Saturday, December 31, 2016

and now

We can only hope

And act

With integrity

Zen dog

Saturday morning practice.

Breathing out 2016




Friday, December 30, 2016

of the inevitable

Reading in Zen Edge (Alexander Eliot) about the Henry Adams memorial in Rock Creek Park, a comment by a Taoist woman describing it as "The intellectual acceptance of the inevitable." A phrasing that catches my attention.

And then there is this Emily Dickinson poem:

Is Heaven a physician?
   They say that He can heal;
But medicine posthumous
   Is unavailable. 
Is Heaven an exchequer?
   They speak of what we owe;
But that negotiation
   I 'm not a party to.” 
Excerpt From: Dickinson, Emily. “Poems.”
What we consider to be fact or truth is so entrapped by evanescent reconfiguration of metaphor so as to make reality merely an agreed assertion by fragmented intuition and dissipated intelligence.

Still, we endure. 

comes daylight

89,966 at 6:29am are without power. And, while our generator grouses undercover under snow by barn door, mirabile dictu, the power remains on, so far, here.


Neighbor's yard light flashes on and off. Wind gusts are strong. If our power goes, begins the faded ritual of attempting to cough the covered generator outside barn door back into service to keep sumppump working to send flowing water coming into dirt cellar out small window before water level rises to drown furnace that (oddly) is low to ground, its electronics at mercy of (further oddity) having a water stream in heavy rains and assorted melts flow in one corner of cellar to other end -- but whose exit pipe running out and under barnestown road to land across the two lane has become choked with root and debris over the decades.

Our lights flicker.

So precarious,

This life.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

nothing could be clearer

I erased all data and content from this old device.

It presents itself as empty. Ready to go again.

Surely some zen Buddhist is smiling.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

the nameless

In New Testament times they were called the Holy Innocents.

Today they are known as the children of Aleppo, Yemen, Chicago.

They die.

And we do not know why. Not really.

Perhaps they die because the minds of men are deluded.

Yes, that must be it.

What can be done?

The Four Vows of a Bodhisattva 

Sentient beings are numberless; we vow to liberate them. 
Delusions are inexhaustible; we vow to transcend them. 
Dharma teachings are boundless; we vow to master them. 
The Wisdom Way of Enlightenment is supreme; we vow to embody it.


Thanks for your efforts.

Good luck!


Secretary of State John Kerry has given his swan-song.

It’s never too late to speak what used to be called ‘truth’ to impoverished strategies.

Peace requires justice and compassion. These still are good ideas.


Now that I have the attention of Trump-attentive eyes, I want to offer my advice to those eyes and what they look at.

Politics has become a spitting contest.

I’d rather see intelligent conversation.

Instead we have sniping sarcasm and name-calling schoolyard sniggering.

Thank you for your attention.

I have every trust we will soon tire of pedantry and posturing and return to what once made us a good enough place to live -- civil discourse, wise counsel, and inclusive thinking.

Go, and spin no more! 

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

that kind, of day

Not a step outside

Not a word extra --

No, one, here

sound breathing nothing prayer

I was thinking about prayer

But nothing came

But rain

On porch roof

So, listening a while

To nothing

But the sound

Breathing through

The night

Prayer disappeared

And I followed

Monday, December 26, 2016

the absurd; response to life

There is so much wrong in the world. And so many willing to preserve wrong for their benefit.

A hard time coming is envisioned.
The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.[…]I draw from the absurd three consequences, which are my revolt, my freedom, and my passion. By the mere activity of consciousness I transform into a rule of life what was an invitation to death — and I refuse suicide. 
(--Albert Camus)
 Celebrating birth and light this season we look for reasons to live.

Perhaps there are no reasons to live, there is only life with its unreasonable invitation to choose life.

