Saturday, May 18, 2019

chu-slih, lay believers outside the establishment

 Some stayed outside the formal settings.
Layman Pang 
The man known to history as Layman Pang became a practicing Buddhist early and became so obsessed with the classic Chinese ideal of a spiritual-poetic hermitage that he actually had a thatched cottage built adjacent to his house. Here he spent time with his wife and children meditating, composing poetry, and engaging in characteristically Chinese musings.  
A story relates that he was sitting in his thatched cottage one day when he became exasperated with the difficulties of his path:
Pang: "How difficult it is! How difficult it is! My studies are like drying the fibers of ten thousand pounds of flax by hanging them in the sun." 
His wife: "Easy, easy, easy. It's like touching your feet to the ground when you get out of bed. I have found the teaching right in the tops of flowering plants.” 
His daughter, Ling-chao, hearing both outbursts, showed them the truth: "My study is neither difficult nor easy. When I am hungry I eat. When I am tired I rest.''
Another version of this story has the Pang family working with Sengsan's "The Great Way is not difficult for those who have no preferences."
Layman Pang explained at length how difficult it is to live in accordance with the Great Way.  
His wife: 'What is difficult about that? Everyone in the world is a Buddha!"  
His daughter: "There is nothing difficult or easy about it. When you encounter food you eat it and when you meet up with tea you drink it! That's all there is to it!"
Finally Pang decided to go the final step and sever his ties with the materialism that weighed him down and his daughter helped him wend his now-penurious way through the world by assisting him in making and selling bamboo household articles. Free at last, Pang traveled about from place to place with no fixed abode, living, so the legends say, "like a leaf." 
The image of Pang and his daughter as itinerant peddlers, wandering from place to place, made a searing impression on the Chinese mind, and for centuries he has been admired in China — admired, but not necessarily emulated.
(--from, Layman Pang and Hanshan, Lesson 18, The Study of Zen,  
This, too:
We do have the stories of two Chan poets who operated outside the monastic system: Layman Pang (740?-811) and Hanshan (760?-840?). They were part of a movement called chu-slih, lay believers who were drawn to Buddhism but rejected the formal practices, preferring to remain outside the establishment and seek enlightenment on their own.  (ibid)
You could say -- no inside, no outside -- or not this, not that.

Either way,  "There is nothing difficult or easy about it."

Each becoming itself.

Friday, May 17, 2019

becoming conscious

Panikkar goes on:
The Vedic Revelation is not primarily a thematic communication of esoteric facts, although a few of its sayings, as, for example, certain passages of the Upanisads, disclose some truth that is unknown to the normal range of human experience. But for the most part the Vedic Revelation is the discrete illumination of a veil, which was not seen as a veil but as a layer, one might almost say a skin, of Man himself. The Vedic Revelation unfolds the process of Man's "becoming conscious," of discovering himself along with the three worlds and their mutual relationships. It is not the message of another party speaking through a medium, but the very illumination of the "medium," itself the progressive enlightenment of reality. It is not a beam of light coming from a lighthouse or a powerful reflector; it is dawn. It is the revelation of the Word, of the primordial Word, of the Word that is not an instrument, or even a sign, as if it were handling or pointing to something else. It is the revelation of the Word as symbol, as the sound-and-meaning aspect of reality itself. If there were somebody who had spoken the Word first, by what other word could he communicate the meaning of the original to me? I must assume that the Word speaks directly to me, for the Vedas reveal in an emphatic manner the character of reality.  
In short, the fact that the Vedas have no author and thus no anterior authority, the fact that they possess only the value contained in the actual existential act of really hearing them, imparts to them a universality that makes them peculiarly relevant today. They dispose us to listen and then we hear what we hear, trusting that it is also what was to be heard. 
(79468301-The-Vedic-Experience-Raimon-Panikkar pdf )

Contains the darkness within it as it shines forth. 

Thursday, May 16, 2019

only in the spirit

The notion of author-less authority.

