Saturday, September 24, 2022

formless and pervades

 How far is the sky from the earth?

I think Lin-Chi needs to measure again.

What is the truth? The truth is the reality of mind. The reality of mind is formless and pervades the ten directions. It is being used presently, right before your eyes, yet people do not trust it sufficiently, so they accept terms and expressions, seeking to assess Buddhism conceptually in the written word. They are as far away as the sky is from earth.         

 —Lin Chi (d ~867)

 Not far.

Right at each other.

Their edges. 


We don’t know what illusion is. 

What is it?

maya, (Sanskrit: “magic” or “illusion”) a fundamental concept in Hindu philosophy, notably in the Advaita (Nondualist) school of Vedanta. Maya originally denoted the magic power with which a god can make human beings believe in what turns out to be an illusion. By extension, it later came to mean the powerful force that creates the cosmic illusion that the phenomenal world is real. For the Nondualists, maya is thus that cosmic force that presents the infinite brahman (the supreme being) as the finite phenomenal world. Maya is reflected on the individual level by human ignorance (ajnana) of the real nature of the self, which is mistaken for the empirical ego but which is in reality identical with brahman

We see the world, the universe. 

What we don’t see is that which the world, the universe is the manifestation of.

Is that important?


if you 

don’t think 

it is.

what is left behind

 No diary no 

journal no log no tick tock 

no report nothing

stay, just a little bit longer

 We read three poems 

at practice lat night — aubades,

departures dawning

our atlantic province neighbors

 Off northeast of Maine

Cape Breton is hit with winds

Rain and tide surge from

Post Fiona storm. Boats hauled

Power out, the night all night

Friday, September 23, 2022

tu autem, domine, miserere nobis

 I can’t remember

My name — once I knew it, when

Someone called me home

Now, wandering windy night

No monastery bell tolls

homo habilis

 As Keats alludes, there is a monastery of the imagination. Plainsong, Gregorian chant, tolling bells, and deep sudden drop into silence all formulate an atmospheric surround.

We don’t go to prison today. We’re not been feeling well. For all our sakes we stay home.

I wonder about creation. What we create.

The society and culture we get is the one we imagine. Desire and want shape consensus scenarios we populate.

We don’t lack imagination, this particular tableau is of our choosing. What we find repulsive we call crime or sin. What benefits us personally we call good fortune or accomplishment.

It is our canvas. Our musical score. The evaluation is self-valuation.

Look around.

Our creation.

Imagine that!

behind everything, everything else

It is a surprise

In middle of  this dark night

There is anything

Thursday, September 22, 2022

by thinking the source

These days, for me, philosophy is about thinking, not teaching. Apart from dialogic conversational one-to-one-to-many tutorial template of unconcealing thinking, I no longer profess to teaching philosophy. It seems I’ve retired from anything but creating courses and helping upper-level students think alone or with others.

It’s only right. CJ at MSP sculpted me a going away wood book of quotes and poems some four years ago. He knew. Intuition precedes fact and imagination doesn’t wait for an official memo before pondering the Milky Way.

In other words, for a being to be revealed as what it is, it must emerge from the state in which it was concealed, so that it thereby becomes un-concealed. The Being of such a being will be the process by which this non-concealment, or revelation, takes place. Now the Greek word for concealment, as we know, is (from lanthano) lêthê. What is un-concealed is a-letìtes, i.e., true. The process by which this takes place, the Being of this being, is aletìteuein, the coming-to-pass of truth.

Now Being, thus experienced by Heidegger as the process of alêtheia by which beings are revealed, is not "being" as understood in traditional metaphysics. For metaphysics, after Aristotle's definition of "first philosophy," asks the question ti to on hëi on: What are beings as beings? Heidegger's question is not concerned with beings at all, but with the Being of these beings, the lighting-process that lets them be revealed to the metaphysician so that he can raise the metaphysical question. This process of revelation is itself not a being; hence metaphysics as such cannot interrogate Being. Yet Being makes metaphysics possible; hence it is the ground of metaphysics. To interrogate the meaning of Being is to lay the foundation for metaphysics. In the early years Heidegger speaks of this effort as constructing a fundamental ontology; in the later years he speaks rather of overcoming metaphysics by thinking the source (Wesen) from which it springs, i.e., by a wesentliches Denken, a "foundational" thought

(—from HEIDEGGER AND THEOLOGY,, WILLIAM J. RICHARDSON, SJ., Theological Studies, 1965 26: 1, 86-100,

Attention is turning to and with Being. 

Poetry is Being-written,

Reality, for we poor explorers, is Being sought and what-is-to-be-revealed as Being unveiled.


Dogen died on this date. 

The whirlwind of birth and death  


Drifting pitifully in the whirlwind of birth and death,

As if wandering in a dream,

In the midst of illusion I awaken to the true path;

There is one more matter I must not neglect,

But I need not bother now,

As I listen to the sound of the evening rain

Falling on the roof of my temple retreat

In the deep grass of Fukakusa.                                                                                                                      --Dogen 


Here it is morning. With rain. On porch roof. Beneath my window.

