Saturday, January 19, 2019

this is true face

Morning practice at hermitage.

After sitting and chanting, this:

A Teaching from Zen Master Jinen,

Original face is just this.

Truth is facing this without concept.


What once was called marrying God, or called heiros gamos, or called becoming a bride of Christ, or any other designation of mystical union with the divine -- was the longing to overcome the perceived and felt separation/alienation common to the experience of distracted, disorientated, or dispersed human beings. It occurs when subjects became objects, and thinking objectification became rife in everyday experience.

Last evening's conversation brought us to the primacy of listening, the primacy of pure looking.

This morning: iiwwii 
Another way to imagine one's way into that which is correlationally, authentically, inchoately whole within and without.

That which is, I suspect, original and current real reality before belief in artificial separation.

Friday, January 18, 2019

absurd: (surdus=deaf, dull)

We're meant to listen to one another in the same way we are meant to listen to the resonant energy flowing -- which we call God.

Listen up!

Don't be dull!


and the music...

"Faith is twenty-four hours of doubt and one minute of hope." (--from film, "The Innocents")

Stark, haunting, and heartbreakingly beautiful.

And the music...

he preached himself through the fear of death

Between 15jan (MLK birthday) and 4apr (MLK deathday) I find a new interstice of holy and intense wonder.

This piece was 11 years ago.
'He Took Us to the Mountaintop'"Many of us, grown men, were crying," Kyles tells Renee Montagne. "We didn't know why we were crying. We had no way of knowing that would be the last speech of his life. And then he took us to the mountaintop ..." 
 "Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life — longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over, and I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything, I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.                                                (— the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.)
Kyles says he's "so certain" that King "knew he wouldn't get there, but he wouldn't tell us that. That would have been too heavy for us, so he softened it." 
Afterward, "we had to help him to his seat behind that powerful, prophetic speech,"Kyles says. "He preached himself through the fear of death," Kyles says. "He just got it out of him. He just ... dealt with it. And we were just standing there. It was like, what did he know that we didn't know?" 
A Dream Partially Fulfilled
Kyles, who still preaches in Memphis, says that while much of King's dream has been realized, there's much more to do.  
When he speaks to people who were not alive or too young to remember King, Kyle says he tells them, "we're not going to get to the place where we can say, 'Dr. King's dream has been realized. Now we can go to the beach.' That's not going to happen. Much of it has been realized, but there is so much to do. But each generation will have its portion, and that helps to keep the dream alive."  
(--from, King Remembered on 40th Anniversary of DeathApril 4, 20084:00 PM ET, Heard on  All Things Considered)

life’s victories of doubt

On Frost:
I read “Directive” as one of those few rare poems that are, by Frost’s definitive hope, “a momentary stay against confusion.” The margin of “a momentary stay” is the saving grace of “Directive” and, greatly, its theme. Whoever demands a more ample margin had better be guided up Billy Graham’s public aisle; whoever can exist without metaphor had best forget Frost. But whomever “Directive” privately converts (Frost asks no less) can find his margin roughly extended in that strangely unknown Frost poem, “An Empty Threat”: 
     Better defeat almost,
     If seen clear,
     Than life’s victories of doubt
     That need endless talk talk
     To make them out. 
Terribly though doubt assailed him, nowhere in his work is Frost defeated by it. Skeptically as a lot of poems talk, nowhere in them is doubt victorious. Nor is there any poem that argues “almost better defeat," whether seen clear or not. What must be seen clear is the poised sequence of those words I’ve just disordered. My misquote, “almost better defeat," is narrowly, but wholly and perfectly, different from “better defeat almost.” The difference is as great as one man’s life might be from another’s; the distinction in order is, as Frost would have it, of the order of the distinction between prose and poetry. Defeat-almost was the ordeal of Frost’s life; it is the narrow victory his major poems dramatize, and the human margin of their greatness. As it climbs to marginal redemption through a myth made local by image, through an ordeal heightened by metaphor, “Directive” is one of the greatest. It stays defeat by bettering being lost.

(--from, Robert Frost’s Prime Directive, by Philip Booth. Originally appeared in Master Poems of the English Language, edited by Oscar Williams (Pocket Books, 1966). Reprinted in Trying to Say it: Outlooks and Insights on How Poems Happen by Philip Booth (University of Michigan, 1996). on
This frosty morning.

Following Mary Oliver's death. 

