Saturday, July 08, 2023

an imaginable affinity

Some call it affinity. Some, attraction. Others recognize the essential and existential reality of interrelated reciprocity between beings and Being.

Physicists and biologists might call this the integrity of materiality. Zen practitioners: the don't-know mind, circumincessional interpenetration, co-original interdependence, buddhanature. Christian mystics: the trinity, perichoresis relationality, christ-mind. Jazz aficionados: what-is, baby!

One reflects the Other because the Other is One. 

One now might ask, however, how is it that Being came to be (mis)understood as a thing or even the ultimate thing among things? According to Heidegger, the pre-Socratics – Parmenides and Heraclitus specifically – agreed that the belonging-together of Being and beings is intimately intertwined with the relationship that thinking has to Being. It is this consideration that suggests an imaginable affinity between Lao Tzu’s Taoism and Heidegger’s existential phenomenology.

Lao Tzu articulates the relationship of thinking and Being, closely intertwined with the relationship of Being and things. Verse 23 of Lao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching” reads, in part, as follows: “The learner of Tao identifies with Tao. When one achieves it, one identifies with one’s achievement. When one loses it, one identifies with one’s losing. When man identifies with achievement, achievement also willingly identifies with man. When man identifies with losing, losing willingly identifies with man.” (Chang, 2014)

Parmenides (it would seem) – at least Heidegger’s Parmenides – echoes LaoTzu’s thoughts here in that Parmenides maintains that thinking is not to be regarded as localized in the subjectivity of the subject, nor is Being to be regarded as located in the objectivity of the object. That is, Heidegger’s Parmenides perceives that “Being” becomes an object of objectivity as a result of the philosopher’s infatuation with beings and things to the extent that these metaphysicians forget the Being of this or that being or thing. A more accurate description of Being, according to Heidegger’s (hermeneutic phenomenology of) Parmenides, is that thinking and Being are unified in a more fundamental relationship. Thinking, for Parmenides (and seemingly also Lao Tzu), means: to grasp, take in, to let something come to the thinker.

(--from, Heidegger, Lao Tzu and the Pre-Socratics: Thinking Being, by Greg Emery, 

To think is to allow what is there to reveal itself as what it is to your open and discerning mind.

This takes courage.

And discernment.

Yes, and, alert awareness.

Perhaps loving attentiveness that steps in front of fearful apprehension.

Practitioners in prison share their practice of "what is this?" with us twice a week in meetingbrook conversations.

Teaching us to listen carefully, pay attention wisely, and enjoy one another wholeheartedly. 

you are what’s lost

A new metaphor, other than fire.

A new name other than any one up til now known.

What New Name

        by Kazim Ali, 1971 –  

What new name will you bear in a world governed by code and calculation

What program will reveal the ratio between communal identities and the loss of the body

You are not known or pronounced

Your nonce nonchalance does not convince

Your scores are neither high enough to qualify, nor deep enough to be legible, nor detailed enough to play from

Custodian of nothing, childless, rude and startled

So many scintillating shards or conversations when things shatter

Savagely unbodied by the microscopic architecture of psalmless palm

Drawn means tired or created or a naked sword or tied up and torn asunder

It’s not loving someone who can’t love you back, but the end of loving them that’s the saddest

Now emotional intimacy has tech, yoga has tech, sex has tech, even tech has tech

You don’t even know what day it is, what the weather is like or where you’re supposed to be next

Let yourself be found like water through rocks, you are what’s lost, you are the pool collecting in the ground

Speak now speak always speak in the long undrawn colloquy of night

 (--poem by Kazim Ali. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, September/October 2018. 

 As a Muslim observing Ramadan he kept a diary. I listen to it. Fasting for Ramadan: Notes from a Spiritual Practice, by Kazim Ali.  

He writes: I don't even know who I am right now."

across the universe

 mourning dove's faint coo

this quiet cessation -- it

is katherine's birthday

...   ...   ...

Beatles' rendition:

Jai Guru Deva:

a heart like never-despising buddha.

The cosmos is mysterious. Neutrinos zip through our bodies and settle deep in earth. Gravitational waves do the same altering our shape during their passage. Advertisers tolerate tv offerings until their primary selling marathons reclaim time and attention of unsuspecting viewers. MLB all stars swing their bats. The price of USPS letters and parcels goes up again. People who die are still dead. Grass grows wild in yard.

Taigu Ryokan (1758-1831) wrote:

White Hair

Though frost come down,

Night after night

What does it matter?

They melt in the morning sun.

