Is this? Tolling bells from France
There’s something to the thought “It is joy without sorrow.”
You are no different from Buddha.
There is no other Dharma.
Simply let your mind be carefree.
You do not need to contemplate
your action and to purify your mind.
Let your mind be boundless
and without any obstruction.
Be free from going and coming.
Whether you walk or stay,
sit or lie down, and whatever
you see or meet,
all are the subtle functions of Buddha.
It is joy without sorrow.
This is called Buddha.
Fa-yung (593-657) dailyzen
Do not think that sorrow is sorrow. Not that joy is joy.
Neither is there joy without sorrow. Nor is there sorrow without joy.
True mind, Buddha mind, Christ mind is joyful sorrow and sorrowful joy. The relative and the absolute are identical.
Be saved from delusion.
Beyond self there is nothing other.
Who has been occupying this room? Who looks into hall at naked torso under tilted hanging plant with tenement window buildings in distance? Who reads In The Dark Places Of Wisdom by Peter Kingsley on a Wednesday afternoon between two mountains in a hermit’s room a half century’s eve (plus one) after lad’s birth near Hudson River of fond recall?
No one I know.
All obstructions of defilements
and karmas of worry and trouble,
are in origin, empty.
All causes and effects
are dreams and illusions.
The great Way is empty and vast.
It is beyond thought and deliberation.
You, at this instant, have this
Dharma and are without lack.
Fa-yung ( 593-657)
A Leatherman for his carry bag and Merino wool vest for his warmth this coming season will arrive after Labor Day.
He is a good lad, a good man.
I think of Rāhula:
Rāhula (Pāli and Sanskrit) was the only son of the Siddhārtha Gautama (commonly known as the Buddha) (c. 563 or 480 – 483 or 400 BCE), and his wife, princess Yaśodharā. He is mentioned in numerous Buddhist texts, from the early period onward. Accounts about Rāhula indicate a mutual impact between Prince Siddhārtha's life and the lives of his family members. According to the Pāli tradition, Rāhula was born on the day of Prince Siddhārtha's renunciation, and was therefore named Rāhula, meaning a fetter on the path to enlightenment. According to the Mūlasarvāstivāda tradition, and numerous other later sources, however, Rāhula was only conceived on the day of Prince Siddhartha's renunciation, and was born six years later, when Prince Siddhārtha became enlightened as the Buddha. This long gestation period was explained by bad karma from previous lives of both Yaśodharā and of Rāhula himself, although more naturalistic reasons are also given. As a result of the late birth, Yaśodharā needed to prove that Rāhula was really Prince Siddhārtha's son, which she eventually did successfully by an act of truth. Historian H.W. Schumann has argued that Prince Siddhārtha conceived Rāhula and waited for his birth, to be able to leave the palace with the king and queen's permission, but Orientalist Noël Péri considered it more likely that Rāhula was born after Prince Siddhārtha left his palace.
12 years after Rahula's birth, the Buddha returned to his hometown, where Yaśodharā had Rāhula ask the Buddha for the throne of the Śākya clan. The Buddha responded by having Rāhula ordained as the first Buddhist novice monk. He taught the young novice about truth, self-reflection, and not-self, eventually leading to Rāhula's enlightenment. Although early accounts state that Rāhula died before the Buddha did, later tradition has it that Rāhula was one of the disciples that outlived the Buddha, guarding the Buddha's Dispensation until the rising of the next Buddha. Rāhula is known in Buddhist texts for his eagerness for learning, and was honored by novice monks and nuns throughout Buddhist history. His accounts have led to a perspective in Buddhism of seeing children as hindrances to the spiritual life on the one hand, and as people with potential for enlightenment on the other hand.
History is a curious circumlocution.
Often beyond thought and deliberation.
We circle back.
Take the next step.
Do the next thing needing to be done.
Bowing with gassho, earth looking back.
Does it matter whether there is God? Whether a theological construct based on scripture and tradition, or an astrophysical emergence from the intellectual intuition of interested minds?
I look out through glass doors of wohnkuche at yew bush, jewell weed, and hibiscus tree. Two sets of rubber books hang askew from leaning spire of tacked cross spouting moss in dooryard slope bottom of mountain as rain begins flecking leaves and petals.
And so, there is earth.
There are planets. There are stars. Galaxies. Dimensions. The unknown.
How important is it that there be an intelligent intentional interpreter creating reality for all sentient and inanimate beings in the universe?
We brought home some Italiano bagels from the Bagel Cafe yesterday. And there's fresh coffee.
Thunder rolls in from the Bay and rain falls down mountainside. Darkness at late morning.
What is life like without the thought of God? Without threat of punishment in hell? Without the frantic or fanciful preaching of pastors, priests, mullahs, and rabbis about our deviant natures and need to belong to their congregations?
Rain on embedded stones where car and truck prattle forward to parking spots outside barn complaining about dirt on their floor mats and scratches along sides.
I have always loved the God beyond the officials of institutions claiming to own God.
The God approached by poetry and mysticism, speculative theology and phenomenological philosophy.
In the eyes of those saying goodbye.
In the hearts of those hurting and uncertain.
God help us all!
After lovely colloquy with Jack, an Episcopal priest, this interview from The Christian Century comes across my desk. It is an interview with theologian David Bentley Hart, by CC contributing editor Ross Allen.
I think for most Christians this will sound radical, but you’re suggesting that the end result of grace is that we, ourselves, become one—truly unified—with God.
