Wednesday, July 28, 2021

uta (詩) for republican smallness

 no use thinking there

will be change of mind in them

only seeking self --

they sink in mud up to mouth

feet long lost hope long gone choked

via negativa

 at conversation

I am defined by what I'm

not, everything gone --

paring down stripping away

til left with nearly nothing

et tu, brute

 The mockery crowd 

Mock four police officers

For telling their truth --

It is a side of these times

Rotten festering ugly

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

which is worse -- the war against iraq or the war against america

The seesaw teeters. 

Will anyone (above the rioters) be held accountable for 6Jan2021 insurrection, riot, terrorism against America?

How about the 2003 invasion of Iraq?

 Everything is different, but nothing has changed.  (--Capital Police Officer Harry Dunn, Select Committee 6Jan21 Hearing on Insurrectiuon, held 27July21)

The application of justice to crimes is a noble ideal.

But it is often dangerous to apply justice to wrongdoers.

Take the former president. Or the one before the one before.

Not bad men, argumentatively, just not held responsible.

without reference

 I would 

Pray but

I’ve fallen

Between bows

Empty zendo

Empty cross

Bird flies

Into day

before chimes

Not caring

Nor worrying

Morning arrives

Without sound

In dooryard

Light orange

Monday, July 26, 2021

the difficult thing

 Why is it so many people are judgmental?

“Thinking is difficult, that’s why most people judge.”                                                                 ( ~ Carl Jung. Born on this day, in 1875)

And if to think is to thank, why is it gratitude is so rarely expressed in our troubled time? 

you demonstrate the truth of zen

Town is busy.

So many distractions. 

Living secluded

Above the cloud

At the top of Mount Su

Abiding in your origin

You demonstrate the 

Truth of Zen

You have moved far from town

From now on you renew

The Way of Bodhidharma.  

- Soseki

Origin is quiescent.

As is right concentration. 

Sunday, July 25, 2021

no you in connection with

Make the world go away. 

 Again Bahiya pleaded “Awakened one, no one can know for sure the dangers there may be for you or for me. Teach me the Dhamma for my long-term welfare and lasting happiness.”

Finally, the Buddha relented: “I will teach you the Dhamma, Bahiya. Listen carefully to my words. Train your self in this manner: In what is seen, there is only the seen. In what is heard, there is only the heard. In what is sensed, there is only the sensed. In what is cognized, only the cognized.

This is how you should train yourself. When for you there is in what is seen only the seen, in what is heard only the heard, in what is sensed only the sensed and in what is cognized only the cognized, then Bahiya there is no you in connection with what is seen, heard, sensed or cognized, there is no you there. When there is no you there, you are neither here nor there nor anywhere in-between. This and only this is the end of stress and unhappiness.”  (—from, BAHIYA SUTTA, UDANA 1.10, THE MINDFULNESS OF BAHIYA, BY JOHN HASPEL)

Become one with it. 

seeing through icon

 Small crosses hanging

in windows — what is seen there

what they tell us — now

Saturday, July 24, 2021

do over, do other

 Is Nature saying something?

China, Europe, India flooding,

Northwest US heat and burning,

Moral cowardice snorted by hacks

Ethical indifference by us all

Here we are —here we stand

We cannot do other

Friday, July 23, 2021

this strange atmosphere

Like walking across kitchen with dog and cat on floor. 

Climbing a Mountain

The Eastern Peak is towering high;

Summit of beauty, it soars to the blue heavens.

Among its crags is an empty dwelling place,

Peaceful and lonely, fill with the Mystery.

Not made by workmen nor by artisans,

Its cloudy beams are Nature's work.

My search for a spot with this strange atmosphere

Has sent me wandering around time and again.

Now that I'm free I'll make my home right here,

Where I an live out my heaven appointed span.


 Hsieh Tao-yun (399) Dailyzen

They look up, your footsteps steering clear of their muzzle, their tails, their paws.

Falling back to quiet slumber. 

knowing within/without knowing.

 If someone sees the light, they see everything contained within light.

 And he knew that everything that exists is one living being, and that light is the messenger of life, because it is alive and contains all information. (— The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom (A Toltec Wisdom Book)" by Don Miguel Ruiz, Janet Mills)

 Seeing, some say, is believing. 


I think that seeing is illuminating not-knowing.

You could say we don’t know who or what we are.