Though the snow falls

Each passing year,

What does it matter?

With spring days it thaws.

Yet once let them settle

On a man’s head,

Fall and pile up-

Then the New Year

May come and go,

But never you’ll see them fade away.

At Friday evening conversation AI was topic.  Some were reading "Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World" by Mo Gawdat and Bluebird, 2021. There was a muted plea that, yes, we should be worried, but, no, do not be negative, because that would predispose us and our children to manifest a negative reality wherein which to dwell. 

It strikes me that it’s not easy to see flaws and deficiencies and still maintain skillful speech describing and counter-semanticizing toward a renewing recapitalization of articulating future reality. 

Richard Hugo began his poem “Villager” with What’s wrong will always be wrong. For the brief deranged time I thought that line was one I’d written and squirreled away in brown corduroy sports jacket. One day I wrote a second line, But what’s right is each time created new.

My illusory authorship remains a psychic cyber-signature these forty three years later.

It still bothers when suggested that only positive explication of reality and social phenomenology be our focus. Although I see the point being made. Proponents of positive thinking have positive worth in discourse. And I’ll concede that good and positive news does uplift and dust off the road dirt. So I’ll leave it to the practitioners of positivity to carry the unbearable lightness of being through our common discourse.

Ryokan again:

 In The Morning

In the morning, bowing to all;

In the evening, bowing to all.

Respecting others is my only duty--

Hail to the Never-despising Bodhisattva.

In heaven and earth he stands alone.   


A real monk 


Only one thing— 

a heart like

Never-despising Buddha. 

Friday, July 07, 2023

they both saw something

 His poem about

a grain of sand out-Blaked

William’s who wasn’t in 

Maximum security seg

At the time

clear seeing



Can you see?

[Real love] is a state where we allow ourselves to be seen clearly by ourselves and by others, and in turn, we offer clear seeing to the world around us. It is a love that heals.  Sharon Salzberg, “Real Love” tricycle 



Early light. 

Thursday, July 06, 2023

brazen face

 Clock is ahead by

Two minutes, nor does it care —

There’s nowhere to be

consciousness is made out of itself

 Time is an artifact of a particular perspective. That’s what is said in conversation between Spira, Hoffman, et al, episode 58. Going beyond space/time. Folding consciousness. One becoming itself right where it is.

Hence, what now seems to be a miracle of extended presence.

Consciousness, as in perennial philosophy, remains as is throughout. But the contents of consciousness have changed through 25 hundred years of explanation and expression.

"Love is the natural condition of all experience before thought has divided it into a multiplicity and diversity of objects, selves and others." ~ Rupert Spira 

"The mind, the body and the world are made out of Consciousness but Consciousness is not made out of them. It is made out of itself. Therefore everything is made only out of Consciousness." ~ Rupert Spira 

"The discovery that peace, happiness and love are ever-present within our own Being, and completely available at every moment of experience, under all conditions, is the most important discovery that anyone can make." ~ Rupert Spira

Needing nothing and wanting nothing, Spira is saying, is peace. 

A good Thursday mull.

Wednesday, July 05, 2023

in the fourth grade

George Reeves did or didn’t shoot himself post-kryptonite and commit suicide. Marilyn Monroe did or didn’t intentionally commit suicide after rat-pack shake-off by taking far too many pills. Jeshua bar-Joseph did or didn’t become a suicidal sacrifice for fellow so-called human sinfulness.

Truth and accuracy is a sometimes thing.

Better to rely on cinnamon-raisin toast the day after the nation’s birthday.

My great teacher, Galway Kinnell, taught me: “Speak the unspeakable.”

Forty years ago, I didn’t know how innocent
He was, how little he knew of the damage

The truth was meant to do. My father taught me:
You have to break the bones

To get to the heart,
Practice the art of self-

Killing, and bloody your hands
With the blood of your teachers.

In fourth grade, like a saint, I whipped

My back with a hair-
Brush. O biblical Jehovah,

You made the hands of the fathers
Suspect. The Holy Innocents.

Wholly slaughtered.
The price for freedom

Is not caring the cost, guided
By—report the few who make it—a star.
 Source: Poetry (May 2023)

Summer leafs spread green and wide. 

There is so much we do not know, so much that hides.

Tuesday, July 04, 2023


 I can’t grasp it.

One who receives an intuition of this truth has become a Buddha and attained to the Dharma. Let me repeat that Enlightenment cannot be bodily grasped, for the body is formless; nor mentally grasped, for the mind is formless; nor grasped through its essential nature since that nature is the Original Source of all things, the real Nature of all things, permanent Reality, of Buddha!

