Saturday, July 01, 2023

no one standing apart

 I’ve come to dislike any anthropomorphic reconstruction or representation of life after death.

I’ll stay with either total annihilation of any resemblance of ‘myself’ — or dissolution of individual energy into the entirety of cosmic energy.

In either case, I might be wrong, but I’ll never know.

Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone completely beyond…

(say it)

Awake as awareness is, with no distinct individual reflecting self awareness, only awareness itself.

but you are deluded and look for him elsewhere

It feels like a new idea. Mind is all. Physically, materially, mentally and spiritually — all. The length and breadth of the cosmos — mind. The yellow monarch butterfly flying around my feet on walk around snow bowl parking lot as I listened to final chapter of book on William Blake — mind. The final sip of water at dinner with friends from southern maine — all mind.

If there are interstellar travelers who traverse millions of light years in a blink of an eye, they might have mastered the folding of space to where origin and destination are side by side, stepping off point one onto point two, linearly a trillion miles away, as if stepping from bedroom to hallway on way to make coffee.

Quantum and astrophysics jot down their notes for us. Buddhists deliver their teishos. Christians run transubstantiation through our befuddled minds. Vedantists nod saying tat tvam asi, that thou art when pointing out everything from morning bird to overturned row boat. Taoists say, yes, Way, as everything sidles by and is sidled by our awareness. 

Then Fa Yuan asked, “What are the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; what are the Three Jewels in One Substance? We beg you, Master, to explain.”

Hui Hai: “Mind is the Buddha, and it is needless to use this Buddha to seek the Buddha. Mind is the Dharma, and it is needless to use this Dharma to seek the Dharma. Buddha and Dharma are not separate entities, and their togetherness forms the Sangha. Such is the meaning of Three Jewels in One Substance. A sutra says:

‘Mind, Buddha, and sentient beings—there is no difference between any of them. When your body, speech, and mind are purified, we say a Buddha has appeared in the world. When these three become impure, we say a Buddha has been extinguished.’

“Instead of recognizing the Buddha right in front of you, you spend eon after eon searching for him.

“His whole substance pervades all phenomena, but you are deluded and look for him elsewhere! Consequently, anyone who understands the Way is never off it, whether walking, standing, sitting or lying. Anyone who awakens to the Dharma is sovereign and at ease in all situations, since none of them are outside Dharma.” 

Hui Hai (720-814)

DailyZen, excerpted from Ch’an Master Hui Hai – Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening translated by John Blofeld 1962

Our individual minds are small, our awareness constricted. (Look at the political playground these days.) 

We seem to be a civilization of sharp knived dissection and mutilation. We don’t yet, it seems, see things whole, act with integrity, love all that is. Tall order. Slim pickings. Egoistic narcissism. A proverbial infantalized view of reality as something to be exploited, mafia’d, and pocketed.

And here we are.

Mind you.

With everything right in front of us, the invitation is continually issued — by the sublime reality — see me, feel me, touch me, heal me!

There are many ways to call the Buddha’s name, and throughout the Buddhist world devotees do so in one way or another. It may be “Namo Buddhaya,” “Namo Tassa,” or “Buddham saranam gacchami.” In China it may be “Omito Fo” and in Japan “Namo Amida Butsu.” In the West this last tends to be Anglicized as “Namo Amida Bu” in order to preserve the six-syllable form of many Japanese chants. This method of calling the Buddha’s name is known as nembutsu.

The term nembutsu means “mindfulness of Buddha.” Namo Amida Bu means “I call upon measureless Buddha.” However, in reality this practice is not an intellectual or cognitive assertion; it is an expression of sentiment and a way of opening one’s heart to receive. When one recites the nembutsu it is an expression of gratitude and wonderment but also an expression of whatever spiritual feeling is arising at that time. In this sense it is an offering of oneself and a reception of grace. Reciting nembutsu is a two-way street connecting you with Buddha. It is not a straitjacket, not an attempt to squeeze oneself into a prescribed form or arrive at a prespecified state of mind. Each time one says the nembutsu, something different may arise. Whatever one is, one offers, and one receives what one needs. The hallmark of Pure Land is great acceptance, and one of the most difficult things may be to accept that one is already accepted.

