Saturday, February 13, 2021

a technicality, an acquittal, still liable

 Ita sit. (So be it.)

Eamus deinceps. (Let's go forward)

Prosit democratiam . (Good luck to democracy)

i do not know its name

Nothing isn’t something.  It can’t be placed on your mantel. It is not something hiding just behind something.  Rather nothing is what is both within and beyond everything we call something, which, in itself, is nothing.

But this realization isn’t nihilism. It is nihility. 

We might get away with saying that, rather than being something or nothing, we are appearing. We are temporary emergence out of and into “Way.” This transient and impermanent manifestation is the constant surprise of what we call “existence” “world” or “my life.”

Tao Te Ching - Lao Tzu - chapter 25

Something mysteriously formed,

Born before heaven and earth.

In the silence and the void,

Standing alone and unchanging,

Ever present and in motion.

Perhaps it is the mother of ten thousand things..

I do not know its name.

Call it Tao.

For lack of a better word, I call it great.

Being great, it flows.

It flows far away.

Having gone far, it returns.

Therefore, "Tao is great;

Heaven is great;

Earth is great;

The king is also great."

These are the four great powers of the universe,

And the king is one of them.

Man follows the earth.

Earth follows heaven.

Heaven follows the Tao.

Tao follows what is natural.

(translation by Gia-fu Feng and Jane English)

What is this “what is natural”? 

According to chapter 25 of Tao Te Ching, before any form or substance comes to exist, there is chaos. It has no voice or shape and because of that it is beyond any explanation or description with words.

It is nothingness itself. Its enormous size exceeds any human categories, does not depend on anything and conducts all the processes taking place in the universe. For this reason it is called 'Big' or 'Dai' after the Chinese character. The 'Dai' keeps on spreading and advancing the universe. There are no limits to the expansion of nothingness, 'Dai' or the Way. In other words the Way and nothingness are the transcendental beings. For the reason of being transcendental, they embrace all things. Things distant from them as well as close to them such as self; all is included. Because all things are filled with those transcendental beings, it can be said that they include those things and for that reason they can be called 'encompassing' or 'Umgreifende' of Karl Jaspers and as such, they undoubtedly reveal the principles governing nature: four seasons, sunrise and sunset, birth and death. Our limited perception doesn't allow us to see the Way itself, but through comprehending the nature and its rules, we have the ability to experience the Way as the transcendental being. When we reach that state, in front of our eyes there stands the true essence of nature, undistorted and real. This experience brings about a change in us and shows us how to live. But please make no mistake about this; Lao-tzu does not mean doing nothing, but living in accordance with the principles of nothingness. Lao-tzu's nothingness is also called absolute nothingness

 According to chapter 21 of Tao Te Ching, the Way is ecstatic and undefined. Only after you calm down and free your heart from ambitions and care, you can feel its subtle, pure and unadulterated nature. It's total and complete and only through impartial attitude we are able to know it, that is by getting rid of the knowledge and concepts we have learned so far in our lives. Nothing can be understood about the Way by linguistic analysis and breaking down concepts. The only way is the direct, intuitive experience and unity with the Way. However, there is the problem of expressing that intuitive experience with words. Naturally, the Way is a being that exceeds human languages; so describing it in a comprehensible manner poses quite a challenge. Still more, its appropriate description is not any form of compendium or a theory, but rather it should take a form close to poetry. Here, it is the source of Lao- tzu's mysticism, which was later on taken over by Chuang-tzu and developed further 


For those who look to the Bible,  perhaps it might be said that God is what is moving. 

And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. (Genesis 1:2-3, the Bible) ibid

What does this nothing, this absolute nothingness, have to do with love?

Last night's Friday Evening Conversation heard a woman tell of a chance meeting with a former schoolmate. He’d had a difficult life. She listened to him. She was sad. She brought that meeting and conversation to us. She cried. We were quiet throughout. 

The appearance.

The moving recounting.

The feel of it.

lex orandi

 If every breath prayer

Monastic community

Never not praying

Friday, February 12, 2021

if truth be told

 I lied. Am not watch-

ing defense team at trial. In-

stead The Silence by

Don DeLillo, (twice) --

super bowl sunday, twenty 

twenty two, (oh dear...)

choosing artful words

instead of chicanery --

counting steps to door

the long view

 Conviction won’t come —

But one thing is clear — guilt, guilt,

No denying that

yielding back my time

Now awake, facts heard,

it’s time to nap — let me know.

when cowards aquit

last gleaming

Enormous log makes 

it through dark night — dawn embers

stretch through fresh firewood

Thursday, February 11, 2021


I am and have been a stalwart watcher of the House Managers' presentations. 

