the way through a construction zone and down a chain-link corridor. Take the time to walk around each void, watching the names flow by. There are too many to linger over, but read those you can and reflect on the whole. Take several turns, pondering, as a pilgrim might do, the enormity of the loss, the passage of years. And what we, the living, can do to build a better world, worthy of their sacrifice
(--from,  A Walk Around the Void of 9/11, b 
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/11/opinion/sunday/a-walk-around-the-void-of-9-11.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=opinion-c-col-right-region&region=opinion-c-col-right-region&WT.nav=opinion-c-col-right-region

to reconciliation and unity

From Franciscan Media:
      A Day of Sorrow, Hope, and Prayer  
Fifteen years ago this morning, nearly 3,000 lives were lost in an act of unthinkable violence. Each year on September 11, Americans remember the lives lost in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.  
When Pope Francis visited New York City in September 2015, his message at Ground Zero was one of sorrow, but also of hope:  
"This place of death became a place of life, too, a place of saved lives, a hymn to the triumph of life over the prophets of destruction and death, to goodness over evil, to reconciliation and unity over hatred and division."  
On this day, we honor those loved ones who keep the memories of the fallen alive. We celebrate the heroes who sacrificed everything so that others might live. And we pray, as Pope Francis asked in his Ground Zero address, for:   
"Peace in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities. Peace in all those places where war never seems to end. Peace for those faces which have known nothing but pain. Peace throughout this world which God has given us as the home of all and a home for all. 
Simply PEACE.”
http://email.franciscanmedia.org/we-remember?ecid=ACsprvs0xjRaU-h1pbrEdmU4vIw7To_6C85wZy1iozgeH1LqXk4UzXm3La3NljEsYU8VRMlsYsl2&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=34098782&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8StPNegPMAqmqh4O_ewE20xtiHN9AOd8jVwYlYmIwLbNww_B9FdJjtgKQlsBj-6yDioxjhSy8SocVGE5UHrV_bN93TPg&_hsmi=34115881
Peace -- is where trust and learning -- hope to reside.

what we trust about 9/11/2001



zero



9/11/2001 -- what we’ve learned

Nothing
--from, Blood Wedding (Spanish: Bodas de sangre) a tragedy by Spanish dramatist Federico García Lorca1898-1936, 

We must learn how to speak to this nothing.

LanguageWays to say nothing
Albanianasgjë
Basquenothing
Belarusianнічога
Bosnianništa
BulgarianНищо
Catalanres
Croatianništa
Czechnic
Danishintet
Dutchniets
Estonianmitte midagi
Finnishei mitään
Frenchrien
Galiciannada
Germangar nichts
Greekτίποτα
Hungariansemmi
Icelandicekkert
Irishrud ar bith
Italianniente
Latviannekas
Lithuanianniekas
Macedonianништо
Maltesexejn
Norwegianingenting
Polishnic
Portuguesenenhuma coisa
Romaniannimic
Russianничего
Serbianništa
Slovaknič
Sloveniannič
Spanishnada
Swedishingenting
Ukrainianнічого
Welshdim byd
Yiddishגאָרנישט


All we know is

  • many people died that day; 
  • wars were started; 
  • well over a million people were killed in those wars. 
  • That, and the fact that trust also died that day long before most people realized it was dead; 
  • cynicism grew like a slow moving cancer; 
  • and we teetered 
  • and further verge on an inevitable patronizing fascism 
  • and decimation of freedom predicated on lies, deceit, 
  • and callous manipulation of distracted minds.
Lorca, again:
The terrible, cold, cruel part is Wall Street. Rivers of gold flow there from all over the earth, and death comes with it. There, as nowhere else, you feel a total absence of the spirit: herds of men who cannot count past three, herds more who cannot get past six, scorn for pure science and demoniacal respect for the present. And the terrible thing is that the crowd that fills the street believes that the world will always be the same and that it is their duty to keep that huge machine running, day and night, forever. --Federico Garcia Lorca (from his memoir, Poet in New York, 1932)
Our desire -- our desire for what is true -- must emerge from silence.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

a little spark of madness, as gift

He was brilliant.
You're only given a little spark of madness. You mustn't lose it. 
No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. 
Comedy is acting out optimism. 
                             (Quotes, by Robin Williams)
We were lucky.
“The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.”
     (― Czesław Miłosz, in poem, Ars Poetica?) 
Williams’ guests were invited for us.