I trust the absurd. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

this night of this day

This is what the day has come to --

Interior contemplation --
In winter zendo --

In solitude --

Walking meditation after shikantaza sitting -- statue of Buddha, Joseph, Mary, and Jesus on ladder altar with candle in front of mudra hands in meditation posture --

It is what the day came to --


pronouncing across traditions, a hierophantic showing/sounding

No-na Wu

(i.e. -- no-name with-us)

At least, for today.

no-name, with-us


(We say)



We are


Saturday, December 24, 2016

come to think of it

No room


the inn

So, Christ took

room within

αὐτός êpha; Christmas is newborn wholeness of being

An assertion for which no proof is offered, nothing other than the saying of it by someone.
Latin, literally “[s]he (the master) said it,” translation of Greek autos epha, phrase used by disciples of Pythagoras when quoting their master. Hence, "an assertion made without proof, resting entirely on the authority of the speaker" (1590s), ipsedixitism "practice of dogmatic assertion" (1830, Bentham), etc. 
At some point in almost any conversation you can expect someone to partially raise their hand and say, “I’m just sayin’!” While this seems to be a New York locution intended to disclaim offense, it nevertheless serves to place in perspective the fact that what is being said is being said for its own saying, in itself, without the typical antagonism or incitement associated with such a statement or pronouncement.

Still, what is being said, is being said.

When Saskia asked from route 24 heading south to her sister’s for Christmas “What do you think of Christmas?” she explicitly asked in order to stay awake nearing 10pm after a full day of baking, wrapping, packing, then 5 hour driving.

In our Wohnküche, Friday Evening Conversation was taking place, essentially, on the same topic. But we were not fighting sleep at 65mph.

When asked back, Saskia allowed, “Newborn wholeness of being.” (autos epha) 

It rang its own bell.

And I thought -- it’s a good phrase! It resolves something for me, namely, my dissatisfaction over the years with the quasi-bellicose interrogative -- “Have you been born again?” -- as if security police were asking for your papers, not to help you confirm your identity for yourself, but with an edge signifying a precipice you might easily fall from into a dark hole if something wrong or suspicious is detected in your name or being-there.

Rather than “born again,” Saskia asserted “newborn.”

It had never happened yet, this newborn reality, this newborn being, this newborn word. It is both beginning and origin, an extra-temporal emergence into appearance, not as a re-do, but as a one-off.

And this one-off is a singular event each ‘time’ it happens. 

Christmas is “Newborn wholeness of being.”

She said it.

Autos epha!

Ipse dixit!

And here we are!

Her dog-mate-sans-tic was in the back seat sound asleep.

(We’ve got to continue learning how to speak words into being without fear of what is being newborn!)

Friday, December 23, 2016

ipse dixit

On phone someone asks, "What do you think about Christmas?"

They answer their own question, "Newborn wholeness of being."

I listen.

Nothing to say.

How stay whole?

Thursday, December 22, 2016

what crosses mind

It's a nice thought: peace on earth, good will to all!

I'll sleep on it.

In the morning I might awaken. I'll tell then what crosses my mind.

what is now/here is what surrounds us

This year Christmas is the day after Saturday.

Which follows Friday.

To be followed by Monday. Why is this rendering important?

Because what is special and important about Christmas is that each day is as important as any other.

Now is Umwelt -- that is, what is now/here is what surrounds us.

If what is called Christ is now, then Christ surrounds us here.

Our circumstance is the dwelling place of anything we consider to be that which saves us.

The present is the only time worthy of prayer and attention and action.

Today is Thursday.

There is no other.

Just as Isaiah wrote, “I am the Lord, there is no other.”

No other is holy.

Nothing other is holy.

What is God but the holiness of this reality unendingly inviting us into what is here what is now?

Belong to this.

Make God nothing other.

See nothing other.




With love, attend!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016



I don't know why, but


prêt à partir

Officially, so they say, is winter here.

Walking Scarborough marsh pathway yesterday with ice grippers. Frost flecks rising in morning sun, a haze of frozen crunching steps.

We begin a new political season with the darkest night. They say light will slowly reemerge. 

Walking Maine mall yesterday afternoon I am surprised at sheer surge of the number of people and the excess of things on shelves and counters. I buy nothing. I'm passing time. Then, slinky traffic leaving at rush hour, the craziness of dense populace.

Back at hermitage after driving two days -- this morning opens, silently.

It is, they say, Christmas. Today, winter solstice. Always, just now. It is the third designation catches my attention.

Just now.

Nothing else.


Ready, as they say, to go.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

the longest night

Vincent T. Daiello died in Vietnam 48 years ago today.

We played sandlot baseball together.

He was a left-handed catcher.

I was at 3rd base with a scatter-arm.

He wrote me soon before he died.

I have the letter in a box.

Monday, December 19, 2016

no. I haven't

If you wish to celebrate the appearance of Logos creative/origination please, do so.

We need to become human.

Now more than ever. The world is declining.

