Saturday, January 25, 2020

as the ball bounces

Are we playing ball?
Hard to want to take the court when you realize the score keepers have already submitted the final score before the clock begins. And you've lost.   
Ok, do you go out there and play hard, hoping your efforts will be noticed and lauded? Or do you throw up hands and shout at the rafters that something very wrong has been done and, if not corrected, will happen in the next game, and the next?   
Caesar's "iacta alea est ," (the die is cast), as he and his army crossed the Rubicon in defiance of his senate to begin his long civil war, is a statement quietly echoing across the Potomac.
(submitted comment to nytimes)
Or has someone taken the ball home? 

sounding — itself

     Tell Us,




O universe

What telling

You have

To tell —

I listen



You rememberers

What you

Have remembered

Of that

Which is


In memory



The writings

In words that

Can be visited

Where they rest

Waiting to be

Awakened in

Devoted inquiry

    We sit

Beside you

At feet


Listening  to

Original sound

(Auṃ or Oṃ or )

Cosmic, mystic

Sounding — Itself

Friday, January 24, 2020

calling in from dangerous edges

To the nytimes:
Ama Nesciri | Camden, Maine 
As a centrist liberal conservative, I am primarily interested in preserving a center forum for honest and intelligent conversation about the laws and values of our republic, infused, if you will, with a combination of Judeo-Christian as well as ecumenical humanistic principles -- the sum of which points to caring, just, fair, thoughtful, and inclusive attention to all who grace our shores and all who long to dwell here for truth, justice, and the American way of abiding each other with enlightened neighborliness. Call me old fashioned, but isn't that what a representational republic/democracy once meant? Or could?
Pick your place.

Start a conversation.

Find your center.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


Time nears midnight

Lights turned down

It is today

Become tomorrow

into things themselves

We study Nishitani in an independent study of Existentialism East and West with a college student in Maine’s maximum security prison.

What does it mean to suggest that “reality itself becomes aware of itself ”?
Although the Japanese title means Nihilism, the title of the English translation of Nishitani’s book is the Self-Overcoming of Nihilism. The English title is well chosen, for Nishitani raises Heidegger and Nietzsche above other thinkers because for them nihility comes to terms with itself existentially. What distinguishes Nietzsche and Heidegger is how nihilism overcomes itself in their thinking. 
“Nihilism” constitutes the stage wherein the human being recognizes that nothingness lies at its ground. Given that nihility lies at the ground of all things, there is no thing that remains unaffected by nihility. Accordingly, there is no way to overcome nihilism by appealing to anything—for everything is affected by nihility. Thus, there is no way to overcome nihilism from outside of the nothing. But since Nihilism constitutes the second stage in which nothingness is viewed as a ground that is distinct from the beings that it grounds, overcoming nihilism requires negating the difference between nothingness and what it negates. In other words, as we have explicated in the first section, one must overcome the ontological difference between Absolute and relative nothingness. By integrating the nothingness at the ground of things into things themselves, nihilism is overcome by the self-annihilation of the separate nothing. In the emptiness of emptiness, the separate nothing annihilates itself. Nishitani offers another version of the same self-overcoming of Nihilism as those in the Western tradition (such as Nietzsche and Heidegger) but from the standpoint of Zen. For Nishitani, on the field of absolute emptiness, everything other to the subject, the non-subject, is gathered into the subject. For this reason, the subject realizes the non-subject not only in the sense that one knows the non-subject, but the subject also becomes the non-subject. Accordingly, Nishitani defines religion as “the self-awareness of reality.” Reality itself becomes aware of itself in samadhi and thereby becomes real: religion is the “real self-awareness of reality” (Nishitani 1983, 5). The real self-awareness of reality is nothing less than the self-overcoming of nihilism, for it is only in the non-representational state of samadhi wherein nihilism negates itself.
 (—from, Annihilating the Nothing: Hegel and Nishitani on The Self-Overcoming of Nihilism, by Gregory S. Moss, 2019, Frontiers of Philosophy in China (Special Issue Edited by Eric Nelson), Academia, pp.597-598.

What is itself

Is nothing other --

Only becoming itself

excusez-moi, je ne vous avais pas vu

I cannot see my self

It has hidden behind you

Do not move

I’ll stay

As you


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

then, of course, there’s this

So much to remember.
“Because we are in the world, we are condemned to meaning, and we cannot do or say anything without its acquiring a name in history.”― Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception 
“ Our view of man will remain superficial so long as we fail to go back to that origin [of silence], so long as we fail to find, beneath the chatter of words, the primordial silence, and as long as we do not describe the action which breaks this silence. the spoken word is a gesture, and its meaning, a world.” 
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception 
“ Nothing determines me from outside, not because nothing acts upon me, but, on the contrary, because I am from the start outside myself and open to the world.” 
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Phenomenology of Perception

So much we forget.

out of such chaos, of such contradiction

Following link from LiteraryVienna to Brain Pickings, this pops up:
We, this people, on this small and drifting planet
Whose hands can strike with such abandon
That in a twinkling, life is sapped from the living
Yet those same hands can touch with such healing, irresistible tenderness
That the haughty neck is happy to bow
And the proud back is glad to bend
Out of such chaos, of such contradiction
We learn that we are neither devils nor divines
 From "A Brave and Startling Truth" by Maya Angelou
We are witnesses to the awkward conversation between the telling of what actually happened and what someone wants you to believe happened. Some say truth is perception. If a lie is all you hear, your perception is of a lie. If the truth is what is presented, your perception is of what is true.

And yet, the ability to see what is there requires a mind capable of, and willing to, surround and be surrounded by what is there without the filters of opinion, prejudice, confirmation bias, or active ill will.

And yet, (and yet, and yet), a paradox and contradiction seems to arise. Can what is Alone be Relational?

Truth might be something in itself. But the perception of truth requires a relational integrity of interactive interpenetration that induces and is induced by a clear awareness that resides as without border or center. Awareness is what is. And what is is what is of, in, and by itself.

Itself, (capital “I”), is the whole. It has no sides, no borders, no preferential placement, nothing other than, nothing opposed to, what is Itself.

Buddhists call this Itself “Mind.”

If we are in our right mind, we are present with awareness to Itself.
If we are not in our right mind, we are absent to awareness of Itself.

Mind is Itself.

Awareness is that “is” that resonates the wholeness of Mind Itself. This can barely stand in the grammar of our sentences given to the formula of subject-verb-object. This is not that.

Rather —

Mind; Is; Itself.

Nothing outside.

Nothing inside.

Neti Neti.


Heat up yesterday’s coffee. Spoon yoghurt. Toast English muffin. Peanut butter. Jam.

Fill bird feeders.

Become, (what?)

This is (what?)

I am.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

instead of briers

This trial of Donald Trump might spell the end of the Senate as we’ve known it.

As has the end of the presidency been already accomplished to date these last three years.

Perhaps the judiciary, our system of jurisprudence in the courts, will also prove to have been dealt a mortal blow.

I am not optimistic the structure and system of the United States these past two centuries will survive the heavy load of disreputable and dysfunctional weight laid upon it.

I’m unsure. Men with guns roam streets of Virginia. Vitriol spews from airways condemning politicians and intelligence agencies, Democrats and Republicans, whites and blacks, rich and poor, religious and not religious, the arrogant and the humble cannot recognize each other and threaten to castle shoot each other dead. Division and destruction has become the refuge of the ignorant.

I turn to Isaiah.

Isaiah 55 New International Version (NIV)

Invitation to the Thirsty

55 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
    come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
    without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
    and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
    and you will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;
    listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
    a ruler and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
    and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel,
    for he has endowed you with splendor.”
Seek the Lord while he may be found;
    call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake their ways
    and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
    and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
    and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
    will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
    will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
    and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
    for an everlasting sign,
    that will endure forever.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

the active theology of martin luther king remains

Responding to The Agitated M.L.K. I Came to Love, op-ed by Charles Blow, 20jan20, NYTimes:
He was extraordinary. I lived in Wash DC studying at CUA as a Franciscan Friar the day he was shot and killed. I posed a brother seated on floor in front of tabernacle with front page of Washington Post facing camera. The composition of the photo was instructive -- here was another Christ murdered for preaching peace, brotherhood, service, and equality. That was 52 years ago. MLK was an inspiration and a model of active theology. My heart remains sad. My hope is dimmed. But my love for him and those he urged us to honor and serve remains deep and enduring.
 A good birth --

'day to you, Martin! 

do you pray often

I never





Out to pee

At three

The unsettled

Max Manjushri —

Wood to cold brown

Stove, medieval music

Low from device

Himself on couch

A stopover, a pause

This busy head of his

A chance to pray

Dooryard psaltery

Sunday, January 19, 2020

quia per sanctam crucem tuam

What if every

human being,

arms out wide,

legs straight down,

were to be seen

as a cross?

What or

who dies

at you

on you

within you

every day?

And what

story would

you tell


the realization?

heartbreaking analysis

Watching Frontline's America's Great Divide: From Obama to Trump.

The current president as the manifestation of division.

Deficiency embodied.

Discord and chaos.



Our time.

Our life.


nowhere, by itself, everywhere

God is


is God