Saturday, June 03, 2023

wherever, i am

The medicine of coffee. Heals even the terminal. Drink with me, will you?

“Mes amis, je vous remercie d’être venus. Je vous remercie pour  

la chance de votre amitié. Ne pleurez pas: souriez comme  

je vous aurais souri. Je vous bénis. Je vous aime.  

Je vous souris, où que je sois.”  


“My friends, I thank you for coming. I thank you for the  

good fortune of your friendship. Do not cry: smile as  

I would smile at you. I bless you. I love you.  

I am smiling at you, wherever I am.”  


The final words  

of Jacques Derrida (1930–2004),  

read by his son at his graveside 

I will not read another word about professional athletes. Millionaires many times over. Hype and hyperbole. I don't have a jumpshot anymore. I can't lift a ball out of the infield. I am tackled (so to speak) after making catch behind line of scrimmage. 

“One can, of course, speak several languages. There are speakers who are competent in more than one language. Some even write several languages at a time (prostheses, grafts, translation, transposition) . But do they not always do it with a view to an absolute idiom? and in the promise of a still unheard-of language? of a sole poem previously inaudible?” 

― Jacques Derrida, Monolingualism of the Other: or, The Prosthesis of Origin 

If all my friends came to visit me at once in this room, I would still be alone. It's not that I don't have any friends, it's just that I don't have any friends. But if I remain alone, if I step outside barn, if I sit in yurt or on porch of meditation cabin, if, even on cold mornings like today, I sit on front porch of house -- there, in each of these places, all my friends sit or stand or remain rooted or fly by or walk nearby. 

The illusion is the partitioning. A convenient illusion, nevertheless an illusion.

“How can another see into me, into my most secret self, without my being able to see in there myself? And without my being able to see him in me. And if my secret self, that which can be revealed only to the other, to the wholly other, to God if you wish, is a secret that I will never reflect on, that I will never know or experience or possess as my own, then what sense is there in saying that it is my secret, or in saying more generally that a secret belongs, that it is proper to or belongs to some one, or to some other who remains someone. It's perhaps there that we find the secret of secrecy. Namely, that it is not a matter of knowing and that it is there for no one. A secret doesn't belong, it can never be said to be at home or in its place. The question of the self: who am I not in the sense of who am I but rather who is this I that can say who? What is the I and what becomes of responsibility once the identity of the I trembles in secret?” 

― Jacques Derrida, The Gift of Deat; also p.82,+derrida%22&pg=PA82&printsec=frontcover

 I stay home. (Who is this "I" and what is this "home"?) I walk the dog. He looks for and pines for other dogs. I'm not so much of a companion as a means of transport to the possibility there might be dogs at the Snowbowl. He considers the Canada Geese in center of field as they consider his consideration. I cluck mouth sound and he turns away from any considered action. We amble in relative solitude. And although he probably will not admit it, he interiorly grumbles.

Derrida's non-concept of différance, resembles, but is not, negative theology, an attempt to present a tacit metaphysics without pointing to any existent essence as the first cause or transcendental signified. Following his presentation of his paper "Différance" in 1968, Derrida was faced with an annoyed participant who said, "It [différance] is the source of everything and one cannot know it: it is the God of negative theology." Derrida's answer was, "It is and it is not."[18]

In contrast to negative theology, which posits something supereminent and yet concealed and ineffable, différance is not quite transcendental, never quite "real", as it is always and already deferred from being made present. As John Caputo writes, "Différance is but a quasi-transcendental anteriority, not a supereminent, transcendental ulteriority."[19] The differences and deferrings of différance, Derrida points out, are not merely ideal, they are not inscribed in the contours of the brain nor do they fall from the sky, the closest approximation would be to consider them as historical, that is, if the word history itself did not mean what it does, the airbrushing speech of the victor/vanquished.

Derrida has shown an interest in negative or apophatic theology, one of his most important works on the topic being his essay "Sauf le nom".[20],are%20related%20to%20each%20other.

