Friday, February 26, 2021

other days the bear eats you

 There are days when darkness arrives too early.

There’s a very bright moon tonight.

I notice that

Still, the darkness

Thursday, February 25, 2021

laetitia mane

 What if each word were an angel?

Each book a covey of temporary residence for messages ready to light up minds upon opening?

Would we cease our foolish antagonism toward truth and fall in love with what is revealed to our heart?

Cor mundum crea in me, Deus.

Redde mihi lætítiam salutáris tui.

(A pure heart create for me, O God.
Give me again the joy of your help.)

(Ps 50, 12a. 14a)

What is revealed is reality ready for itself.

Tat tvam asi!

A message longing to be read and said and felt throughout.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

because he did not care

 So many have died

Too sad to remain angry —

A fool was in charge

friends show up

 When needed

Different, but lovely, slants of light.

am in i are in you

Stay right here

See, hear, now

Don’t tell stories

You’re finally as you are

Fine as such.

(I’m kidding about the stories.

Tell another one.

I’ve plenty of time.)

And when you stop

I’ll still be listening

Just like this

As a last line of a short story

Always feels 


Waiting for 

What comes next

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

a cosmogonic glance

Of a Tuesday morning

When celestial body looked into room

Traveling 92,955,807 miles

Brother sun —


Monday, February 22, 2021

stirb und werde


It seems right that a chair would have its own feast day.

Sit well!

Feast Of The Chair of Saint Peter the Apostle 

“‘And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ Then he strictly ordered his disciples to tell no one that he was the Messiah,” (Mt. 16:17-19). 

Also, seems right that “no one” is to be told he’s the messiah. “No one” (is this a Chinese name No-Wan?) doesn’t seem to know who they are. 

Tell them! Tell them!


Such a thoughtful, provocative, and meditative wording, “die and become.” Or, “die and so to grow.”

The Holy Longing

poem by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe



Tell a wise person, or else keep silent,

because the mass man will mock it right away.

I praise what is truly alive,

what longs to be burned to death.


In the calm water of the love-nights,

where you were begotten, where you have begotten,

a strange feeling comes over you,

when you see the silent candle burning.


Now you are no longer caught in the obsession with darkness,

and a desire for higher love-making sweeps you upward.


Distance does not make you falter.

Now, arriving in magic, flying,

and finally, insane for the light,

you are the butterfly and you are gone.

And so long as you haven't experienced this: to die and so to grow,

you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.


Translated from the German by Robert Bly 


It’s a long and varied trail from being no one to realizing who you are with everyone. In a paroxysm of infinite discovery we come to markers showing way up mountain and through wooded turns.


“How do you make love to a physicist? With your whole self, quivering, lush, unafraid.” So concludes Deesha Philyaw in her short story in The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, 2020.


When we practice, we are enlightened. When we are enlightened, we practice. That's what Dogen Zenji tells us.

To be enlightened, as far as I can surmise, is to see things as they are.

And that's good.


So, let go. And become what we, at heart, are -- quivering, lush, unafraid.

monday morning, aspiration, multivalent

Only Breath

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu

Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen. Not any religion

or cultural system. I am not from the East

or the West, not out of the ocean or up

from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not

composed of elements at all. I do not exist,

am not an entity in this world or in the next,

did not descend from Adam and Eve or any

origin story. My place is placeless, a trace

of the traceless. Neither body or soul.

I belong to the beloved, have seen the two

worlds as one and that one call to and know,

first, last, outer, inner, only that

breath breathing human being.


(—Rumi, 1207-1273) 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Saturday, February 20, 2021

here requires no hope

 Talk of hope at Friday evening conversation.

Are you hopeful?

Hopeful? Me? No, I’m not hopeful.

Really? How can you live without hope?

I can. I do.

What do you rely on?

Not much. I’m watchful.


Yeah, watchful.

laus tibi domine


Resonance of chant

From France, sicut erat in

Principio, plow

Passes outside, thin

Covering of snow, winter

In its final month

Friday, February 19, 2021

the open country of what transcends speech

 In this time of COVID-19 we are all sages.

