Saturday, July 06, 2019

God is existence as it ought to be

Driving back from hospice at Sussman House, I hear this from Scribd:
Nature, this world, is an existence which contradicts my wishes, my feelings. Here it is not as it ought to be; this world passes away; but God is existence as it ought to be. God fulfils my wishes; – this is only a popular personification of the position: God is the fulfiller, i.e., the reality, the fulfilment of my wishes. But heaven is the existence adequate to my wishes, my longing; thus there is no distinction between God and heaven. God is the power by which man realises his eternal happiness; God is the absolute personality in which all individual persons have the certainty of their blessedness and immortality; God is to subjectivity the highest, last certainty of its absolute truth and essentiality. 
(--Ludwig Feuerbach, Essence of Christianity: PART I, The True or Anthropological Essence of Religion, Chapter XVIII. The Christian Heaven, or Personal Immortality
The sentence, "God is existence as it ought to be." takes my attention.

Sound of fireworks in the distance.

Rainstorm over.


wait for no, one


left foot in

bow to buddha

bow to cross

to mother and child

to symbol trinity

light candle

small piece of incense

bow to kneeling chair

wait for no one

sound of lauds

nothing else

nothing else

nothing else

circle rug

stone center

three bells

reverse bowing

han sounds

mountain reminder

Friday, July 05, 2019

sally gardens

Watching Emma Thompson in The Children Act is a gift.

She and her character — beauty, grace, and intelligence.

The pathos of life here.

the one that got away

I'd love to be positive and optimistic. 

(Go ahead, read that sentence again.)

I'd love             to be             positive and optimistic

at foot of mountain


The quiet of early morning.

Dishes washed from birthday party

Someone silent in still-life room

Sun comes over eastern hill

Here, at foot of mountain,

Day shows itself

As nothing other than

What is showing itself

sown and shown

Thursday, July 04, 2019

whatever you can’t not do

Two lines from same film.

One from the powers that be;
“There’s a natural order to this world , Fabricant, and the truth is  this order must be protected.” (—Cloud Atlas)
And one from the potential that longs to be:
“You have to do whatever you can’t not do.” (—Cloud Atlas)
 On days like today these two quotes vie in public square for the attention of those that can hear.

It is quiet at the hermitage.

I sip water.

“our lives are not our own. from womb to tomb, we are bound to others past and present. and by each crime and every kindness, we birth our future. i believe there is another world waiting for us, a better one. and i’ll be waiting for you there”   (— david mitchell, cloud atlas)

poetry slamming

Think of America as a poetry editorial board trying to decide between two poems. 

1. One by e.e.cummings which begins:
"Humanity i love you / because you would rather black the boots of / success than enquire whose soul dangles from his / watch-chain which would be embarrassing for both /
parties and because you / unflinchingly applaud all / songs containing the words country home and / mother when sung at the old howard"
2. And the other by Jim Harrison which ends: 
"We’ll know as children again all that we are / destined to know, that the water is cold / and deep, and the sun penetrates only so far."
It's the Fourth of July!

Let's aim to be "one Nation under God," and not the divided nation threatened under indecorous and unpoetic tweets! 

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

new heart sutra translation

The Insight that Brings us to the Other Shore

while practicing deeply with
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore,
suddenly discovered that
all of the five Skandhas are equally empty,
and with this realisation
he overcame all Ill-being.
“Listen Sariputra,
this Body itself is Emptiness
and Emptiness itself is this Body.
This Body is not other than Emptiness
and Emptiness is not other than this Body.
The same is true of Feelings,
Perceptions, Mental Formations,
and Consciousness.
“Listen Sariputra,
all phenomena bear the mark of Emptiness;
their true nature is the nature of
no Birth no Death,
no Being no Non-being,
no Defilement no Purity,
no Increasing no Decreasing.
“That is why in Emptiness,
Body, Feelings, Perceptions,
Mental Formations and Consciousness
are not separate self entities.
The Eighteen Realms of Phenomena
which are the six Sense Organs,
the six Sense Objects,
and the six Consciousnesses
are also not separate self entities.
The Twelve Links of Interdependent Arising
and their Extinction
are also not separate self entities.
Ill-being, the Causes of Ill-being,
the End of Ill-being, the Path,
insight and attainment,
are also not separate self entities.
Whoever can see this
no longer needs anything to attain.
Bodhisattvas who practice
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
see no more obstacles in their mind,
and because there
are no more obstacles in their mind,
they can overcome all fear,
destroy all wrong perceptions
and realize Perfect Nirvana.
“All Buddhas in the past, present and future
by practicing
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
are all capable of attaining
Authentic and Perfect Enlightenment.
“Therefore Sariputra,
it should be known that
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore
is a Great Mantra,
the most illuminating mantra,
the highest mantra,
a mantra beyond compare,
the True Wisdom that has the power
to put an end to all kinds of suffering.
Therefore let us proclaim
a mantra to praise
the Insight that Brings Us to the Other Shore.
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!
Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha!”

"The Insight that Brings us to the Other Shore" is a new (2014) translation by Thich Nhat Hanh."The Insight that Brings us to the Other Shore” translation by Thich Nhat Hanh (2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

read this moment

Tolle et lege — it’s what Augustine heard.

However we remember the words attributed to Jesus, He could have said: “Take this all of you and read, this is my body

It is the Feast of Thomas.
(51) His disciples said to him, "When will the repose of the dead come about, and when will the new world come?"
He said to them, "What you look forward to has already come, but you do not recognize it."  
(52) His disciples said to him, "Twenty-four prophets spoke in Israel, and all of them spoke in you."
He said to them, "You have omitted the one living in your presence and have spoken (only) of the dead."
 (91) They said to him, "Tell us who you are so that we may believe in you." 
He said to them, "You read the face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not recognized the one who is before you, and you do not know how to read this moment."
 (From the gospel of Thomas)
We are nearly illiterate. We seldom notice. Much less read. Hardly ever understand.