Have you thought of spiritual practice?

prayer -- where we are, as we are, looking

The conversation yesterday was about prayer. Differently, yet helpful.
First, from Richard Rohr:
I think the genius of the Dalai Lama and Buddhism is that they do not get lost in metaphysics and argumentation about dogmas and doctrines. As the Dalai Lama writes, 
The essence of all religions is love, compassion, and tolerance. Kindness is my true religion.” [1] We could dismiss that as mere lightweight thinking, until we remember that Jesus said the same: “This is my commandment: You must love one another” (John 13:34; 15:12). It is our religion, too, or at least it should have been. 
The Dalai Lama is not saying anything we do not already know on some level. Mother Teresa offered simple wisdom; people would go away quoting her, adding that their lives had been changed. Contemplation leads you to have simple, clear eyes, common-sense faith, and loving energy that makes whatever you say quite compelling. Ironically, it also allows you to deal with complex issues with the same simplicity and forthrightness, as we now see in Pope Francis.
It seems we all need to encounter people who are able to operate as an example, a model. The East has always recognized that transmission of spirituality takes place through living models, whom they call gurus, sanyasis, pandits, or avatars. This is why the Catholic and Orthodox traditions honor saints. Love is caught more than it is taught. You cannot learn how to love through concepts, ideas, and commandments. You need to see and feel a living, loving incarnation. “She is doing it. He exemplifies it. It is therefore possible for me, too.” It is almost more a taste, a smell, or a touch than an idea. Recent Christianity has relied far too much on ideas instead of living models. Sincere believers can smell holiness, even when the words might seem unorthodox. They can also smell unholiness from people who seem to do religion perfectly. 
(--Richard Rohr, from Transmitting LoveMonday, December 19, 2016)
It occurred to me during hospitality Sunday morning and practice Sunday evening that there is a speaking about what prayer is even for someone for whom the word "God" is impossible to hear.

Here are 3 indications for prayer, 3 pointers:

--1. Like the zen master who looked in the mirror each morning and called, " Zen master, zen master!" "Yes?" He answered."Do not be fooled today!" Inviting a watchfulness toward outer things.

--2. So too, while looking into the mirror of inner watchfulness, saying, "Don't do anything stupid today!"

--3. And a final invitation, "See everything as Itself." This is a watchfulness that transcends inner and outer --  sees "itself" within everything and everything within "itself" -- as that which is, just there, as itself, and no other.

Martin Luther, at his speech at the Diet of Worms in 1521, supposedly said "Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me!"

Those words, whether indeed spoken or added by some writer, encapsulate a whole spirituality of prayer that travels well, even up to this current viewing.

"Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me!" -- seems to be a connective acclimation of prayer that fits well between, for example, a Christian view and Buddhist view of where we are, as we are, looking.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

setting the table

Learning is not difficult.

 Just stick you hand out the sliding door as dawn light turns over hills and, if it comes back in dry, there is not freezing rain falling through mists alongside Bald Mountain.

What have I learned?



(perhaps there’s nothing to, let's get to it...I'm sure someone's just itching to grade us)

Someone suggested whirled peas should be on the table.

Am interested in embodying such a delicacy.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

start dancing

"Take my word. It’s been fun."
 (--Richard Hugo, final line of poem, “The Right Madness On Skye”)

its all there is to do -- practice

Temperature rises from 4° at bedtime to 18° at 5am. A virtual (albeit, vertical) heat wave!

We were seven at Friday evening conversation. Including J from Lewiston and, by speakerphone, C, currently in Maryland. The fire was warm, the perspectives collaborative, the experience thought-provoking. What, we wondered, is to be learned about the decendance of words and symbols and the functional ascendancy of perspective and experience? And what to think of the current experiment taking place in America's evolving experience of itself?

J wanted to switch out experience for perspective. R thought perspective and experience were synonymous. BC suggested that perspective is an inner look, a variety of ways of seeing what is being looked at, and that opinion is the articulated preference based on perspective.

So, building on P's observation in last week's prison conversation -- that 'words and symbols are dead, what we're left with is experience' -- we trek through words and symbols to look at what perspective experience reveals in our moving forward.

Just as the 'poetry, tea, and thee' gathering with centenary-encirculating friends at the nursing/assisted living place in town, the comraderie and pilgrimage is delightful and we end deepened and enhanced. We read from Wallace Stevens, Charles Olson, Alla Bozarth, Wendell Berry, Isabel Fraire, John McCutcheon, and a collaborative poem by several of us about our 100year old's cat sweater.