Raimon Panikkar, in Preface and Introduction of The Vedic Experience, writes:
We refer, first, to the traditional notion of the apauruseya or non-authorship, either human or divine, of the Vedas. This theory is often been ridiculed as a contradiction of common sense and as a denial of causal thinking; or it has been taken as simply holding that theVedas have no "author" who has written them and no "mind" that has thought them. Without entering into the almost endless subtleties of the Mimamsa, we can simply say that at the core of this conception there is a desire to purify our relationship with the text and to avoid any kind of idolatry. Any one of us is the author of the Vedas when we read, pray, and understand them. Nobody is the author of living words except the one who utters them. The Vedas are living words, and the word is not an instrument of Man but his supreme form of expression. What has no author, according to the apauruseya insight, is the relation between the word and its meaning or object. The relationship is not an artificial or extrinsic relation caused by somebody. There is no author to posit the type of relationship which exists between the word and its meaning. To do this we would require another relationship and so on ad infinitum. When a word ceases to be a living word, when it ceases to convey meaning, when it is not a word for me, it is not Veda, it does not convey real or saving knowledge.  
This conception, paradoxically enough, rescues the Vedas from the grip not only of a certain God functioning as a primal scribe, but also of the Hindu tradition, which cannot be said to be the author of the Vedas. The Vedas without an author cease to be an authoritative book. Only when you become their "author," when through assimilation you are able to utter them, when you yourself are the proper origin, the auctor of the text, do the Vedas disclose their authentic "authority." The Vedic Revelation is not the voice of an anthropomorphic Revealer nor the unveiling of the veil that covers reality. In point of fact, the shruti is that which is heard (rather than seen), so that the metaphor of unveiling may sometimes be misleading, because it is not by lifting up the veil (and thus seeing the naked reality) that we are going to discover the real, but by realizing that the veil covers and conceals and that the discovery of this fact constitutes the actual revelation. To reveal in this sense is not to unveil, to lift up the veil, but to "reveal" the veil, to make us aware that what we see and all we can see is the veil, and that it is left to us to "guess"--or, as we would say, to "think"--reality, which is made manifest precisely by the veil that covers it. We cannot separate the veil from the thing that is veiled, just as we cannot separate a word from its meaning, or what is heard from what is understood. If I were to lift up the veil of maya I would see nothing. We can see only if we see the veil of maya and recognize it for what it is. The shruti is shruti when that which is actually heard is not merely the sound but all that there is to be heard, perceived, understood, realized. Our own discovery, our process of discovery, is part of the revelation itself. Only in the spirit are the Vedas Vedas. And now we can understand why for centuries they were neither written down nor expounded to outsiders.  
(from, 79468301-The-Vedic-Experience-Raimon-Panikkar pdf, Scribd. Preface and Introduction 

And still, yet, resonating prior to and following any wording, much less writing, of what is heard., 

rising from the dead

Standing in the middle,

not often loved by either side.

Who can do this?





Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Less tomato sauce

Dog eats

Cat shakes on sofa

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

want to take a ride

We named our kitchen after Raimon Panikkar. 

There's something intriguing about his idea. 
The Cosmotheandric idea 
Panikkar (1973a:ix) has developed a cosmotheandric idea of reality, referring to three major religious traditions to which he belongs, namely the Christian Trinity, the Vedanta Hindu advaita, and the Buddhist pratityasamutpada. Panikkar (1993:ix-x) claims that this threefold pattern – traditionally speaking, “Theos-anthropos-cosmos” – are invariants of all religions and cultures in the world and adds that, according to the cosmotheandric principle there is an “intuition of the threefold structure of all reality, the triadic oneness existing on all levels of consciousness and reality.” 
Panikkar (1973b:74-75) claims that,  
     God and man are neither two nor one … There are not two realities: God and        man/world; but neither is there one: God or man/world … god and man are, so to speak,      in close constitutive collaboration for the building up of reality, the unfolding of history, and the continuation of creation … [this] cosmotheandric experience and reality that dwell within and are made available through the various religious streams of the world. 
Panikkar (1981:22; 1993:v-xv) says our cosmopolitan world has developed to a critical position that warns all forms of imperialistic and monistic thinking and acting that no religious group should emphasize the superiority of one religion, culture or tradition over peoples of other diverse faiths
 (--Hirschel Heilbron, Researcher in the field of Systematic Theology: Theologies of Religion/ Comparative Theology, in paper Raimundo Panikkar’s Religious-Mystical Bridge) 
Living with diversity, with its invitation to transcend binary thinking and enter the dance of inner intersecting triadic contemplation, beckons us out of familiar duality into twirling consciousness some call non-duality and its next incarnation.

Currently our culture is apt to destroy itself with an eradicating mentality set upon beating down and triumphing over what it perceives as opposite and the perceived need to obviate it. We've lived with the competitive eliminating mind for a long while.

However useful it was in its inception, it has become excruciating in its violent and domineering implementation in mental, physical, and spiritual spheres of human activity. The confusion wrought by antiquated thinking is imprisoning us in irreconcilable deliberation as to how to punish that which falls outside prevailing perception and choice.