Are we not?

Hence the sage is like an empty hollow. He

cherishes no knowledge. He dwells in the

world of change and utility, yet holds himself

to the realm of non-activity (wu wei). He rests

within the walls of the nameable, yet lives in 

the open country of what transcends speech.

He is silent and alone, void and open, where

his state of being cannot be clothed in

language. Nothing more can be said of him.

(--p.56, Zen in Plain English, Experience the 

Essence of Zen, by Stephan Schuhmacher, 2009; 

from p.268, Fung Yu-lan: A History of Chinese 

Philosophy, Vol. II, 'The Period of Classical 

Learning' 1953)

What can we say?

What can be said of us?

And 1500 years from now, who, really, will recognize our difficulty of understanding?

Though we say we live in the 'real world' -- do we?

And what are "saturated phenomena".*

Bedazzlement and overwhelmingness are marks of saturated phenomena, especially those that are "unbearable according to quantity" such as the painting as idol. It is in just this context that Marion gives the transfiguration as an example. But in the very same passage, he gives the teaching of Jesus as another example, citing John 16.12: "I still have many things to say to you, but you do not yet have the power to bear them."Marion might as easily have turned to the gospel of Mark. There we find people amazed when Jesus cast out an unclean spirit (Mark 1.23-27) and when he healed the paralyzed man let down through the roof (Mark 2.3-12) but also at Jesus’ teaching: "They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes" (Mark1.22). The phenomenologist can and should take note of the fact that such teaching and the faith that receives it can be and have been experienced as a supernatural gift of supernatural grace. But that does not make Jesus’ teaching miraculous in the sense in which casting out demons and healing the sick are miraculous. In short, the phenomena of revelation need not be miracles.

It might be helpful here to recall Mary Magdalene as portrayed in Jesus Christ, Superstar. She sings, "I don’t know how to love him . . . He scares me so." While Jesus was unquestionably a saturated phenomenon in her experience, it would be a strange reading to assume that what scared her about him was the healings and the exorcisms. Quite clearly, what bedazzled, overwhelmed, and even scared her was the way he loved her, and there is nothing of magical realism in the implicit narrative of her relation to Jesus that underlies her portrayal in the musical. 

(--Journal of Philosophy and Scripture, Vol. 1 Issue 1, page 27, Merold Westphal, Transfiguration as Saturated Phenomenon)

That which exceeds what our intention can grasp. An intuition beyond verification or full comprehension.

Where fully foolish sages loiter in contemplative repose while less foolish insurgents run to tackle fabricated meaning fully geared with zip-ties tiptoeing alongside at their ready. 

* Jean-Luc Marion's claims about givenness and the self of the phenomenon culminate in his new category of “saturated” phenomena. According to Marion, some phenomena give more intuition than is needed to fill a subject's intention. Such phenomena are “saturated” with intention, and exceed any concepts or limiting horizons that a constituting subject could impose upon them. Marion describes five possible types of saturated phenomenon, and then presents a “figure” as an example of each type. Marion develops his concept of saturated phenomenon across three main texts. In Marion's early texts, saturated phenomena are introduced as a way of making space in philosophy for specifically religious phenomena. Even in his later texts where Marion omits this religious context, the examples of saturated phenomena that he chooses are somewhat obscure, and might be regarded as no more than interesting curiosities.  

(--The Theory of Saturated Phenomena, Shane Mackinlay, Fordham Scholarship Online)

It makes me wonder whether what we refer to as 'higher dimensions' and 'miracles' are the fields of intuition and mystical glimpse that resemble and reside in uncategorizable experiences. 

Joyce wrote:

“He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances. He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a verb in the past tense.”           (― James Joyce, Dubliners)

May we all dwell well where we are!

And not be afraid of the turn, either in the road, or in our consciousness!  

nowhere (else)


For God's name, and

For my epitaph:

“I am



Thursday, February 18, 2021

de nihilo nihil fit

                (οδν ξ οδενός — Parmenides)

Morning by woodstove

Thump of cat jumping down, crunch

Of kibbles reach me

so far away

 Ice coats mountain trees

Sun puffs late afternoon slant

Maine feels for Texas

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

when everything goes away

Day arises.