The joy, advisedly, is the avowed experience of contemplation, conversation, and collaboration effected and actualized in the moving engagement of the revealing situation -- present, past, and future -- as midwifery of the invisible made visible in an impermanent expression of our passing journey.

Who could have predicted that the word "disquisition" would show up in two distinct poems by two different authors!?

Soon, morning practice.

It's all there is to do --


Friday, December 16, 2016

after hearing from someone saying they are not able to come to a sitting practice

When we sit we sit with

   all we have ever sat with.

Visible and invisible community is gracious gift.

   And so, thank you!

4 am descent of stairs

Outdoor temperature registering as -6°.

Wood goes into stove.

May all beings be warm enough!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

other delusions

They are indoor cats

with flapping door for fenced-in under porch access to outdoors

time to time one of the cats, even in freezing temperature, hangs outside

time to time a bird will jump through green wire and


feathers all over kitchen floor

clanking and banging of cups on drying rack by windows

then running craziness, trying to extricate bird

seldom success

And I think of Aleppo, Northern Syria

the carnage

the cruelty

The cat knows I am beside myself when she brings her sport

to kitchen

And I am defeated, utterly

with the ways this existence befuddles

left to silence

mute memorial

sweeping soft and weightless feathers

dropping them on snow packed buddha statue

outside porch

the way we attempt to make ritual of ruin

or pretend to hope for something we

would prefer

like life without devastation

and other delusions

the last thing I long for

Come let us worship the lord,
The king who is to come

That's the antiphon for invitatory this Thursday liturgy of the hours.

The one who is to come.

Not only is our God a no-name God, our God is seen as "is-to-come" -- which is tantalizing and exasperating aspiration while standing-sitting-walking in place, in every place, as is, contemplative practicing.

The doxology would say: the one who was, who is, and is to come.

"I'll be there, as who I am, shall I be there" is the no-name of our God.

This is comforting on so many absurd levels. As if: look for me and I'll show up in no way I can be grasped.

Maybe there is no way "I" can be, grasped.

God is the absence of “l", a no-name, ungraspable, no way, is-to-come, one.

Love, for God, is presence. Love for God is realizing your pilgrimage as arriving at no obvious place of stepping into a nothingness surrounded by emptiness and centered in a nameless, unrecognizable, and agonizingly given present.

We might find 



          what is

             to come 

And that would be our lament, our prayer, our communion.

Life, ever, lasting.

This is the last thing I long for!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

a poem reminding us -- there is nothing here

The Dark Night of the Soul

                       (John of the Cross)

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings–oh, happy chance!–
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.
In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised–oh, happy chance!–
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.
In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my
This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me–
A place where none appeared.
Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!
Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.
The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand he wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.
I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.

(Poem by St John of the Cross, 1542-1591)

 ...   ...   ...

Commentary on Dark Night of the Soul
by St. John of the Cross

“He soars on the wings of Divine love . . .”
“It is perhaps not an exaggeration to say that the verse and prose works combined of St. John of the Cross form at once the most grandiose and the most melodious spiritual canticle to which any one man has ever given utterance.
The most sublime of all the Spanish mystics, he soars aloft on the wings of Divine love to heights known to hardly any of them. . . . True to the character of his thought, his style is always forceful and energetic, even to a fault.
When we study his treatises–principally that great composite work known as the Ascent of Mount Carmel and the Dark Night–we have the impression of a mastermind that has scaled the heights of mystical science; and from their summit looks down upon and dominates the plain below and the paths leading upward. . . . Nowhere else, again, is he quite so appealingly human; for, though he is human even in his loftiest and sublimest passages, his intermingling of philosophy with mystical theology; makes him seem particularly so. These treatises are a wonderful illustration of the theological truth that graced far from destroying nature, ennobles and dignifies it, and of the agreement always found between the natural and the supernatural–between the principles of sound reason and the sublimest manifestations of Divine grace.” 
Translated and edited,
from the critical edition of

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

morning walk, afternoon sitting

"Elegance is simplicity." (Paulo Coelho de Souza)

Then the doggie shows up.

Owls Head, we arrive at Lucia Beach, this feast-day of St Lucy.

Meanwhile, back home.

There’s a sitting in progress.

feeding wood stove at 4:55am

At what point does the needle move from comedic curiosity to raw apprehension?

