Saturday, November 25, 2017

你好吗i nǐ hǎo ma how are you

How do we meet?

Martin Buber said that meeting is the essence of human activity, 
In order to preserve the imbrication of singular selfhood and the bonding of human personhood, Buber rejected the false choice between individualism and collectivism. As Buber always understood it, human wholeness lies in the meeting of the one with the other in a living fourfold relation to things, individual persons, the mystery of Being, and self. Every living relation is essential and contributes to human wholeness because human wholeness (“man's unique essence”) is known or posited only in living out a set of relations.
I meet this gentleman sleeping in his hospice bed on Saturday night visit to this dedicated hospice house Thanksgiving  holiday weekend.

Between moans and snores there are the pauses of breath. Then remnants of interior proclamations of thought reaching for vocal chords but losing its way through washed out roads and blocked bridges.

I’ve wandered into this space under tv playing extreme weather stories to far end of room where abandoned remote sits alongside someone’s two handled bag.

From next room the fussing sounds of an infant. My companion, in his doze, resounds similarly. An antiphony of inquiring protestations of arriving and departing consciousness separated by eighty decades of mirrored colloquy.

About Buber:
He is best known for his 1923 book, Ich und Du (I and Thou), which distinguishes between “I-Thou” and “I-It” modes of existence. Often characterized as an existentialist philosopher, Buber rejected the label, contrasting his emphasis on the whole person and “dialogic” intersubjectivity with existentialist emphasis on “monologic” self-consciousness. In his later essays, he defines man as the being who faces an “other” and constructs a world from the dual acts of distancing and relating.
We face each other by means of sounds and presence. Always in conversation, like newborn and long-live’d facing one another by sound alone, the calling-card of shy presence, we negotiate the nexus of invisible interstices the way mild evening mist and pre-dawn freezing flecks interconnect in what is between what is inbetween.

Where we meet is that emptiness between what is inbetween and what is not there.

My companion resumes recitative of snore, moan, and detoured proclamation.

Refrigerator motor harmonizes with weather numbers from unmatched images.

We pray the prayer of meandering breath. In. Out. Pause. Resume. Oremus.

We have met and do meet in this sacred ground we do not know the name of. So, we call it “here.”

Here we are.

Here is who we are and what we are as we encounter all we meet in unknowing intimacy.

There’s nothing to do here but be here.

This is how we are,

Friday, November 24, 2017

how difficult it is to remain just one person (Milosz)

At prison. On mountain. At home. At conversation.

With poetry.

Friday after Thanksgiving.

As it is, lovely.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

gracias, grazie, merci, danke, shokran, xièxie

Humility never says "It's me!"
Kindness doesn't ask for a receipt.
Everydayness doesn't care about future payoff.

No one can control the behavior of another.
But what comes out of us in response is our character.

On Thanksgiving, gratitude is gifting another a loving response.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ask not

Fifty four years ago a sacrifice was made.

America sacrificed a president.

It broke something important.

It broke our will.

We wanted truth.

We got lies.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

covering jfk

I think of jfk on eve of assassination.

The death of our country with lies and deception.

Still covering.

Monday, November 20, 2017

unfolding itself right before your eye

Blue Jay in Yew bush picks at green needle. Hops to ground. Companion picks with her on empty husks for fresh seed. Ever skittish. Ever vigilant.

My morning teachers.
From An Introduction to Zen Buddhism 
Is Zen a religion? It is not a religion in the sense that the term is popularly understood; for Zen has no God to worship, no ceremonial rites to observe, no future abode to which the dead are destined, and, last of all, Zen has no soul whose welfare is to be looked after by somebody else and whose immortality is a matter of intense concern with some people. Zen is free from all these dogmatic and "religious" encumbrances. ... 
As to all those images of various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas and Devas and other beings that one comes across in Zen temples, they are like so many pieces of wood or stone or metal; they are like camellias, azaleas, or stone lanterns in my garden. Make obeisance to the camellia now in full bloom, and worship it if you like, Zen would say. There is as much religion in so doing as in bowing to the various Buddhist gods, or as sprinkling holy water, or as participating in the Lord's Supper. All those pious deeds considered to be meritorious or sanctifying by most so-called religiously minded people are artificialities in the eyes of Zen. It boldly declares that "the immaculate Yogins do not enter Nirvana and the precept-violating monks do not go to hell". This, to ordinary minds, is a contradiction of the common law of moral life, but herein lies the truth and the life of Zen. Zen is the spirit of a man. Zen believes in its inner purity and goodness. Whatever is superadded or violently torn away, injures the wholesomeness of the spirit. Zen, therefore, is emphatically against all religious conventionalism. ...
(--from, D.T. Suzuki, in The Question of God, Other Voices, PBS, 2004) 
 At Sunday Evening Practice we read at table from Tomorrow’s God, by Neale Donald Walsh.

