Saturday, February 20, 2016

a different now


Grey cat rousts white dog from under desk for Saturday vigils. He takes refuge on narrow bed.

Town plow goes by swiping snow to roadside. I bump thermostat in winter zendo for morning sitting. I add wood to wohnkuche woodstove.
Aperi, Domine, os meum ad benedicendum Nomen sanctum tuum; munda quoque cor meum ab omnibus vanis, perversis et alienis cogitationibus; intel- lectum illumina, affectum inflamma, ut digne, attente ac devote hoc Officium recitare valeam, et exaudiri merear ante conspectum divinae Maiestatis tuae. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.
O Lord, open Thou my mouth to bless Thy holy name; cleanse my heart also from all vain, evil and wandering thoughts; enlighten my understanding , kindle my af- fections, that I may be able to recite this Office worthily, attentively and devoutly, and may deserve to be heard in the presence of Thy divine Majesty. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

If I were to breathe my last and fall to unbreath, I would look to all that surrounds -- human animal insect element -- and thank each, requesting they carry on, my life, that is, life itself, for me.
Upanishad means the inner or mystic teaching. The term Upanishad is derived from upa (near), ni (down) and s(h)ad (to sit), i.e., sitting down near. Groups of pupils sit near the teacher to learn from him the secret doctrine. In the quietude of the forest hermitages the Upanishad thinkers pondered on the problems of deepest concerns and communicated their knowledge to fit pupils near them. Samkara derives the word Upanishad as a substitute from the root sad, 'to loosen.,' 'to reach' or 'to destroy' with Upa and ni as prefixes and kvip as termination. If this determination is accepted, upanishad means brahma-knowledge by which ignorance is loosened or destroyed. The treatises that deal with brahma-knowledge are called the Upanishads and so pass for the Vedanta. The different derivations together make out that the Upanishads give us both spiritual vision and philosophical argument. There is a core of certainty which is essentially incommunicable except by a way of life. It is by a strictly personal effort that one can reach the truth.The Upanishads more clearly set forth the prime Vedic doctrines like Self-realization, yoga and meditation, karma and reincarnation, which were hidden or kept veiled under the symbols of the older mystery religion. The older Upanishads are usually affixed to a particularly Veda, through a Brahmana or Aranyaka. The more recent ones are not. The Upanishads became prevalent some centuries before the time of Krishna and Buddha.
I have no interest or concern for any individual afterlife reincarnation immortality rebirth reward or punishment heaven or hell or even nirvana bliss or moksha release. What goes round comes around; what falls flat goes splat. Water drops from house roof to porch roof as dog snores.

"If today you hear God's voice, harden not your heart." (--from Invitatory psalm)

The sound of one hand clapping is night flight through snow cloud off to northwest.

It is, different now, I see.

Oremus pro invicem!

Friday, February 19, 2016

just another 90 minutes in maximum security segregation talking the Upanishads

Through the plexiglass, using speakerphone, shackles unlocked, orange threads, we talked of divine ground, tat tvam asi, indivisible unity, prana and prajna, neti neti, and self entering heart.

Prison is prison.

But no separate self is no separate self.

We three were that. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I watched the traffic stop of Sandra Bland for 40+ minutes

It is chilling what police can do to ordinary people.
“Law is the politics of the past frozen into ice blocks, which must be melted from time to time. Otherwise, law is the dead weight of the past on the present.
(--Marcus G. Raskin, p.299, in, Essays of a Citizen, From National Security State to Democracy, c.1991)
Tomorrow, yes tomorrow someone can rewrite the law to let the jailed and imprisoned go home.

Except for Ms. Bland and so many others now dead.

Much the way power corrupts.

Without real understanding.

Without compassion.

after 600 miles driving Maine along northern border and down its eastern edge

My dear departed farmer friend, Richard  (d. 2007) -- (“Dick the Republican,” as one inmate called him when he used to come in for meetingbrook conversations at prison) -- would shake his head, having often said, “Stay away from politics!” 

...   ...   ...

A College Education for Prisoners


ama nesciri

 camden maine 2 days ago
I teach college courses in a maximum security prison. Let’s agree on one thing: ignorance and stupidity are not our best next door neighbors, whether inmates/former inmates or legislators/punishers inside or outside of prison.

I find the men change with knowledge and accomplishment. This could happen to all of us if we were to change our minds from a template of punish/revenge to educate/compassion.

One more thing. I have been educated beyond expectation by these men. Try it. Affiliate yourself with a prison education program. Be changed. Learn what it takes to overcome a history of unseeing. Become seers of possibility and hope.
All it costs is the loss of fear and a new currency of longing for a tangible equality.
...   ...   ...

Republicans See How Long They Can Hold Their Breath

ama nesciri

 camden maine 10 minutes ago

I'm pleased President Obama is an intelligent man. He knows the difference between a Moe, Larry, and Curly schtik and the posturing theatrics of Marco, Mitch, and Ted.
The Three Stooges made wonderful parodies of human foolishness. Today we don't need make-believe television, we have candidates for the highest office and holders of esteemed leadership positions on Capital Hill slapping one another in the head and tripping over booby traps they drop under their own feet.
The President, I trust, will continue to do his job with dignity and composure which will be to nominate someone for the Supreme Court in a timely manner. I hope it is someone who will judge wisely and well.
As for the current bunch running for a new reality tv show, I’d suggest cream pies, squirting lapel flowers, powder puff makeup bops, and a tiny car in the center ring to climb out of to the sound of Wurlitzer and cotton candy machine.
...   ...   ...
Ok, Richard, I’m done. 
By the way -- how are things in the realm/time post-body? I miss your suspenders and empty tea cup.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

there is, Merton writes, no spiritual life

Out of silence, everything.

