Today At Meetingbrook

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The writer said something like: Teach a man to shoot an arrow, and he'll probably use you for a target. (Anthony DeMello)

It is often a curious joy to be mocked by someone for no particular truth. It is a sweet humiliation that has to sit side by side with sweet accomplishment. Accept one, accept other. With equanimity.

Those who are singlemindedly seeking
The mind of enlightenment
Must not weary of this quest;
They must not give up.
Those who have not yet
Attained the mind of enlightenment
Should pray to the Buddhas of former ages,
And should also dedicate their good works
To the quest for the mind of enlightenment.

- Dogen (1200-1253)

Some think I am not a Christian because I am catholic. Some because I sit and talk with Muslims, Buddhists, and Pagans. Some because I mention fish or tree from poems as metaphoric segue to our quest for God. Some think and tell others I am not a Christian because I am not an Evangelical, not a Fundamentalist, not a Rapture person.

They are probably right. At least in their minds. There's no room there for my way of allowing Christ to be Christ.

I visit a man whose brother died today. He thanks me for the visit. Some others in segregation talk through plexiglas about this or that. The incarceration, one said between buildings, makes sunlight a rare and lovely gift. Greg brought flowers for the Communion Service. The simple solemnity and dignity of 50 men gathered in worthy presentation! Across hall in gym a power lift competition. Earlier Nadim related the historical unfolding of Shi'a and Sunni development. I give Tony a commentary on mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum."

Jesus Christ, although he shared God's nature, did not try to seize equality with God for himself; but emptied himself, took on the form of a slave, and became like a man - not in appearance only, for he humbled himself by accepting death - even death on a cross.
For this, God has raised him high, and given him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bend, in heaven, on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue will proclaim "Jesus Christ is Lord", to the glory of God the Father.

--Philippians 2

Deaths, even the ones before final breath-ceasing death, are difficult to weather. I celebrate death of my false impression of myself today. Alongside the memorial of Jesus' final supper and death on cross, we must comport ourselves with the mind of Christ.

Emptying.

Seeking no equality.

Forming service to others.

Bread of heaven; cup of salvation.

Piece by piece we disappear into Christ's emergence.

It doesn't matter anyone's opinion -- only truth is resurrected.

Friday, September 01, 2006

God is power. The kingdom of God, says John, is between us.

Between us! How responsible are we for God?

Whatever people do, whether they remain in the world as artisans, merchants, or officers of the government, let them put their whole heart into the task; let them be diligent and energetic. And if, like the lotus flower, which grows out of muddy water but remains untouched by the mud, they engage in life without cherishing envy or hatred; if they live in the world not a life of self but a life of truth, then surely joy, peace, and bliss will dwell in their minds.
- Buddhacarita

There is power. There is power before and between us. Between us is the sanctuary where truth, love, and light dwells.

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?

(Psalm 15)

We might.

If we carefully look out. If we see what is there.

If we speak into the power and form words for the benefit of each and all.

This very breath.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Singing to son as he rides bus outside Chicago on night ride home from teaching.

His birthday.

The wind is still, but blossoms fall,
Birds sing in the quiet of the mountain.
This is Kannon's wondrous wisdom:
Ah!

- Ryokan (1758-1831)

This is what we do. We salute each other as time goes by.

Thus it is that my heart rejoices, heart and soul together; while my body rests in calm hope. (From Psalm 16)

How we go on!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dizzy, I carefully attend the day.

On a trail atop White-Crane's green cliffs,
My recluse friend's home in solitude,
Step and courtyard empty of water and rock,
Forest and creek free of axe and fish trap.
Months and years perfect old pines here.
Wind and frost keep bitter bamboo sparse.
Gazing deep, ancestral ways my own again,
I set out wandering toward my simple hut.

- Meng hao-jan (689-740 C.E.)

Living between -- not this, not that -- is dizzying. The walls withdraw. No brace boundaries.

Beware! Your own foot may soon go unshod,
your own throat may grow dry.
But "Who cares?" you said
"For I am in love with strangers
and they are the ones I follow"
.
(Jeremiah 2: 24-25)

Who are these strangers? Who are these that fall out of favor? Who is it says: "Who cares?"

