Saturday, March 28, 2015

still changing

That’s what stillness is. It is the point of exchange.

Where past hands off to future what is there at present.

And what is there at present?


Exchanging between what was and what will be what is changing.

The present moment, then, is what is, changing.

And stillness is the exchange.

Mark this -- to be still is to become the exchange.

Movement evades. Stillness becomes.

The purpose of meditation (if it had a purpose) would be to see the change as it is happening.

Stillness is change as it is becoming what it will always be -- a transitional home to impermanence.

Nothing lasts.

Everything else is changing into what is becoming itself.

Stillness is the awakening encounter between what is becoming itself and what is no longer itself.

What is no longer itself is stillness becoming something else.

See this and see that.

See this and that and see what is pivoting toward what is not known.

Now, this instant, is not knowing becoming known as that which can only be the experience of change as the one thing that doesn’t change.

Change is the one changeless reality of human existence.

That is worth knowing.

Be still.

And know that.

I am.

(You are.)


Thursday, March 26, 2015

it's all true, not one thing is true

Who knows the heart of a human being?

A plane dives downward into side of mountain.

Who is willing to ride the final 30 seconds with those in the plane?

The human mind need not break the world down into terrorist or traumatized.

We must find our way between these two possibilities.

We must die to the distinction.

We must deliberate and attempt to see everything all at once from every side.

And at the end the willingness to live as if you were everyone is how the long musing becomes empty silent awareness

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Don't do what God wouldn't do

God does not see sin.

Why should we?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

looking through notes

Listening to Public Radio while looking through notes.

“This is how we come to be where we are: someone finds us, and we are their message.” (wfh, 25mar1998)

I was writing about a small wood sign found on bank of Shenandoah River hanging on sticks matted with leaves and mud after what must have been a river rise from up-country Virginia. It still hangs from cut Yew bush alongside barn in Maine as sun rises over Melvin Heights off Molyneaux Road.
The first of these is meditation on the rarity of human birth: how, among the beings that populate the six realms of rebirth, those reborn as humans with access to the Buddha’s teaching are incredibly rare. The second meditation is on the certainty of death and the uncertainty of the time of death, the recognition that one will definitely die, yet the time of death is utterly indefinite. The third preliminary practice is to meditate on the workings of the law of karma, how negative deeds done in the past will always ripen as suffering and how over the beginningless cycle of rebirth each of us has committed countless crimes. The prospect of eternal suffering lies ahead. And what are those sufferings? The fourth meditation is on the faults of samsara, visualizing in detail the tortures of the eight hot hells and the eight cold hells, the four neighboring hells, and the various trifling hells; the horrible hunger and thirst suffered by ghosts; the sufferings of animals, the sufferings of humans that we know so well, even the sufferings of gods. For in Buddhism, the gods also suffer.
The goal of such meditation is to cause one to regard this life as a prisoner regards his or her prison, to cause one to strive to escape from this world with the urgency that a person whose hair is on fire seeks to douse the flames. The goal of such meditation, in other words, is stress induction. This stress is the result of a profound dissatisfaction with the world. Rather than seeking a sense of peaceful satisfaction with the unfolding of experience, the goal of this practice is to produce a state of mind that is highly judgmental, indeed judging this world to be like a prison. This sense of dissatisfaction is regarded as an essential prerequisite for progress on the Buddhist path. Far from seeking to become somehow “nonjudgmental,” the meditator is instructed to judge all the objects of ordinary experience as scarred by three marks: impermanence, suffering, and no self.
What, then, are we to do?
One of the most famous statements in Buddhist literature occurs in the Diamond Sutra, where the Buddha says to the monk Subhuti:
In this regard, Subhuti, one who has set out on the bodhisattva path should have the following thought, “I should bring all living beings to final extinction in the realm of extinction without substrate remaining. But after I have brought living beings to final extinction in this way, no living being whatsoever has been brought to extinction.” Why is that? If, Subhuti, the idea of a living being were to occur to a bodhisattva, or the idea of a soul or the idea of a person, he should not be called a bodhisattva. Why is that? There is no dharma called “one who has set out on the bodhisattva path.”
(from, Tricycle, Winter 2012, The Scientific BuddhaWhy do we ask that Buddhism be compatible with science?Donald S. Lopez, Jr.)