Nescience or ignorance? Or something else?

What is the something else?

Knowing within/without knowing.

This palindromic phrasing places us in an intuitive suffusion of what-is-to-be-coming-to-be.

What we are we were not and what we will be we are not yet.

Light is that suffusion.

Articulation and recall are subsidiary skills — highly valued in our culture — but subordinate to the primary essential/existential awareness and embodiment of knowing within/without knowing.

And yet, few would recommend such a state of apophatic being/becoming in-the-world.

It might resemble an idiot. 

idiótés: a private or unskilled person 

Original Word: ἰδιώτης, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: idiótés

Phonetic Spelling: (id-ee-o'-tace)

Definition: a private or unskilled person

Usage: (unofficial, hence) an amateur, an unprofessional man, a layman; an ungifted person.

HELPS Word-studies

2399 idiṓtēs (from 2398 /ídios, "own") – properly, of one's own self; used of a person who conspicuously lacks education or status – hence, easily misunderstood as being uninstructed (unrefined, "unlettered in speech").

And then, there’s this:

In Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel The Idiot the title refers to the central character Prince Myshkin, a man whose innocence, kindness and humility, combined with his occasional epileptic symptoms, cause many in the corrupt, egoistic culture around him to mistakenly assume that he lacks intelligence. In The Antichrist, Nietzsche applies the word 'idiot' to Jesus in a comparable fashion, almost certainly in an allusion to Dostoevsky's use of the word:[28] "One has to regret that no Dostoevsky lived in the neighbourhood of this most interesting décadent; I mean someone who could feel the thrilling fascination of such a combination of the sublime, the sick and the childish."[29][30]  (Wikipedia)

I once read a description of an idiot as one totally imbued with their surroundings. (It eludes me the source.)

And yet, the phrase “It eludes me the source” is as good a koan to begin this day as any.

And it is “any” we are! 

Definition of any

 (Entry 1 of 3)


: one or some indiscriminately of whatever kind:


: one or another taken at random

Ask any man you meet.


: EVERY  —used to indicate one selected without restriction

Any child would know that.


: one, some, or all indiscriminately of whatever quantity:


: one or more  —used to indicate an undetermined number or amount

Do you have any money?


: ALL  —used to indicate a maximum or whole

He needs any help he can get.


: a or some without reference to quantity or extent

I'd be grateful for any favor at all.



: unmeasured or unlimited in amount, number, or extent

any quantity you desire


: appreciably large or extended , could not endure it any length of time                      

To paraphrase the Kingston Trio lyric, "And if you knew [your] heart, [you'd] be grateful for any." 

Thursday, July 22, 2021

not gone very far away.

 Listening to book — Nightmare Scenario: Inside the Trump Administration’s Response to the Pandemic That Changed History, — Written by Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta.

The Oval Office arrogance, misdirected motives and insufficient acuity is stunning.

As with the question as to whether the former occupant actually believed the seeming absurd pronouncements or if it was an act, a charade of egoistic uncaring — no one can say for certain.

We are poorer and have been ill-served.

What really is upsetting is the allowing of it — the moral and character sluggishness on the part of those invested with the responsibility of maintaining and protecting the public good.

We’ve been weakened.

The infection have not gone very far away.

Not the person.

Not the virus.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

the most difficult step of every interpretation consists in its disappearing

To see and grasp the thing itself, without interpretation or criticism, is a stark and radical excursion of the thing itself, the poem itself, with what attends it.

To think is to simply dwell with what is appearing and moving through the field of our attendance.

To think-with is to travel accompanying what presents itself, traveling through a solitude of unencumbered relationality. 

The fault of modern civilization is not that we have technology, but that we see the world through our technology, through science alone. Science, to Heidegger, doesn't think, it works things out technically. Poetry however can think. In articular, it is Heidegger's engagement with the work of Friedrich Hölderlin that was most fruitful for his developing thought. Hölderlin (1770-1843), was one of the most important poets of the German Romantic movement, and influential in the development of philosophical idealism in Germany. But to Heidegger, engagement with Hölderlin's 'thought', offered the possibility of articulating the very essence of the current age, in which divinity had defaulted, and know-how had come to obliterate actual thought on human being and being itself. In his 1966 interview with Der Spiegel, [], Heidegger stated, “I do not consider Hölderlin to be just any poet, whose work literary historians also treat together with many others’. Hölderlin is for me the poet who points into the future, who awaits the god.” In the prefaces to his collection of lectures and essays on Hölderlin, written decades after the works, Heidegger is careful to clarify his intent in studying thought through poetry. His intention is not to engage in literary criticism, but to enter into the truth of the poems studied. The author's Preface from the 1971 edition: "The present Elucidations [Erläuterungen] do not claim to be contributions [Beiträge] to research in the history of literature [literaturhistorischen Forschung] or to aesthetics. They spring from a necessity of thought." In the 1951 preface, he explains his hope that

