Saturday, April 23, 2016

Light a candle for safe travels

For the living and the dead.

Saturday afternoon.

Book from Hall street Brooklyn arrives referencing friend from Brooklyn who died four decades ago still hangs around in daughters poems.

Sits awhile in Maine.

The way life should be.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Terra incognita

Buddha touched the earth to witness his enlightenment.

Jesus said lets get down to earth.

Dogen said forget the self to study self.

Francis embraced brother sun and sister moon from deep stance on earth.

Happy Earth Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

no ego, no thinking

Anger, courage, and wrath.

Ego as being pissed off.
The Mental Structure: The Ego 
In the Ever-Present Origin (1985), as the deficient
form of the mythological structure of consciousness with its imaginal constructions of the world collapsed and mutated under the pressing emergence of origin, a new intensity of self-awareness began to become manifest. Among the importantly cited evidence for this emergence was, in the West, the Iliad of Homer and in the East, the Bhagavad Gita. This structure of consciousness is termed by Gebser the “mental”; a term which is a derivative of “menis”, whose accusative form is “menin”. To quote Gebser’s dramatic pronouncement, “[menin] is the first word of the first verse of the first canto of the first major Western utterance... the opening word of the Iliad” (p. 74). This word meaning “wrath” and “courage” comes from the same stem as the word “menos” which means “resolve”, “anger”, “courage”, and “power”. To again quote Gebser, “what is fundamental here is already evident in the substance of these words: it is the first intimation of the emergence of directed or discursive thought” (p. 75).
Gebser thus claims to “have discovered the link between thinking and wrath” (p. 76). He explains that it (i.e., mental consciousness) is “anger -- not blind wrath, but ‘thinking’ wrath [which] gives thought and action its direction. It is ruthless and inconsiderate,... that is, it does not look backwards; it turns man away from his previous world of mythical enclosure and aims forward... It individualizes man from his previously valid world, emphasizing his singu- larity and making his ego possible” (p. 76). Assuming a correct understanding of Gebser here, we are left to conclude that anger plays a central role in the birth and maintenance of ego consciousness. As will be discussed shortly, Gebser’s assertion that the ego is founded upon anger is in close alignment with the view of ego as advanced by ACIM. 
(--from, Gebser’s Integral Consciousness and Living in the Real World: Facilitating its Emergence Using A Course In Miracles, by, Cornelius J. Holland,Douglas A. MacDonald
Thinking and wrath.

I’ll think about that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

क्षेत्र • (kṣetra)*

I’ve just found out.

I’m slow to learn.

We’ve stood on the same ground.

I am pleased we did so.
Richard Cefalu, d. 12/12/1976, age 32 
Rick Curry S.J., d. 12/19/2015, age 72
In that field of smart and good Jesuits (and near-Jesuits) I become क्षपणीभूत. **

* क्षेत्र (kṣetra) m (Urdu spelling کشيتر) 1 field, land, enclosed plot of ground पौधे इस क्षेत्र में उगते हैं। 

**  क्षपणीभूत [ kṣapaṇībhūta ] one who takes on the garb of a mendicant

riktatā रिक्तता

Monk with no affiliation 
no attachment to anything 
nor nothing -- sees only 
this passing alone


is what
I know
about death

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


Friend I've been looking for several years, 
so it seems, died 40 yrs ago at 32.

I buy his daughter's book of poems
She'll say more about it. 