Four billion dollars will flow from the U.S. to Afghanistan this year.

And many doctors do not tell their patients that their diagnosis is Alzheimer’s.

Monday, March 23, 2015

reducing and increasing

Then I learn of Pierre Hadot.
It was around this time that Pierre Hadot began to study and lecture on Marcus Aurelius – studies that would culminate in his edition of the Meditations,left unfinished at his death, and especially in his book The Inner Citadel (Hadot 1998). Under the influence of his wife Ilsetraut, who had written an important work on spiritual guidance in Seneca (Hadot 1969), Hadot now began to accord more and more importance to the idea of spiritual exercises, that is, philosophical practices intended to transform the practitioner’s way of looking at the world and consequently his or her way of being. Following Paul Rabbow, Hadot held that the famous Exercitia Spiritualia of Ignatius of Loyola, far from being exclusively Christian, were the direct heirs of pagan Greco-Roman practices. These exercises, involving not just the intellect or reason, but all of a human being’s faculties, including emotion and imagination, had the same goal as all ancient philosophy: reducing human suffering and increasing happiness, by teaching people to detach themselves from their particular, egocentric, individualistic viewpoints and become aware of their belonging, as integral component parts, to the Whole constituted by the entire cosmos. In its fully developed form, exemplified in such late Stoics as Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius, this change from our particularistic perspective to the universal perspective of reason had three main aspects. First, by means of the discipline of thought, we are to strive for objectivity; since, as the Stoics believe, what causes human suffering is not so much things in the world, but our beliefs about those things, we are to try to perceive the world as it is in itself, without the subjective coloring we automatically tend to ascribe to everything we experience (“That’s lovely,” “that’s horrible,” “that’s ugly,” “that’s terrifying,” etc.). Second, in the discipline of desire, we are to attune our individual desires with the way the universe works, not merely accepting that things happen as they do, but actively willing for things to happen precisely the way they do happen. This attitude is, of course, the ancestor of Nietzsche’s “Yes” granted to the cosmos, a “yes” that immediately justifies the world’s existence.Finally, in the discipline of action, we are to try to ensure that all our actions are directed not just to our own immediate, short-term advantage, but to the interests of the human community as a whole.  
(--from Philosophy as a Way of Life: Ancients and Moderns – Essays in Honor of Pierre Hadot, First Edition. Edited by Michael Chase, Stephen R. L. Clark, and Michael McGhee.2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Published 2013 by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.) 
Who, along with Jean-Luc Marion, and D.G. Leahy come visiting the midcoast curiosity of a retiring hermit in suspect seclusion.

reminder, memorial

Noting is not nothing.

