Saturday, September 12, 2015

dialogue with a student

re mindfulness and reincarnation
1. "I pass someone on the street, or in a store and we make eye contact, and these is a feeling of connection that we experience that goes deeper than acknowledgment of each other's presence."
2. What could someone have possibly done to be born into some of the horrendous suffering that exists in this world? (KO)
re 1: That kind of experience is riveting. You just “know" there's a connection, but unsure how, where, when. It is a ponderable moment.
re 2: Also a perplexing consideration.
I prefer (reading your words) to think of it this way: If pleasure/pain, joy/sorrow, safe/endangered are mirror images of one another, the front/back of hand -- you might argue that our ordinary preference for one over the other is a natural (and quite reasonable) preference.
And yet, we might be viewing karma in a narrow manner -- as punishment or reward. If karma, as defined, is: 
karma |ˈkärmənoun(in Hinduism and Buddhismthe sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.• informal destiny or fate, following as effect from cause.
...then we might look at the words "sum" and "person" for perspective.
Sum suggests whole. Person suggests "sounding through" (its literal translation from Latin 'per' 'sona'.) 
By limiting the effects of karma to only "my" limited experience, my life, my circumstance -- I am in a quandary as to why I am suffering unpleasant effects from what causes -- what in heaven's name did I do? 
Is it possible that we are too narrowly defining "I, my, me" and missing a wider plausibility? That plausibility asks: Is there not meanness in the world? Do not some individuals choose to hurt other individuals? Are not some of us mostly insensitive to the dignity and honor due to each individual? 
What I am suggesting is that the karma any individual does experience might be the result of the participatory and interconnected nature of existence, a quality of existence we are mostly unaware of, and that I am experiencing not only my karmic effects but also the karmic effects of others.
And here's the kicker: If we choose to hold that somehow God or Karma have a hand in our lives, is it possible that there is a portioning out of difficult effects to those deemed ready or strong enough to take on troubling circumstances (poverty, illness, mistreatment) so as to transform the ill-effects of these factors into beneficial effects going forward? Do we have a hand in the ongoing transformation or purification of existence for the benefit of all? Is there some complicity on our part as individuals to (consciously? unconsciously?) take on some of what the "world" dishes out as dirt and hurt for the purpose of hearing and helping?
To push the metaphor further: Is this what Christ in his way, or Buddha in his, or Edith Stein in her way, or Rachel Corrie in hers -- were doing, taking on, embodying, transforming, and moving through for others?
If Jose Ortega y Gassett is right ("I am I and my circumstances,") -- might there be many among us who by their awareness, affirmation, and attentive presence are carrying burdens that seem too large for their personal well-being, but suggesting of a grace and dignity and generosity that fills us with compassion and the desire to serve?
I don't know. Just asking.
(Thanks for prompting me into this philosophical meditation!)

prescinding after the whole

poetry is 

what is






and full 

with feeling

Friday, September 11, 2015

who wants to know?

So many were murdered 14 years ago today.

By whom?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

they're ok

"Nothing is itself taken alone. Things are because of interrelations or interactions." (Wallace Stevens, in Adagia)

Itself, taken alone, is nothing. 


Emptiness, shunyata, is itself nothing alone.

How is it we fear God?

How is it we fear nothingness?

How are things?

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Un fathom able

Of a sudden

Slips away

Here nor there

talking with friend on porch after midnight

The mind is complicated. There is no out-smarting it. Only, ask for what is within your whole being to see clearly, acknowledge simply, and forgive kindly what mind manipulates.

Monday, September 07, 2015

poetry as prelude to and postlude following meditative philosophy

Sometimes we have to hear something two or three times.
Poem by Jeremy Radin - “As My Father Has His Heart Attack...”
Even then, the questions that linger still sit in the dark on the porch. 

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Labor Day eve

Heavy lids.
Shainberg: Kyudo Roshi likens the breath during zazen to a windshield wiper, each inhalation and exhalation simply cleaning the dust from one's mind the way the wiper cleans a windshield. 
Matthiessen: Kyudo's teacher, Soen, always cried, "FEET ON THE GROUND!" Eido Roshi too. They seemed to despise so-called "mystical experience," knowing that in feet-on-the-ground practice you really are living moment after moment, breath after breath, moment-by-moment awakening of mind, and in such a condition an opening is almost inevitable, so why talk about it? These teachers, of course, are not repudiating realization. They're simply saying: Pay attention to this moment. Clean your toilet. Have a cup of tea. I could give teisho for a hundred years and all I'm ever teaching, in the end, is moment-by-moment awakening of mind. Again: Pay attention to this moment. Right here! Now! Pay attention! Pay attention! Pay attention!

(from, Emptying the Bell An Interview with Peter MatthiessenLawrence Shainberg,Tricucle, Fall 1993) 
All those beings? May they be happy, safe, free, and come to dwell in their true home!