For the sake of preserving what has been put into the poem, the elucidation of the poem must strive to make itself superfluous. The last, but also the most difficult step of every interpretation [Auslegung], consists in its disappearing, along with its elucidations, before the pure presence of the poem. The poem, which then stands in its own right, itself throws light directly on the other poems.

Because Heidegger believes that language is so fundamental to human being, true poetry, a "poetry which thinks" [denkende Dichten]. through its intense and thoughtful use of language, reveals and even shapes the essence of human being, if it is not reduced to an aesthetic experience. To Heidegger, our current technological world-view presents a world of subjects and objects, of material and human resources, giving us an understanding of existence increasingly framed by technology. Poetry offers us a possible path out of this dangerous world-view, which led us to Hiroshima and Auschwitz. This poetic path is one Heidegger spent many decades following, and which led his philosophical work to become increasingly poetic in form. 

Heidegger's approach to poetry, which he takes pains to disclaim as literary criticism, does perhaps anticipate more recent 'literary' approaches to poetry. This might partly be due to the great indirect influence Heidegger has exerted on literary studies, perhaps also due a broadening of the methodologies used in studying literary texts during the earlier part of the twentieth century, which had more to do with philology than philosophy. Heidegger's work on poetry attempts mitdenken to 'think with' the poems he elucidates. In exploring the relation between poetry and philosophy, Heidegger illuminates both modes of discourse. In his use of the term thought, rather than 'philosophy' in much of his later work, he bridges the gap between those two modes. Thought is what poetry and philosophy have in common. To Heidegger they are simply differing modes of expressing it, different languages in which thought occurs. 

(--from, Heidegger and Poetry, Introduction: A Thinking Poetry) 

We're unfamiliar with and unaccustomed to being alone with others or another.

The poem is another.

Individuals are others.

By engaging and practicing thinking poetry and thinking others we move together through the canals, channels, and countrysides of our Umwelt, our surround and surroundings, with one-another, perhaps lovingly and with grace.

What is your thought?

and tender with

Today from Sojourners

Verse of the day 

So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 

- Ephesians 4:25

Voice of the day 

The nation as it is currently constituted has never dealt with a yesterday or tomorrow where we were radically honest, generous, and tender with each other. 

- Kiese Laymon, Heavy (2018)

Prayer of the day 

Work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth. 

- The Book of Common Prayer

There -- a verse. voice, and prayer -- worth a glance. 

not done yet

 Reading about her —

(Dorothy Kilgallen) -- death,

Who will tell the truth

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

whose eyes

Yeah, you don’t. 

“You never know whose eyes God is watchin you through. It might not be your teacher, your preacher, or your Sunday school teacher. More likely it's gon' be that bum on the street.”

― Ron Hall, Denver Moore

Nah, you can’t. 

Monday, July 19, 2021

even if it is broken up into a million pieces

The mytho-morphic words of consecration, "This is my body," are deeper and wider than we think.

To receive this being-one-with is what holiness longs to embody. 

On the night of his enlightenment, the story goes, the Buddha was visited by the forces of Mara, the Evil One, who was determined to stop the Buddha from achieving awakening. Most of Mara’s devastating and spectacular display of hopes and fears had to do with the body, either sensual allurements or threats of bodily harm. Declaring that the many threatening minions arrayed behind him were his army, Mara defiantly called out, “Where is your army, oh Buddha?” In response the Buddha touched the ground and said, “The Earth is my witness and support.”

In touching the Earth, the Buddha was not only calling on the Earth goddess to be his protector. He was saying, the Earth is my body. My body expresses Earth, is produced and supported by Earth, is made exclusively of Earth elements. Nothing on Earth, no matter how frightening, can threaten this indestructible Earth body. Even if it is broken up into a million pieces it remains, going home to its Mother who gave birth to it, who embraces it now and always will embrace it.