When, exactly, does standard political dissembling turn into crass and cynical lies intended to deceive and devour those few remaining fans of a reality show gone horribly wrong by turning into slug and slaughter snuff episodes where every killing is celebrated as a victory for the forces of freedom and 'f**k you'?

This tv show has no commercials. The new norm is everything we see is a commercial and what used to be called real news is the filler between commercial seduction into imprisoned consciousness.

(It might be the full moon rising. To be crazed is the concretion of despair run out of incidents of absurd cultural and political distraction to hold insanity at arms length while considering false options to remedy or overcome the danger looming near.)

No more distraction, the coup is real -- prepare either to run away or turn and skewer one another in a revolt of inane killing masquerading as security protecting resistance. Think Syria. Think not at all.

Ah, dawn!

Must have been a nightmare.

Monday, December 12, 2016

waxing moon nearing midnight

I don’t have confidence in the picks or the picker of the new administration in Washington DC.

On a brighter side, the moon on snow in Maine is glorious.

We take joy where we find it.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

attentive presence, root silence, transparent service

Gaudete. -- the word means rejoice.

There must be something to rejoice about this December. 

Happy to be alive? Yes. Glad to have a practice of learning, meditating, working, and conversing? Yes. And that mysterious practice of prayer? Yes, that too.

Yesterday, on the 48th year since Thomas Merton’s death, we renewed our promises, the 18th time since first saying them in 1998.

Three promises: 

Contemplation,  Conversation,  Correspondence. held by Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage“m.o.n.o.”(monastics of no other).

Contemplation  is the promise of simplicity.It is a gift of poverty inviting open waiting, receptive trust, attention, and watchful presence. It is a simple Being-With.
It is attentive presence.

is the promise of integrity. It is a chaste and complete intention to listen and speak, lovingly and respectfully, with each and all made present to us. It is a wholeness of listening and speaking. 

It is root silence. 

is the promise of faithful engagement.  It is responsible attention and intention offered obediently to the Source of all Being, to the Human Family, to Nature. It is a faithful engagement with all sentient beings, with this present world, with existence with all its needs & joys, sorrows & hope.

It is transparent service. 
Meetingbrook Dogen & Francis Hermitage invites & welcomes individuals interested in the practice of these 3 promises in their life. Whether the interest is in conversing, praying, deepening, learning, or even holding these 3 promises, we invite you to enter the inquiry and stillness. May the loving light and the compassionate peace of the Christ and the Bodhisattva accompany and support the efforts of each one. 


1.  We are going to have to create a new language of prayer.  (Thomas Merton, Calcutta 1968)

2.   When you go apart to be alone for prayer…see that nothing remains in your consciousness mind save a naked intent stretching out toward God. Leave it stripped of every particular idea about God (what he is like in himself or in his works) and keep only the awareness that he is as he is. Let him be thus, I pray you, and force him not to be otherwise.   (Anonymous)

3.   I long for a great lake of ale. / I long for the men of heaven in my house. / I long for cheerfulness in their drinking. / And I long for Jesus to be there among them. (Brigid, Celtic saint)

4.   It is not by closing your eyes that you see your own nature. On the contrary, you must open your eyes wide and wake up to the real situation in the world to see completely your whole Dharma Treasure, your whole Dharma Body. The bombs, the hunger, the pursuit of wealth and power - these are not separate from your nature….You will suffer, but your pain will not come from your own worries and fears. You will suffer because of your kinship with all beings, because you have the compassion of an awakened one, a Bodhisattva. (Thich Nhat Hanh)     

5.   He who truly attains awakening knows that deliverance is to be found right where he is. There is no need to retire to the mountain cave. If he is a fisherman he becomes a real fisherman. If he is a butcher he becomes a real butcher. The farmer becomes a real farmer and the merchant a real merchant. He lives his daily life in awakened awareness. His every act from morning to night is his religion.  (Sokei-an)

We say “yes” when asked if we wish to continue living these promises.

We are happy to do so.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Thomas Merton died 48 years ago today

Contemplative silence isn't some sweet sensitive respect for an almighty power shown reverence.

Rather, contemplative silence is the agonizing realization no one could possible understand the loneliness of inability to communicate to anyone the unknown inarticulate presence of something beyond human comprehension that gnaws at our desire to speak and name the aphasic and apophatic unnameable emptiness surrounding us with no expectation or possibility of being identified or understood.