Let us care.

A dizzying idea.

Each one's own.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Spatial and spiritual are nearly spelled and curiously related.

Sir John Houghton tells Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason that God dwells in the 5th dimension, the spiritual dimension, and is thus able to move in and out of the first four dimensions.

Why then (we ask) not more or more often?

Evening mountains veiled in somber mist,
One path entering the wooded hill:
The monk has gone off, locking his pine door.
From a bamboo pipe a lonely trickle of water flows.

- Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672)

Agnostics say we just don't know. The One we call God is so far beyond our understanding we can only guess where, and how, and why of this One's comportment.

Fundamentalists prefer to put God in a compartment they alone access. This semblance of God is brought out to punish and judge, to sit in on triumphal acquisition meetings, and to be cited for pronouncements of controlled behavior that the fundamentalists themselves might violate but are forgiven/forget-about-it due to their special relationship having special delivered the compartment dweller.

Word-Itself cannot dwell in compartments.

Word-Itself needs be well seen.

In its aseity it is incarnational. In its eternality it is resurrectional. In its ineffable infinity it is as here and now as we are at this moment in this place wherein we find ourselves.

The word of the Lord was addressed to me asking, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" "I see a branch of the Watchful Tree," I answered. Then the Lord said, "Well seen! I too watch over my word to see it fulfilled."
(from Jeremiah 1)

Who can clearly know when/what Word-Itself will appear/say until that appearance/expression is manifest? One-Being, it might be said, is experienced in the moment where Now and Eternal intersect.

Is the absence of God actually the very sheer reality confirming the no-object, no-other, no-obtaining origin-suffusion of One-Being, Word-Itself, Breathing-Truth we'd come to call Holy-Trinity?

Theoretical physicists sit with theologians and comfort their distress over too many years alienating and separating What-Is from what is seen.

The concept of a fourth dimension is one that is often described in considering its physical implications; that is, we know that in three dimensions, we have dimensions of length (or depth), width, and height. The fourth dimension is orthogonal to the other three spatial dimensions. The cardinal directions in the three known dimensions are called up/down (altitude), north/south (longitude), and east/west (latitude). When speaking of the fourth dimension, an additional pair of terms is needed. Attested terms include ana/kata (sometimes called spissitude or spassitude), vinn/vout (used by Rudy Rucker), and upsilon/delta.
Usually, the fourth dimension is identified with time. In this case, the concept of an additional spatial dimension would be referred to as the fifth dimension.

("Fourth dimension," From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Moyers is surprised when Houghton says he finds no conflict between science and spirituality.

A Harvard physicist is profiled:
Physicists describe our everyday world as having four dimensions. The first three are the familiar width, length, and height. The fourth dimension is time, because something has to have a life span - just as it needs the three dimensions that give it shape - in order to exist.
Arkani-Hamed is investigating fifth, sixth, and higher dimensions to see what they'll tell him about the universe. He's looking for clues to the mysteries of why gravity is so weak compared with other basic forces in the universe. He's also searching for missing pieces in our understanding of the physical laws of nature.
He has theorized that space is not a basic property of these extra dimensions. Space is instead a secondary property created by other more fundamental forces. By constructing theories that remove space from the extra dimensions, he can better study those dimensions' fundamental forces. Without space, those forces can be collapsed theoretically into our own four-dimensional space, making them easier to analyze and understand.
This may seem difficult to visualize after spending a lifetime thinking in the four dimensions we call home. Additional dimensions of space may be present but have gone undetected if they are curled up to small sizes. In one description of a possible fifth dimension, our world is confined to a four-dimensional sheet floating in the fifth dimension. Some forces can be limited to traveling in the familiar four dimensions while others can travel through the extra dimensions.
Such dimension-jumping forces aren't known for sure, but Arkani-Hamed thinks one of them may be one of the most familiar in the universe: gravity.