With this gesture of truth, belonging, and ultimate invulnerability, born of surrender to and identity with the Earth, Buddha expressed his absolute fearlessness, and in doing so defeated Mara. After this, his enlightenment unfolded.

And this is exactly true of all of us. Our bodies too are the Earth. They rise up from her, and are nurtured, fed, and illuminated by her. our bodies are in constant touch with Earth, and return to Earth, from which they have never parted.

(--from, What Is Your BodyBY  )

This earth.

This field of play.

We are.

Is what I am.

Is who I am.

Wandering at foot of mountain.

canvas life

 Fog saunters up road

Mourning Dove calls from green branch

Nothing here leaves still

Sunday, July 18, 2021

precarious crossing

Barn floor sags.

This hut is small,

But contains the world;

The old man in the tiny room

Has come to understand.

Great bodhisattvas believe without a doubt,

But when lesser beings hear it, 

They think it strange.       

 (- Shitou Xiqian (700-790), dailyzen) 

Believe without having beliefs. 

Things fall apart. 

Of course they do.

unbinding from all views

nameless reality… 

 The Buddha taught a specific meditation technique with specific goals. This meditation technique, Jhana meditation, was to be practiced within the entire framework of the Eightfold Path if it would contribute to and support awakening.

I found that the Buddha described awakening not as finding an essential inner nature, or “Buddha-nature” but as unbinding from all views that developed from a doctrine of “I.” The Buddha described the state of mind of an awakened human being not as “Buddha-nature,” or “Buddha-hood,” but as released, unbound, and calm. 

 released reality. 


if so… 

  I found that if his Dhamma was engaged in wholeheartedly, the Buddha used the word “ehipassiko,” (come and see for yourself) — any human being could develop an understanding of dukkha and experience the cessation of confusion, delusion, and suffering.                       (—, homepage)

 ah, so! 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

presenting itself as now, apotheosis

 God does not speak to

Us — God is what is present-

ing itself as now

This — To believe God

Is or could be we must see

What is here as it

Is — without belief

Reality needs nothing

Other than itself

Don’t tell me about

God, show your face, look into

These eyes — see, mute, feel 

into space

 In each house a separate galaxy, closets and closers, alien life unidentifiable, passing down backroads in Ford f10s and Prius’ and Volvo suvs.

Every house a separate galaxy with second floors, computors nooks, frying pans.

We don’t really want to share space or explore space or occupy space.

We want, even among those reasonably considered friend or family, to be left alone, shuttered, benignly neglected, shunned.

Space travel is as close as turning onto county road, accelerating to 35mph, full stop at four way. 

In the stop-n-go, hazelnut coffee container next to banana nut muffin and chocolate donut seems best flightplan, passing the church and hardware store on way to dump gussied up to transfer station where former student picks his way from tin cans to mixed paper.

Each person a foreign country.

Each hour a light year.

What are we doing here?

Planet earth is blue —

There’s nothing we can do.

Friday, July 16, 2021

fine, art

 You don’t create poems

They show up like night like day

With you inside them

Thursday, July 15, 2021

it’s for the neighbor and her needs.

Churches, mostly Catholic, are being vandalized or burned to the ground in western Canada.  A sad history is being revealed.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote over seventy five years ago about religionless Christianity.

Because he was murdered by the Nazis in 1944, Bonhoeffer did not have the opportunity to see the world develop in the latter part of the 20th century. There was a somewhat post-religious and secularizing development in Europe and other parts of the West, with a simultaneous rise of religiosity taking place over the rest of the planet. For this reason, Hooton analyzes the secularization hypothesis (the idea that religion fades away as societies progress), clearing the air a bit and placing Bonhoeffer’s concept of religionless Christianity in contemporary context. 

Beyond this, we might ask: What is Bonhoeffer’s definition of religion? For Bonhoeffer, religion is the human quest for God. It’s distinct from grace, which is God’s gift to human beings. The directionality of religion matters not so much for doctrinal reasons but instead because of the operational difference it makes in the life of the believer. 

Religion has us busy doing things for God (perhaps especially in the institutional church). Religionlessness reflects the freedom of God in being for others and of Jesus as the “human being for others.” The pursuit of God, then, is not transcendence as typically understood, “not the infinite, unattainable tasks, but the neighbor within reach in any given situation.”