Contemplative silence is the gaze into nothingness that returns gaze with intimate inquiry into who it is dwelling between gaze and gaze.

Friday, December 09, 2016

callous cynicism

It's like a circus.

I'm not sure the election results will not collapse under the weight of Russia's hacking intent to swing the results toward Trump. 

Nor the business monetizing of political,decisions for the coffers of mr Trump.

The normal skepticism mutates into callous cynicism.

What will it be? 

I think it will be ugly.

No Friday evening conversation tonite

we are two hours away

sorry for late notice

Thursday, December 08, 2016

one more thing

Oh yes

Happy enlightenment day, Siddhartha Gautama

Happy no-barrier birth, Mary

Happy disappearance day, John Lennon 

here on out

In a post-fact, post-truth time there are those who wander aimless amid the false and fake while blinded by braggadocio balderdash..

The rules have changed.

We do not know what to believe or who to trust.

Eat when hungry? Sleep when tired?

We’re on our own from here on out. 

to catch the falling pieces

Re. The Opinion Pages  | WHAT’S AT STAKE  
An Enemy of the E.P.A. to Head It,  By THE EDITORIAL BOARDDEC. 7, 2016, NYTimes
It’s Thursday morning, and there’s a little less than a cord remaining to stack.

A friend who was a farmer who also worked for a defense contractor used to warn me off saying anything political.  He was right, of course. He loved the Fox brand of blow-harding that claimed ’no spin.’ 

He’ll forgive me a small lapse.

Here’s what I’m wondering:

Is Mr. Trump following the Republican goal to prove the Federal Government is unnecessary and incompetent?

Programming failure into the administration will self-fulfill the prophecy and ensure that private sector takeover is the only route to travel.

Luckily Mr Trump has his private infrastructure to catch the falling pieces of monetized contracts to help run the business formerly known as the United States Government.

It seems the smart plan to follow.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

so very glad

Sent by fellow practitioner to our dog, Rokie: 

       I'm So Glad

Start seeing everything as God
       But keep it a secret.

Become like a man who is Awestruck
        and Nourished

Listening to a single Nightingale
Sing in a beautiful foreign language   
     While God invisibly nests
           Upon its tongue.

Who can tell in this world
That when a dog runs up to you
   wagging its esctatic tale
You lean down and whisper in its ear,

          " Beloved
I am so glad You are happy to see me

       I am so glad,
So very glad You have come".

--I Am So Glad - Poem by Hafiz from book, "I Heard God Laughing" by Translator Daniel Ladinsky)

"Are you going to tell that to the cats?" Rokie asks.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

on hearing childhood cousin has entered hospice

From letter: 
And should you have plans for travels to other unspecified and unexplored destinations — well — I wish you safe journey and good arrivals. 
I know how these planned and unplanned vacations go. The idea arises in someone’s mind, you just jump in, place foot on accelerator, wave out the window, say “See y’all later” and head for the curve in the road. 
No accounting for anyone’s goings and comings. I seem to just wave and wave again. It’s always a bittersweet experience.
 We travel, often, not knowing that we are -- or where we are -- going.

Monday, December 05, 2016

speak and be heard

Philosophy isn't difficult. It's dangerous. How so?
To be “philosophically adjusted” is to belie what I see as one major aim of philosophy — to speak to the multiple ways in which we suffer, to be a voice through which suffering might speak and be heard, and to offer a gift to my students that will leave them maladjusted and profoundly unhappy with the world as it is. Bringing them to that state is what I call doing “high stakes philosophy.” It is a form of practicing philosophy that refuses to ignore the horrible realities of people who suffer and that rejects ideal theory, which functions to obfuscate such realities. It is a form of philosophizing that refuses to be seduced by what Friedrich Nietzsche called “conceptual mummies.” Nietzsche notes that for many philosophers, “nothing actual has escaped from their hands alive.”   
(--from, I Am a Dangerous Professor, by George Yancy, 30Nov16, in The Stone, New York Times)
 It's time to be maladjusted.

Always wanted to be what I am.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

it's me

Watched Citizen Four yesterday after helping crew cover boat, then stacking cordwood for hours.

Come away impressed by Edward Snowden and Glen Greenwald -- realizing what a controversial decision they made about a controversial system of information gathering practiced by US intelligence agency on US citizens and pretty much everyone else on the planet.