It is not so much a matter of words. It is a matter of matter. The earth is our scripture.

We read the earth or we remain ignorant.

Religious folk are said to be people of the book. We are, correspondingly, people of the earth.

The earth is a grand novel. A stirring play. An incisive poem. A long narrative.

What we call the Christ, or Jesus, is the sight necessary to read the pages of morning noon and night.

Human beings are the words on the page of everyday.

Let the art found there speak.




Then, when necessity presents itself, speak.

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

and the rest is...

At Sunday Evening Practice we listened to one of Kurt Spellmeyer"s dharma talks from Waking Up By Breaking Down Barriers Tricycle, Sept 2018). Much to ponder about Zen and the willingness to accept contradictions.

In prison for Friday morning meetingbrook silent sitting and conversation we read and talked about "zero" (mentioned in an article we read). It occurred to us that with zero there isn't anything that isn't included. Everything is within nothing. No one, no two, no three. Whole and entire as is. And there we are. One of the men said that awakening is the unconscious perceiving what is.

That conversation carried through the weekend each recitation of the Four Vows of the Bodhisattva.

At the walking meditation after silent sitting at the prison we bow to the altar when we pass -- a practice Chris and Doris brought Friday mornings from their Augusta Sangha. These days those two dear Buddhist friends are with us at a distance in sangha-spirit. Curiously, also invisible these last months, are the statues of Buddha, Bodhisatvas, altar cloth, water offerings, incense holder, or anything else that once occupied the space. Still and yet, when passing before the table by the window, each person bows to the empty space that holds what is not there in appearance. What is seen outside window are lines of lettuce and rows of flowers tended by men in yellow vests -- a prison farming detail that breathes life and growth mirroring the morning dharma hall and the bowing practitioners therein.

Rohr's words this Tuesday morning carry forward focus on contradiction:
The dualistic mind presumes that if you criticize something, you don’t love it. Wise prophets would say the opposite. Institutions prefer loyalists and “company men” to prophets. We’re uncomfortable with people who point out our shadow or imperfections. It is no accident that prophets and priests are usually in opposition to one another (e.g., Amos 5:21-6:7, 7:10-17). Yet Paul says the prophetic gift is the second most important charism (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11). Prophets are not popular people. Note how the Gospels say it was “the priests, elders, and teachers of the law” who condemned Jesus. 
Human consciousness does not emerge at any depth except through struggling with our shadow. It is in facing our own contradictions that we grow. It is in the struggle with our shadow self, with failure, or with wounding that we break into higher levels of consciousness. People who learn to expose, name, and still thrive inside contradictions are what I would call prophets.
(Prophets : Part One, Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation, From the Center for Action and Contemplation)
Yesterday, as we sat as hospice volunteers with dear friend in his shipshape room, he slept. There is a silence unraveled when in the presence of someone drifting between two worlds. The silence is memory and gratefulness, looking back, overseeing, seeing through, and reviewing what has been given and lived through, experienced and known, wondered and wandered through -- as if a dream -- to be followed by, one Tibetan writer suggests, a new dream. His wife, returning from tasks at harbor, says it is hard to see this hard-working active man this way. I say, yes, it is. We agree each breath, each opening of eyes, each word spoken is gift. I tell her he said something funny to me earlier that I will tell her some other time. She asks if I'd remember to. I will, I said.

At Sussman (hospice house) Saturday evening the Welsh volunteer asked me where I hoped to go when I die. I told her I didn't care. Really, she asked? Really, I said. If there's anything, I guess I'll (so to speak) learn that -- but I'd be perfectly content (so to speak) if there was nothing -- lights out, zip,   gone, dark, unsensing, no one here, no one there. Won't you be sad if that's the case, she wondered? I don't think so; I won't be there -- I replied. And if there is an afterlife, she followed, what then?

I don't know what then! Same way, I suspect, I don't know what now.
As Buddhist teachings evolved over the first several generations, the distinction between samsara and nirvana increased. Various Abhidharma schools identified a strong division between the “conditioned” phenomena of our changing experience and the “unconditioned” phenomena that are “beyond this world.” 
The Madhyamika philosopher Nagarjuna deconstructed this dichotomy, arguing that when all phenomena are regarded as empty (having no intrinsic nature since they are interdependently conditioned), the polarity of the two words collapses. In fact, in expressing the view that would come to dominate later forms of Mahayana and tantric Buddhism, Nagarjuna declared that “there is no distinction whatsoever between samsara and nirvana.” With this insight, the meanings of samsara and nirvana are turned inward to refer not to outer worlds, fallen or perfect, but to inner perspectives, deluded or awakened, on the world as it actually is.
(--from What's in a Word? Samsara -- By Andrew Olendzki SUMMER 2019 Tricycle)
Someone visits from away. Sleeps in their van. I love visitors. Never am I more a hermit as when someone else is around. They give me their proximate cells -- but, mostly, I am given my cell.

Jesus said it well: Let the social socialize themselves. And you? You sequester what remains of your dubious and deficient self well off and away to the side around the back, upstairs out of sight, word-intoxicated, impertinent, and useless. (That, of course, is a rough translation of his actual Gospel saying.)

Ceteri silentium.

Monday, July 01, 2019

and there you are

When they ask

you, "What

are you

doing today?"

Tell them, "Yes

exactly that

I am

doing today."

zen contradiction




june out

So, July, what do have in store?

Sunday, June 30, 2019

inside note

Open door,

Two birds on patio

From her bed, without fuss

Traveling elsewhere