Thursday, January 17, 2019

looking up ἄξιος, finding it a good word

Sometimes, just to luxuriate in a word:

axios: of weight, of worth, worthy
Original Word: ἄξιος, ία, ιον
Part of Speech: Adjective
Transliteration: axios
Phonetic Spelling: (ax'-ee-os)
Definition: of weight, of worth, worthy
Usage: worthy, worthy of, deserving, comparable, suitable.
HELPS Word-studies
514 áksios (an adjective derived from aksō, "to weigh") – properly, to weigh inassigning the matching value ("worth-to-worth"); worthy, i.e. as the assessment in keeping with how something "weighs in" on God's balance-scale of truth

514 /áksios ("weighed-in") "properly means, 'drawing down the scale' hence 'weighing as much as,' 'of like value, worth,' befitting, congruouscorresponding" (J. Thayer).

[514 (áksios) is the root of the English term, "axis." This also refers to a balance-scale, operating by off-setting weights.]

(--from, Strong's Concordance,

faith is where your ass is at!

Epigraph to Norman Mailer's "Harlot's Ghost":
Ephesians 6:12 New International Version (NIV) 
12  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
And yet, it seems there's lots of help from Washington Republicans, Banking Industry, Corporations worldwide, White Nationalists, Sex Traffickers, Drug Cartels, Liars of all stripes, Police excesses, Defense industries, the perduring Unawakened Ignorant,  and (let's face it)  me (dammit) -- all the contributors to the less-than-glorious potential of life-in-the-world as realized by loving, caring, and compassionate beings.

Some words by Daniel Berrigan:
"If you are going to follow Jesus, you better look good on wood." 
"No principle is worth the sacrifice of a single human being. 
"The gift we can offer others is so simple a thing as hope." 
"One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the U.S. around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better." 
"Faith is rarely where your head is at. Nor is it where your heart is at. Faith is where your a-- is at!" 
"The Jesuits I know who have died and all their lives were great teachers, they're the least remembered people." 
"You have to struggle to stay alive and be of use as long as you can." 
"Because success is such a weasel word anyway, it's such a horribly American word, and it's such a vamp and, I think it's a death trap." 
"You can't bank on the outcome." 

gratitude for a real poet

Thank you, Mary Oliver! 
When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder 
if I have made of my life something particular, and real. 
                     (--from, “When Death Comes,” poem by Mary Oliver)
(Born: September 10, 1935, Died: January 17, 2019)

where once becomes

That was then.
Once there was a way 
To get back homeward. 
Once there was a way 
To get back home. 
(--from, Golden Slumbers, by JOHN LENNON, PAUL MCCARTNEY
This is now.

Stay with this.

Where once is all there ever is.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

within/without seminar

A glimpse, at times, is all you get.

Sometimes, it's all that's needed.

The Red Wheelbarrow                
so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white
(--Poem by William Carlos Williams1883 - 1963)  
At prison graduation ceremony yesterday an unconsummated moment when an unfinished carved book (they say) was not presented to me upon the rumor I was finished teaching for the university (and/or) at the prison. I could neither confirm nor deny the rumor beyond my typical end of term "I'm done!"

Speaking to a former graduate about his spirits and feelings I see he (and others) might benefit from a post-grad seminar-of-sorts set up to involve members of the outside community and men on the inside reading agreed upon texts, writing pieces about their thought/feeling/experience, exchanging them inside/outside, commenting, dialoguing, and philosophizing into the next piece of reading/writing. This would be an open support-learning community done within and without to deepen the core reality of our being-with one another and lernen-lassen (letting learning happen).

We could resurrect the title of our year long meetings with individuals at the prison begun in 2015, and expand it -- ILU COTO.

Here's how we described it:
individual learning       understanding       conversation together
(ilu coto translates as: the illusion of barrier, opening beyond preserve/reserve)
1x1 conversation, contemplative, meditative, corresponding   
ilu coto is the invitation to converse with one another about things that open us to what is present, and what is beyond our ordinary awareness. 

And so, this:
A New Seminar 
so much 
at 4AM
silence reveals 
as darkness
slips away 
     (--wfh, 16jan19)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

being led out

In the Maximum Security Prison twenty men today received either an AA or BA degree from The University of Maine at Augusta.

We were there.

Good for the soul, it was.