I live heuristically. I do it without success. It is my finest non-achievement. 

  heuristic,  adjective

    • serving to indicate or point out; stimulating interest as a means of furthering investigation.
    • encouraging a person to learn, discover, understand, or solve problems independently, as by experimenting, evaluating possible answers or solutions, or by trial and error: The course uses a heuristic teaching method to allow students to find answers without being directly taught.
    • of, relating to, or based on experimentation, evaluation, or trial-and-error methods.
    • Computers, Mathematics. pertaining to a trial-and-error method of problem solving used when an algorithmic approach is impractical.

what year is this

 this pain in my head

comes each year and I forget

after a while, goes --

one day the pain will arrive

staying -- ouch -- and I will go

Friday, June 02, 2023

when in doubt, god

Lightning, thunder, rain

Friday evening in June —

God is no-other

marguerite porete poem

 In prison this morning poetry and mysticism



It was simply eight people talking together

“Not really” one said when he had to leave


hushed, noting, nothing

Fragrant scent of porch morning, sun up over Melvin Heights, old motorcycle draped in blue tarp, handlebar sticking out, there on near branches, pink/purple/red flowering blossoms  


                     by Ryokan

Now that all thoughts have subsided
off I go, deep into the woods,
and pick me
a handful of shepherd's purse.
Just like the stream
meandering through mossy crevices
I, too, hushed
become utterly clear.

English version by Gabriel Rosenstock, Original Language Japanese

I am not clear. Nor am I thinking. Moist dew fragrance in one screen through to screen over shoulder. There’s not(h)ing that I want. Nor is there anything other than this presentation of what once was called God’s  face. (In abandoned room above, faint bells, morning alarm). Soon we will leave for prison — but first, hummingbird takes inventory.

Thursday, June 01, 2023

the flickering possibility

 No one dead or dying here at hospice house. The last patient here died this morning. 

Here in this great room ceiling fan turns. Wisteria and pussy willow in blue vase on step to dormant gas fireplace in center of room. I get to sit in silence. I read from Caputo book.

In the quiet of this place I get to remember the people I’ve sat with here over the years. 

Yesterday I learned of two people I’d worked with forty-forty five years ago — an administrator who thought (erroneously) I was a nice man, and a clinical social worker who was always biting on his substantial Irish mustache. Of course, people die. But that splash of memory…

 “Perhaps” bends in the winds of what insists without existence, of what withdraws from presence, pointing like the arrow of a weathervane in the direction of the promise, of the flickering possibility of what neither is nor is not.

Excerpt from: "The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps" by John D. Caputo. Scribd.

Caputo thinks we should consider, reconsider, and call into question our certainty about many things.

It’s a good practice.

Like this empty room.

Empty of what?

Empty of anything we think not here.

But there is nothing not here. Everything is here.

And if there is anything intriguing we have learned about “God” is that God Is Here — which, quite possibly, is the actual name of God.

“Insists without existence.”

That which is within and through…

This very room.

a willingness to accept

Next breath? Or, no breath?

Always the unspoken question.

Some day I won’t even think that question. 

The middle way involves a willingness to accept either rebirth or no rebirth of consciousness in another life.  

But the problem of rebirth of craving is the most universal, as well as the most significant and most urgent, for it pertains to all times, regardless of whether it be this moment, this life, or future lives if there are to be future lives.  

If one has solved this problem and is freed from craving, then all other problems cease to be problems, for with respect to them there is no longer any craving.   (in, Dialogues of the Buddha, dailyzen)

 Rebirth doesn’t interest. Nor does it’s opposite.

Heaven or hell, afterthoughts, have no attraction.

What you consider your strengths and weaknesses, your accomplishments or failures, are completely unintelligible to tree and wind.

What would things be like without craving? Do you want to know? 

Would everything be simply itself?

Quite possibly.

And if everything were simply itself, we would stand exactly where we are, look this way and that way, breathe in . . . 