In August of 1944, Bonhoeffer sent his friend Eberhard Bethge his “Outline for a Book.” In this outline, he suggested that 

the interpretation of biblical concepts . . . (Creation, fall, reconciliation, repentance, faith vita nova, last things) should reflect a new understanding of the human experience of transcendence, which is the experience of “being there for others,” through participation in the being of Jesus. 

Another way to put it is this way: religionless Christianity is not for freedom from institutions. It’s for the neighbor and her needs.

Religionless Christianity is, in a sense, the church come of age. Hooton explains: 

The church, too, which is “nothing but that piece of humanity where Christ really has taken form,” is, or should be, concerned only with human wholeness. Indeed, the church is the epitome of such wholeness—the apotheosis of the God-reconciled human being roused to new life in Christ. As such, its principal concern must be “with existence in the world of human beings in all their relationships,” rather than with life’s fragmentary religious functions and expressions

 (—In a secular age, Bonhoeffer’s “religionless Christianity” is evergreen, review by Clint Schnekloth  July 7, 2021 of Bonhoeffer’s Religionless Christianity in Its Christological Context, By Peter Hooton, in The Christian Century)

We are not meant to fit into beliefs. 

What is emerging from us, however we conceive that to be, is a vision of what it means to be human in this world. This experience, this view, is a fungible experience of realization of a reality constantly evolving into clear expression of authentic human relationship in a world both difficult and demanding. 

Belief cannot contain the ever-growing reach of incomplete intention toward mature and fruitful embrace of human difference and diversity seeking wholeness and holiness with one another and the entirety of the visible and invisible world.

Nor can anyone be forced to comply with cultural or dogmatic beliefs. 

The work of seeing truth and affirming truth is unceasingly inchoate.

As things burn, we can hope that what is coming to light transcends the dry stark harsh sadness of unfeeling inhumanity.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

request by presence

 dog comes in looking 

for walk -- this humid foggy

afternoon -- misting

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

dalai lama's religion

Forget everything.

Grief, sorrow, disappointment are quiet feelings we can live with. They can be peaceful and poignant, they can be motivating. When we feel these feelings, we can be more compassionate, kinder to one another, we can be patiently active in promoting solutions.
– Norman Fischer, “No Beginning, No Ending, No Fear”
Remember one thing.

The condition of being dissolved.

Kindness is the solution.

morning mini-polemic

 What are we here for?

I don’t know — maybe kindness.

Let grace have its way

Monday, July 12, 2021

the extended all

 God, it seems to be agreed, is above and beyond human ability to grasp or conceptualize.

Whatever qualities or characteristics humans describe as pertaining to God must be, of necessity, in accordance with our limited comprehension or experience.

God, the thinking goes, is so far exceeding the dimensionality of human conjecture that we have only an infinitesimal appreciation of what it means to be “God.”

Think space.

Think time.

Think no restriction within space/time, or, an infinite transcendence of space or time so as to defy what we consider to be the laws of nature and laws of physics.

What if there are no accidents, that everything is necessary?

What if there is no coincidence, that everything is connected and interconnected by intricate cause and effect, a butterfly effect, mirror neurons, spooky action at a distance, quantum entanglement?

What if what we call a “thought” is a physical creative material that floats through space and time, through our body and mind, with no intention other than propagating and proliferating itself in, with, and through whatever it meets and activates?

If “God” is “what is” how do we sort through what we consider the good and moral and the bad and immoral?

When so-called “bad” people harm and maim, or when “good” people help and heal, are both these activities indistinguishable in the ledger-scales of universal assessment?

Throughout human history we’ve wondered about God. 

Deists say God created then went missing. Theists say God intervenes in human life. Atheists say none of the above. 

Are we alone? Or, are we all one? Or, perhaps, we are the all, each thought and act billiarding every aspect of the extended all.

When we say “God help us” are we really pleading with what we are to be what we are beneficially?

Do I believe in God?

God help me…

I don’t know…


no future no fear

 “There was nothing to be afraid of because we didn’t have a future anymore.”

                                                                       (T.L.— at Sunday Evening Practice)

If no birth no death

We appear and disappear —

One continuance

Sunday, July 11, 2021

rumors, sightings

Catching up. 