How can you use the Buddha to grasp the Buddha, formlessness to grasp formlessness, mind to grasp mind, void to grasp void, the Way to grasp the Way? In reality there is nothing to be grasped—even not-grasping cannot be grasped. So it is said: “There is Nothing to be grasped.” We simply teach you how to understand your original Mind.  (Mind is Formless, Huang-Po (d. 850) DailyZen)

That’s the gift. 

all this time, it was a misspelling

 Can I fix you? Fix

me? What do you mean? You are

broke, America —

Can I fix you? (Silence) (Still-

ness). I can make you grate again.

let’s hat-up and get out of (or into) here

Hats are not often cause for execution.

Cornelius and Bosgrave have a particular perspective.

You might call it a respective view fraught and brimming with intrigue for universal/catholic identification.


John Cornelius was born of Irish parents in Bodmin, and his talent was soon noticed by Sir John Arundell of Lanherne, who sent him to Oxford. From there he went to the English College in Rheims, and to Rome, where he was ordained priest. He came back to England, and worked here for ten years, before being arrested at Chideock Castle, where he was acting as chaplain to Lady Arundell. Whilst being escorted to the sheriff’s house he was met on the way by Thomas Bosgrave, a relative of the Arundell family, who offered him his own hat, as he had been dragged out bare-headed. Thereupon Bosgrave was promptly arrested. Two servants of the castle, John (or Terence) Carey and Patrick Salmon, both natives of Dublin, shared the same fate. They were executed at Dorchester on July 4th 1594.

Plymouth Ordo

It was a long time ago. A time of prejudices, myopathies, and bigoted power. Such nefarious antipathy, some feel, lurks today in halls of political legislative and judicial unsightly distorted vision.

Their trial took place in the main hall of what is now Chideock House Hotel and they were condemned to death on 2 July 1594 and executed in Dorchester two days later. The first to ascend the scaffold was John Carey; he kissed the rope, exclaiming "O precious collar", made a solemn profession of faith and died a valiant death. Before his execution Patrick Salmon exhorted the spectators to embrace the Catholic faith, for which he and his companions were giving their lives. Then followed Thomas Bosgrave, who delivered a stirring address on the truth of his belief. The last to suffer was John Cornelius, who kissed the gallows and then quoted St. Andrew, "O good Cross, long desired", etc. On the ladder, he tried to speak to the multitude, but was prevented. After praying for his executioners and for the welfare of the queen, John Cornelius also was executed. His body was taken down and quartered, his head was nailed to the gibbet, but soon removed. All the bodies were retrieved and given a proper burial by Lady Arundell.[6]Dorothy Arundell did become a nun and she wrote "Life of Father Cornelius the Martyr" which was kept in the Vatican, but is now lost.[5] wikipedia

 In the United States of America we frown on religious and political bigotry and rabid exclusion. It’s a thing with us, frowning.

We accept that differing beliefs arise and set a table for discussion and conversation. So too with differing ideological and political stances held and profferred.

We wear different hats.

We have many hats.

We don’t execute another for matters of hats.

Or beliefs.

Nor any inclination of prejudicial intolerance issued from vaunted position of exclusive legal, ecclesial, or populist posturing.

Here’s your hat, sir or madam — be on your way. I will not waylay, detain, or murder you.

Why not?

If you think about it, because we are not that kind of people. 

We are free people.

We are part of you, you part of us.

G’day and fare-well!

love freedom with interdependence

 yes, salute the flag

then help brother and sister

live here dignified

return us to a more humble union

 Let me explain for-

mer haiku: America 

forgets it’s promise

settling for sole will of we-

althy religious bigots

our national anathema parody

 Depend on us, in-

dubitable trustworthy

freedom loving dupes

Monday, July 03, 2023

we’ll have to sit with this

 In prison today

 this: “Death is enlightenment.”

It occurs to me, 

no wonder so many fear 

death — who can stand clarity?

you understand you are the problem of evil

 of course there is shame

each stupid behavior, each

faithless betrayal

remember when love of country was sane

 It’s an odd time here

America deciding

Mulling suicide

Red hats offering poison

Deranged shooters fire guns

Sunday, July 02, 2023

creating from shunyata

out of emptiness

everything, apart from it

nothing  — connect dots

say what you will or don't

there's no need to say

anything more -- anything 

less -- nor to unsay

no one’s bad dream

 Who’s that crying out —

Middle of night loud visit

Owl outside window