And have no concern whether there would be a breathing out.

Ah, there it is, an out-breath.

And whether anything follows, another in-breath, an afterlife, or nothing …


when you sit and look at it realistically

I don’t mind dying.

There’s a lot I’ll never get to see. 

The universe is expanding, with every galaxy beyond the Local Group speeding away from us. Today, most of the universe's galaxies are already receding faster than the speed of light. All galaxies currently beyond 18 billion light-years are forever unreachable by us, no matter how much time passes. 

The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) has observed a region of the sky of only 1 / 32,000,000 of the total, but was able to discover a whopping 5,500 galaxies in it: an estimated 10% of the total number of galaxies actually contained in it. The remaining 90% of the galaxies are either too faint or too red or too dark for Hubble to reveal. (Source: HUDF09 and HUDF12 teams; processing: E. Siegel)

However, most of them are already permanently unavailable for us.

A lot.

 I’ll never.

And a lot, here on earth among my fellow material beings, that I have seen, I don’t need to see again.

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

there's no laughter at a crime scene

Laugh at once and

the joke is funny

then there is

the unfunny 

so many bad ideas

began as a bad joke

not long ago

a bad joke became

a bad idea -- that grievance 

and hatred should define us

this unfunny joke and

bad idea lingers

so many try to rehabilitate

unfunny bad idea pretending

our ears, gut, and brain are

flawed, deaf, gutless, dumb

pushing the unfunny bad

idea along slimy street gutters

expecting something other (again)

to emerge from the plainly awful

take me, to you(r), leader

 This from Center for AI Safety: 

AI experts, journalists, policymakers, and the public are increasingly discussing a broad spectrum of important and urgent risks from AI. Even so, it can be difficult to voice concerns about some of advanced AI’s most severe risks. The succinct statement below aims to overcome this obstacle and open up discussion. It is also meant to create common knowledge of the growing number of experts and public figures who also take some of advanced AI’s most severe risks seriously. 

Their succinct statement: 


Mitigating the risk of extinction from


AI should be a global priority


alongside other societal-scale risks


such as pandemics and nuclear war.



Please add to signatory list:

W.F.Amanesciri, (NEMI)

Nonitinerant Eremitic Mendicant Idiorhythmic 

hi elizabeth, hi mary (לְבַקֵר -- a visit)

The two of them, plump

with pregnancy, sit with figs

olives water — sun

ascending over anvil

talk of swaddles and day . . . care

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

unpoetry is what this is not

 God is not anything

God — is what we hear when emptiness

Falls out of a vacant space 

God abandoned when divinity

Gave up occupying anything other than . . .

What becomes itself 

sit for a spell and have a think

 Do we alter it

 or altar — reality?

Which word faces it?

war is not anything but sorrow

 After his death he no

longer wrote letters back home —

how stupid war is

Monday, May 29, 2023

a friend wrote me letters from the war

 Vinny was a left handed catcher. Even in 1959 that seemed strange. He had the body type of a well balanced crab scuttling its way to the mound to hand the baseball to the pitcher. His mouth squared away. Spikes indenting dirt. Hat backwards. Face mask a jail cell of protection from foul balls and backswings. He was wonderful.

The Vietnamese landline didn’t care that in 1962 on a sidewalk in Manhattan Vinny smiled as he told me these people at the party I’d convinced a bunch of guys to come to when I worked for the New York life insurance company “are not my kind of people.” They weren’t mine neither. But it was all I knew that summer and the next day I’d probably strike out looking and Vinny would throw out two runners at second..

Six years later the mine would explode under his boot and I’d already left the seminary. Sitting at my grandfather’s desk at bottom of stairs in Brooklyn basement I’d learn of his death in Southeast Asia. I might have tried to write a poem, maybe attempt what passed then as prayer to say one — but all I remember is I cried. 