(HARVARD GAZETTE ARCHIVES, "Deconstructing dimensions to understand the universe: Arkani-Hamed looks to extra dimensions for explanations of nature," By Alvin Powell, Gazette Staff, February 06, 2003)

Imagine One-Being, or what is called God, "curled up to small sizes."

We often ask: Where is God?

Come to earth, a comportment of humility, one's dignified manner, one's affirming conduct, seeking everywhere finding everywhere authentic response.

Outside my windows, wind-chimes sound what is passing by.

Each tolling is telling.

"Where am I not?"

After rain, a lonely trickle of water flows.

Monday, August 28, 2006

At times it's all dream.

The words used, faces moving, thoughts arriving -- seem haphazard montage of arising appearance and disintegrating phantasm. Someone claims certain knowledge. Someone looks chagrined. An intercept of passing spectre with no roots, no destination.

Your mind that each moment
shines with the light
of nondiscrimination
wherever it may be,
is the true Samantabhadra.
Your mind that each moment
frees itself
from its shackles,
everywhere knows emancipation.

- Lin chi (d.867)

The language of 9/11 has not yet been translated into intelligent discourse. Like much of human experience, things fall between twin description of crapshoot and fantasy. Like mystic listening to nothing sounding, the noise of human experience feels whimsical and insubstantial.

It's like what CJ said today about the economy. By refusing to put language to it we're trying to pretend it doesn't exist. But it's something. Even if we don't know what to call it. I just think it's time to start thinking about a language plan for whatever it is we're doing too.
(-- Josh to Amy in episode "Han," 5th Season, West Wing)

Have we a language capable of holding together the splitting energies of violent lie and comforting truth?

In that episode the title word "Han" is a Korean character portraying "sorrow, grief, incur, meet with." It is said to be a sorrow too deep for tears, yet, at end, hope.

In solitude everything holds its mysterious place.

The discourse on sexuality is usually structured on a Judeo-Christian-Muslim foundation where time is linear as is existence. When it comes to romantic love, one is obligated, in this singular vision of existence, to get it "right" within one's lifetime. Yet this is not the only religious basis for conceptualizing human existence. Hinduism and Buddhism view life as cyclical and with each new reincarnation, the possibility of additional chances at getting a compromised romantic love affair "right" can repeat itself many fold. Still, these tales retain a strong heterosexual bias. Kim Dae Sung's film Bungee Jumping on their Own (2001) challenges this heterosexual bias by playing with the possibility of having one of the romantic pair reincarnated within a re-gendered body. Thus, what began as inherently heterosexual abruptly begins anew, but this time as inherently homosexual, while each lover continues to assert his heterosexual identity. If true romance requires a spiritual dimension such that mere lovers become attached "soul mates" destined to be together repeatedly, then does the gendered body become a liability to an otherwise spiritually welcoming event? Within a Korean context, does Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism negate this possibility? How do Luke Kim's indigenous Korean core concepts of jeong (strong feeling of kinship/interpersonal trust), han (suppressed sorrow/anger), and nunchi, (the ability to evaluate people/social situations through implicit cues) turn this into a Korean-specific concern?
(from "En-Gendering Re-Gendered Romance of Multiple Lives: Reincarnation in Bungee Jumping on Their Own," by Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park, University of Notre Dame at Association for Asian Studies Annual Meeting, April 6-9 2006, San Francisco) http://www.aasianst.org/absts/2006abst/Korea/k-94.htm

Nothing is eternally revealed.

Mystics elocute this.

This and...

Only this.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rain repeats chant.

It cannot fail but fall.

Rain says, "I water the earth." It is a fine chant.

The myriad differences resolved by sitting,
All doors opened.
In this still place I follow my nature, be what it may.
From the one hundred flowers I wander freely,
The soaring cliff- my hall of meditation

- Reizan (1411)

At Episcopal church, Taize chants tonight. Candles. Harp. Cello.

The words I have spoken to you are spirit
and they are life.

- John 6:64

Jesus was helpful. He said nothing more than who and what he was.

Would we all were so helpful.

Chant continually being.

Like rain.

Falling.