Pure and Simple Practice
By Dharmavidya David Brazier tricycle, 

Cat comes in room. Complaining. Time for food.

Guests must be awake, time to make coffee. 

turning off lights on way out

 Happy New Month! The

Supreme Court goes home to no

Country recognized

Friday, June 30, 2023

prelude to conversation

 Of a Friday evening: 

“All that’s left is mending what was torn” (Paul Simon, in album Seven Psalms, 2023)

hey, lay off

 June be leaving soon

Sweeping out barn stalls, compost

Piling up manure

all rise, hear this, branches

 Supreme Court (whoo-whee)

Takes over executive

And legislative

thursday evening pilgrimage

 Family folks walk

Corridors in out doors through

And back hospice rooms

marine muse

 Fog high tide harbor

Walking after hospice each

Step dinghies tied slack

Thursday, June 29, 2023


Q: Are you happy?

A: You asking me?

Q: Yes, are you?

A: Am happy you asked.

Q: That means...what?

A: Inadvertently so. 



1. Marked by or resulting from carelessness; negligent: an inadvertent error; an inadvertent omission.
2. Not deliberate or considered; unintentional: an inadvertent remark; inadvertent humor. See Synonyms at careless.
3. Not intending to be so; unwitting: "Physicians have already begun to take on the role of gatekeepers,   inadvertent agents of selection ... deciding on the relative value of different human lives" (Robert Pollack).


 Dr. Steven Greer says that beneficent intentional conscious invitation is sufficient to vector in extraterrestrial visitors for beneficial contact. Good for him and his Disclosure Project.

As a recluse, you might say I have no intention other than the mere observation and experience of nothing else. 

Q: What is nothing else?

A: Yes -- That's it!


 Nonagenarian elder, D, sends her response. Billy Collins. 

Just in time:



So much gloom and doubt in our poetry -
flowers wilting on the table,
the self regarding itself in a watery mirror.


Dead leaves cover the ground,
the wind moans in the chimney,
and the tendrils of the yew tree inch toward the coffin.


I wonder what the ancient Chinese poets
would make of all this,
the shadows and empty cupboards?

Today, with the sun blazing in the trees,
my thoughts turn to the great
tenth-century celebrators of experience,


Wa-Hoo, whose delight in the smallest things
could hardly be restrained,
and to his joyous counterpart in the western provinces,


~ Billy Collins ~

She added picture of chubby Buddha statue under tree with two birds alighted. Couldn't transfer it here. So, I add these:


no stone nor ocean-
drop is mine -- I survey each 
as one thought, one cell


transporting nothing
from one field to another --
no task is complete

hic haec hoc


Is what it is like to



Where nothing else



No stepping away from


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

it changes

 The social fabric is thin. Amenities stretch only so far. People want what they want and fear what they fear.

 People are good or half good or a quarter good, and it changes all the time — but even on the best day nobody’s perfect.” (Gloria, to herself, walking away from Claire’s apartment on 5th avenue, in Let The Great World Spin, novel by Colum McCann, p.301)

Inch by inch drop by drop the inclinations of others dig a trench in rain wider and wider longer and longer.

Until, just there, there is nothing underfoot that holds up where once you walked and you fall through some quantum emptiness into no return possible.

spooky action at a distance

 Rummaging through old

Names — this one, that one, past gone —

Impulse to pray, do


Perhaps it doesn't

matter how two Kennedys

or Monroe died in 

the sixties, or any lie

told us we have to live with


 wall to wall whining

political rectitudes

finger paint feces

across media stalls -- as

anthropologists make notes

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

無心 (Wúxīn)








Q: How many minds are there in the universe?

A: One. Any other questions.

Q: E-no?

A: Cute.

無, (零)










Monday, June 26, 2023

then the dry twig blossoms

 In prison this morning we speak to each other through William Stafford’s poem Your Life.

We speak of mirrors. About AA Meetings. About fear of philosophy, fear of poetry, unwillingness to reflect, and uncertainty about disappearing.