With each piece there was a journey. Sculpture was a form of prayer, a way of asking, a way of searching. One day, I wrote the passage below and pinned it on the wall of my studio. I returned to it often.

 There have been rumors.

There have been sightings.

There have been reports of something incredible,

Something wonderful---

at once terrifying and awe inspiring. 

And I wait crouched by the path, waiting 

to see.

I engage in art not necessarily to represent anything but to affirm the integrity of the very process itself, to bring that process to a completion and by so doing to arrive at a sense of unity. What compels me is not only a deeply felt desire to see, but also the desire to respond to space as something palpable and tactile. The process of each sculpture concludes with a sense of awe and wonder as I find myself in a place where I never expected to be. For me, art is a place within oneself; a place which one continually discovers as if for the first time, and a place to which others are invited to share and explore.

(—Sam Fuller,  Life as Art, Art as Life, letter to students)

Sculpter, Franciscan, Capuchin, mensch. 


                 (haiku for Ieva, atpūties mierā)

Solitude listens

carefully — what’s that? — the one

there —  all — included

slosh slosh

 Do you think much about death?

I don’t

Think much

About death.

 The point of this meditation isn’t to frighten; quite the opposite: the way to overcome fear is to face it and become familiar with it. Since fear is always fear about the future, to face the present fear, and see that it is misplaced, is to reduce it. When I give myself over, for a period of time, or perhaps on a regular basis, to the contemplation of the realities of my aging and dying, I become used to them. I begin to see them differently. Little by little I come to see that I am living and dying all the time, changing all the time, and that this is what makes life possible and precious. In fact, a life without impermanence is not only impossible, it is entirely undesirable. Everything we prize in living comes from the fact of impermanence. Beauty. Love. My fear of the ending of my life is a future projection that doesn’t take into account what my life actually is and has always been. The integration of impermanence into my sense of identity little by little makes me less fearful.

(-from, No Beginning, No Ending, No Fear, By Norman Fischer SUMMER 2021, TRICYCLE)

Why not?

Why not what?

Think about death?

There’s nothing to think about.

Once you’ve bailed the dinghy there’s no more water in the boat at that present moment to take away.


 Human beings tell

Stories of their relations

Without any there

Saturday, July 10, 2021


 When I stopped believ-

ing in God I found nothing

to replace belief

Friday, July 09, 2021

on opening doors

 What are we.


Doing here

We are 

Dumb as


What possible

Purpose could

We have


Rainy day accommodation.

his green dory, two years


                                                             (for a man continuing his work)

thank God rain fills up

harbor with fresh July fall —

so… we think of Sam

in our empirical experience

Appearance approximates. 

We come near. 

Sometimes very near.

Terrifyingly so.

 We deal with the world as it appears to us, not as it intrinsically is, so some of our interpretations may be more accurate than others. This somewhat disturbing news means that the “objective truths” on which we rely are inherently illusive.2 The world is there; its energy and form exist. But our apprehension of it is only a mental projection. The world is outside our bodies, but not outside our minds. “We are this little universe,” the Benedictine mystic Bede Griffiths (1906–93) explained, “a microcosm in which the macrocosm is present as a hologram.”3 We are surrounded by a reality that transcends—or “goes beyond”—our conceptual grasp. 

What we regard as truth, therefore, is inescapably bound up with a world that we construct for ourselves. As soon as the first humans learned to manipulate tools, they created works of art to make sense of the terror, wonder and mystery of their existence. From the very beginning, art was inextricably bound up with what we call “religion,” which is itself an art form. The Lascaux Caves, a cultic site since 17,000 BCE, are decorated with numinous paintings of local wildlife, and nearby, in the underground labyrinth of Trois Frères at Ariège, there are spectacular engravings of mammoths, bison, wolverines and musk-oxen. Dominating the scene is a massive painted figure, half man, half beast, who fixes his huge, penetrating eyes on visitors as they stumble out of the underground tunnel that provides the only route to this prehistoric temple. Like Lion Man, this hybrid creature transcends anything in our empirical experience but seems to reflect a sense of the underlying unity of animal, human and divine.

(—from introduction, The Lost Art of Scripture : rescuing the sacred texts / by Karen Armstrong. New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2019.)

Heat blisters western United States. Rain drowns east coast.

Human myopia sees little of inner turmoil in persons to our left and right. We weary of tasks and uncertainties of functioning engineering of institutions and their futures. 

