Saturday, April 10, 2021

imagine this

We think we remember. 

But what we have is assemblage of intimations of fluctuations of mental constructs that seep into physical images and feelings remembered by swirling atoms formed into corporeal neural firings projecting images on historical screen like morning wavering of sunlight and shadow through net yet blossomed tree.

What we remember is the remembering, not the thing itself. 

No one has ever seen God.

But we remember something about the passing gaze.

Unlike a painting, our minds are not fixed. It is like the image is wiped clean and a new one is created every moment. While the next image will often be very similar to the previous one, it is never exactly the same. It is constantly changing in subtle ways leading to an endless stream of karmic appearances. . . . Think of the places that appeared to you in childhood and the places that appear to you now. Think of the people you have met and the emotions or thoughts you have had. If we compare all these experiences, we can begin to get a sense of how powerful and creative our karma can be.

From The Realm of Shambhala: A Complete Vision for Humanity’s Perfection by Shar Khentrul Jamphel Lodrö (Khentrul Rinpoche) © 2021,Tricycle

This is how I remember my karma. 

Show mercy upon me, oh God, according to your kindness, and according to the multitude of your mercies, blot out my sins.  

Psalm 51:1, Aramaic Bible in Plain English

Images engraved on my retina blind me to what is passing before me.

Karmic newsreels of black and white grainy moving pictures watched from darkened isolation theater of saturday film remastery  — with popcorn and bubblegum on soles of sneakers.

From inner recollection the realization — we are always there; we were never there.

And the words:

And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” 

Jeremiah 31:34 ESV

Remember separation no more.

We are not condemned to live in what has been forgotten.

We are invited to dwell in what is being created, mind you, right here.

I look over to zazen bench. There is a gray beret on its seat, the kneeling pads inviting, promising to hold up whatever weight placed on them.

It is Easter Saturday.

Cat assesses through screen window the outdoors.

Who was it said: Absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder; absence let’s the heart forget”?

Then there’s the poet:

“...whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh & exciting - over & over announcing your place in the family of things.”

― Mary Oliver, Wild Geese

The whole of the book of genesis, indeed, the whole of the stories of our historical and cultural experience can be seen as a surrounding of two words, maybe the only two words we’ve ever received from what we call God.

And those two words?

Imagine this!

Friday, April 09, 2021

sitting in the middle

 Like sitting for a year in the middle of COVID-19.

Shikantaza,” said Hakuun Yasutani Roshi, “is like sitting in the center of a clearing in the forest, knowing that ultimate danger is about to strike but not knowing what form it will take or from what direction it will come.” 

 (—in, Nothing to Fix, Nowhere to Go, BY 

Alert to what surrounds.

Knowing what is beyond knowing.


                        (hearing of Prince Philip’s death today at 99) 

Birds on mountain call,

Sun slides northeast each morning —

nothing in room moves

in for life

Where do I live?

Right here. 

 My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.   (-John Keats)

Where do you live? 

Dwell well where you are!

Thursday, April 08, 2021

and now talking to them

We're idiots.

We betray one another.

It's what we do.

And have done for a long, long time. 

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21ESV 

 Its an old problem in metaphysics: stasis and dynamisn, being and becoming, one and many.

We humans don't change, but we are always becoming something different. 

God, you might say, knows this. God shakes God's metaphoric head and says, "They'll never change."

Humanity, pissed at this lack of confidence in its ability to shape up, sets its jaw and stands firm.

God, still shaking head, says to Jesus, "Will you show them how to be in the world?"

Jesus nods his head. Goes and gets born. Wanders about. Arrives at cross. Dies. Shows up in a room of frightened disciples. Tells them, "There, that's done. Now God understands what it's like to be betrayer and betrayed in a confused existence of human folly and longing. And God, understanding this, feels pity, and reconciles with you."

"No way," they think, trying to feel grateful that all their dreams and fears collapse together in the presence of someone dead, entombed, and now talking to them.

They don't know Paul. 

Paul will have the last wording of this confusion. 

And we, idiots, nod our heads, pretending, then abandoning, hope that we understand.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

that, we are

The non-duality speaker at SAND gathering says one of his personal favorite aphorisms is "Seek and you shall not find." (Peter Russell, 2016) "The attitude of seeking is looking for something else." 

There isn't something else, anything else. There is only each thing, each being as they are. And as they are is consonant and resonant with what you are. Our underlying reality -- often masked by diversity, difference, and duality -- remains our underlying reality. The name of that reality is not clear. But it is there.

I find something in Isaiah that picks up in 8th century BC a variation of this theme:

You shall seek them and not find them—

Those who contended with you.
Those who war against you
Shall be as nothing,
As a nonexistent thing.

For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand,
Saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’

(--Isaiah 41:12-14, New King James Version)

Perhaps, here, the underlying reality is experienced as one holding our hand, saying we need not fear, help is at hand. 

Nor will we find something else, anything else, that contends, or wars against us. These things are "as nothing" -- "nonexistent."

And "the Lord your God" will help you not find. Will point you at nothing. Will present this non-self/one-self as not existing, not standing-out from that which is as it is throughout. 

It is a reading of Isaiah that requests our attention.

Isaiah saw this and spoke forth what he saw.

This easter time, that seeming mystery is looked upon as a man in 1st century Jerusalem who not only spoke what he saw, but was what he saw. 

And the sight of him was too much for the divided, the diverse, and the dualistic civil and religious authorities who, themselves, grappled with laws and power and the headaches of governance of land and peoples that contended and warred with each other -- as if there was someone else, something else to try to conquer, possess, and control.

And so it is today.

Except for those rare beings who see what is there to be seen below, above, and beyond the surface appearance of surface things.

Let us pray for this seeing. For this sight. For this revelation of that which is true ground of our being, thusness of our nature.