The silence of his catchers mitt is all that the dirt in its pocket preserves.

in memorium, today

 We Honor

Celebrate and




Dead and

Deadened by


Praying for

the well-being

of what


Sunday, May 28, 2023

disintegration of contemporary culture


Reading/listening to Violence Unveiled: Humanity at the Crossroads, by Gil Bailie.

After 25 years of paperback on bookshelf.

Substantial anthropological study of René Girard’s work Violence and the Sacred.

an inexistent solicitation

It is Pentecost. 

In the zeitgeist of spirituality, a time of inexplicable access to the inter-dimensional gateless open. where existence is unnecessary and life is beyond thought.

A moment of no barrier, no boundary.

No-place known; the beyond an umwelt — everything within everything, all, at once.

 The name of God is not the name of a Supreme Being who does things or mysteriously leaves them undone but of what is getting done in and under this name. God does not exist; God insists. God does not subsist; God calls. God’s might is the might-be of a dangerous “perhaps.” In The Folly of God, I said that God’s folly is that, not thinking existence something to cling to, God emptied himself into the world (Phil 2:6–7), leaving existence to us, which is risky business, both for God and for us since we may or may not follow through. In each case, God is an inexistent solicitation, to which we are to be the existential response. We are responsible for the existence of God. We are the ones God is waiting for to make the Kingdom come true, for God to be God. In the end, the real question is not “Does God exist?” but rather, as Katharine Sarah Moody puts it on my behalf, “Will there have been God ?”

(—in Preface of CROSS AND COSMOS  A Theology of Difficult Glory  


Typically, everyday, we live in the zeros and ones, the materiality of manifestation,  the diffident derision of unawareness handcuffing us, our stumbling imbalance jostling in below-deck careening uncontrollably in cyclonic storm.

Then . . .

Suddenly . . .

“Emptied into the world” — not standing out from it — suchness as suchness!

The wholly undifferentiated, the holy interpenetrating presence, originates ITSELF, as it is, such as it is, the within without, the without within — (insistent invitation) —




Saturday, May 27, 2023

as if all worlds were there

There's an importance to words, to oaths.

I've retreated to a new concentration. A philologist, semanticist, hermeneutic etymologist, semiotic linguistic analyst. Amant des mots. Ha!

Three scenes from A Man for All Seasons, Robert Bolt’s play about the elevation and martyrdom of St. Thomas More, could have been the inspiration for the monumental task of selecting and editing the writings by and about More that comprise The Essential Works of Thomas More 


In the first, More’s daughter Margaret and (then-future) son-in-law William Roper want More to arrest the scoundrel Richard Rich because, as Margaret says, “Father, that man’s bad.” More refuses on the grounds that there is no law against being a bad man, and that Rich should be free to go “if he was the Devil himself until he broke the law.” After Roper objects to giving even the Devil the benefit of the law, this famous exchange occurs: 


More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? 


Roper: I’d cut down every law in England to do that! 


More: Oh? … And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you—where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? … Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake. 


In the second, Margaret and Roper encounter More with the news that Parliament is about to pass the Succession to the Crown Act of 1534, requiring an oath recognizing Anne Boleyn as King Henry VIII’s lawful wife, and their children as legitimate heirs to the throne. When Roper vaguely tells More that the oath is “about the Marriage,” More asks, “But what is the wording?” Roper contemptuously dismisses the question, saying, “We don’t need to know the wording—we know what it will mean!” More exclaims in reply, “It will mean what the words say! An oath is made of words! It may be possible to take it. Or avoid it.” 


The third scene occurs after More’s arrest, when Margaret visits him in the Tower of London and urges More to “say the words of the oath and in your heart think otherwise.” But More could not do that because, as he asks rhetorically, “What is an oath then but words we say to God?” And he continues, “When a man takes an oath … he’s holding his own self in his hands. Like water.… And if he opens his fingers then—he needn’t hope to find himself again. Some men aren’t capable of this, but I’d be loathe to think your father one of them.”