It was.


awakening reveals

No other.
Ultimately, morality, wisdom, and meditation are equally vital aspects of the Way that mutually condition one another. Awakening reveals the no-thingness of things—that no thing is apart from all other things. To realize truly that there is only this nature, with no “other” outside us, is to naturally want to refrain from causing harm, just as we refrain from doing harm to one of our own limbs or eyes. The Ten Cardinal Precepts then articulate how to live up to this vision of things as they are—as one. Conversely, by upholding the precepts even before awakening, we are allowing the afflictions that obstruct that experience to loosen and dissolve. And since the precepts collectively may be seen as a description of enlightened conduct, in harmonizing with them we are actualizing our buddhanature.
(--from, Pain, Passion, and the Precepts, In upholding the precepts, we actualize our buddhanature, By Bodhin Kjolhede, WINTER 2011)

If no other, then, love one an other.

Monday, January 14, 2019


Soon, someday, the current president will no longer be president.

It will be nice to not be surrounded by ludicrous and meshugas.

It remains to decipher how and why he happened.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

the essence of existence is the out-standing standing within the essential separation

Researching hypokeimenon, (because we are reading Nishida Kitarō tonight), I find the following:

The Hypokeimenon Story.         
Modernism also gave new meaning to what it means to be a subject, and the primary source of this innovation was the ego cogito of Descartes’ Meditations. The pre-Cartesian meaning of subject (Gk. hypokeimenon; Lat. subiectum) can still be seen in the "subjects" one takes in school or the "subject" of a sentence. In this ancient sense all things are subjects, things with "underlying [essential] kernels," as the Greek literally says and as Greek metaphysics proposed. (As opposed to substance metaphysics, the process view of this pansubjectivism makes all individuals subjects of some sort of experience.) After Cartesian doubt, however, there is only one subject of experience of which we are certain--viz., the human thinking subject. All other things in the world, including persons and other sentient beings, have now become objects of thought, not subjects in their own right. Cartesian subjectivism, therefore, gave birth simultaneously to modern objectivism as well. With the influence of the new mechanical cosmology, the stage was set for uniquely modern forms of otherness and alienation.
And this:

Hypokeimenon (Greek: ὑποκείμενον), later often material substratum, is a term in metaphysics which literally means the "underlying thing" (Latinsubiectum).
To search for the hypokeimenon is to search for that substance which persists in a thing going through change—its basic essence.  (Wikipedia)

Finally, this:

20. In his broader “history of being,” Heidegger traces “subjectivism” back to Plato, whose doctrine of the ideas begins a movement whereby truth is no longer understood solely in terms of the manifestation of entities themselves but, instead, becomes a feature of our own “representational” capacities. In this way, truth becomes a matter of the way we secure our knowledge of entities rather than of the prior way entities disclose themselves to us. (On this “displacement of the locus of truth” from being to human subjectivity, see Thomson 2005, p. 160.) 
21. The modern prejudice that (to put it simply) all meaning comes from the human subjectreaches its most powerful apotheosis in Nietzsche and Freud. From Heidegger's perspective, however, this phenomenologically mistaken view misses (and subsequently obscures) the fact that meaning emerges at the prior practical intersection of human beings with their worlds (as well as in our engaged negotiations with one another). Heidegger is thus an ethical realist, one whose phenomenological investigations led him to recognize that the world is no mute partner but, rather, actively contributes to our most profound sense of what matters (see below and Thomson 2004). 
22. In “The Origin of the Work of Art,” Heidegger again presents his phenomenological conception of “existence” as a way to undercut and transcend the modern subject/object dichotomy: “In existence, however, humanity does not first move out of something ‘interior’ to something ‘exterior’; rather, the essence of existence is the out-standing standing within the essential separation [i.e., the ontological difference between being and entities thought in terms of the essential strife that joins “earth and world”] belonging to the clearing of beings.” (PLT 67/GA5 55)  
23. As this suggests, Heidegger's later work is dedicated to detecting, resisting, and, ultimately, transcending what he took to be the core of the Nazi ideology. For a justification of this admittedly provocative claim, see Thomson 2011, Ch. 7. On Heidegger's attempt to transcend aesthetics from within, see also Sallis 2008, Ch. 8. 
(--Notes to Heidegger's Aesthetics, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
There you are!

While I like "the essence of existence is the out-standing standing within the essential separation," (cf.3: 22 above), I also like the pre-Cartesian "subjects in their own right." (cf.1, above).

By-and-by, if I open my mouth beyond Nishida, we should all be asleep by 7:29pm.

surcease solemnity of 3AM

With undulating chant

voices find narrow passage

through inner darkness --

 out-breath opens emptiness