Saturday, May 06, 2017

whether Heidegger’s Being and Time, or Dogen’s Time-Being

Uji: The Time-Being, by Eihi Dogen 
Translated by Dan Welch and Kazuaki Tanahashi
from: The Moon in a Dewdrop; writings of Zen Master Dogen

An ancient buddha said:
For the time being stand on top of the highest peak.
For the time being proceed along the bottom of the deepest ocean.
For the time being three heads and eight arms.
For the time being an eight- or sixteen-foot body.
For the time being a staff or whisk.
For the time being a pillar or lantern.
For the time being the sons of Zhang and Li.
For the time being the earth and sky. 
"For the time being" here means time itself is being, and all being is time. A golden sixteen-foot body is time; because it is time, there is the radiant illumination of time. Study it as the twelve hours of the present. "Three heads and eight arms" is time; because it is time, it is not separate from the twelve hours of the present. 
Even though you do not measure the hours of the day as long or short, far or near, you still call it twelve hours. Because the signs of time's coming and going are obvious, people do not doubt it. Although they do not doubt it, they do not understand it. Or when sentient beings doubt what they do not understand, their doubt is not firmly fixed. Because of that, their past
doubts do not necessarily coincide with the present doubt. Yet doubt itself is nothing but time. 

God; Zen: definition

Perhaps it is the old -- ‘We are made in God’s image’ that is the reason that people fall into the extreme vanity of imagining that God looks like them. (DP)

Responding to student:
At times I imagine the definition of God and the definition of Zen are the same: [God] [Zen] is this moment revealing itself for all to see. (--bh)

Friday, May 05, 2017

cheers, Lydia

Lydia, at 101, dies.

A regular at poetry group for 8 years, she read poems about cats.

Today we read Milne, Oliver, Sandberg, Rumi, and two others.

We happily listen to the voiced words.

And to the words without voice.

Thursday, May 04, 2017


Here's what's new:

There are too many people not worth much.

They don't deserve to live.

Do I have that right, Republicans?

transmigration of soles

If last sound I hear is car rolling down hill between ragged and bald mountains then I'll wonder myself into that car and greet driver looking out window to road side newly green grass where discarded aluminum can mud splattered on side by broken branch snapped at final snow plowing converses with fresh dirt unearthed ant mound volcanoed outward alongside layered asphalt edge of which deer tracks imprint unseen passage of dusk migration to brook running strong after days of rain our May sun here at last.

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

speaking of treachery

Russia helped Trump win the election.

That's what's being said

Trump doesn't like it said

Nor do we

Like it


And done

60 years ago today, signed treachery

May 3, 1957Discussions between officials of Los Angeles, including City Attorney Roger Arnebergh, and Walter O’Malley were held at the Statler Hotel. The result of this meeting produced a document known as “The Arnebergh Memorandum”. The memo is as follows:
At a conference today, held at the Statler Hotel, discussion was had involving the possibility of bringing Major League Baseball to Los Angeles. It was indicated that the City and County should be prepared to make an offer containing the following provisions:
  1. City and/or County to acquire and deed to the Major League Baseball club 350 acres in Chavez Ravine, including the present 257 acres now owned by the City, the additional acreage to be adjacent thereto. Such 350 acres to comprise an approximate circle, if possible. 
  2. City and/or County to provide access roads. 
  3. City and/or County to superficially pave parking roads.
  4. City to accept dedication of circumferential roads. 
  5. The 350 acres, together with improvements, etc., to go on tax rolls. 
  6. There should be no deed restrictions on use of such 350 acres except that a modern major league stadium will be built and Major League Baseball brought to Los Angeles.
  7. Major League Baseball club, at its sole cost and expense, to build modern baseball stadium and bring major league team to Los Angeles.
  8. Wrigley Field to be deeded to City and/or County in present condition as partial consideration for said 350 acres, with restriction against Major League Baseball being played in Wrigley Field. 
  9. Major League Baseball club, as further consideration for said 350 acres, will agree to construct, maintain and make available to the public, free of charge, various recreational facilities such as tennis courts, junior league baseball field, basketball courts, etc., these to be more specifically determined later.
  10. As further consideration for said 350 acres, Major League Baseball club to agree to admit, at specified times, juveniles to ball games free, as an aid to the City and County in combating juvenile delinquency, etc.

The only good part was that some Los Angeles kids, at those “specified times” would get in free.

Meanwhile. We Brooklyn kids, some of us, looking around, saw the end of loyalty to any sport team for any time to come.

That day the Dodgers died.

I have a blue Dodgers cap with white ‘B’ that stays with me. I used to go to wakes often. It is a memorial.

When Boston fans nod and smile in some fraternal solidarity, I nod as one would on being asked how your mother is who died 10 years before. They have the wrong information, the wrong ‘B’.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

a limited life-span

Two die in car crash yesterday morning on Route 1 in Warren.

An hour later, a half mile from their terrible wreckage, I turn in Warren toward morning philosophy class at the maximum security prison.

We enter the experience of the class:                                                                                                                                                 
     “see everything 
       and ourselves in everything  
               healed and whole 
   (--Rainer Maria Rilke, Duino Elegies, Eight Elegy) 
Sorrow rises from that moment and that roadway.

In an instant.

Things turn.

In class we speak about Pierre Hadot, the Epicurians, and the Stoics.

Epicurius’ disciple Metrodorus wrote:
Remember that, although you are mortal and have only a limited life-span, yet you have risen, through the contemplation of nature, to the infinity of space and time, and you have seen all the past and all the future. (Hadot, 1995, p.266) 
We live in the cosmos.

Some, now, more so than before.


people wonder

about heaven

they worry

about hell

I don’t

heaven is where

hell isn’t

and no



knows any-

thing about

what isn’t where

they are

Monday, May 01, 2017


The word ‘affright’ came to mind.

And I remembered:
         Saint Teresa
 Lines Written in Her Breviary 
Let nothing disturb thee, 
Nothing affright thee 
All things are passing; 
God never changeth; 
Patient endurance 
Attaineth to all things; 
Who God possesseth 
In nothing is wanting; 
Alone God sufficeth. 
H. W. Longfellow (translator).
From: Hispanic Anthology: Poems Translated from the Spanish by English and North American Poets. Collected and arranged by Thomas Walsh. G. P. Putnam's Sons. New York, 1920.
There are nights when nothing matters.

When nothing is wanted.





Sunday, April 30, 2017


thank the


ident for


of service

the da-


of clarity

and wor-



hurting hearts




so m-


are deep-




watcher, Kieslowski’s gift

He was there again. In Dekalog 8. In the ethics class. As Elzbieta told story. And Zofia listened. He watched. Looked to one. Then the other.
I do so like this watcher. He gazes. Saying not a word. Just eyes. At junctures of pivotal human moment. He looks. And, maybe, he sees.
I wonder if our engagement with life, with ethics, with one another begins with the foundation of looking.
And listening.
The ground of presence.
So much is unaccountable in human behavior. We hardly know what we will do in any situation. How we will respond. How we will think.
I like this character Kieslowski gives us. He seems gentle. His eyes seem compassionate. 
Even if we wish he'd intervene and save us from drowning, making choices that are troubling, deceiving another -- these wishes belong to us, they are not the purpose of his character.
It is enough for us to contemplate someone is there with us -- a benevolent, if incomprehensible, watchfulness...