Not only thoroughly thoughtful and pertinent, but a record for historical reference. 

Can't see anything but cold recalcitrance should Republicans fail to to concede the clarity and urgency of the case presented against the former president.




 (of course)





Wednesday, February 10, 2021

stone hearts

hard to imagine

not convicting, letting him

off, what we’ve seen, heard

there is no foliage

We are all strangers.  

 All monks, as is well known, are unmarried, and hermits more unmarried than the rest of them. Not that I have anything against women. I see no reason why a man can’t love God and a woman at the same time. If God was going to regard women with a jealous eye, why did he go and make them in the first place? There is a lot of talk about a married clergy. Interesting. So far there has not been a great deal said about married hermits. Well, anyway, I have the place full of ikons of the Holy Virgin. 

One might say I had decided to marry the silence of the forest. The sweet dark warmth of the whole world will have to be my wife. Out of the heart of that dark warmth comes the secret that is heard only in silence, but it is the root of all the secrets that are whispered by all the lovers in their beds all over the world. So perhaps I have an obligation to preserve the stillness, the silence, the poverty, the virginal point of pure nothingness which is at the center of all other loves. I attempt to cultivate this plant without comment in the middle of the night and water it with psalms and prophecies in silence. It becomes the most rare of all the trees in the garden, at once the primordial paradise tree, the axis mundi, the cosmic axle, and the Cross. Nulla silva talem profert. There is only one such tree. It cannot be multiplied. It is not interesting.

(— from, Day of a Stranger by Thomas Merton)

Why not call one another by each one’s living name?




Tuesday, February 09, 2021

vacant seats

Half the senate has

No convictions, no sense of

Hearing or seeing

don’t forgive them, they know what they are doing

 Senate republicans move toward jury nullification.

That’s when you know the defendant is guilty, but you don’t care.

Something very disturbing about their strategy.

For those who value truth and action predicated on truth...

Deep desolation, followed by antagonistic anarchy.

last will and sentience

noplace to go

nothing to say —

one breath in

one breath out

deadly, disastrous


trying to end constitutional democracy

the insurrecting mob

the insurrecting mobster

our fatal future 

Monday, February 08, 2021


 Stand still!



Around you from you within you as you are

Comes up east goes down west

We are surrounded

Stand (still) for everyone everything

Bows with gratitude

Sunday, February 07, 2021

thanks for the visit

A man walks into a  room and says, “What’s MU?” 

He hears a response saying, “Nothing, you?”

The man stands still a minute, then turns, leaves.

He is thinking, ”I’ll see myself out.”

heart, he said

He was a ghost standing in Chase’s Daily that morning (how many years ago?) stopping for coffee and muffins driving north, when driving somewhere to do something was a thing being done. He’d been in a coma for months, he said, heart. 

One of the problems of discussing kokoro in English is that by linking words—heart and spirit and mind—with “and,” we imply divisions that simply don’t exist in Japanese. But in this Eastern culture, the three aren’t intrinsically linked as one: They are one. 

Researchers are beginning to break down conceptual barriers and explore what artists, writers, mystics, and dreamers of many cultures have long acknowledged: the mysterious tie between heart and mind, a.k.a., kokoro. For example, scientists in Japan consider this concept while working on computer simulations, robotics, primatology, and more; it has allowed Japanese researchers to explore and discuss spiritual matters in a way that’s otherwise impossible in an academic environment.

“Are the familiar Western (and some distinctively English) concepts of mind, heart, spirit, will, consciousness, soul…the best way to describe and divide human experience?” asks Paul Swanson, a professor of humanities at Nanzan University in Japan. “Or is a broader and more inclusive concept useful for understanding how humans think and feel?” 

Swanson is a permanent fellow at the Nanzan Institute of Religion and Culture (NIRC), which in 1993 began bringing together experts in religion, philosophy, and the sciences. They aim to break down barriers and connect like-minded areas of knowledge that other academics consider distinct, ultimately attempting to understand the ineffable, the mystery of humanness. “Thoughts, feelings, and desires, or will, are all interrelated aspects of what it means to be human, and we would be wise to take all of them, and their interrelationship, into account in order to understand human experience,” he says. 

(— from, This Japanese word connecting mind, body, and spirit is also driving scientific discover by Ephrat Livni, 2017

It was his heart, he said.

It was good to talk with him, there, smells of baking and coffee throughout.

Next we knew, he’d died.

His artwork and calligraphy throughout our house across from Bald Mountain.

The view of which we’ve not grown bored.

My heart recalls.