Here, Thomas Merton's words:
As for spiritual life: what I object to about [the phrase] ‘the Spiritual Life’ is the fact that it is a part, a section, set off as if it were a whole. It is an aberration to set off our ‘prayer’ etc. from the rest of our existence, as if we were sometimes spiritual, sometimes not. As if we had to resign ourselves to feeling that the unspiritual moments were a dead loss. That is not right at all, and because it is an aberration, it causes an enormous amount of useless suffering. Our ‘life in the Spirit’ is all-embracing, or should be. First it is the response of faith receiving the word of God, not only as a truth to be believed but as a gift of life to be lived in total submission and pure confidence. Then this implies fidelity and obedience, but a total fidelity and a total obedience. From the moment that I obey God in everything, where is my ‘spiritual life’? It is gone out the window, there is no spiritual life, only God and His word and my total response."  
(— Thomas Merton, extract from a letter to Etta Gullick, an Oxford scholar with whom he had an extensive correspondence during the last eight years of his lifeThe Hidden Ground of Love: The Letters of Thomas Merton on Religious Experience and Social Concerns, ed. William H. Shannon (NY: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1985), p 357. From louie, louie blogspot, 17feb16)
We read the word of God when we open our shut eyes and see whatever appears before them. There is a scripture of creation, a scripture of person, and a scripture of language.

They are each the word.

Silence, the whole of Word Itself, is backdrop, foundation, and beyond, of Holy Presence. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

what is the sound of an unringing bell

Perhaps what we call 'God' is compassion arising when we allow what is presenting itself to be felt and experienced with our attentive presence.

We don't fix God. We don't fear God. We don't ignore or deny God.

We attend. We feel. We allow the sight of God to surround and enter us.

This awareness of what is, this awareness of God, this aware holismic engagement and involvement (even without understanding or overt knowledge) of things-as-they-now-are becomes for us an attitude of prayer.

Prayer becomes our stance in the world.

Present, attentive, engaged.

Not fixing. Not fearing. Not ignoring nor denying.

But there. With this. As oneself.

God be with you. God be with us. 

God be our prayerful active contemplation and contemplative prayer of acts and actions extended through us into the world we inhabit.

For this difficult time, may we be what we are, may God be what God is, and may we find ourselves prayer and compassion as we are where we are.

Look around. Perhaps this is what God looks like, looks as, and looks for -- us looking and acting with loving presence and suffering compassion.

Perhaps the Buddha wanted us to know that the end of suffering is compassion.

Perhaps the Christ wanted us to know that the end of compassion is suffering.

Perhaps this koan looks around for a bell to ring it out the door.

Fort Kent, St John River, St John Valley, later afternoon, looking across to Canada 

Monday, February 15, 2016

We spoke of compassion and empathy at Sunday Evening Practice

Sangha sister writes telling of difficult history and painful family circumstances.

After silence:

I bow to that in you
that feels the suffering
with longing for compassion
as the broken slowly heals


oh well

Minus eleven degrees outside (-11) now.

Deep snow from recent storm atop everything low and high.

Then, tomorrow afternoon, just about (+50) fifty degrees,

Ice dams is a'comin!


Benevolent attention to any coming into field of awareness.

A voluntary simplicity.

Accepting everything and nothing as not yours but belonging to itself.




This being this reality.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

through the whole

 Quoting Jamie Manson’s profile of Ilia Delio in the National Catholic Reporter, (Aug. 2014), an excerpt:
The word “universal" does not adequately capture the rich meaning of katholikos as the ancient Greeks used it. “Katholikos means ‘through the whole' or 'throughout the whole,'" she says. “It connotes an active consciousness of the whole or a seeking to make whole.” 
But by the third century, "catholic" became less about a whole-making process and more about orthodoxy. Eventually, it was employed to distinguish orthodoxy from heresy. 
"We know that Jesus was a Jew, but he was 'catholic' in the sense that he was a whole-maker," Delio says. “He came to bring life and bring it to the fullest." 
"Jesus taught us that salvation is about whole-making and healing," she continues, "It's not this grace of being rescued from a depraved, fallen world. It's that grace of love that heals us. I think that's what it means to be saved: to be healed and to be whole and to be sent on our way to be whole-makers ourselves." 
If Catholicity has shriveled in our current milieu, it's because it has shrunken into a legalistic set of propositions and rules. Religious belief, Delio believes, loses its power to transform anything when it no longer relates to concrete, lived reality. 
(—in Aug 15-28, 2014  NCR print issue under the headline: The evolution of Ilia Delio.)
If language, as Heidegger said, is the house of being, we must realize we are transients speaking our way through many temporary residences.

On our way; home.

replete, discrete

Good travels, Justice Scalia!

Good choosing, President Obama! 

Good grief, scouring Republicans, don't overturn card table when not your deal.

How cold?

Really cold.

That's how.