Saturday, October 28, 2017

this realization

Adonai, you have made me alone!

I am alone as you are alone.

There are, it has been said, no others.

Shema’ yisrael Adonai elohenu Adonai echad!
   (Hear, O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord alone!)

It means there are no others.

Does that sound scary?

If this were a horror film with horror thinking, yes, it would.

But as an ontological theological existential consideration, it suggests that our beliefs — that we are isolated alienated antagonistic individuals vying against one another for goods, possessions, and power — are error-ridden and illusory misunderstandings about the true nature of reality and being, illusions that keep us warlike and cruel.

We are alone.

Notions of a god that chooses some over others are deluded notions. Notions of a god that is better than other gods are mistaken notions. And notions of superior races, purer peoples, advanced intelligences, and higher classes of cultured and wealthy people — are historical and psychological aberrations of sociological and colonial fabrication.

We are alone.

And it takes courage to see this.

And willingness to realize this.

An awareness beyond ego myopia.

A humility to recognize god alone.

God is this realization!

Friday, October 27, 2017

hoc est enim corpus meum

In prison we spoke of current koan. I tell of eating apple cider toast in truck driving to Warren. I held it up and said, “this is my body.”

I bite into toast while aware of sky, fields, trees, colorful leaves — and, looking around, I think, “this is my body.”

I come to prison building, walk in with AA volunteer, NAACP volunteer, and loose shoelace caseworker. In front desk area I greet D’s father arriving for visit. In inside corridor I greet D being patted down for visit. In yard I greet S going to job repairing furniture. Arriving at education area I greet N assisting an inmate in class. In room used for Buddhist group I greet the men attending.

And I realize: this is my body, these are my body.

As the morning continued.

All of it . . .

Is my body.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

what everything is filled with.

There are times when you don’t care. When you stay at home and rain falls persistently. When nothing seems to enliven.
He who has seen everything empty itself is close to knowing what everything is filled with. Antonio Porchia
It is too difficult trying to follow the news out of DC.

As much as I’d like to think there’s something there, there isn’t.

I turn.

And leave.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

let’s start with this

All this will pass.

A zen master said, “truth is just like this.” He said that definition of truth would still be true in 500 years. Truth is just like this!

So, we ask: What is this?
Many centuries ago, the Greek philosopher Socrates used to walk through the streets and marketplaces of Athens, teaching his students. He would say to them, “You must understand yourself! You must understand yourself! You must understand yourself.” Then one day a student said, “Sir, you always say we must understand ourselves. But do you understand yourself?”   
“No, I don‘t know myself,” Socrates replied. “But I understand this ‘don‘t know.‘“ This is very interesting teaching. Buddhist practice points at the same experience, because most human beings pass through their lives without the slightest sense of what they are.   
We understand many things about this world, but we don‘t understand ourselves. So why do human beings come into this world? Why do we live in this world? For love? For money? For respect or fame? Do you live for your wife, husband, or children? Why do you live in this world? If someone asked you these question, you might very well answer, “I live for my children. I live to earn enough money for them, or maybe just to have a good life.” Most people think like this. They live only for their family, for some fleeting social respectability, perhaps to enjoy art or to get some powerful position. Everyone wants to have a good situation for themselves. If you look at this world very closely, it is easy to see that most people eat and sleep and live merely for their own personal happiness. Yet these things are not the real purpose of human beings‘ life. They are just temporary means for living in the world. If human beings cannot find who they are, how can they ever be truly happy?  
(—from The Compass of Zen  p.28, by Zen Master Seung Sahn)
 The events of these days and months in America’s political landscape have been, and will continue to be, bizarre and confusing. The president, some feel, is unhinged, petty, mean, and a narcissist of enormous and dangerous proportions. Others feel he is the perfect antidote to a stuffy, controlled, and ineffective governance in Washington DC.

I don’t know.

I have an opinion. It is my opinion that the divide between philosophies of governance, the divide between ethnic groups and races, the divide between sane use of force and insane use of guns and violence, the divide between responsible and respectful behavior of men to women and the crude, power abusing, sex using disrespect of women by pretentious men, the divide between wealthy and poor — all these divides have deepened and separated and stand against each other with little hope of reconciliation or harmonious outcome.

But this opinion, too, will pass.

We live in an existence that is fluid and ephemeral.

In this impermanent circumstance — Who are we?

What am I?

Socrates didn’t know.

I don’t know.

It becomes our task, our profound duty, to understand this “don’t know.”

I am “don’t know.” As are you.

Let’s start with this!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

the word, of

Hear, O Lord, the sound.


My voice.

. . .
expressing the relationship between a part and a whole.
"the sleeve of his coat"
expressing the relationship between a scale or measure and a value.
"an increase of 5 percent

Monday, October 23, 2017

fed up

The notions of truth or falsehood have been tossed out by this White House. Now the standard is ‘whatever we say is true; what you think about what we say is false.’

It will have to be a serious and concerted effort on the part of thoughtful people to resist and counterbalance the distortion and newspeak that cynical provocateurs serve as rancid food to hungry citizens.

Sunday, October 22, 2017