Information is power. Power is control. Control is invitation to abuse. Abuse is how subjugation and power marry. Their children are subterfuge and disinformation.

In prison Friday morning at Buddhist group and Meetingbrook conversation one of the men who was reading the Dancing Wu Li Masters by Gary Zukov for the 6th time (he said) spoke about the contrasting world views emananating from focus on law or focus on love. 

Law, he observed, engendered order and control. Love, chaos and compassion.

The forces focusing on security focus on order and control. Mussolini made the trains run on time. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, and Hitler each tidied up their population based on their disembodied opinion of tidiness and uniformity.

The legacy of Jesus (called 'the Christ') , Gandhi, Lao Tzu, Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, Kuan Yin, Dan and Phil Berrigan, and Martin Luther King attended the poor and disenfranchised with chaos and compassion exemplifying an embodied practice of presence and acceptance.

Law and control are general and unforgiving.

Chaos and compassion are particular and forgiving.

Perhaps we've arrived at another juncture of history wherein those with power really do disdain those who are under their power. If so, it is, again, a very dangerous time of history.

Power requires secrecy and unquestioning loyalty.

Compassion invites openness and questioning. It also requires a benevolent but skeptical eye toward the huckster, con-man, sweet-talker, or bully.

Things feel uneasy. Uneasy in the sense of anxious, troubled, and uncomfortable. 

We're unsure which way the trains are heading. Toward camps to entomb in permanent certainty? Or toward the sea to listen to the perennial splash of waves on shore signifying the arrival and departure of time and communion in an impermanent celebration of uncertainty and (what has been called) faith?

I liked Snowden and Greenwald in the documentary. They seemed like thoughtful and courageous men.

Whatever happened heretofore or happens hence, let's reconfigure consciousness to alight on an ever changing shore of allowing and forgiving, splashing us with arrivals and departures, welcoming and bidding adieu to all our family -- our holy family -- rapscallion or rhapsodic, as each enters and takes leave of this theatre piece we call earthly life.

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
(Matthew 19:14, New International Version)

Ad-vent! (coming to), or, c'mon!

(i.e. "C'mon!" -- which, as all bastardized truncated French interpretations have it, actually means, "it's me!) 

Friday, December 02, 2016

want truth? drop opinions

Nothing wrong with having an opinion.

Just, don't bother having any.

Feel, sense, prefer or don't. No need to formulate into an opinion.

Stay clear.

Opinions are a cultivation too precious to afford.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

not yet human

I like Pierre Hadot's book Philosophy as a Way of Life, Spiritual Exercises from Socrates to Foucault. Reading Arnold I. Davidson's introduction, this on p.20:
For ancient philosophy, at least beginning from the sophists and Socrates, intended, in the first instance, to form people and to transform souls. That is why, in Antiquity, philosophical teaching is given above all in oral form, because only the living word, in dialogues, in conversations pursued for a long time, can accomplish such an action. The written work, considerable as it is, is therefore most of the time only an echo or a complement of this oral teaching.
(--Pierre Hadot, "Preface," in L'Enseignement oral de Platon, p.11.)
The forming aspect of philosophy suggests arriving at a shape of being human that is recognizable and responsible to surrounding environment and emerging humanity into this appearing world.

We are not yet human.

We seek form.

It is an exercise and practice of becoming and



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

what about being here

"You can't experience not being there forever," said Alan Watts.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

a formula for meditation

As it was

in the beginning

is now

and will be


there’s a new precedent

It feels that nothing has preceded this

Nothing has

And this is the result

Grok this nothing

Monday, November 28, 2016

One who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so


Something’s coming.

Could be Christ child.

Could be another hysterical tetrarch -- an executive leader of one of the four seats of power who will attempt to gobble up, privatize, and cannibalize the other three -- legislative, judicial, and remnants of free press -- for his benefit and favor.

Watch out!
Reading        2 ROM 13:11-14  
Brothers and sisters:You know the time;
it is the hour now for you to awake from sleep.
For our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed;
the night is advanced, the day is at hand.
Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light;
let us conduct ourselves properly as in the day,
not in orgies and drunkenness,
not in promiscuity and lust,
not in rivalry and jealousy.
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ,
and make no provision of the flesh.  
(--First Advent, 2nd reading, readings of the day)
We think desires of the flesh means sex and intoxicants. Well, yes. But, more so, usurpation of  private choice, private thought, private act.

If Christ means communion (not correction), then this tetrarch means punishment (not democracy).