We brew coffee. Walk prescribed routes managing irregularities. Watch warily proscribed assassinations and withdrawals from battlefields there was never a chance of winning.

What makes the whole fragility tolerable is spirit of accommodation that indicates that this, this, is within our capability, within our absurd efforts to see this through for as long as we can, with good humor, with spirit of encouragement.

We’re a little terrified of what we don’t know.

Yet, we go on like woman, sitting, with head resting on walking canes waiting on son in another emergency.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

after long day

 Oatmeal raisin cook-

ie, coconut milk ice cream,

lime seltzer water

walking 1.2 miles in narrow corridor

Watching two people jostle over nothing but what was in somebody’s head.

Reminds me of the line:

What we have here is failure to communicate.

There’s no communication when the desire to communicate is muffled inside the historic confusion of baffling perception.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

please hold the door

 We have laws 

for those 

not rich enough 

to ignore 

the laws

The rich

have lawyers

to prove

their privilege 

to us.

It is a mistake

to think 

justice is blind —

she is winking

to comely wealth

Tuesday, July 06, 2021

enlivened imagination

 Imagine a world free and kind.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel taught in his classic work The Prophets: Asceticism was not the ideal (p.258) of the biblical man. The source of evil is not in passion, in the throbbing heart, but rather in hardness of heart, in callousness and insensitivity.…We are stirred by their passion and enlivened imagination.…It is to the imagination and the passions that the prophets speak, rather than aiming at the cold approbation of the mind.” 

(--from, ch.2, A Way to God: Thomas Merton's Creation Spirituality Journey, by Matthew Fox, 2016) 

Imagine yourself free and kind.

Imagine God free and kind.

If you pray or practice zen...

you create and transform what is surrounding you

by seeing what imagination sees with a warm clear heart

a warm clear mind

and a warm open hand. 

at 86, serving humanity, tenzin gyetsu

His Holiness the Dalai Lama celebrates his 86th birthday today. 

Two quotes by the Dalai Lama:  

 1. There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called Yesterday and the other is called Tomorrow. Today is the right day to Love, Believe, Do and mostly Live.

2. Don't ever mistake my silence for ignorance, my calmness for acceptance or my kindness for weakness. Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

 How fortunate to have such a person as our brother and beloved teacher!

"Now that it is my birthday, I want to express my deep appreciation to all my friends who have really shown love, respect and trust. I can assure you that I am committed to serving humanity and working to protect the climate," he said.

The Dalai Lama urged people to practice non-violence and be compassionate towards each other. "I am committed to non-violence and compassion until my death. This is my offering to my friends. All my brothers and sisters should keep these two things in mind - non-violence and compassion... On my birthday, this is my gift," he said.

Monday, July 05, 2021

direction and truth

So has time gone by.

Two trauma room surgeons from Parkland Hospital who labored over John Fitzgerald Kennedy on 22nov1963 speak of the minute by minute ministrations preceding the president’s being declared dead.

These interviews, many years later, still mesmerize the listener.

There is observational and acoustical differences from official recounting about directionality and interstice of kill shot.

This 4th of July holiday, with its call for freedom, invites the breath of clear minds and wise hearts.

I’m ok with not knowing as a way of being.

One investigator quotes Susan Sontag’s words from On Photography, “Images…usurp reality.”

Still, wrestling with nascent ignorance remains unsettling.

We are ever-being born, ever-dying, and suffused with irremediable longing to see clearly the fruits of wisdom.

Freedom calls to such respondents.

Usurpation leaves us in authentic confusion.

Sunday, July 04, 2021

all in god

Maybe we are "in god." 

It might be that thought and extension are only two indices of multitudinous dimensions that exceed our capability to fathom.

...the term panentheism( from the Ancient Greek expression 

 πᾶν ἐν θεῷ, pān en theṓ, literally "all in god"). (wikipedia)

 God is not out there any more than we are not out there. There is no out there. 

The whole is the whole. Anything within the whole is of the whole.

When the mantra Om Mane Padme Hum is pronounced there is a realization of the reality of our holistic inclusion with what is here, whole, and encompassing.

The translation I render is Behold what is within without; Behold what is without within.

Our designations of up/down, in/out, high/low, many/few, divine/human, sacred/profane, north/east/south/west -- are artificial rational distinctions that we measure and calculate and rely on to have agreed directions and distances through which to navigate.

