Saturday, January 20, 2018

whose breath is it, anyway

does body
leave breath

or breath
leave body —

at hospice

question is
very near

as we
share breath

in dimly
lit rooms

where fabric
needles and

cat behind

are out
of sight

‘tis of thee

one year

later —

it’s not

too late

Friday, January 19, 2018


my room 
Is silent

as is
the house

waking up
to no 


...   ...   ...
* According to the Kegon teachings, when applied to human activity ri-ji-muge denotes seeking for the Buddha in the mind. The ji-ji-muge concept denotes looking for the Universal Buddha in the body. Following out the former idea, the flesh is regarded as a shackle imprisoning the enquiring spirit, so that by retiring from the world one should reduce it to proper submission and thereby obtain enlightenment. With the ji-ji-muge concept, however, illumination can be found only through perfecting flesh by bringing out its latent potentialities and thereby uncovering the Buddha hidden in the human heart. When applied this concept to the Mahayana schools of Buddhism, one may say that ri-ji-muge is the Way of Sitting (Zazen in Soto), while Ji-ji-muge is the Way of Moving in the World.  
(see P.K. Eidmann’”The Lion Roar”, Jodo Publishing, 1947 also various books by Kegon scholars such as Shinya Kasugai, Ryosho Takamine) 
(—from, Ji-ji-muge and Economics of Enlightenment, Chris J. Czerkawski, (Received on April 1, 2005, Hiroshima Shudo University Repository)

happy birthday, 1/2 dogen & francis hermitage lineage

Dōgen Zenji (道元禅師; 19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253), also known as Dōgen Kigen (道元希玄), Eihei Dōgen (永平道元), Kōso Jōyō Daishi (高祖承陽大師), or Busshō Dentō Kokushi (仏性伝東国師), was a Japanese Buddhist priest, writer, poet, philosopher, and founder of the Sōtō school of Zen in Japan. (—Wikipedia)
If you cannot find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it? [Dogen] 
Do not fragment your attention but see what each moment calls for. [Dogen] 
Old buddhas and new buddhas reveal their bodies and expound dharma. [Dogen] 
Use your own hands, your own eyes, your own sincerity. [Dogen]

Take continuous care. [Dogen]

Thursday, January 18, 2018

prelude to new ethos

1. Challenge:
In the premodern world, ethics received its authority from cosmology. The sacred order of the cosmos dictated the right order of society and the normative virtues for individuals. Each society thought its way of life reflected the universal and sacred natural order of things. With the emergence of the comparative study of cultures, through modern historiography and the social sciences in the nineteenth century, the cosmic world-views of all cultures were relativized. At the same time philosophy, which had already declared its independence from religion, attempted to find a new authoritative ground for ethics in the Enlightenment ideal of a universal rationality independent of any given culture. We now live in a time when this modern attempt is widely viewed as having failed. Indeed, Jean-François Lyotard suggests, in The Postmodern Condition,4 that a key indicator of the emergence of our postmodern situation is the collapse of all metanarratives, whether the ancient cosmic religious stories or modern cosmic stories of universal rationality and scientific progress.

According to the metanarrative of the Enlightenment, in the ancient childhood of the human race people lived by stories (myths), then in the medieval adolescence of the human race, humans embraced rationality (logic and speculative metaphysics). Finally, in the modern adulthood of the human race, humans learned to think for themselves, threw off their childish and adolescent ways and embraced empirical scientific rationality and technological progress. “Man” had “come of age” and no longer needed story – or so the story goes. Contemporary narrative theorists like Stanley Hauerwas 5 and Alasdair MacIntyre 6 have pointed out that even the modern claim of the narrative independence of rationality is dependent on a narrative – the story of the three ages of the human race. They have rightly argued that all rationality is narrative dependent. If this is the case then our postmodern situation is that, on the one hand, our metanarratives (grand stories) have been relativized and, on the other hand, we cannot escape narrative. So with what are we left?

(—from, Teaching Comparative Religious Ethics Online and in the Classroom, Introduction, For the second edition of: Comparative Religious Ethics: A Narrative Approach to Global Ethics, (2011) by Fasching, deChant, Lantigua), Wiley Instructor Companion Site

2. Response:
I would have said, “So what are we left with?” But I suspect, “So with what are we left? is better grammar. Still, the question is good — do we have a story that makes sense today?

I love stories. Here’s what I’m left with: You and I are stories being written. The old stories are there for us to read. The many stories of many people are here for us to listen to. We are left with one another. And what are we? And what are we doing?

My story says we are ever-beginning. You and I, so too our culture, era, and community, come alive to the extent we speak with and listen to one another. Talking about ethics together is part of ever-beginning.

I like the word ethos. The Oxford Dictionary defines it: “The characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its attitudes and aspirations.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

heading out of town

Shared psychosis.

That’s what a psychiatrist said happens to those who get close to someone who is powerful and needy.

Something odd is taking place in Washington DC.

Best to stay away.

Anyway, I’m not that good at sharing.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

op cit

“Monastics and hippies and poets . . . we’re deliberately irrelevant.” (Thomas Merton)

Anything I could say about Merton’s quote wouldn’t matter.

‘cuse me while I disappear

Friend in Mexico writes chapters of autobiography. Tells of recent gift of wall mirror. Giver wants nothing further to do with him. He wonders why.

It will snow tonight in Maine. I take to bed to rest under congestion and cough in hopes of sleeping it away. A gift a nice lady in narrow office area gave me last week.

It is tiring watching the tedious drama of Washington DC play out in endless scenes of infuriating lack of courage. If missiles fly or palace intrigue beheads unsuspecting necks it seems a natural outcome of current duplicity, pettiness, and embarrassment.

How would you want to study ethics? I would want to learn the fascinating ambiguity of my life. How my being and the manifestation of culture, era, and community all intersect as trampolene springing foreword.

Mirrors reflect what is presented to them. They show what stands behind us. They give a room broader boundaries. We are not meant to occupy a mirror. We either step aside and view what surrounds, or we take a more radical action.

We step into the mirror.

No reflection.

Just disappearance.

Monday, January 15, 2018

when the male in charge is nothing like the one we need

Nietzsche says that opposition is necessary.

If that is true, we have what is necessary.

Opposition seems to be the political weapon of choice.

The content of our character, that which is beyond behavior, is our destiny.

In the United States, on this feast of Martin Luther King, our destiny currently feels to be crude, cynical, and cantankerous.

Help us, O spirit of courage and good words, to find the opposite of our current destiny!

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Here comes Monday!

One minute at a time, and it will go by.

Do nothing. Go nowhere.  Love each step!

ontology as erasure

bent back
      new yorker

louis menand
     piece, comment

words of the
     year, 8jan18

“fake” is now
     used to mean

“I deny
     your reality.”

It is a new year,
     a new fear

snow machine and hospice room

night belongs to groomers on mountain

and those that barely breathe in beds —

both laboring for smooth passage, one more