(waka for hooded R.)
Great-nephew of aunt
asked again before leaving
When did you get here?
answers by kitchen sink, "Now,
apparently" -- bell is hit
Temptation is the way being-in-the-world invites us to give up who we think we are in order to investigate and invite us into what it is we might need to become.
Yesterday Monica. Today Augustine. Church calendar names. The North African mother and son in their striving to account for temptation and it’s consequence.
Tentatio as fallenness and death as Care: Of Dasein’s
many faces in early and later writings
Phenomenology of Religious Life is concerned with factical existence. This factical life of early lectures is already and not yet a Dasein that comes to light in its full existentiality in Being and Time. Dasein; the being-in-the-world first reveals itself to us questioning. The penultimate task of Dasein is to know itself. The questioning of oneself becomes possible through Augustine’s tentatio. Only through temptations, one knows himself: quaestio mihi factus sum. [I have become a question to myself.1 I can answer these questions only through my factical life – my temptations; my fall. These temptations resemble for Heidegger a feeling of falling in Phenomenology of Religious Life which is later conceptualized as fallenness- into-the-world in Being and Time. This fallenness of Being and Time is the existentiality of Dasein itself. Augustine’s tentatio is the kernel of fallenness in Heidegger’s magnum opus. Heidegger says, “my ’facticity’ is the strongest temptation...in it, I move in a somehow falling manner.”2 Being-in-the-world seems as a fallenness – the anxiety of being-here and being- present emerges for Heidegger as an inauthentic life. Thus, the conceptions of earlier lectures find their echoes in Being and Time as fallenness and thrownness in the world. Augustine states the initial perception of life experience: “already the next moment can make me fall and expose me as someone entirely different.”3 This constant fall – the temptations – open being for possibility. The Being and Time does not explicitly refer to Augustine in each connection, inevitably though, they are implied.
Thrownness and fallenness in the world is our everyday revelation.
We worry it is our wrongdoing, our sinning, that defines us. Rather, what defines us is the awareness or non-awareness arising from the presentiation of tentatio, a prior experience anticipating action or no action.
What is created in the interim is prelude to positing what follows — whether rightdoing or wrongdoing.
Tentatio, temptation, is defining gift. What is fined, what is excellent or worthy, follows and becomes experience.
We are fallen into experience.
We are thrown into experience.
Experience is an unabashed teacher.
For days I ask the eleven year old boy visiting his great aunt, “When did you get here?”
He just looks at me, or ignores the question.
Last evening he said to his great aunt, “He always asks me that question.”
He’s right. It is an annoying question. I should be ashamed of myself for asking it. But I can’t help it.
Recognizing that difficult emotions are common to all humans also seems to arouse immediate feelings of empathy with others. We share our emotions: they are part of our collective karma, the human condition.
For some time after the terrorist attacks and the start of the war, I also found myself thinking of the Buddha’s admonition to reflect on our own death, and the fact that we can’t know when or how it will happen. “Of all mindfulness meditations,” said the Buddha, “that on death is supreme.”
(- from, It’s Only Natural, By Wes Nisker, SPRING 2002, TRICYCLE)
So I ask you: When did you get here?
It seems like something important to ponder
Something of the ground
Surrounding my attention
The Buddha said: “Of all footprints, that of the elephant is the deepest and most supreme. Of all contemplations, that of impermanence is the deepest and most supreme.”
(- from, The Supreme Contemplation, Practicing with the Four Reminders, By Andrew Holecek, Winter 2013, Tricycle)
Something one cannot
Step over without consideration
A friend writes and asks a question. Having no answer, I write this:
… … …
Saskia’s mother and I had a thirty year dharma combat about this question. She’d say ‘love’ I’d say ‘compassion.’
You’re right, not much that I’ve found to explicate love in Buddhist literature. Unless…
Unless the exploration sidesteps the word/concept ‘love’ and considers focusing on the activity corresponding with ‘loving.’
Perhaps this includes considering:
Simon and Garfunkel sang:
Don’t talk of love
Well, I’ve heard the word before
It’s sleeping in my memory
And I won’t disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried
I am a rock
I am an island
That song captivated me in 1965 for reasons I did not comprehend. Was it fear that I was locked up in a stony isolation? Or was it a proleptic prescience pointing via reverse engineering to what love insinuated and beckoned?
Where is love in Buddhism? Is it sleeping in the memory of all that is not love? Is it the ‘gone-ing’ of all the marble that is not David until Michelangelo frees David from accretion and hiding? Is it just this, harmonizing with the nothing other, beholding what is within/without, the sacred sound of without/within?
I loved the argument Erika and I had for nearly thirty years.
Love? Or, compassion?
It cautions me to un-ask (and unmask) the question, the difference, the distinction.
It says to me — “Nah” — it’s not one or the other, it’s seeing what we all must disguise through (y)our loving eyes. (Thank you Peter, Paul & Mary)
On Aug 23, 2021, at 6:39 PM, Chris York wrote:
Good conversation last night!! Thank you both. We have been thinking, reading talking about love in Buddhism. My Zen training did not address this topic...nor have I seen much other than Theravada Lovingkindness teachings. The Christian tradition seems to hold love at the center of its teaching and we have been puzzling about this contrast..self??, emptiness ????..any thoughts?
From Theravada teachings..."Compassion is what happens when suffering meets love and sympathetic joy is what happens when happiness meets love."
interesting but not very elucidating.
Bows and hugs. C
Yesterday was the anniversary of two sweet dogs that graced meetingbrook.
Erika's Cody in 2015 age 11, four years with us. A German Shepherd.
Max Manjushri in 2020, age 4, eight months with us. A Border Collie.
The joy of their company. The sorrow of their loss. The happiness they were here.
The theoretical physicist is saying that all the mammals on earth live for the same number of heartbeats, about 1.5 billion heartbeats. Then he posits that these days the average human gets 3 billion heartbeats, 70-80 years. He also says there’s no life after death. (Sean Carroll, in The Nature of Reality A Dialogue Between a Buddhist Scholar and a Theoretical Physicist)
Surely (at my age) the heartbeat count hovers near 3 billion.
Elsewhere I read: “There are approximately 7 x 1027 atoms in the average human body.”
The physicist suggests there’s no way these atoms, processes, and interface connections carry on once death has interrupted, silenced, and dispersed everything.
This eventuality, or non-eventuality, is fine with me. I can imagine nothing happening — no meetings, no reward or punishment, no astonishment at divine beatific vision, no horrific repulsion at horrible demonic miserableness.
All of which makes this life such a curiosity.
The time we have.
Yes there is suffering and death.
Yes there is joy and life.
Given the choice between cruelty or kindness, I’d prefer to be kind.
If feeling were available to us, I prefer to feel what another is feeling so to be in sympathetic appreciation for and with my fellow being.
As the folk singer Joni Mitchell, (in an exquisite rendition of the song), concluded: I really don’t know life at all. (Both Sides Now)
Some find absurdity too much to shoulder.
Happily, not knowing, go on, until gone.
Taoist poem from 8th century:
For the moment, rain is gone. It hovers. Will return. But I do not clutch it. Can’t. Never could. Birds sing in it. Green leaves unmove for time being.
What is here is here.
But … gone.
Noting “gone” allows you to experience “This too is passing,” which will provide more comfort than if you just try to remind yourself “This too shall pass.” Noting “gone” creates a stillness and tranquillity within you; this is a natural consequence of the nature of vanishing.
But there is another effect that people often report and that seems to go against the nature of vanishing. Some people find noting “gone” to be rich and sensory-fulfilling. Where things go to is where things come from. Each time you note “gone,” for a brief instant your attention is pointed directly toward the richness of the Source. That is what’s behind the seeming paradox of satisfying nothingness. There is a word that means both “cessation” and “satisfaction” as a single linked concept. The word is nirvana.
(—from, The Power of Gone, by Shinzen Young, Tricycle, Fall 2012)
At Sunday Evening Practice woman in Massachusetts said she was calm and at peace with herself, happy to be there. It was final circle.
Words of e e cummings lingered;
let all go – the
big small middling
tall bigger really
the biggest and all
things – let all go
so comes love
Where things go to is where things come from.