Saturday, January 10, 2009

We seem not to want a radical equality. We settle for feint gratitude toward our dominators. Who, in turn, feed off our false submission.

It's a matter of mind. Mind which must somersault. To return to itself.
People ask the way to Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain – the road doesn’t go through
By summer the ice still hasn’t melted
Sunrise is a blur beyond the fog
Imitating me – how can you get here
My heart and yours aren’t the same
If your heart was like mine
You’d return to the very center

- Han-shan
Maybe it's simpler than begging something from someone. Maybe radical equality is radical emptiness in the Buddhist sense. Interconnected and at root of a piece, we have only to remember origin to retrieve grace.
Politically, Rancière favors the concept of equality. "Politics exists when the figure of a specific subject is constituted, a supernumerary subject in relation to the calculated number of groups, places, and functions in a society" (p. 51). Translated into layman’s English, Rancière is saying that politics is the struggle of an unrecognized party for equal recognition in the established order. Esthetics is bound up in this battle, Rancière argues, because the battle takes place over the image of society -- what it is permissible to say or to show.
(--from, RANCIÈRE, FOR DUMMIES, by Ben Davis, review of Jacques Rancière, The Politics of Aesthetics, 116 pp., Continuum, 2006)
A beautiful thing is beautiful of itself.





Friday, January 09, 2009

It's no mystery what life will be for us after death. It will be how we live now. If we want to know about there, look here. What thoughts, acts, feelings, behaviors we value and cultivate now, we see a prelude of life then.

Life is, after all, analogous.
Sitting by a teapot in a room bathed with pure breezes and moonbeams, one can read the mind of Heaven in every thing. Walking along a running brook in the clouded mountain, one can observe the mysteries of Tao in every moment.
- Hung Ying-ming 1596
In Protective Custody pod early today one of the men spoke of how we use only (at best) 15% of brain consciousness potential. What of the remaining 85%?

Our calculative knowledge is limited to senses, emotions, and mind.

Is the soul's sphere of influence the realm beyond any knowing?

There's not much we know or can know.

Knowledge belongs to mind and body.

Soul, on the other hand, doesn't know anything -- not now, not then, not ever.

Soul is the thing itself dwelling as itself with/in The Itself.


Beyond perception. Unknown. A co-inhabited cosmotheandric space.

Soul co-originates no other as nothing to be known.

Three conversations; ten inmates; two of us.

Heaven enough for today.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

We asked a man for a house to serve retreat, respite, and hospitality.

He did not see a way to give it to us.

This arrival at zero is love.
Anyone who fails to love can never have known God,
because God is love.

(from 1John4:7-10)
We asked the Wholly Dawning One for guidance. Would this vision take form now?

There was no discernible response but for the view from here the viewing eyes and what is to be seen interviewing silence.

And that too is love.
Love does not alter the beloved, it alters itself.
(--Soren Kierkegaard)
Everything, even the horror of war in Middle East, has to pass through love.

There is no place else to go. No place, as Rilke says, that does not see you.

Itself is all we are.

To find oneself, as itself -- in zero glance of silence -- is nothing else if not itself love.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No rising above. In the craft of Acting, it's better not to rise above someone on stage with you. The audience will always sympathize with the one risen above. Speak to, not down to.

Snow, falling, seeks low ground. Except over the ocean. Silent emptiness says -- Look forward to the next life.
Snow obstructs my brushwood
Door with me inside alone
One by one coral branches
Break in winter woods.
In the light of dawn
Mountain green is gone
If the plums have finished
Blooming I for one can’t tell

- Han-shan Te-ch’ing (1546-1623)
Silver tone at dusk over water as sleet slices along mountain.

Damnation is a damnable doctrine. That's what irked Darwin. He, and many of us, favors a benevolence of passage to places we cannot fathom.
Snow On The Backs Of Animals

There is a peacefulness
when snow falls like this, over everything,
and keeps on falling, windlessly,
on fence rails and ditches, made level now,
filling the upturned pail in the yard,
wiping the field clear of corn stubble, even
smothering the news and anyone
attempting to reach us.

A man walks out on a night like this
and the darkness weighs down his arms.
He forgets his purpose, stumbles,
gives up whatever it was he wanted
and enters the bodies of his friends,
growing deep and luminous.

(Poem "Snow on the Backs of Animals," by Dan Gerber, Wynn Books, 1986)
Not long ago it seemed an ending was sure to simply end this awareness of next word and next sound and next breath.