Thinking appears. Truth is the unhidden. What appears is what we are becoming.

Chitta the cat sits on desk looking at me.

I can't fool her.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

lozenge into this good night

 Sun downs on summer

Cool air carries in autumn

Stars through sky dark night

if one comes into substantial contact

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy says: “Arthur Schopenhauer was among the first 19th century philosophers to contend that at its core, the universe is not a rational place.”

That might be good news. 

The irrational seems to annoy us. We seem to like law and laws. There’s a sense of security we feel by espousing them.

We might not always keep within the confines of the law, but we dislike it when others facilely ditch adherence.

Nevertheless, about Schopenhauer’s thinking it is written;

It is a perennial philosophical reflection that if one looks deeply enough into oneself, one will discover not only one’s own essence, but also the essence of the universe. For as one is a part of the universe as is everything else, the basic energies of the universe flow through oneself as they flow through everything else. For that reason it is thought that one can come into contact with the nature of the universe if one comes into substantial contact with one’s ultimate inner being.

(—from article on Arthur Schopenhauer, d.21sept 1860)

He died one hundred sixty two years ago today.

Where in the universe do we think (or, rather will) he be found?

Maybe he’s flowing right through these words, through you reading this, through everything you’ve thought was clearly compartmentalized and methodically hidden away in file folders accurately alphabetized and color coded.

Look into it, will you?

seis caminos hacia el mañana

 Continued delusions

Day after day point out

What we have long seen — a

Sick and dangerous threat

With confused ill-informed 

Minions set to tumble

of course not, how could you

 Have you given up?

   What do you mean?

Have you given up?

   What do you mean?

Have you given up?

   I don’t know


   You mean.

my playmate of the empty days

 It is a wide and deep ocean. 

The aesthetic.

The unconscious.

And the interdisciplinary obvious revealing itself from behind the separated portfolios of analytical concentration pinpointing the gnarly efforts of researchers and scholars.

The poet, as poets are wont to do, plays with water’s edge knowing they might easily drown in one inch of water as in a hundred fathoms far offshore.

 We write long books where no page perhaps has any quality to make writing a pleasure, being confident in some general design, just as we fight and make money and fill our heads with politics---all dull things in the doing---while Mr. Tagore, like the Indian civilization itself, has been content to discover the soul and surrender himself to its spontaneity. He often seems to contrast life with that of those who have loved more after our fashion, and have more seeming weight in the world, and always humbly as though he were only sure his way is best for him: `Men going home glance at me and smile and fill me with shame. I sit like a beggar maid, drawing my skirt over my face, and when they ask me, what it is I want, I drop my eyes and answer them not.' At another time, remembering how his life had once a different shape, he will say, `Many an hour I have spent in the strife of the good and the evil, but now it is the pleasure of my playmate of the empty days to draw my heart on to him; and I know not why this sudden call to what useless inconsequence.' An innocence, a simplicity that one does not find elsewhere in literature makes the birds and the leaves seem as near to him as they are near to children, and the changes of the seasons great events as before our thoughts had arisen between them and us. At times I wonder if he has it from the literature of Bengal or from religion, and at other times, remembering the birds alighting on his brother's hands, I find pleasure in thinking it hereditary, a mystery that was growing through the centuries like the courtesy of a Tristan or a Pelanore. Indeed, when he is speaking of children, so much a part of himself this quality seems, one is not certain that he is not also speaking of the saints, `They build their houses with sand and they play with empty shells. With withered leaves they weave their boats and smilingly float them on the vast deep. Children have their play on the seashore of worlds. They know not how to swim, they know not how to cast nets. Pearl fishers dive for pearls, merchants sail in their ships, while children gather pebbles and scatter them again. They seek not for hidden treasures, they know not how to cast nets.'

(—W.B. YEATS, September 1912, in Introduction to RABINDRANATH TAGORE’s GITANJALI)

Even empty beaches are crowded with every conscious and unconscious presence. Each breaking wave on hard-pack is a soul throwing itself into the conjoining instant of end of journey and beginning of return.

The observer is entranced by this exchange without knowing why.

Not-knowing why is where the ends and beginnings of things play hide and seek with sky, sea, and sand with no thought of finding. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

whole sight

The only answer that makes sense to me to the question, “Where are you going? Is the response, “Nowhere!”?

Our fixation with spatial dimension works well with conceptual distinctions of near/far, here/there, heaven/earth, in/out.

Same with morality and it’s guiding light. Does it come from external sources, or from interior resonance?

One day I retranslated “Om mane padme hum” as “Behold what is within without, behold what is without within.”

The falling away of conceptual or spatial distinctions is a radical emancipation and reexperiencing invitation to abide “what-is-itself” as “nothing other.”

 The normative character of transcendence. ‘Traditionally transcendence determined people’s orientation in life’ and has provided humanity with ethical normativity (Verhoef 2016:4). The attempt and the need to reconceptualise transcendence thus aim at finding new normative frameworks for living ethical lives. 72

72. In his book, The Gay Science (1882), Nietzsche described the ‘death of God’ in his well- known parable of the madman searching for God at the marketplace. Nietzsche argues here that belief in God has effectively died – God is no longer a convincing hypothesis. This death of God (as the traditional concept of transcendence) has the implication that we have no grounding for moral values and that morality must be created anew by us. We cannot anymore ground one universal system of moral values in one overarching reason (transcendence), religious or not. All values argues Nietzsche (most thoroughly in his On the Genealogy of Morals [1887]), must be revalued and recreated.

 (—Verhoef, A.H., 2018, ‘Transcendence and anatheism’, in D.P. Veldsman & Y. Steenkamp (eds.), Debating Otherness with Richard Kearney: Perspectives from South Africa, pp. 87–111, AOSIS, Cape Town)

To transcend is to cross over. (from the Latin trans, ‘across’) and the action of ascending (from the Latin scandere, ‘to climb’), points to a type of ‘crossing over’ to some place above or outside the world – an ascension to an ‘outside’).70 

Like the Heart Sutra’s “gone beyond” (paragate) there is a suggestion that crossing over or going beyond is displacement to somewhere else where some other things reside,or, at least, do not abide in the same way of familiar experience.

Karl Rainer wrote that “The Christian of the future will be a mystic, or he will not exist at all.” (Theological Investigations XX, 149).

Wikipedia says of the word mystic:

Derived from the Greek word μύω múō, meaning "to close" or "to conceal",[web 2]mysticism referred to the biblical, liturgical, spiritual, and contemplative dimensions of early and medieval Christianity.[3] During the early modern period, the definition of mysticism grew to include a broad range of beliefs and ideologies related to "extraordinary experiences and states of mind."[4]

In modern times, "mysticism" has acquired a limited definition, with broad applications, as meaning the aim at the "union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God".This limited definition has been applied to a wide range of religious traditions and practices, valuing "mystical experience" as a key element of mysticism.

It is the word “union” that attracts my attention. Union with the Absolute, the Infinite, or God.

Is the realization of union the letting go of belief in disunion?

Inside is outside, outside is inside — what is whole and entire is whole and entire.

The severing mental-rational intellect separates and compartmentalizes, isolates and fragments what is in itself whole and entire.

We become desolate in our smashed world.

John Fowle’s was correct with the first line of his novel Daniel Martin. He wrote:

”Whole sight; or all the rest is desolation.”

Perhaps that’s what a mystic is, what a mystic does — whole sight.

For Christ sake,

For Buddha awakening,

For one-another’s well-being!

gate, gate

 old gate worn and frail

across end of dooryard

held by rope and hope

no sunshine

De los santos, he

Is not, he is what holy

Men are not, cruel

Monday, September 19, 2022


 Such rain


Monastery bells

regina, in westminster

 At her funeral

The Queen says nothing, remains

Silent, still, resting

Sunday, September 18, 2022

after sunday evening practice

 Of frogs and deer and 

naps and now — how lovely to 

be with one (each) an-

other…as summer puts on 

evening sweater, it rains

non aspettare*

Prophets arise when shame knows no boundary and the hearts of scoundrels are hard and vile.

Amos (d 745BCE) was one of the arising prophets:

Prophet Amos as depicted by Gustave Doré

Amos 8:4-7 

I will never forget your deeds, you who trample on the needy

Listen to this, you who trample on the needy

and try to suppress the poor people of the country,

you who say, ‘When will New Moon be over

so that we can sell our corn,

and sabbath, so that we can market our wheat?

Then by lowering the bushel, raising the shekel,

by swindling and tampering with the scales,

we can buy up the poor for money,

and the needy for a pair of sandals,

and get a price even for the sweepings of the wheat.’

The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob,

‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done.’

A prophet** speaks forth. Not so much a foretelling as a telling for.

 ** --from pro "before" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before") + root of phanai "to speak" (from PIE root *bha- (2) "to speak, tell, say").

In 1968 I loved studying the prophets with Alexander Di Lella OFM at the Washington Theological Union. He was terrific, as were they.

Perfidy and arrogant solipsism are not contemporary creations. As long as there have been erect standing men there has been a dearth of stand-up honorable and just members of the ruling community. We are not an outlier culture.

So, we speak up. We utter forth the deeds of dishonorable people whose meanness and self serving grab of power, resources, and fealty of the giddy following tribe sniffing at their heels. 

There are among us prophets.

Not enough of them.

Some pray in solitude. Some shout their protest. Some write editorials, write letters, write articles, or poetry, or cuss in despondent frustration.

Still, prophets.

Still listening, watching, responding.

Still cultivating a nearly lost trust that fairness, goodness, and justice will emerge in our midst.

Where we stand.

The disconsolate.

But resolved to usher what is holy it’s appearance — standing resolute in the face and faces of an ignominy that smiles with cynical leer.

As the title of his book encourages us, You Have to Say Something, by Dainin Katagiri, we have to begin where, when, and who we are.

"To live life fully," Katagiri says, "means to take care of your life day by day, moment to moment, right here, right now."


Let's Speak now!  

*Do not wait!

when will clarifies only the following gaze

 Yes, I will, he said

They looked at him wondering

So too he at them