Ryonen:I ask no more of God. It no longer matters whether someone says they believe in God or another says there is no God. A theist and atheist walk into a barrier. The theist is glad to meet God. The atheist walks around it.
When Ryonen was about to pass from this
world, she wrote another poem:
Sixty-six times have these eyes beheld the
changing scene of autumn.
I have said enough about moonlight,
Ask no more.
Only listen to the voice of pines and cedars
when no wind stirs.
(--Zen Death Poem)
At 4:44 this morning the question arrived: what's the difference between alertness and fear? Someone was saying yesterday that animals live in constant alertness for danger and threat. Similarly, the prevailing method of controlling the behavior of humans is to encourage them to be afraid. Fear, not love, keeps order.
To see clearly or think clearly is to be alert.
To be anxious about the outcome, an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous or threatening to well-being, is fear.
When a man knows GodWhen "no" is established, religion forms as fear arises.
"When a man knows God, he is free: his sorrows have an end,
and birth and death are no more. When in inner union he is
beyond the world of the body, then the third world, the world
of the Spirit, is found, where the power of the All is, and man
has all: for he is one with the ONE."
From: Svetasvatara Upanishad
Nor is it necessarily to be thought that "yes" originates an alert response to what reveals itself to us. Yes is open acknowledgement that what is there is what is there. Nothing more.
Can we love what is there? Can we live without fear?
Is Hitchen's clarity about the perversity of belief, the sorrow of family at child's remains, the shock of companion's sudden collapse, the still body of teenage boy -- are these things even dared spoken about in the context of alertness or fear?
Alert sorrow (or joy), yes; dread fear (or cowering reverence), no.
I prefer my yes or no to be yes and no. Not an absolute stand sealed in cement, but a step along a path then another step moving forward as moving is called for.
No religion need establish itself. "Itself" is disorganized, fluid, free, and always unique when it appears-- or when it remains hidden from our eyes. Still, there is only "Itself."
Only Itself is, Nothing Else is.
What, I wonder, is there to fear?
A Parable of ImmortalityThe name the Buddha used to refer to himself in scriptures is Tathagata. It means: "one who has thus gone, one who has thus come." It sounds paradoxical. It probably means one is beyond coming or going, one seeing truth.
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze
and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength,
and I stand and watch until at last she hangs
like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "
Gone from my sight . . . that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar
as she was when she left my side
and just as able to bear her load of living freight
to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment
when someone at my side says,
" There she goes! "
there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .
" Here she comes! "
~Henry Van Dyke
Perhaps ours isn't to establish truth. Perhaps there is a humbler task, namely, to see what is there as it is there so shall it be there as it moves beyond to where it will next be seen.
We'd have to learn how to dwell for a while in a run-on sentence.