“Good luck,” one of the men said. It’s a good phrase.

American life storms about us daily, and is slow to find a tongue. This contemporary insight is transubstantiation, the conversion of daily bread into the holiest symbols; and every man would be a poet if his intellectual digestion were perfect. The test of the poet is the power to take the passing day, with its news, its cares, its fears, as he shares them, and hold it up to a divine reason, till he sees it to have a purpose and beauty, and to be related to astronomy and history and the eternal order of the world. Then the dry twig blossoms in his hand. He is calmed and elevated.

(—Ralph Waldo Emerson, in essay Poetry and Imagination [1872])

Conversation is poetry.

In that library room, across the road from horses and cows, down from tucked building where license plates are made, smell of fresh coffee brewing behind desk, we sit in conversation.

Holding twigs.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

to be utterly there

 Marie Howe was asked: 

Interviewer: Do you think of writing as a spiritual act at its core?

Marie Howe: I do, because it involves a wonderful contradiction, which is in order for it to happen you have to be there and you have to disappear. Both. You know, nothing feels as good as that… Something happening through you, but you’re attending it. There are few things in the world like that, but writing is pretty much a relief from the self—and yet the self has to be utterly there.               —From an interview at The Millions

In his essay in Image Robert Cording wrote:  

 I think the best art always involves such loving attention to what is before us. I would argue that art is not about the will; that making art should push aside the ego and desires of the artist and that this pushing aside can only take place in the absorption of the artist by what is actual. To maintain the integrity of the work itself is the artist’s form of love since, as soon as the artist tries to please, the good of the thing that is being made will be compromised. Great art, then, isn’t a statement of truth, nor is it aimed at the good of humanity, because it does not try to tell us anything; rather, if the artist fixes his or her attention on something real, what is made will be beautiful “because it will be transparent to what is always present in the real, that is the overflow of presence which generates joy.” This last statement is from a wonderful book-length meditation called Grace and Necessity by former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, which informs much of what I have just said here. 

Williams’s book is a reflection on the aesthetic theory of the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain. What I love about this little book is the way it revolves around two phrases of Maritain’s about “things being more than they are” or “not only what they are.” I want to end by briefly exploring these phrases. The artist in Williams’s book is one who “perceives the material of the world—visible things, patterns of sound, texture, as offering more than can appear in one moment of encounter.” Think of how artists have tried to solve that dilemma—Monet’s many views of the same haystacks in different light and seasons; or the multiple perspectives of Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury; or the montage of voices in Eliot’s The Waste Land. Everyone who has ever painted or written a word wants his or her work to embrace everything at once—Walmart and a bluebird, grocery shopping and ecstasy. And everyone fails. 

But, while that kind of failure is inevitable, what matters for Williams and Maritain is the degree to which an artist is attentive or obedient to what is being encountered. To Rowan Williams that attention is made manifest in a work of art by the degree to which, as Williams says, it has “dimension” outside of its relation to the artist. He writes, “There is the sense that the world ‘gives’ itself to be understood in the very moment when we realize that describing it simply in terms of how it relates to me, let alone serves my interest, is an inadequate or actively untruthful perspective.”

(  Acts of Attention: On Poetry and Spirituality, Robert Cording | Issue 101)

The article, too long for Sunday Evening Practice, occupies my afternoon.

I am cheered to learn of this view of “'dimension' outside of its relation to the artist."

My "inadequate or actively untruthful perspective." 

The joy of "[s]omething happening through you, but you’re attending it." 

Being occupied -- but nevertheless -- disappearing within "a wonderful contradiction."


the words


don't say.

alacrity and dispatch

 What’s my hurry? Ha!

Any second death might show,

wordlessly point — ‘come’

そしてまだ — and yet


Tsuyu no yo wa tsuyu no yo nagara sari nagara

The world of dew

is the world of dew

……and yet, and yet –

—by Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828),  Translated by Robert Hass

matin joyeux

 If God

Then cosmos

If cosmos

Then sun


Bamboo shade


Cosmos, God