It is not hard to
have faith. Give up every-
thing, surrender all.
Tonight’s conversation began with bidets and ended with belief or faith.
Experientia magistra stultorum
In English: Experience is the teacher of fools.
I thought this would be a good follow-up to yesterday's proverb about learning, painfully, from mistakes. Today's proverb is also about learning from mistakes, but it makes a sharper point: fools need to learn from mistakes, because they do not use reason to predict the outcome of their actions. Instead, fools can only learn by experience, making mistakes and suffering the consequences.
The Latin word experientia is a feminine noun, so it is the feminine teacher, the magistra, the "mistress" or "school-mistress" of people who are fools.
A fuller form of the saying makes clear the difference between the way that fools learn, and how wiser people make their decisions: Experientia stultorum magistra, prudentia sapientum, "experience is the teacher of fools, while foresight is the teacher of wise men."
You can find this notion invoked in Erasmus's introduction to his Colloquia familiaria, where he says in praise of his book: Adde quod bonae prudentiae pars est, nosse stultas vulgi cupiditates et absurdas opiniones. Eas arbitror satius ex hoc libello discere, quam experientia stultorum magistra, "Add the fact that part of good prudence is to know the foolish wants and crazy opinions of the masses. I suspect that those things can be better learned from this little book than from experience, that teacher of fools."
Even better, Erasmus goes on to say in the same preface, Et haud scio an quidquam discitur felicius, quam quod ludendo discitur, "And I don't know whether anything can be learned more fortunately than that which is learned through play."
Hurray for Erasmus!
(—from Bestiaria Latina Blog, FEBRUARY 27, 2007)
As a fool, I learn by experience.
To have faith in what is not yet seen, what is not yet known, is a kind of foolishness.
What is to come.
Everything written on these pages has been heard from someone somewhere else.
Today at Meetingbrook intends to be a recollection of conversations had, things read, situations experienced, films and documentaries seen, contemplative reflection encountered, and other various donations received from friends, sangha members, kindred personages throughout history, and imagined felt experiences from the phenomeno(logically) extended cosmos.
In other words, it is all passing through.
The ever-present origin pauses an instant on its way through to what is yet to come.
We are to one another a way station, giving a temporary place to rest and recollect as way is made through what is here enroute what will soon be here.
We echo, enhance, recollect and reconstruct what is given, sometimes unbeknownst and unintended, for one's own passing awareness shared with another's passing engagement.
We do this with and for one another as an act of love.
We are invited to listen.
That's what community is.
Something, someones, heard.
Is it a lacunae, this time, this between time in christian metaphor, between ascension and pentecost?
And what happens in the between?
What happens between what is,
The activity of what is,
And the illuminating clarification of what is?
Is this betweening what, in the christian metaphor, has been referred to as the trinity —
The father being what is
The son being the activity of what is, and
The holy spirit being the illumination and clarification of what is?
Because of the connection between distance and the speed of light, this means scientists can look at a region of space that lies 13.8 billion light-years away. Like a ship in the empty ocean, astronomers on Earth can turn their telescopes to peer 13.8 billion light-years in every direction, which puts Earth inside of an observable sphere with a radius of 13.8 billion light-years. The word "observable" is key; the sphere limits what scientists can see but not what is there.
But though the sphere appears almost 28 billion light-years in diameter, it is far larger. Scientists know that the universe is expanding. Thus, while scientists might see a spot that lay 13.8 billion light-years from Earth at the time of the Big Bang, the universe has continued to expand over its lifetime. If inflation occurred at a constant rate through the life of the universe, that same spot is 46 billion light-years away today, making the diameter of the observable universe a sphere around 92 billion light-years. [VIDEO: Oldest Light in the Universe: How it Traveled to Us]
Then we ask: Who are you? Who am I?
And how far have we come?
Perhaps today there will be no murder, no domestic abuse, no destruction of homes, no insult, no beating down of someone poorly defended.
Oh, and tell me what's the man with a rifle in his hand
Gonna do for a world that's so sick and sad?
Tell me what's the man with a rifle in his hand
Gonna do for a world that's gone mad?
(from song, The Body Electric, by Hurray For The Riff Raff, on Small Town Heroes (2014)
Perhaps today someone will realize that every sound travels further than his ears, that each ignoring of someone is a diminishing of oneself, that each affirmation of someone's effort is a strengthening of the communal body of our shared soul.