As the story of that 1st century man who walked the earth, was killed, and (somehow) walked the earth again for a spell, looms during this season, we read of that walk.

Are we that?

We are that.

That, we are.

Tuesday, April 06, 2021

no passive pietist

 I read on America Magazine website that Hans Kung died today at 93:

 “No peace among the nations without peace among the religions. No peace among the religions without dialogue between the religions. No dialogue between the religions without investigation of the foundation of the religions” (Küng, Christianity: Essence, History, Future (1995).

His weighty books were a joy to read. 

His jaw was not glass.


no comparison, no contrast

just the thing itself

as you are, as I am

in this very moment

you are here as I am there

the quiet space of stillness

on the mountain no one skis

on bed cover, OM, sleeping dog

the dust on the road cleanses the sparrows

Doris, beloved nonagenarian, sends this by a former student of hers:

...   ...   ...

  On the Road to Emmaus

     (from a sixteenth –century Flemish painting)

1.     The Painting

Over the disciples’ shoulders

Jesus listens,

eyebrows raised to his hairline, bemused and sad.

Behind them, arched gateways, insouciant pennants;

a pale blue harbor with miniscule ships,

ochre city, tumble of turrets.

A white-aproned woman in a farmhouse door

chats with a caller;

two men stride off on branching roads,

one trailed by a dawdling child.



2.     The Disciples


It was a long walk.

Only a few gulps of stale water

slosh around in their gourd. Their scalps itch.

Cranky, yawning, shuffling along,

they come upon a man robed in white 

and start to explain the entire fiasco:

the nail’s heft, the burglar groaning,

how gray He looked when they eased Him down.

How, on that third morning,

birds had darted

restlessly; how one disciple had pictured Jesus

hovering over all His flocks,

Pilate’s house halved

by a thunderbolt, centurions claiming

they’d only been following somebody’s orders.

Bobbing donkeys, squashed pomegranate-rind – 

Fifty yards from the tomb’s mouth:

“The boulder’s gone!”

They edged inside, eyes straining 

to adjust from the glare.


Black walls dribbled, clay oozed

through their toes. Peering

they saw ants ferrying chunks of fig.

A crumpled sheet; whiff of myrrh.


On the way to Emmaus the arguments started.

Each turned over and

over particulars.

“ I think we’ve been taken.”

“You know”, nodded the other, “I was never really sure.”


3.     Always on the Road


Why did the painter locate them here,

even including a hatpin-height steeple?

Unto the nth generation, he seems to say,

we’ll be complaining to the miracle’s face

that it is no miracle,

we’ll insist to life eternal, ”There is no such thing!”

But the tree he placed the disciples under

means more than the sum of its plain brown leaves.

The city’s gates swing wide for the asking,

the harbor beckons you to a new life.

That woman in the farmhouse door

loves the man she is speaking to;

her soul has opened to meet his.

The child is a blessing to all of them,

the dust on the road cleanses the sparrows.


(Poem by Elise Partridge, from Fielder’s Choice)

...   ...   ...

I find this:


Landscape with Christ and his Disciples on the Road to Emmaus Painting

Monday, April 05, 2021

resurrection is...what is...seen

Русский: Спас Анастас (Христос воскресший). 2006. Холст, масло. 60×40. Художник А.Н. Миронов

English: Christ is risen. 2006. Canvas, oil. 60 x 40. Artist A.N. Mironov

...   ...   ...

Easter Monday

                                          (a haiku for all my familiars)

To look, to see, this

no barrier, no divide -- 

mere intimacy


being, identified, with wisdom itself

There’s a madness of power. It shows itself in greed, delusion, and anger. This leans to insanity.

There’s a madness of love. It shows itself in service, acts of kindness, and compassion. This leans to being a fool for Christ, a divine madness.

 “True Lovers of Christ”

The third shared meaning by which madness can be characterized is serving the people. This communicates a sense of ministry, of reaching beyond the boundaries of one’s own concerns and preoccupations, of seeing and sensing beyond one’s personal world. The power of loving madness cannot be bound by the limits of the self. It seeks to make a difference in the lives of others and desires to respond to their needs. What is that difference? What is that response?

Saint Teresa of Avila recognizes that this madness is truly wisdom; its works reflect the presence and activity of God. In The Book of Her Life she notes,

“How wise they will be, they who rejoiced to be considered mad because that is what Wisdom Itself was called! How few mad people there are now.... Truly it seems that there are no more of those who people considered mad for doing the heroic deeds of true lovers of Christ.” (27:14)

There is a joy and a sadness in this text. The joy is reflected in the statement that this loving madness is truly wisdom and a source of rejoicing for those willing to be known as mad for the sake of being identified with Wisdom itself. The sadness lies in the observation that such willingness—expressed through “doing the heroic deeds of true lovers”—is becoming ever more rare. There are so few mad people now, yet the deeds remain to be done. And those deeds are nothing less than whatever services will continue the mission of Jesus. 

(—from How Few Mad People There Are Now”: Thoughts of Teresa and Catherine, by Joel Giallanza, CSC)

What is God but the reality of everyday living with an eye toward unveiling the underlying intimacy of being-with one another in the realization of our true nature, the true condition of being at one another’s service?

It is mindfully dwelling within the question, ”how can I help?”

The resurrection is this, freshly realized, intimacy of arrival where we dwell immersed.

            Embodying the dwelling place of the Alone;

             Stepping aside to make room for Another.

It is Easter Monday.

Sunday, April 04, 2021

mane semper et nos vobiscum

 Someone asked Christ where he had been.

“Nowhere,” he said.

“But now,” that person asked, “where shall we find you?”

The answer came, “Where are you?”

And there they remained.

first light

Be enlightened,

Christ said —

And he shone