America has for a long time pretended not to favor tyranny and treachery. That pretense fades. Overt strongman control rolls into town. Swooning adherence to the bullying puppets and bully pulpit becomes job one for both the affirmers and deniers of such rise-up controlling interests in personal charism and cauterized closing of wounds on slashed bodies who disagree with rule by one/few master/pure know-betters/shut-your-mouth insinuators instead of the represented many and different, struggling to survive plurality who wait and wonder.

This is not a time of servile yes or obsequious pandering to faux-fascist demagoguery. This is the time for awakening.

The writer of Romans gives a new and uncredited point of view and course of action: "and make no provision of the flesh."

It is time to gather provisions for the long and difficult upcoming winter. 


We must enter mu and embody mu.

Works of darkness whisper 'yesss' as they strut toward Washington to be sworn. So, too, sheep are herded into delusion to be shorn and sacrificed.

Something strange this way comes.

I'd rather Christ.

Or Buddha.

Some authentic Bodhisattva:
bo·dhi·satt·vaˌbōdiˈsätvə,-ˈsət-/noun(in Mahayana Buddhism) a person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so out of compassion in order to save suffering beings.
The suffering, so unseen in plain sight for so long, is about to burgeon and overwhelm.

Our response to the koan of this arriving anomaly will be:

no --

unsay that portentous predictive; embody awakened caring action!

Let no become now until we have won the simple yes of co-relational and common communion.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Balsekar is fine but Orwell is spot on

Sunday Evening Practice reading on volition and the totality.

Oh dear, Animal Farm's Napoleon has squealed a mistruth and his dogs are in a frenzy to ensure it is heard as truth. Gotta love fiction...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

fact friday

I tell them i know i will die

Nothing startling

Just a fact

Like coffee and toast

And kindling for morning fire

Thursday, November 24, 2016

boiling water poured on tablecloth

It takes a 

long time to

get to where 

you are;

to arrive at

who you are

beyond all


we say “thanks, giving”

Because reciprocity and non-dual awareness understand that giving is receiving.
“It is in giving that we receive.”–St. Francis
It is our unawareness that mires us in unawareness of true co-relational inter-relationality.

As giving is receiving, so is thanking being thanked.

The going out is the coming in.

It is God that receives the two dollars at exit of parking lot, it is God that extends it. And God is the exchanging currency between hands.

So too, prayer.

Prayer is the act of each thing becoming itself in its embrace of everything surrounding. 

We pray, not for anyone or anything else, but for the integrity and intimacy of our realization that the one praying and the one being prayed for is the one reality articulating itself in prayer as expression of an everyday wholeness that contains everything and acknowledges nothing-itself as the co-equal sides of loving glance seeing reality as it is in Itself.

And then we sip coffee.

Sip tea.

Spoon yogurt.

Start fire in woodstove.

And say -- thanks, giving! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

finding ground

The political landscape has changed.

So many are so unsure which direction to look.

Nor is there any certainty what they’ll see.

I take a different view --

Walking forward, we walk forward.

Feet will find ground.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

53 years ago today

I first realized the world was odd.

Odder than the mind could accept.

Jack Kennedy.

I greet you.

computer experts in Michigan say

Monday, November 21, 2016

after long phone call from a hurting place

As an old man
I cannot see well
But i do feel
The suffering
Of my sister

Sunday, November 20, 2016

as stillness expands

Shakuhachi flute after Heart Sutra at enening practice tonite.

Then bell chant.

Bowing back into zendo then out into rain.

Inclusion, Adyashanti said.

Falling into grace.

poet foresees 222 years ago america’s 2016 ideological divide

Original Text: 
William Blake. Songs of Experience. 1794.  Blake's Illuminated Books, ed. David Bindman. Princeton, NJ: William Blake Trust; London: Tate Gallery, 1991-. See Vol. 2. PR 4142 B46 1991 ROBA.

1"Love seeketh not itself to please,
2Nor for itself hath any care,
3But for another gives its ease,
4And builds a Heaven in Hell's despair."
5So sung a little Clod of Clay
6Trodden with the cattle's feet,
7But a Pebble of the brook
8Warbled out these metres meet:
9"Love seeketh only self to please,
10To bind another to its delight,
11Joys in another's loss of ease,
12And builds a Hell in Heaven’s despite."

Publication Start Year: 

   RPO poem Editors: