Saturday, February 25, 2017

compline, saturday night

When I call

Answer me

O God of justice

In the silent

Hours of the night

Bless the Lord

(--Ps 4; Ps 34)

on learning today that Paula passed away

        (for Paula)

i see you’ve gone in-

to a view we can’t see -- out

of your words -- clear light


Which is all fine with me, as I tend toward a disembodied existence a few inches above my head and outside my skin. So why not inhabit a story, a history ? Where else is there to go ? Where do 10,000 wordless hours on a zafu bring you but into the silences of your own brain ? Is God or enlightenment there more profoundly than in that which we construe in words ? In the beginning, after all, was the Word which was with the Wordless which, in fact was the Wordless. 
Paula’s House of Toast 

Friday, February 24, 2017

what he’d say truth was

Like this.

It’s just like this.

That’s what the Zen Master said the truth was -- it’s just like this.

Are you happy with this explanation?


It’s true.

Truth is just like this.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

ama nesciri

I'm thinking of turning myself in.
crossing rt 161, Aroostook County,
Presque Isle to Ft Kent Maine 22feb17
"The increased threat of deportation has sent many immigrants into hiding." (NYTimes morning briefing, 23feb17)

Presque Isle, Maine, UMPI

I came here from a dark watery place. Before that I was in deep hiding somewhere outside known terrain. I was the conception of two agents intent on snuggling me into this existence before their sleepy cells took to snoring somnolence.
Presque Isle Maine, 22feb17
When I appeared out of the shadows I immediately went into hiding, assuming an identity with pastiche facts and dates and formulas of social incognito that allowed me to move quietly and freely through school corridors and work greetings without being recognized,

Now, some seventy plus years later, I return to the spiritually hidden place of pre-conception.

I look out.  

There are bare trees.

tree, Fort Kent, 8:30am
View from Fort Kent, Maine
over St John River to Clair, NB Canada

Canada is across the road 

Nobody knows my name.
Mt Katahdin, Millinocket Maine, 21feb17
I love 

to be


Wednesday, February 22, 2017

wisdom seeks for wisdom

Rev. Suzuki’s talk
July 22, 1965
We are studying now the sutra of the sixth patriarch, in the evening lecture, and PRAJNA (this is of course Sanskrit word) we mean, wisdom, but this wisdom is not intellect, or knowledge.  This wisdom is so-called our inmost nature, which is always in incessant activity.  Zazen practice is to….wisdom seeking for wisdom is zazen practice, if I use technical term.  Wisdom seeks wisdom is zazen practice, and our everyday life is wisdom.  Realization of our precepts is our everyday life.  When wisdom…When our everyday life is based on wisdom we call it percepts.  When we sit, we do not do anything; we just sit.  There’s no activity of our mind.  We just sit and all what we do is taking inhaling and exhaling.  Sometimes you will hear some birds singing, but that is not actually….you are not hearing.  Your ears will hear it.  You are not hearing it.  Just, you know, sound come, and you will make some response to it, that is all.  This kind of practice is called “wisdom seeks for wisdom”.
Originally offered: July 22nd, 1965 | Modified October 27th, 2009 by Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 
And may we find. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

reading paper about sila, pranna, and samadhi

Speed limit is 75 on 95 in northern maine from Benedicta to Houlton,

Then follow 12 wheeler up into Presque Isle.

Arrive tired. A fairly constant condition.

We tossed snow pieces over high banks off helipad at hospital in Millinocket.

Such a good


Monday, February 20, 2017

evolving out of garbled grunts and groans

In dialogue with a student:

RE: how we might think differently about the election, 
a philosopher’s point of view
"Political parties have become the sacred."
"The Dalai Lama discusses ...  how irrational it is that we blame others instead of their words - they are not their words and if they were in a state of happiness they probably wouldn't be speaking in the manner in which they do."(MW)
I like the way you weave our texts through your comments.  The above quotes catch my attention. It is true the political parties have become the sacred -- it helps explain our belief and fidelity to them. Even (one might say) the observation that Mrs. Clinton was anointed by her party to be the ordained candidate without sufficient or honest debate as to her ascendancy.
Like the phenomenon of SBNR (spiritual but not religious) we looked at briefly in class, Mr Trump arrived not really republican and no longer democrat and punched his way through the religious establishment much to the astonishment and (to many) the sacrilege of apostasy against the hierarchy of both parties.
Your statement suggests that this phenomenon of the breakthrough renegade himself mirrors the falling from grace of the traditional churches (Dems/Reps) and an early example of an ersatz new Martin Luther smashing the establishment into a new landscape that is unrecognizable and unpredictable.
And here we can retrieve your second statement -- that it is his words, his manner of speaking, the implications of which make us nervous and wondering where the syntax and tone will shake out and into what new dogmatic or evangelistic pronouncements. Is it possible that we are in a new and uncharted vocabulary that is being sounded into the forming chaos of a type of post big bang? That the man who has emerged with an unrecognized glossolalia is merely echoing the emergence into language as did our ancient ancestors evolving out of garbled grunts and groans up from inarticulate gestures toward articulation and understandable discourse?
(Yes, ok, a bit flowery and far-fetched prose -- but do get the point.) Perhaps the Dalai Lama is saying we might not like the words, but do not condemn the man -- he is trying to come to word.
Coming to word is a mighty accomplishment. Fact, feeling, experience, thought, and possibilities swirl and bump and twist in seemingly random patterns of interaction and diversion until they coalesce around an impulse of expression seeking to find its way into the world as word, as word become speech, word become language, word become flesh, become the spirit of interconnectivity that allows many the opportunity to move together toward ways of acting that recognizes and benefits what might be called community.
Is this the birth pang we are experiencing? Or is it a crapshoot, (an enterprise whose outcome is determined by chance) the rolling of dice that could just as easily become the near-edge of real danger? 
Our ethics begin to take on the role of a young reporter on the beat coming upon an unexpected slowly developing event that resembles something between creation and devastation. She wants to report on what is taking place. She watches. She reports. She is captivated by the fog and mist and the forming creature taking shape behind it all.
She is not the enemy. She does not hate what is trying to form itself. But she is uncertain, and a little frightened. 
Perhaps we all are.

theme: to care is to change

In Canada it is family day.

In America it is presidents' day.

In prison this morning it was Immanuel Kant and J.S.Mill and Nel Noddings, Friedrich Nietzsche and Sam Cooke.

How do you arrive at what’s correct? one man asked. And what about ego?

Kobe Bryant and Lebron James, was one response. Ego and integrated ego. The isolated self and the team player.

If you don't change, you don't care; if you don't care, you don't change.

Philosophy, it can be argued, is a family arête.*

In discussing arête, Plato leads the examination of humankind’s quest for excellence. Henry Marrou describes arête as “the ideal value to which even life itself must be sacrificed.” Although Marrou considers ludicrous the translation of the word from ancient Greek to mean virtue (he prefers valor), virtue is the term used by translator W.K.C. Guthrie in two of Plato’s dialogues to describe this quality that is made and not born in us, the quality of excellence toward which we strive in our daily conduct in society 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

gracias, tibi

Not in church this morning

Not that kind of church

Dripping roof water, white noise waves, a trilling phone alarm in another room

All the baptisms, confirmations, communion and go-in-peace

Are unwalled, without vestments, no longer arguing pastor or priest, male or female, born once or born again

There is a freedom from that mind and time

Stay-at-home fruit juice and walnut raisin toast sunlight on February porch

I don't know who Jesus was, whether he liked jews catholics or protestants better

I don't know whether accepting him as personal lord and savior punches your ticket to glory

Or if Albert Camus is sitting in Algerian cafe smoking and thinking about absurdity

As the United States sells off sanity and buys crazy

Terrorists storing their dangerous ideas in foldaway tents and going on holiday

Until retirement benefits click in and yield 5.7% on the dollar

And jesus' 21st century caption reads "if you see me, say something" -- an invitation to

Post-prayer non-liturgical unfrocked morning ordinariness with half and half in coffee

As the apocalypse takes shape in idiots' minds looking to buy guns and shorting options

And nothing we know of arrives at end of driveway looking to befuddle us with bagels and donuts

Ita missa est

gracias, tibi

Saecula saculorum

Hoc est enim corpus meum?

Deus ibi est . . .