A single oak leaf falls into Yew.

This moment.

I chant morning invitatory in cabin chapel/zendo. Light candle.Light stick of incense.

And this moment.

Sip coffee. Eat cereal. Take pills.

Charles Manson dies in prison at 83. Donald Trump lives in Washington DC at 71. Alabama will elect a man to the US Senate who is accused of sexual inappropriateness with teenage girls. Minnesota has to wonder about its senator. Every man who thought it was ok to take liberties with woman is now reappraised and under scrutiny.  Women who have been intimidated or silenced emerge from under the cloak of male privilege. A woman, unbelieved and unlistened to for so long regarding undesired behavior by men toward them, now speaks openly.

Justice is not out there somewhere. It is either in ourselves or it is nowhere. Not even in our institutions of law and systems of courts.

Justice has no separate existence from mind and heart of those who feel their way into fair and equitable balance between all beings, all things, all existence.
"The way to ascend unto God is to descend into one's self"; — these are Hugo's words. "If thou wishest to search out the deep things of God, search out the depths of thine own spirit"; — this comes from Richard of St. Victor. When all these deep things are searched out there is after all no "self" where you can descend, there is no "spirit", no "God" whose depths are to be fathomed. Why? Because Zen is a bottomless abyss. Zen declares, though in somewhat different manner: "Nothing really exists throughout the triple world; where do you wish to see the mind (or spirit, *hsin*)? The four elements are all empty in their ultimate nature; where could the Buddha's abode be? — but lo! the truth is unfolding itself right before your eye. This is all there is to it — and indeed nothing more!" A minute's hesitation and Zen is irrevocably lost. All the Buddhas of the past, present, and future may try to make you catch it once more, and yet it is a thousand miles away. “Mind-murder" and "self-intoxication", forsooth! Zen has no time to bother itself with such criticisms. (--D.T. Suzuki)
There is no justice. It doesn't exist.

There are individuals, though.

The grey cat eats kibbles on kitchen island. The white dog scratches on sliding door to come in.

Fire catches on right side of wood in wood stove.
Therefore, anything that has the semblance of an external authority is rejected by Zen. Absolute faith is placed in a man's own inner being. For whatever authority there is in Zen, all comes from within. This is true in the strictest sense of the word. Even the reasoning faculty is not considered final or absolute. On the contrary, it hinders the mind from coming into the directest communication with itself. The intellect accomplishes its mission when it works as an intermediary, and Zen has nothing to do with the intermediary except when it desires to communicate itself to others. For this reason all the scriptures are merely tentative and provisory; there is in them no finality. The central fact of life as it is lived is what Zen aims to grasp, and this in the most direct and most vital manner. Zen professes itself to be the spirit of Buddhism, but in fact it is the spirit of all religions and philosophies. When Zen is thoroughly understood, absolute peace of mind is attained, and a man lives as he ought to live. What more may we hope? ...           (--D.T. Suzuki) 
Yellow Finch on feeder as chimney smoke downdrafts across their feeding. 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

what if God is the present moment

There it is, the question: What if God is the present moment?

What would change in our thinking? What would become of our lives?
Jesuit priest Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) called it the “sacrament of the present moment.” His book, Abandonment to Divine Providence, was the book most recommended by spiritual directors for many decades. His key theme is: “If we have abandoned ourselves to God, there is only one rule for us: the duty of the present moment.” To live in the present is finally what we mean by presence itself! 
God is hidden in plain sight, yet religion seems determined to make it more complicated. Much of low-level religion suggests that to find God you need this morality and that behavior and this ritual and that performance and this belief system. Western Christianity has largely refused to allow God to be as simple, obvious, democratic, and available as God has made (and makes!) God’s self—right here and right now.
(—from, Time-Tested WisdomSunday, November 19, 2017, Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM)
Thich Nhat Hanh’s gatha is gentle resonance of this.

I have arrived. 
I am home. 
In the here. 
In the now.
What traditionally has been called ‘belief’ is now mere realization of what is here as what is here.

No one tradition owns God. No one owns God. God is one’s own.

This realization changes everything.

And the more things change the more they become themselves.

As God is.

As you are.

As is each thing, each being, each instant.

Becoming what is!

In practice.