Robert Creeley points in a similar direction:

A Token 

                    (by Robert Creeley) 

My lady
fair with
arms, what

can I say to   
you—words, words   
as if all
worlds were there.

Words need not be noisy. Need not be sounded at all. Worlds without verbiage does not mean a wordless world. Words have their own horizon and depth of perception. They know how to be imperceptible and without echo. They are both cataphatic and apophatic. Words are energy wrapped in potential audience.

Words matter.

Hence, this world, and all possible worlds.

Go on.

Say it!

the absurd involves disjunction between what should be logically joined

Is there reason to be concerned that our treasured democracy is in danger?

Did Kurt Friedrich Gödel see something in 1947 that is coming to be in our contemporary political and cultural circumstance? And how is it that we do not have an accurate rendition of what he discovered?

On December 5, 1947, Einstein and Morgenstern accompanied Gödel to his U.S. citizenship exam, where they acted as witnesses. Gödel had confided in them that he had discovered an inconsistency in the U.S. Constitution that could allow the U.S. to become a dictatorship; this has since been dubbed Gödel's Loophole. Einstein and Morgenstern were concerned that their friend's unpredictable behavior might jeopardize his application. The judge turned out to be Phillip Forman, who knew Einstein and had administered the oath at Einstein's own citizenship hearing. Everything went smoothly until Forman happened to ask Gödel if he thought a dictatorship like the Nazi regime could happen in the U.S. Gödel then started to explain his discovery to Forman. Forman understood what was going on, cut Gödel off, and moved the hearing on to other questions and a routine conclusion.[25][26]      (Kurt Friedrich Gödel --wikipedia

Kurt Gödel saw something in the US Constitution that would, eventually, allow fascism and dictatorship to replace democracy here. 

At the courthouse, witnesses would normally remain outside of the room during a citizenship examination, but because Einstein, a celebrity, was involved, and because the judge, Phillip Forman, had administered the oath of citizenship to Einstein, all three men were invited in. In the course of the examination, Forman asked Gödel what the government of Austria was, to which he replied: "It was a republic, but the constitution was such that it finally was changed into a dictatorship." The judge commented that this could not happen in the U.S., and Gödel responded "Oh, yes, I can prove it," but the judge declined to pursue the matter.[2]  (Gödel's Loophole --wikipedia)][4].  

We seem to sneer at the imbecility of some members of both federal and state legislators and judicial appointees. We laugh at the absurdity of their antics as they peck and chip away at the foundations of this edifice of democracy, separation of powers, integrity of oversight, and vigilance of the populace for the smooth correctives built into the structure of democracy honoring "we the people."

My view, from living in the northeastern-most state of the contiguous United States, is a little blurry.

As much as I'd prefer to leave the monitoring and adjustment of democracy to the elected and appointed members of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the government, I'm becoming wary and doubtful that the underlying stability of our system is solid.

I can attribute my wariness to advancing age. Maybe affected by regular visits with the dying and periodic sitting with those just dead and awaiting funeral personnel. Also Fridays and Mondays in prison conversing about all manner of things -- from philosophy and poetry to depression and bi-polar suffering. Maybe, volunteering as a patient visitor at local hospital (awaiting re-engagement following covid-19 hiatus) reminding me of the fragility of the human body and species. Or, truth be told, it just might be the melancholic and phlegmatic state of personality walking about in my shoes looking at the attachments and distractions of a wealth and celebrity-driven sociological construct of so much emulation to the right and left of us.

What about Qoheleth?

I have always wanted to see the look on Qoheleth’s face. An innovative thespian on a spiritual quest recently gave me that chance.

A colleague from the theater department at my university had told me that someone was doing a monologue of Ecclesiastes at a local fringe festival. I was excited in a way that betrays my particular nerdiness about this topic. I bought a ticket to Meaningless and sat up front, eagerly waiting to finally meet the sage, whom I had been studying for so many years, in person.

As a scholar of Ecclesiastes, I tend to refer to the book by its Hebrew title, which comes from the name of its purported speaker and author, Qoheleth, and means something like “assembler,” “teacher,” or “philosopher.” I can talk to you for a whole semester about text-critical issues, historical context, translation dilemmas, literary analysis, and debates over dating. That’s not what this show was about. Instead, it immersed me in the mysterious beauty of this harshly realistic book. 

pedia)[Notes 1] Ecclesiastes as a one-man show --In Meaningless, Rodney Brazil brings Qoheleth to life. by Lisa M. Wolfe in the March 2023 issue, Published on January 25, 2023 The Christian Century, 

 Is the meaninglessness, the vanity, of human existence, something not just a trope belonging to Sartre, Camus, Beckett and Ionesco? 

One of the biggest scholarly debates about Ecclesiastes in the past 40 years has been the translation of Qoheleth’s theme word hevel. Ever since Jerome translated the book in the fourth century, the predominant rendering of hevel has been vanitas (Latin) and its derivative “vanity” (English). But what does this mean in 21st-century English? Many of us will internally cue Carly Simon’s hilariously biting lyric, “You’re so vain / You probably think this song is about you.” Or perhaps we’ll envision that piece of furniture called a vanity, with drawers and a mirror. While vanity in these senses is relevant for Qoheleth, neither comes close to the nuances of hevel in the book. Brazil’s play, with its title Meaningless taken directly from the New Living Translation, unwittingly joins this scholarly discussion about how best to translate hevel.

One of the first academic monographs I read was Michael V. Fox’s 1989 Qohelet and His Contradictions. As someone only beginning to engage with biblical scholarship, I found it fascinating and influential, to say the least. Fox’s central thesis is that the book’s contradictions are internal to one author, not the result of multiple voices—something Brazil personifies in his one-man show. Beyond that, Fox makes a case to translate hevel as “absurd” or “absurdity,” depending on the context. He relates this translation to Albert Camus’s idea that the absurd involves disjunction between what should be logically joined. For me, this accurately reflects how Qoheleth uses hevel: to describe work that produces no gain, unsatisfied longing to know the right times of life, a failed test of pleasure, an unfulfilled need for justice. (--Wolfe, ibid)

Don't get me wrong -- we live in a fine country with values, if distributed fairly and equally, that are beneficial and ennobling. But, still, vigilance demands we watch out for the connivers, the grifters, the swindlers, the autocrats, the liars, the scammers, the criminal elite whose goal is to consolidate power, control, and divisiveness into their solipsistic hands and lure their deluded, convinced, and sanctimonious followers into the wake of their luxury cruise.

What did the brilliant logician Gödel see that he reported to Einstein, Morgenstern, and Foram on 5dec47 as he committed to American citizenship?

What do we see in 2023?

And, importantly, what are we committed to these days in our ambivalent observation of our theatrical absurdity?

say it, then withdraw

 There it is

Mourning Dove


Turning earth

in the dream, with my parents, a moment

 We won’t appraise it

At that place, my father said, 

I asked why not, in

The dream, it was a teaching

I was not able to grasp

Friday, May 26, 2023


Pray for

Those discouraged

By life

We are

Waiting for

Your prayer

You are

Kind to

Remember us

an insincere nonchalance

There’s no mystery

Why human beings control

wrest power, divide — 

These are just foolish detours —

Source hides from insouciance 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

manifeste insignifiant

 call me idiot

no, too complimentary --

rather, don't call me

monastery of feathers

 Mourning dove calls light

Wakes neighbors chilly morning

Night office is sung

Wednesday, May 24, 2023


When you sing, you sing

We hear deep passion chanting —

again and over

owing to this cessation of grasping

 [act 1, scene 1]

What are you waiting for?

Who, me?

Yeah. What are you waiting for?

Nothing, really.

[End scene]

(wfh, 24may23)

Were there no grasping of any sort of kind whatever by anyone at anything, that is to say, no grasping at the things of sense, no grasping through speculative opinions, no grasping after mere ritual and rule, no grasping through theories of the soul, then there being no grasping whatever, would there, owing to this cessation of grasping, be any appearance of becoming?