Everything begins


suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood


From his poem AshWednesday, by T.S.Eliot, an excerpt:


Although I do not hope to turn again
Although I do not hope
Although I do not hope to turn

Wavering between the profit and the loss
In this brief transit where the dreams cross
The dreamcrossed twilight between birth and dying
(Bless me father) though I do not wish to wish these things
From the wide window towards the granite shore
The white sails still fly seaward, seaward flying
Unbroken wings

And the lost heart stiffens and rejoices
In the lost lilac and the lost sea voices
And the weak spirit quickens to rebel
For the bent golden-rod and the lost sea smell
Quickens to recover
The cry of quail and the whirling plover
And the blind eye creates
The empty forms between the ivory gates
And smell renews the salt savour of the sandy earth

This is the time of tension between dying and birth
The place of solitude where three dreams cross
Between blue rocks
But when the voices shaken from the yew-tree drift away
Let the other yew be shaken and reply.

Blessèd sister, holy mother, spirit of the fountain, spirit
of the garden,
Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still
Even among these rocks,
Our peace in His will
And even among these rocks
Sister, mother
And spirit of the river, spirit of the sea,
Suffer me not to be separated 

And let my cry come unto Thee. 

(—from, Ash Wednesday, by T.S. Eliot)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

what takes place at sunday evening practice

 I’ve been thinking about our practice. 

We sit zazen.

We read someone’s writing.

We converse from what has gotten our attention.

We take a brief silence

We have a final circle.

We recite the bodhisattva vows.

We pronounce a metta blessing.

We say goodnight.

old math

 One plus one is one.

There is no two.

(Three hides within every calculation.)

Monday, February 15, 2021

if we were to think about it

Tweets by 


Post-impeachment, we can say this: Trump's presidency has amended the Constitution. Not formally, of course, but informally...which matters just as much. Here are the five Trump amendments. 1/9

1. "No president shall be removed from office for treason, bribery, or any other crime or misdemeanor provided a partisan minority of the Senate will protect him (which is always). Impeachment is thus a nullity and presidents can expect impunity." 2/9

2. "Congressional oversight shall be optional. No congressional subpoena or investigative demand shall be binding on a president who chooses to ignore it." 3/9

3. "Congressional appropriations shall be suggestions. The president may choose whether or not to conform with congressional spending laws, and Congress shall have no recourse should a president declare that his own priorities supersede Congress's express will." 4/9

4. "The president shall have authority to make appointments as he sees fit, without the advice and consent of the Senate, provided he deems his appointees to be acting, temporary, or otherwise exempt from the ordinary confirmation process." 5/9

5. "The president shall have unconstrained authority to dangle and issue pardons for the purpose of obstructing justice, tampering with witnesses, and forestalling investigations. There is nothing anyone can do about this (see Amendment 1 above)." 6/9

Let's count our blessings. Had Trump won a second term, he'd have put through a 6th amendment: "The president may ignore or violate court orders." 7/9

Still, the existing Trump amendments give the president WAY more discretion and impunity than the Founders intended. After Trump, we're more dependent than ever on the president's character to prevent a quasi-monarchy. 8/9

And more than ever, there's a howling void at the center of the called Congress. 9/9

goodbye to former infelicity

“It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah!” (Leonard Cohen)

As cynicism and darkness 

sit shivering and dissipated 

in near obsolescent 

obscurity. . .

A page is turned.


in the 

Hanging icicle

Glints of 

glancing sunrise


God is



Singing . . .)

Sunday, February 14, 2021

beholding itself what is within without


Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, “They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.”
So I swore in my anger,
“They shall not enter into my rest.”