I can stop looking. Wm Carlos Wms
would be pleased to hear

Sometimes you can get the news 
from poems; still, men die daily

understanding the mistakes

I was looking for an example of how one honors the individual. Even as atrocities are committed and you might only be able to watch, not able to do anything to intervene or forestall. How, in their presence, some redemption is possible. How someone, for example, in a prison-camp or in a helping profession, is helpless in the face of cruelty or circumstances of impossible alteration.
There is of course the "practical" approach. You can say that "Nature" erases from existence the species (nations, cultural groups) which-are unable to adapt to the forward course of evolution. You can say (adopting Lawrence's analysis) that the Japanese failed to respond to "the twentieth-century call for greater and more precise individual differentiation" (the democratic way), and could not, therefore, survive. This way you cast the military machine of the United States in the role of Nature's scavenging operations, with the atom bomb as a kind of climactic triumph of natural law. You admit that people get hurt in the unfolding of the evolutionary struggle, but add that this can't really be helped. (And if you say this, you will of course be willing to die as heroically as Hara, when your time comes, because the black men, or the yellow men, have become the avant-garde in the evolutionary struggle.) 
But if you don't like this argument, or are unwilling to make it openly and press it to a logical conclusion, you have serious problems. These can be got at by taking into account the two kinds of moral authorities the world has known: the spiritual teachers and the law-makers. 
From the spiritual teachers we have what are sometimes called "counsels of perfection." Both Buddha and Jesus give instruction according to the sublime ideal of human perfection. You don't find any talk of the "lesser of two evils" in what they say. They don't seem to recognize any extenuations in the pressure of practical affairs. The only compromise they allow is in the service of the weak. Self-interest is simply not permitted as a basis of action. In the case of Jesus, not even the higher self-interest of preserving the person of the Teacher would allow the wrong of violence. When Jesus was arrested, as Matthew relates, "one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." And earlier in Matthew, when Peter asks: "Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him: till seven times seven?" Jesus makes answer: "I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven." 
Plainly, the great teachers were not legislators. They did not deal in "equity." Their doctrines seem not to have included any solutions for the problems of practical men. These were left to the Manus, the Solons, the authors of Leviticus and Deuteronomy, and all the constitution-makers of history. One wonders why. 
In any event, it seems possible to say that the law-makers, whether from ignorance or knowledge, undertook something far more difficult than repeating the counsels of perfection. They attempted to codify the compromises that would be necessary to make the social community a going concern. For men of conscience and human sympathy, this must have been an extremely painful task. You might even wonder if they had to drug themselves with some kind of moral blindness in order to do it at all. 
Whatever the explanation, let us take this "moral blindness" hypothesis as the basis for understanding the mistakes—if they are mistakes—of the law-makers. 
(--from, WHAT IS A MAN TO DO?, MANAS Reprint - LEAD ARTICLE , VOLUME XVII, NO. 23 JUNE 3, 1964 
Note: MANAS was an eight-page philosophical weekly written, edited, and published by Henry Geiger from 1948 until December 1988. Each issue typically contained several short essays that reflected on the human condition, examining in particular environmental and ethical concerns from a global perspective. E. F. Schumacher's influential essay on Buddhist economics was published in the journal. 
 Then there is the Dalai Lama, who always seems to help:
A central teaching in most spiritual traditions is: What you wish to experience, provide for another. 
Look to see, now, what it is you wish to experience--in your own life, and in the world. Then see if there is another for whom you may be the source of that. 
If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another. If you wish to know that you are safe, cause [others] to know that they are safe. If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another to better understand. 
If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another. 
Those others are waiting for you now. They are looking to you for guidance, for help, for courage, for strength, for understanding, and for assurance at this hour. Most of all, they are looking to you for love. 
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. 
Dalai Lama

That helps.

Monday, April 18, 2016

rain at midnight

I don’t plan to read much once I’m dead --

Words have so little interest

once they have

no one there

just when you think you have nothing to say

Talking to Ourselves

          by Philip Schultz

A woman in my doctor’s office last week
couldn’t stop talking about Niagara Falls,
the difference between dog and deer ticks,
how her oldest boy, killed in Iraq, would lie
with her at night in the summer grass, singing
Puccini.  Her eyes looked at me but saw only
the saffron swirls of the quivering heavens.
Yesterday, Mr. Miller, our tidy neighbor,
stopped under our lopsided maple to explain
how his wife of sixty years died last month
of Alzheimer’s.  I stood there, listening to
his longing reach across the darkness with
each bruised breath of his eloquent singing.
This morning my five-year-old asked himself
why he’d come into the kitchen.  I understood
he was thinking out loud, personifying himself,
but the intimacy of his small voice was surprising.
When my father’s vending business was failing,
he’d talk to himself while driving, his lips
silently moving, his black eyes deliquescent.
He didn’t care that I was there, listening,
what he was saying was too important.
“Too important,” I hear myself saying
in the kitchen, putting the dishes away,
and my wife looks up from her reading
and asks, “What’s that you said?”
-from Failure

(Thanks to Walt at Quarry Hill for bringing to group and reading this on Friday.)