Reality is revealing itself in ways beyond recognition. We long believed the sun revolved around the earth. Now we believe the earth revolves around the sun. Yet we have to consider that with further insight into the physics and ontology of matter, dark matter, dark energy, and the further unknowns of cosmic existence, new and stranger revelations will occur.

These manifestations of the workings of the boundless universe will emerge into our evolving and potential integral thinking that will leave our current schema of physics behind as one might leave behind their childhood neighborhood to discover new horizons throughout new worlds.

So too with notions of God.

We will reconsider how we view what we've called "persons."

Who we are, and what we are about, will, undoubtably, traverse and transcend everything we've known.

It will be a thrilling yet unnerving enterprise to travel into the yet undiscovered territory of mind and cosmos.

We will have to navigate the perplexing winding roads of confusion, innovation, and profound imaginative faith.

It will be Hadden asking Ellie in the film Contact, "Want to take a ride?"

be guilty of help

There will come a time when the United States' attitude and behavior toward those who long for safety, security, a life without fear, and a place of compassion -- will be reviewed and assessed with the cold eye of justice and humanitarian ethics.
Sicora told the audience that, for her, history provided useful guidance. “When slavery was legal and slaves were running away, and people were helping them, it was probably illegal,” she said. All of this, Sicora argued, was a matter of doing what one knows to be right, regardless of the government’s current position. When Warren’s verdict comes down, whether he’s found “innocent, of being a human being,” or “guilty of providing help to somebody who’s dying,” she suggested that “maybe we can all go out and put water wherever it’s needed.” 
As Sicora returned to her seat, 18-year-old Enzo Javier Mejia stood up. 
The aspiring doctor was not an Ajo resident, but instead one of the Montana State students who Warren had taken into the desert that day. “My parents are both immigrants — my dad’s from El Salvador, my mom’s from Nicaragua,” he explained. “They made that trek over to the United States back in the 80s and 90s. My mom was 7 years old. I have a little sister that’s 13 and I can’t imagine her doing that trek at that age. The fact that this community cares this much and is putting out water, food, and blankets means a lot.” These were things his family didn’t have, Javier Mejia said. “They walked here, miles and miles and miles,” he went on to say. “So, on behalf of them, on behalf of my aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents, thank you so much.”    
The world is a frightened place populated by frightened people unwilling to look into the pervasive and paralyzing fear that pussyfoots in place of love -- love which is fearless, courageous, and realizes there is nothing to lose and nowhere to go in the face of love.

The face of love is a mirror image.

What glances back is what glances in.

Our current faceless anxiety needs to step up to the looking glass and look fearlessly at what is there.

What is there is not only the resemblance of our inner being, it is the future life of our present soul.

Be guilty of help!

Thank you so much.

Monday, May 13, 2019

now, then, where were we

Monday morning conversation with New York Times:
Ama Nesciri | Camden, Maine  
The House mulls. The Senate smirks. The Justice Department has been hired to defend a dodgy client whose fingerprints are all over indictable acts. The Supreme Court warms up in bullpen keeping eyes on subpoena scores, ready to come in and close out the game in favor of their manager. The people love the shtick and vaudeville act of the man who thinks campaign rallies and tabloid headlines are the quintessence of presidency.   
I resign myself to his mind-numbing nonsense muttering for six more years.   
There are, actually, real people in hospitals, hospice houses, nursing homes, and, yes, prisons who can be visited, conversed with, sat with, and loved. The artificial scripts of political theater are best discarded for authentic conversations with ordinary people whose suffering calls for real response and human presence.  
 Life outside the sideshow of our current administration calls to us for unambiguous healing response.  
(Opinion, An Imperial Presidency?  President Trump’s free rein from political norms puts the United States at risk. By Charles M. Blow, Opinion Columnist, May 12, 2019) 

May I go now?

Sunday, May 12, 2019

what I will become

Jung and Merton juxtaposed for Sunday Evening Practice reading.

Earlier listening to The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

Our practice is engaged solitude.

Naked presence. Letting go all that is not what is God. A zen diffidence without control allowing all that is not me to become what I am becoming.

When Jehovah Witnesses stopped by this week their literature said God’s name was translated as: "I will Become What I Choose to Become." (Exodus 3:14)

When I tried to remember it, I remembered: "I am becoming what I will become.” It's not easy remembering the future.

The retired lobster fisherman in hospital Saturday said he sees God in people.

The world is more wonderful that we can imagine.