(Psalm 95) 

Justice will walk out from the alley where it has slept the night

Walk to front door of mansion where willful depravity has lounged in silk and gold all night

And knock

When door opens, face to face for that brief archeology of trawling recognition

Will nod to the other

Shut door, turn, walk together down to river as light begins to stretch

Sit, look out side by side, begin to talk

Our attention pulls slowly away

Back up the hill

Up over tree tops and building roofs

Far out into distant spacious emptiness

Off beyond what we can possibly understand

Into silence

Blinking dim distance

Out of sight

Gone mind

Nowhere now

Beholding itself what is within without

Saturday, February 13, 2021

a technicality, an acquittal, still liable

 Ita sit. (So be it.)

Eamus deinceps. (Let's go forward)

Prosit democratiam . (Good luck to democracy)

i do not know its name

Nothing isn’t something.  It can’t be placed on your mantel. It is not something hiding just behind something.  Rather nothing is what is both within and beyond everything we call something, which, in itself, is nothing.

But this realization isn’t nihilism. It is nihility. 

We might get away with saying that, rather than being something or nothing, we are appearing. We are temporary emergence out of and into “Way.” This transient and impermanent manifestation is the constant surprise of what we call “existence” “world” or “my life.”

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 25

Something mysteriously formed,

Born before heaven and earth.

In the silence and the void,

Standing alone and unchanging,

Ever present and in motion.

Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things..

I do not know its name.

Call it Tao.

For lack of a better word, I call it great.

Being great, it flows.

It flows far away.

Having gone far, it returns.

Therefore, "Tao is great;

Heaven is great;

Earth is great;

The king is also great."

These are the four great powers of the universe,

And the king is one of them.

Man follows the earth.

Earth follows heaven.

Heaven follows the Tao.

Tao follows what is natural.

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)

What is this “what is natural”? 

According to chapter 25 of Tao Te Ching, before any form or substance comes to exist, there is chaos. It has no voice or shape and because of that it is beyond any explanation or description with words.

It is nothingness itself. Its enormous size exceeds any human categories, does not depend on anything and conducts all the processes taking place in the universe. For this reason it is called 'Big' or 'Dai' after the Chinese character. The 'Dai' keeps on spreading and advancing the universe. There are no limits to the expansion of nothingness, 'Dai' or the Way. In other words the Way and nothingness are the transcendental beings. For the reason of being transcendental, they embrace all things. Things distant from them as well as close to them such as self; all is included. Because all things are filled with those transcendental beings, it can be said that they include those things and for that reason they can be called 'encompassing' or 'Umgreifende' of Karl Jaspers and as such, they undoubtedly reveal the principles governing nature: four seasons, sunrise and sunset, birth and death. Our limited perception doesn't allow us to see the Way itself, but through comprehending the nature and its rules, we have the ability to experience the Way as the transcendental being. When we reach that state, in front of our eyes there stands the true essence of nature, undistorted and real. This experience brings about a change in us and shows us how to live. But please make no mistake about this; Lao-tzu does not mean doing nothing, but living in accordance with the principles of nothingness. Lao-tzu's nothingness is also called absolute nothingness

 According to chapter 21 of Tao Te Ching, the Way is ecstatic and undefined. Only after you calm down and free your heart from ambitions and care, you can feel its subtle, pure and unadulterated nature. It's total and complete and only through impartial attitude we are able to know it, that is by getting rid of the knowledge and concepts we have learned so far in our lives. Nothing can be understood about the Way by linguistic analysis and breaking down concepts. The only way is the direct, intuitive experience and unity with the Way. However, there is the problem of expressing that intuitive experience with words. Naturally, the Way is a being that exceeds human languages; so describing it in a comprehensible manner poses quite a challenge. Still more, its appropriate description is not any form of compendium or a theory, but rather it should take a form close to poetry. Here, it is the source of Lao- tzu's mysticism, which was later on taken over by Chuang-tzu and developed further 


For those who look to the Bible,  perhaps it might be said that God is what is moving. 

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3, the Bible) ibid

What does this nothing, this absolute nothingness, have to do with love?

Last night's Friday Evening Conversation heard a woman tell of a chance meeting with a former schoolmate. He’d had a difficult life. She listened to him. She was sad. She brought that meeting and conversation to us. She cried. We were quiet throughout. 