(--Dialogues of the Buddha, in DailyZen )


At last night’s Tuesday Evening Conversation we spoke about Buddhism before therapy, how an American teacher was told in Japan that the students didn’t have problems when asked how problems of students were addressed in Japanese zen meditation environment.

Perhaps the zen teacher meant that suffering is not a personal problem, suffering is suffering. Perhaps he was suggesting that we in the West call personal problems are subsumed under the first two noble truths:

1. There is suffering in the world.

2. Caused by wanting things to be other than they are. 


Our suffering is not a failure of character or moral flaw. Suffering is a fact. It is what accompanies life and being. As the saying goes these days: “It is what it is.” 

Yes, Buddhists have two additional Noble Truths along with the Eightfold Path to suggest a way through suffering. But suffering, I suspect, is not eliminated, but navigated; perhaps, at times, temporarily transcended.

True, so it seems, nobody asked to be born into this life, this existence, (as far as pre-existence can be fathomed), but here we are. It’s not a personal failure to have arrived in this sphere of animate life amid other creatures immersed in systems of habitation, economics, social structure, and biological temporal shelf life.

Someone mentioned her koan last evening. It went something like: “Without thought or opinion, what is this?” Perhaps, better, what she was saying was:

The Great Way* is not difficult for those who have no preferences.  When love and hate are both absent, everything becomes clear and undisguised.  Make the smallest distinction, however, and heaven and earth are set infinitely apart. If you wish to see the truth, then hold no opinions for, or against, anything.  To set up what you like against what you dislike is the disease of the mind.  When the deep meaning of things is not understood, the mind's essential peace is disturbed to no avail.  

(-- in, Hsin Hsin Ming,  attributed to Seng Ts'an, the Third Chinese Patriarch of Zen.) 

Whether you say "Life is suffering," or, "There is suffering in life," the fact remains.

We'd also read some James Finley about the prevalence of mild depression in our time and culture. This prompted someone to say "If you're not depressed in these times, you're not paying attention." The sorrow, sadness, and affective struggles during a time of war, injustice, cowardice in leadership, and constant threat of mass-shootings and random dystopian violence -- these factors weigh heavy on human spirit.

Is it so that we make things other than they are by being other than the way things are? Not by "wanting" things to be other? Is this wanting a detached ambivalence, a non-participation, not for good, not for evil?

Is embodiment and actualization the only sane recourse when confronted by experience and suffering?

Is patience, forgiveness, and antidotal embodiment of compassion a way of accompanying suffering through efflorescence to evanescence? 

I'm aware we might not adequately appreciate "suffering" -- why it is, what it is, how it insinuates itself into the meaning of existence. Even a dominant mythology such as messianic literature in the Judeo-Christian story posits that the embodiment of God in earthly manifestation suffers and dies.

Suffers and dies.

Then, the following tropes of resurrection and ascension. As though it were a necessary progression life follows through suffering and death to resurrection and ascension. In the East there is the further suggestion of rebirth or reincarnation. And the cycle turns again.

Go ahead. Ask me: "What are you waiting for?"

If I read my script correctly, I answer:

"Nothing, really!"

Is there nothing to become of me?

Last verse of Hsin Hsin Ming: 


The poem ends with:

Emptiness here, Emptiness there,

but the infinite universe stands always before your eyes.

Infinitely large and infinitely small;

no difference, for definitions have vanished

and no boundaries are seen.

So too with Being

and non-Being.

Don't waste time in doubts and arguments

that have nothing to do with this.

One thing, all things:

move among and intermingle, without distinction.

To live in this realization

is to be without anxiety about non-perfection.

To live in this faith is the road to non-duality,

Because the non-dual is one with the trusting mind.

Words! The Way is beyond language,

for in it there is

no yesterday

no tomorrow

no today. 


(trans. Richard B. Clarke)