Put away the rifle.
Allow each their own direction.
Their own breath.
Look around. There’s no need to go anywhere. You’re there.
Have you found what you’re looking for? It’s right there. It is what is looking. Looking, not for something, but as something.
As is, what is, looking.
The mind's capacity is limitless, and its manifestations are inexhaustible. Seeing forms with your eyes, hearing sounds with your ears, smelling odors with your nose, tasting flavors with your tongue, every movement or mode, it's all your mind.
At every moment, where language can't go, that's your mind. The sutras say, “A tathagata's forms are endless. And so is the awareness.” The endless variety of forms is due to the mind. Its ability to distinguish things, whatever their movement or mode, is the mind's awareness. But the mind has no form, and its awareness, no limits.
A material body of the four elements is trouble. A material body is subject to birth and death. But the real body exists without existing because a tathagata's real body never changes. The sutras say, “People should realize that the buddha-nature is something they have always had.” Kashyapa only realized his own nature.
Our nature is the mind. And the mind is our nature. This nature is the same as the mind of all buddhas. Buddhas of the past and future only transmit this mind. Beyond this mind, there's no buddha anywhere. But deluded people don't realize that their own mind is buddha. They keep searching outside. They never stop invoking buddhas or worshipping buddhas and wondering where is the buddha?
Don't indulge in such illusions. Just know your mind. Beyond your mind there's no other buddha. The sutras say, “Everything that has form is an illusion.” They also say, “Wherever you are, there's a buddha.” Your mind is the buddha. Don't use a buddha to worship a buddha.
In my dream, I am visiting prison. I’m confused. I know I’m a visitor but I seem to be wholly ensconced in the wandering from place to place, room to room, trying to figure out how to faithfully carry out what I have promised to do for several people in several directions at the same time.
Waking from dream, my sunlit room.
Am I in my right mind?
The men I know in prison.
The time that has gone by unable to visit, converse, zazen, laugh.
In cultural religious temporicity, (achronon), it is that space between ascension and pentecost when, what is signified as religious reality, disappears, and what is to become inspiration and clarifying, is not yet arrived.
In a sense, we are left to ourselves.
What do we make of that? Out of time, outside of time, a space of achronological stasis,
Still, a waiting with belief.
This is where we are. And so, this is where we must find ourselves. Because we are in no other place, we must look through the ‘no other’ and try to find there what we are looking for, what we are looking at.
It is a dream-space.
We have been here before.
Out of time. Out of mind. Between everything. Gone, gone, gone beyond. Lost in the space of not-yet arriving.
Where a question arises out of thin air, out of mist, out of eponymous time:
نحن عائلة هل نسيت
* We are a family, have you forgotten?
It is our koan, our achronological koan.
Some have bacon and eggs with coffee on Sunday morning. Some go for walks. Some listen to The Daily podcast, today a story about Weird Al Yankovic.
Some die in a military bombing.
International pressure to bring an end to the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas militants mounted on Sunday, even as local health officials said an Israeli airstrike in Gaza overnight killed more than two dozen people, the single deadliest attack of the current hostilities.
In all the overnight airstrikes, 33 people died, including 12 women and eight children, and 50 people were wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. The ministry said the figures could rise, as rescue workers continued to search for victims and survivors in the ruins.
On Sunday morning, rescue workers combed through the rubble of three buildings flattened in the Israeli airstrike as the hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians escalated to levels not seen since a 2014 war.
(in Live Updates: Airstrike Kills Dozens in Gaza as U.N. Security Council Prepares to Meet, NYTimes, 15may21)
Its the law of absurd distribution. Kill anybody, whether or not they have anything to do with threatening you with hostile aggression.
Hell, it's what we're capable of, and with billions of dollars worth of munitions, dammit, we'll do it!
Among the victims of an Israeli airstrike over the weekend at a refugee camp that killed at least 10 Palestinians were eight children. Mohammed al-Hadidi said his wife, along with their sons Suhaib, 14, Yahya, 11, Abdelrahman, 8, and Wissam, 5, were killed, as were her brother’s four children and her sister-in-law. Only a five-month-old baby boy, Omar, was pulled from the rubble alive. (-ibid)
If someone is keeping score, pencil in these children's names.
We'll want to remember how it was we no longer deserved to be called civilized, moral, decent.