The appearance.

The moving recounting.

The feel of it.

lex orandi

 If every breath prayer

Monastic community

Never not praying

Friday, February 12, 2021

if truth be told

 I lied. Am not watch-

ing defense team at trial. In-

stead The Silence by

Don DeLillo, (twice) --

super bowl sunday, twenty 

twenty two, (oh dear...)

choosing artful words

instead of chicanery --

counting steps to door

the long view

 Conviction won’t come —

But one thing is clear — guilt, guilt,

No denying that

yielding back my time

Now awake, facts heard,

it’s time to nap — let me know.

when cowards aquit

last gleaming

Enormous log makes 

it through dark night — dawn embers

stretch through fresh firewood

Thursday, February 11, 2021


I am and have been a stalwart watcher of the House Managers' presentations. 

Not only thoroughly thoughtful and pertinent, but a record for historical reference. 

Can't see anything but cold recalcitrance should Republicans fail to to concede the clarity and urgency of the case presented against the former president.




 (of course)





Wednesday, February 10, 2021

stone hearts

hard to imagine

not convicting, letting him

off, what we’ve seen, heard

there is no foliage

We are all strangers.  

 All monks, as is well known, are unmarried, and hermits more unmarried than the rest of them. Not that I have anything against women. I see no reason why a man can’t love God and a woman at the same time. If God was going to regard women with a jealous eye, why did he go and make them in the first place? There is a lot of talk about a married clergy. Interesting. So far there has not been a great deal said about married hermits. Well, anyway, I have the place full of ikons of the Holy Virgin. 

One might say I had decided to marry the silence of the forest. The sweet dark warmth of the whole world will have to be my wife. Out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world. So perhaps I have an obligation to preserve the stillness, the silence, the poverty, the virginal point of pure nothingness which is at the center of all other loves. I attempt to cultivate this plant without comment in the middle of the night and water it with psalms and prophecies in silence. It becomes the most rare of all the trees in the garden, at once the primordial paradise tree, the axis mundi, the cosmic axle, and the Cross. Nulla silva talem profert. There is only one such tree. It cannot be multiplied. It is not interesting.

(— from, Day of a Stranger by Thomas Merton)

Why not call one another by each one’s living name?




Tuesday, February 09, 2021

vacant seats

Half the senate has

No convictions, no sense of

Hearing or seeing

don’t forgive them, they know what they are doing

 Senate republicans move toward jury nullification.

That’s when you know the defendant is guilty, but you don’t care.

Something very disturbing about their strategy.

For those who value truth and action predicated on truth...

Deep desolation, followed by antagonistic anarchy.

last will and sentience

noplace to go

nothing to say —

one breath in

one breath out

deadly, disastrous


trying to end constitutional democracy

the insurrecting mob

the insurrecting mobster

our fatal future 

Monday, February 08, 2021


 Stand still!



Around you from you within you as you are

Comes up east goes down west

We are surrounded

Stand (still) for everyone everything

Bows with gratitude

Sunday, February 07, 2021

thanks for the visit

A man walks into a  room and says, “What’s MU?” 

He hears a response saying, “Nothing, you?”

The man stands still a minute, then turns, leaves.

He is thinking, ”I’ll see myself out.”

heart, he said

He was a ghost standing in Chase’s Daily that morning (how many years ago?) stopping for coffee and muffins driving north, when driving somewhere to do something was a thing being done. He’d been in a coma for months, he said, heart. 

One of the problems of discussing kokoro in English is that by linking words—heart and spirit and mind—with “and,” we imply divisions that simply don’t exist in Japanese. But in this Eastern culture, the three aren’t intrinsically linked as one: They are one. 

Researchers are beginning to break down conceptual barriers and explore what artists, writers, mystics, and dreamers of many cultures have long acknowledged: the mysterious tie between heart and mind, a.k.a., kokoro. For example, scientists in Japan consider this concept while working on computer simulations, robotics, primatology, and more; it has allowed Japanese researchers to explore and discuss spiritual matters in a way that’s otherwise impossible in an academic environment.