Yes, and again, this is directly from Maximus the Confessor and Meister Eckhart and Nicholas of Cusa and the book of Acts: “In him we live and move and have our being.” Maximus says the whole purpose of creation is the calling forth of creatures from nothingness to enter into the infinity of God directly and to be perfectly united in the Logos in Christ.
As the patristic formula put it, God became man so that man might become God. To say “become” is a bit misleading, though. Every little Logos of everything is itself a modality of the divine presence already. We don’t have to mollify the shockingness of that language—for patristic and medieval theologians it’s simply obvious.
You go so far, in the book, as to suggest that we “become uncreated.” Readers familiar with radical theology might hear this and think you’re talking about a kind of ego death, destruction of the self as it is collapsed into the apophatic ultimate. But you’re drawing on a different theological tradition here.
I am. Becoming uncreated is not the same as becoming nothing. God, recall, is uncreated, and he’s hardly nothing. Uncreation is not the destruction of personality but the fulfillment of personality in each of us—in our becoming utterly transparent to the Logos that’s the ground of our own personalities already. It’s theosis: it’s to become God with a capital G.
Paul teaches this explicitly in 1 Corinthians 13: “For now seeing only is in a glass darkly but then . . . face to face.” Remember that in the ancient world, looking directly into the face of another is not a privilege you enjoy with your superior. If he reaches down and lifts you by the chin and raises your face to his, this is an act of extraordinary grace. Paul is talking about a state of union between equals.
(—What we think we know about God, by Ross M. Allen in the September 2023 issue The Christian Century). “Anyone who thinks he knows the orthodox consensus can always be shown to be wrong,” says David Bentley Hart.
Theological thought becomes more interesting than a lot of other formulations about the difficult to explain.
Good company, this.
I'm glad to know people who travel, go sailing, climb mountains, attend festivals and parades, sign up for workshops, stand in crowds when candidates speak and make promises. They do it for me. I look out window at retired tea kettles hanging from iron wind vane listening to the audiobook The Barn at the End of the World: The Apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist Shepherd by Mary Rose O'Reilley.
Then there is Hung Chih Cheng Chueh:
Silently and serenely, one forgets all words,
Clearly and vividly, it appears before you.
When one realizes it, time has no limits.
When experienced, your surroundings come to life.
Singularly illuminating is this bright awareness,
Full of wonder is the pure illumination.
--Hung Chih Cheng Chueh (1092-1157). (dialyzen)
O'Reilley is saying that in Plum Village, in the meditation community, there is no place to hide. I know she means this as an always being out there in practice and job duties, saying what you mean, meaning what you say. But I hear it in an additional way.
That "no place" is a good place to hide.
Where is no place?
No place is where no self occupies. It is where everything is itself and nothing other.
Nothing other is an invisibility of sorts wherein one becomes one and completely with what is there.
Being with what is there is the elimination of the illusion of separate self and the realization of an isomorphic resonance, an unwelt, with the surrounding environment.
This is not, in the language of psychology and sociology, a fitting in, as though our mental health depends on our ability to navigate the patterns and demands of interactive societal necessities.
Rather, it is a disappearing into the core of care, a presencing of presence, an embodying of the dwelling-place of the Alone, accompanied by an awareness of being able to step aside to make room for Another.
A being-there of there-being, a being-with, an action of inaction, effortless activity surrounding the uncontainable openness of inner wholeness.
The cat and the dog face toward the Waterford wood stove. The other cat sniffs the footrest of the light blue recliner.
It is a wonder
there is anything at all
with one noticing
Augustine is ripped over the doctrine of original sin.
I’m wondering if we’ve gotten it wrong.
“Homo sum: humani nihil a me alienum puto”.
We are born into not-yet humanity.
This not-yet human is prelude to becoming human.
Some have called that not-yetness sin. As if some failing has taken place.
We are enroute to becoming human.
We’re not yet there.
We trust, some day, we will be.
The fully human is sin no more.
Jesus, it is said, became human.
And so might we.
What is taking place between us. . .
You can only see what you know unless you are willing to look with another’s eyes, rub your tusk or horn against another’s to communicate the Imaginary. How queer, to be unseeable until typification evolves to include one of your subject positions. My bone could sense other males before I was caged by words, even when I couldn’t imagine it. Sometimes when you look you can only see what others and acceptable as scenery.
It’s this accepting other’s names and words for you that fence in, domesticate, and delineate the Imaginary. It’s what drives near threatened species to extinction’s edge. When we can’t see ourselves is when we’ve completely disappeared.
For me, writing poems is a way of breaking that cage, a way to have the unicorn become the narwhal become the speaker become the writer become the reader all at once. It is a resistance to colonial forms of Imaginary takeover—a rebuke of having my dream space occupied by measures that insure that what the United States calls a chair is a chair Sometimes a chair is a kursi, a pirha, a golposh, a saddle, a chariot. I want to ride the possibilities of what a chair can be into the darkest shadow of Lemuria, or across the galaxies.
When does nothing become something? When does something become nothing?
What is between something and nothing. . .
Let's consider it possible that what is between us is what is real and only to the extent we step into and inhabit that between, that middle space, do we begin to become real, do we begin to move from not-yet human to human (anthropos). ((ἄνθρωπος) is Greek for human.)
It is more than possible that those who designate their fellow creatures as "only human" or as human are, in fact, not-yet human, or, on the way to becoming human.
It is also more than possible that the historical misunderstanding of the one called Jesus the Christ is due to the misunderstanding of what it means to become human.
What does it mean to completely disappear?
To step out of ourself into the empty space between you and another?
That place wherein a completely new being is formulated, an interrelational place one might call engaged, nuptial, human?
Go ahead, ride the possibilities.
What can we be. . .