Friday, September 09, 2016

through the body

Instead of reincarnation, we posit perincarnation.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

not knowing

A woman we knew died ten years ago Sunday. Her son brought the letter she'd composed about having her memorial service at the hermitage.

I leave a vigil candle in cabin chapel/zendo this decade later where she'd join us Sunday evening practice.

It's hard to know when you should go. She decided to take on that question for herself. 

It doesn't make it easy on anyone to erase uncertainty about life and death.

The church celebrates the nativity of Mary today. 

We learn to look steadily at life, at death.

Not knowing.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

one with: a new seeing of a new way of being


Richard Rohr writes in Spirituality of Letting Go: Week 2, Dying with Christ, Wednesday, September 7, 2016:
My good friend and colleague, Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio, writes:
God is radically involved with the world, empowering the world toward fullness in love, but God is unable to bring about this fullness without the cooperation of humans. Human and divine cannot co-create unto the fullness of life without death as an integral part of life. Isolated, independent existence must be given up in order to enter into broader and potentially deeper levels of existence. Bonaventure speaks of life in God as a “mystical death,” a dying into love: “Let us, then, die and enter into the darkness; let us impose silence upon our cares, our desires and our imaginings. With Christ Crucified let us pass out of this world to the Father.” [1] [2]
Contemplative prayer is one way to practice imposing “silence upon our cares, our desires and our imaginings.” Contemplative practice might be twenty minutes of “dying,” of letting go of the small mind in order to experience the big mind, of letting go of the false self in order to experience the True Self, of letting go of the illusion of our separation from God in order to experience our inherent union. Prayer is quite simply a profound experience of our core—who we are, as Paul says, “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).
Delio continues:
Only by dying into God can we become one with God, letting go of everything that hinders us from God. Clare of Assisi spoke of “the mirror of the cross” in which she saw in the tragic death of Jesus our own human capacity for violence and, yet, our great capacity for love. [3] Empty in itself, the mirror simply absorbs an image and returns it to the one who gives it. Discovering ourselves in the mirror of the cross can empower us to love beyond the needs of the ego or the need for self-gratification. We love despite our fragile flaws when we see ourselves loved by One greater than ourselves. In the mirror of the cross we see what it means to share in divine power. To find oneself in the mirror of the cross is to see the world not from the foot of the cross but from the cross itself. How we see is how we love, and what we love is what we become. 

   Seeing way of being

   Is no seeing

   Being as way through

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

as cats hiss and growl

Fog

Makes seeing

Closer

4:13

It is still dark.

It's what night is.

Still.

Dark.

Monday, September 05, 2016

the salvation of freedom

Q: Do you accept Jesus as your personal lord and savior?

A: No.

Q: No?

A: No. I accept Jesus as Jesus. 

Q: What does that mean?

A: That means the I accept you as you, not what is said of you. 

Sunday, September 04, 2016

what is your address

Seems the zen suggestion is to leave home.

Become homeless.

Drop mind and body.

Recognize there is no home; you are, rather, a wandering homeless presence.

Recognizing everywhere, everyone, every time as true home where no home is.

Sunday morning, Labor Day weekend

With guests at home.


My virtuous journey to donut outpost is met with ‘closed Sunday and Monday of Labor Day Weekend’.

Not a problem. I was only driving to bake shoppe; then back to Camden. Each act belongs to itself. Not open? Turn right, head north on route 1.

Brain Pickings features Seung Sahn and his words about anger. (Non-applicable segue.) In a letter he wrote:
After sitting yong maeng jong jin [silent meditation], your mind was clear. A clear mind is like a clear mirror, so when anger appeared, you reflected with angry action. You love your son, so you were angry. Is this correct? Don’t check your mind — when you are angry, be angry. When you are happy, be happy. When sad, be sad. Afterwards, checking is no good. 
Your previous anger and the anger you talked about in your letter are different. Before yong maeng jong jin, it was attached anger; after yong maeng jong jin, your anger was only reflected anger. If you do more hard training, the reflected anger will change to perceived anger. After more practicing, perceived anger will disappear. Then you will have only loving anger — inside you will not be angry, only angry on the outside. So attached anger, reflected anger, perceived anger, loving anger — all are changing, changing, changing. Anger is anger; anger is the truth. Don’t worry, don’t check yourself — it has already passed. How you keep just-now mind is very important. https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/09/01/only-dont-know-seung-sahn-anger/
He was the first Zen Master I sat with. First at initial Providence Zen Center above someone’s garage in (?) the early 70s. Later at Cumberland RI setting.