“Are the familiar Western (and some distinctively English) concepts of mind, heart, spirit, will, consciousness, soul…the best way to describe and divide human experience?” asks Paul Swanson, a professor of humanities at Nanzan University in Japan. “Or is a broader and more inclusive concept useful for understanding how humans think and feel?” 

Swanson is a permanent fellow at the Nanzan Institute of Religion and Culture (NIRC), which in 1993 began bringing together experts in religion, philosophy, and the sciences. They aim to break down barriers and connect like-minded areas of knowledge that other academics consider distinct, ultimately attempting to understand the ineffable, the mystery of humanness. “Thoughts, feelings, and desires, or will, are all interrelated aspects of what it means to be human, and we would be wise to take all of them, and their interrelationship, into account in order to understand human experience,” he says. 

(— from, This Japanese word connecting mind, body, and spirit is also driving scientific discover by Ephrat Livni, 2017

It was his heart, he said.

It was good to talk with him, there, smells of baking and coffee throughout.

Next we knew, he’d died.

His artwork and calligraphy throughout our house across from Bald Mountain.

The view of which we’ve not grown bored.

My heart recalls.

Saturday, February 06, 2021

it’s where you need to be

Just beyond


It's where

you need

to be.

Half a step



and the rest


by what

you'll meet.


the flash of a smile spoke love

 Sadako Sasaki

By: nickyO 

Sadako Sasaki was a two year old girl when the atomic bomb was dropped. She is remembered for attempting to fold a thousand paper cranes before her death of cancer.

 Published: Jun 11, 2011

Sadako Sasaki

a thousand paper

cranes carried her prayers for peace

lay with her in sleep

in her almond eyes

the flash of a smile spoke love

folded into death

yet her mother held her hand

recalling heavens of ash

When will we clear the skies that the cranes may fly and                                                                        little girls may live?




Friday, February 05, 2021

what we know in our bones

There is a longing to enter into and comprehend what it means to share in the body of Christ. 

An emerging mystical consciousness surrounds a grounding creation spirituality that begins to recognize the embodied reality throughout all of nature and material manifestation of a permeating reality of Christ-nature, an underlying essential and existential trueness and goodness that is our bodily and spiritual home with what is called God, with what-is love itself.

Abhishiktananda (Henri le Saux)3 is quoted:

 “The discovery of Christ’s I AM is the ruin of any Christian theology, for all notions are burnt within the fire of experience.”4 

Then Richard Kearney writes: 

Though Abhishiktananda was the chief celebrant, he himself seems to have written little about this event—yet there are some telling hints in diary entries which I shall consider below. It was the host, Sara Grant, who provided the best account, describing the Vigil as a genuinely “trans-cultural celebration” which was much more than a “preparatory para-liturgy.” And while the sharing of scriptures from different biblical and Vedic sources was central, what was most striking for her personally was the “bodily aspect of the being and the fact that we experienced it as community.” She explains: “suddenly we realized that until his death, Jesus was bound by history and its limitations, but through his death and resurrection he had burst the bonds of space and time and could be recognized as not only Lord and Christ but as Sat purusha, the archetypal Man of Vedic tradition in whom every member of the human race can recognize the truth of his or her being” (Grant 2002: 72)

(—Ch.2, pp.140-141, TOWARD AN OPEN EUCHARIST, Richard Kearney, in Ritual Participation and Interreligious Dialogue Boundaries, Transgressions and Innovations, Edited by Marianne Moyaert and Joris Geldhof, 2015)

The world longs for unity. 

Unity is the root reality of Being.

Why are we so slow to notice?

Why is it such a struggle to practice what we know in our bones and in our sight to be true? 

Practice seeing!

A haiku:

Author: Kaga Chiyome


朝顔に 釣瓶とられて もらひ水

Asagao ni/Tsurube torare te/Morai mizu


The well-bucket is

Taken by the morning glory

Going to a neighbour for water.