Mystical spirituality is willing to abide in the directionless. 

God, in this field of inquiry, is nowhere to be found because God is not lost, not anywhere else, not out there or in here. 

God is the whole within which every other whole looks through.

We cannot see God.

God is that which is, seeing itself, through and with and through.

Saturday, July 03, 2021

ainsi soit-il

Prayer is 

becoming aware 

of the absence 

of prayer — 

that you 




(Let us pray)

Friday, July 02, 2021

did you say i’m an idiot

 from now on

everyone stands

on own feel

no structures apply

no ideology

no method

each person, each animal

carries within the whole

monastery, mosque, zendo

There isn’t anything outside

equal to inner holy unfolding

awkward and sideways

kinhin around kitchen island

coffee beans to english muffin

cats waiting to be served

woman complaining about numbers

dog contemplating all the feet

joy of invitatory antiphonal

I don’t know what I used to think

or why it’s taken so long — this

procession into sacred presence

sweet rain

 holiday weekend —

cool air through window, eaves drop

drip by drip to earth

Thursday, July 01, 2021

of prayer

 Do I know how to pray?


How is that?

When the word “to” collapsed, I forgot how to pray.

I do not know how to pray “to.”

What then do I do?

I flounder. I stutter. I contradict.


Yes, I go against what I am saying. 

I am a contrarian of prayer.

Nothing seems to satisfy. 

I am dissatisfied oration.

I don’t know how to pray.

Empty words, no destination,

Turned back on themselves.

A whirlpool of adumbration.

Hidden from anything other 

Than itself; 

Itself nowhere to be found,

Wordless, nameless, senseless



At center root




Absurd — (my life

of prayer)

heart appointment


might say

I have 

no heart

(zen master 

could not 

say it




as clear as


always (add comma)

 How does always change?

“Language is always (,) changing”*

Just this time, speak now


*(—linguist from southern maine on radio show 'maine calling')


 Donald Rumsfeld?

Ask me something else.

Bill Cosby?

Ask me something else.

Is there something else?

. . . No!





(No you

No now!)

Go ahead...

Make my day

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

one didn't manage baseball teams

 Billy Martin and 

Nicolae Ceaușescu both 

die Christmas 89

obvious matter for thought

Ask me no questions

I’ll tell you no lies.

No foolin’! 

 Definition of koan

a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment. 

koan (n.)

Zen paradox meant to stimulate the mind, 1918, from Japanese ko "public" + an "matter for thought." Online Etymology Dictionary

 I have a question for you.

Go ahead, ask.

No, you ask.

Ok — you mean now?

Well done!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

25 years ago today, a bookshop/bakery


Quiet air

In thru window

Our through door

Brown and white dog

Brief stand in disappearing brook 

This hot edge end of june

Monday, June 28, 2021

what difference 'and'

Someone pointed out that the quote attributed to St. Augustine (354-430 CE) has been wrongly translated.

That instead of --

"Love and do what you will,"

 It should read --

"Love do what you will."

What difference 'and'?

Such a change does shift things.

It is from his Sermon on Love, his commentary on 1 John 4:4-12

(Here from New International Version) 
4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.  

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God;but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 

1 John 4:4-12
 Love, we might suggest, is in itself invisible -- only made visible by the action or activity of love.

Evelyn Underhill writes in her work Mysticism that "When St Paul saw God he saw nothing."

Vladimir Putin on 16june21 at a news conference said "In this life there is no happiness, there is only the specter of happiness."

Do we see happiness? Or do we look through the illusion of happiness?

Or is it the looking itself that is what we are looking at, from, with, for, and as?

The poet writes:

Primary Wonder

          by Denise Levertov

Days pass when I forget the mystery.

Problems insoluble and problems offering

their own ignored solutions

jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber

along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing

their colored clothes; cap and bells.

And then

once more the quiet mystery

is present to me, the throng's clamor

recedes: the mystery

that there is anything, anything at all,

let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,

rather than void: and that, O Lord,

Creator, Hallowed One, You still,

hour by hour sustain it.

- from Denise Levertov: Selected Poems, by Denise Levertov

(photo by saskia)

Turtle holds up earth 
and cosmos by each measured
 step on its way here

What you will, with or without 'and' -- whoever you think the doer is.