Evolution does not replace religion.

Religion tells the story of how we grew into the awareness of how stories tell the emergence of awareness of God evolving within us.

It snows up and down the harbor.

Not rising above, not falling below. 

Only this telling the story.
Note: Snow and sleet, we retreat, we're closed until tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009



(I couldn't pass that up.)
Bowing is a very serious practice. You should be prepared to bow, even in your last moment. Even though it is impossible to get rid of our self-centered desires, we have to do it. Our true nature wants us to. Sometimes the disciple bows to the master, sometimes the master bows to the disciple. A master who cannot bow to his disciple cannot bow to the Buddha. Sometimes the master and disciple bow together to the Buddha. Sometimes we may bow to cats and dogs.
- Shunryu Suzuki (1904-1971)
A man I know gave me a knife today. A chance meeting at Good Will. An invitation. Coffee at his home. Words of distress. He brings knife. He wanted me to leave with it. It had begun to play with his wrist. He wanted that game over. He was arranging help with professionals who know this crisis. He says he trusts in prayer. We part in promise of that trust.
Day by day we bless you, Lord: we praise you for ever and for ever.
Of your goodness, Lord, keep us without sin for today.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.
Let your pity, Lord, be upon us, as much as we trust in you.
In you, Lord, I trust: let me never be put to shame.

(--from Te Deum, on Feast of the Epiphany)
Love made visible also has a sound. It is the sound of our emptiness telling us we are interconnected. We feel one another's inner reality.

Those who cannot see or hear are lucky.

I prefer the unlucky.

I bow to them.

We've nothing. Not worthy. As wise visit.

We're fragile gift. Completely worth this manifestation. As wisdom seeks us.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Alzheimer's people and Zen practitioners both lose their mind. One chooses to.

Where do we go when we go out of our mind?
Sunday Morning
by Tom Sexton

Come down and do your crossword. I worry
when you stay in bed. Last night's early frost
killed the sweet peas but not our patch of berries.
Seven across just might be Limberlost.
The morning paper says a man with Alzheimer's
has wandered off to find his long dead wife.
He told an aide he knows just where to find her.
All he has with him is a butter knife.
Hurry down. I want to see you grimace
when you might be stumped. Five down is breath.
The day is quickly turning cold and grim.
Do you remember a Mary Elizabeth?
The raspberries in your white bowl
are bright and firm and very, very cold.
(- Poem, "Sunday Morning" by Tom Sexton, from A Clock with No Hands. Adastra Press, 2007.)
We go no-where.

We forget that.

Being now-here without recollection is a very mixed state of affairs.
When the Buddha was a Bodhisattva

"Bhikkhus [Monks], before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisattva, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth; being myself subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I sought what was also subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow and defilement. Then I considered thus: "Why, being myself subject to birth, do I seek what is also subject to birth? Why, being myself subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow and defilement, do I seek what is also subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow and defilement? Suppose that, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, I seek the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbana [Nirvana]. Suppose that, being myself subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow and defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to aging, sickness, death, sorrow and defilement, I seek the unaging, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbana.'"

(-- from Ariyapariyesana Sutta, in The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, trans. by Bhikkhu Bodhi)
Once I was afraid to not know who I am, not know what I am.

Now I don't.

Say hello anyway.

I will.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The ruse went as follows: someone proposed a contest -- who could hit the other person's arm the lightest? The first person, not seeing the trick coming, taps lightly. The other person, in sheer brutal swing, flattens the gullible contestant and walks away laughing, saying "You win!"

Israel plays this game well.
Life’s fortune and misfortune are caused entirely by the mind. Shakymuni said: “A burning desire for gain is a pit of fire, and an indulgence in greed is a sea of suffering. Once our mind is purified, a flame is turned into a pool; and once our mind awakens us from a dream of worldliness, our ship of life is anchored along the shore of the Great Beyond.” Hence, a slight change of the mind can suddenly make a different situation. Should we not be careful?
- Hung Ying-ming 1596
It is Epiphany. It is said God was recognized in the form of a child. The creator becomes the created. A new game is introduced: What would humans do if God tapped their shoulder lightly?

Of course we should be careful.

If you ask for God, you have to be ready to meet God when God shows up.

I pray the slaughter in Gaza stops.

The meaning is clear: no punches!