Practice noting. Practice remembering. Try to recall.
ὑπόμνημα , ατοςτόA. reminder, memorial, “ἔχειν ὑπομνήματά τινος”  Th.2.44; “ἵν᾽ τοῖς ἐπιγιγνομένοις  τῆς τῶν βαρβάρων ἀσεβείας” Isoc. 4.156, cf. 73; “τῆς ἀρετῆς μᾶλλον  τοῦ σώματοςκαταλιπεῖν”  Id.2.36, cf. D.23.210τοιούτοις χρώμενοςὑπομνήμασιν such means of remembrance, Pl.Phdr.249c; freq. in Inscrr., e.g. “ὅπως τῆς ἡμέρας ταύτης , . . στεφανηφορεῖν Ἐρετριεῖς πάντας”  IG12(9).192.5 (Eretria, iv B. C.); ἀνθέμεν ὗν ἀργύρεον ὑπόμνα_μα τᾶς ἀμαθίας ib.42(1).121.39 (Epid., iv B. C.).
2. tomb, Ath.Mitt.29.294, al. (Mysia).
II. reminder, mention, in a speech, Th.4.126; in a letter, X.An.1.6.3; esp. written reminder, memorandum, Ζήνωνι παρὰ Διονυσίουτῷφέροντί σοι τὸ ., PCair.Zen.307.1,19 (iii B. C.), cf. 301.1, al. (iii B. C.).
2. note or memorandum entered by a tradesman in his day-book, ὑπόμνημαἀπεγράψατο he had a note made of it, D.49.30, cf. 28.6; of bankers, εἰώθασινὑπομνήματα γράφεσθαι ὧν διδόασι χρημάτων. . Id.49.5.
3. mostly in pl., memoranda, notes,Hp.Art.34 (but prob. a gloss), Pl.Phdr.276dγράφεινγράψασθαι,Id.Plt.295cTht.143a.
4. minutes of the proceedings of a public body, public records, “τὰ κατ᾽ ἄρχοντας .” Plu.2.867a, cf. D.S. 1.4Luc.Dem.Enc.26, etc.; τὰ τῆς βουλῆς . the acts of the Senate, D.C.78.22ἐπὶ τῶν τῆς συγκλήτου, = Lat. a commentariis, IG4.588 (Argos, ii A. D.), 5(1).533 (Sparta, ii A. D.); “ἐπὶ τῶν καταστῆσαί τινα”  J.AJ7.5.4, cf. LXX 2 Ki.8.16 (quoted by J.l. c.); records of a magistrate, POxy.1252r.26 (iii A. D.), etc.; including his decisions, Mitteis Chr.372 iv 20(ii A. D.), POxy.911.8 (iii A. D.), etc.
5. dissertations or treatises written by philosophers, rhetoricians, and artists, Archyt. ap. D.L.8.80 sq., Sotad.Com.1.35Demetr.Lac.Herc.1014.67Longin.44.12D.L.4.4; of historical or geographical works, Plb., etc.; of medical works, Gal.6.460,691, al. (the same work is called . and σύγγραμμα in 15.1).
b. division, section, 'book' of such a treatise, Phld.Mus.p.92 K., Po.5.26PMed. in Arch.Pap.4.270.
c. explanatory notes, commentaries,Sch.Ar.Av.1242, etc.; of the Homeric commentaries of Aristarch., Sch.Il.2.420, al.; εἰ γὰρ τὰσυγγράμματα (Aristarchus' independent treatises on Homeric questions) τῶν ὑπομνημάτωνπροτάττοιμεν . . Did. ap. Sch.Il.2.111; so Gal. distinguishes ὑπομνήματα(clinical notes) from συγγράμματα of Hippocrates, 16.532,543; and the συγγράμματα of Hp. from his own commentaries (ὑπομνήματα) on them, ib.811commentary, οὕτω Θέων ἐν τῷ εἰς Θεόκριτον Et.Gud.d. s.v. γρῖπος.III. draft or copy of a letter, Pl.Ep.363e.
IV. memorial, petition, addressed to a magistrate, whereas the “ἔντευξις”  4 is in form addressed to the king, IG12(3).327.4 (Egypt, iii B. C.), BGU1007.1 (iii B. C.), PTeb. 30.10, al. (ii B. C.), UPZ23.228.3 (ii B. C.), etc.
2. notification, e.g. of birth, PFay.28.12 (ii A. D.); of removal, POxy.251.29 (i A. D.), etc.
Been thinking about the classical education I stumbled through those years ago.

Remember it well?

Who can forget.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

finding old writing book

is the secret
of zen -- 
is the mystery
of Christian way: 
So -- now
you understand,
what is holding you 
from freedom?
And do not
(wfh, 24mar1998)
This morning I heard On Being with Krista Tippett interviewing Alan Dienstag. They speak about Alzheimer’s. He told of a woman whose husband was slipping into the dark hole of forgetting. She was becoming increasingly distraught at her husband’s recurring failure to recognize her.

Each visit she’d ask him if he knew who she was. Sometimes he did, many times he didn’t. One day she arrived, asked him her question, and waited for his response. He looked at her and said, “I don’t know who you are, but I love you.”

A perfect answer. It was what she needed to hear.

Emptiness suggests each thing is itself. Every itself is relational. And transitory.

In Buddhism, if everything is impermanent, then so too is death impermanent.