Only go straight. Only don’t know. This was his teaching. (Of course, like other dharma teachers, he became involved, it is said, with some of his female students. This is a problem that doesn’t seem to go away in the intimacy of trust relationships and the seeking of propriety in structurally unequal authority relationships.)

So it was. And, he was a formidable teaching presence in the Korean lineage.

When older and in more fragile health, he returned to Korea and a hermitage near his early monastery.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Seung_Sahn%27s_hermitage.jpg
It’s hard finding good donuts.

It’s hard finding good spiritual teachers who are not ethically compromised.

It’s hard finding good human beings who are not damaged by failings and compromises.

Some cover this by saying that it’s hard being a human and relying on other human beings to practice correct relationships and authentic enlightenment. And it’s true. We are, each of us, by and large, disappointments -- whether to ourselves, to normative ethical standards, or moral virtuous behavior.

It would seem a fruitless and unsuccessful task to find someone, dead or alive, who personified and embodied a pinnacle particularity of some specifically defined perfection of life. This observation is not an excuse for the inappropriate. It is merely a supposition to temper the search should someone embark on the venture.

Maria Popova ends her reflection:
I have long believed that most constructive action comes as a form of complaint — an urge to effect positive change that arises out of dissatisfaction with the way things are and an active desire to steer them toward a more satisfying version. (A decade ago, I started Brain Pickings in large part out of dissatisfaction with my education, as an active complaint.) In a sense, Soen-sa paints anger as dissatisfaction in the extreme, which makes it a powerful mobilizing agent for positive change — or for what the great composer John Cage, a student of Zen himself, called constructive anarchy
Soen-sa examines the rhythms of the four different kinds of anger as they course through us in succession, guided by Zen practice:
Attached anger sometimes lasts for three hours, sometimes three days, and does not quickly return to love-mind. When you were crying, you had reflected anger; it did not last long. Soon you returned to your mind that loves your son, and you knew what to do to help him… After more hard training, your reflected anger will change to perceived anger. You will feel anger but not show it; you will be able to control your mind. Finally, you will have only loving anger, ager only on the outside to hep other people — “You must do this!” — but no anger on the inside. This is true love-mind.
He ends with a note of assurance that the decision toward which the shock of Diana’s anger steered her — to move her son to a better school — was the right one and reflects a larger principle of personal growth:
Buddha said, “If one mind is pure, your world will be pure. Your world means your family, your friends, your country — all of them. So changing your son’s school is a very good idea. Sometimes, when the situation is bad, everything is bad; when the situation changes, then it is possible to change everything.
Back home, guests accompany Saskia to sail Penobscot Bay. Rokie trails other guest to yurt in hopes of a walk. Sun settles on Mid-Coast roofs and dooryards this final so-called weekend of summer. The house is quiet.

Maple yogurt on pecan maple flakes with blueberries with chocolate milk seems a good idea.

I don’t know.

I’ll just go straight to it.

Happy to do so.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

slicing back hand

They play tennis in New York at the Open.

I receive David Foster Wallace's book String Theory as a gift.

The Williams sisters play so well.

The tall Greek Australian is analyzed over and over.

Rod Laver sits with quiet smile in the crowd.

Pasta Fazool!  I would call out after missing an easy shot. They thought I was cursing.

Friday, September 02, 2016

in case I never wake up

I notice heartbeat has taken a vacation from its ordinary regimen. That face and head have created sympathy pain with all the suffering in the world. And bridge over dried brook bed is ready to cave and splinter.

It is September. Everything new is old again.

In prison this morning talk of Sufism, physics, Upanishadic ursound heard and remembered, and Albert Camus' youthful writing on God's dialogue with God's soul.

The question looms: if there is nothing beyond God for God to believe in, is there nothing beyond us for us to believe in?

Is this why "nothing" is the edge of our sanity and the difficulty we have when we realize we are not at all what we've thought we were, and nothing near what we think we are?

Just look at how we judge everything to be a matter of slight or might.

What will we do when we finally realize that the fantasy we call politics is the grand illusion no one can see through to a sane solution? That we are caught in a spiral of sinking false and frantic attempts to legitimize a senseless and corrupt system that serves only the self-serving and helps only those needing no help?

So we find something simple to hate -- like a football player who remains seated, his hand not over his heart, as the national anthem is played before the game.

Let's build a wall along the border of intelligent understanding and meaningless bullshit and make New Zealand pay for the pretzels eaten by laborers during their rest periods.

I prefer poetry circles with folks in their 90s and 100s on Friday afternoons. Something of substance. With cookies and tea.