Saturday, December 02, 2023

who would fardels bear

Something a young man in prison said yesterday led to engaged conversation. He described two suicide attempts, then added: "You don't know how many times I've tried to be not here."

Si jeunesse savait; si vieillesse pouvait. (If youth knew; if age could.) (--Henri Estienne 1531–98 French printer and publisher: Les Prémices (1594) bk. 4, epigram 4)

The circle listened. The conversation went on. He was happy a friend encouraged him to leave his pod to be in the room with the seven of us talking about Camus and meaning, Sartre and the primacy of existence over essence,  and the resource economic outlay of Frank Herbert's Dune.

That phrase of his, "to be not here" -- beckened. If a comma is inserted, then: "to be not, here."

We talked as a group about absence without the stigma of negativity.

Like the absence of presence (or, God) is it possible to say that "to be not" can be accomplished in the selfsame arena as "here"?

Thus, "to be not" is a dwelling "here." Or, "to be not" is simultaneous with what-is "here."

Do we long to resolve the conundrum that we are both alone and never alone, that we might be dwelling in illusion when we think we are detached and separate? That to be at all is to be intimately one-with-another, to be (consequently) one with One, an impossible calculation made only slightly less incomprehensible with the intuition of non duality and isomorphic resonance?

Along the vast arc of history and theological intellection, the question of is there a God?, or, is there not a God? has arisen, been put down, picked up, fallen to the side, countless times and in myriad locations.  

Metaphysical philosophy would pose the question whether something can be and not be at the same time. The question of Schrödinger's Cat, while seeming absurd to some, leaves us suspended in possibility until evidence produces outcome.

Is the man's narrative of a faulty firing pin, and an incomplete absorption of a plethora of pills, a story of wanting not to be, and to be, here, in the same instant?

Is God's nature not to be, and to be, here?

Is this a paradox (1)., one man asks. Or is it a coincidentia oppositorum (2), another suggests.

   (1). paradox: a statement or proposition that, despite sound (or apparently sound) reasoning from acceptable premises, leads to a conclusion that seems senseless, logically unacceptable, or self-contradictory.


 (2)  the unity of opposites (Latin; unio oppositorum) is the central category of dialectics, said to be related to the notion of non-duality in a deep sense.[1] It defines a situation in which the existence or identity of a thing (or situation) depends on the co-existence of at least two conditions which are opposite to each other, yet dependent on each other and presupposing each other, within a field of tension.

It causes the further question whether everything we do or think is either a conscious or unconscious longing for God?  (Is this longing for God equally a longing of God?)

This is both an annoying and intriguing mystery, as is all theodicy and speculation about the divine.  

Hamlet spoke it

Krishna talks with Arjuna.

Dylan Thomas asks for fierce response.

Theodore Roethke in the voice of a school custodian gives us a hint.

On Friday morning we say goodbyes. I walk the mile back through many clanking doors out through entrance lobby out into front walkway to parking lot where black truck unlocks and drives down hill to Friendship Road.

gratia plena, prison request

 When the monk prays

There is only listening

I listen for Bama’s dad

In bad way; for Michael’s

Son serious since hit and run, for

Matthieu grateful for any parenting

His thirty years institutionalized

Since 8th birthday, for the way

Camus helps with absurdity

Gathered offering Christ as love

Yes, I say, I’ll pray for each and all

In middle of night, holding beads alight

Friday, December 01, 2023

imagination, you say


Present again

Everywhere found here

into my rest

The psalmist sensed God was pissed

Hence, these words:

They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my ways.

So I swore in my anger,

“They shall not enter into my rest.” (Ps95)

No one knew what the “rest” of god was —

Still don’t —

I think quiescence is off the table

Veracity and largess disappear too -

Cheeky bastard! Takes toys and goes home

Somewhere off beyond understanding

Off into intimate proximity, existential

Aphasia, startling amnesia, a somnambulant 

Fog where nothing computes nothing matters —

God is in the wind —

We’ll never grasp such petulant pique, the

Enormity of swearing non-separative seclusion

Wandering into December with no clue, 

Leaving love alone

No ox no ass, where to look? What do?

For forty kalpas we stare at the riddle

Until Dogan, Francis, and

Kaku-an Shi-en in 12th century help

Move into the disappearance of

The whole being

Thursday, November 30, 2023

beholding and beheld -- a meditation on andrew's day

Perhaps there are no good guys or bad guys. There's just us. We're both. 

The wheel of history turns. When and where you live determines whether you get crushed or lifted by it.


As imperfect as we are, the United States needs our story to survive. It’s what holds together a multiracial democracy at home and differentiates us from Russia and China abroad. 

That story insists that a child in Laos is equal in dignity and worth to our children and that the people of Chile have the same right of self-determination as we do. For the United States, that must be a part of national security. We forget that at our peril. 

(--Ben Rhodes, in nytimes op-ed 30nov23, Henry Kissenger, The Hypocrite

Colonel Jessup's "You can't handle the truth!" echos.

Perhaps truth is we do bad things for good ends. Perhaps the good we do results in the bad we do not intend.

We are prone to say, "It's complicated."

As is faith.

Is faith something like a dark and profound trust that all is well no matter how prevalent our partitioning inclination overshadows everything we touch?

Is there a value to faith? 

Not what many consider, when the word 'faith' is mentioned, that they are talking about belief, dogma, denomination, tenets, prohibitions, affirmations of belonging, brotherhood snd sisterhood, commandments, principles, salvific narratives, and the majestic personage of the Son of God with miracles and supernatural awe spread akimbo amid pealing music and ecstatic rapture.

No, faith as empty presence.

Faith as absence, an integrating affirmation made into a silence that promises nothing and often delivers.

Faith, that is, dwelling with what-is, abiding with no-self, inhabiting within a truth that never fully (or even partially) reveals itself.


Faith of our Fathers! faith and prayer

Shall win all nations unto thee;

And through the truth that comes from God,

Mankind shall then indeed be free.


Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


Faith of our Fathers! we will love

Both friend and foe in all our strife:

And preach thee too as love knows how,

By kindly deeds and virtuous life.


Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.


Faith of our Fathers! faith and prayer

Shall win all nations unto thee;

And through the truth that comes from God,

Mankind shall then indeed be free.


Faith of our fathers, holy faith!

We will be true to thee till death.     

 Text: Frederick William Faber, 1814-1863

And, I suppose, with death, a new integration of our fragmented consciousness and localized soul into a continuum of compassionate being wherein what-is is what-is, and no separated self is off to the side, but each and all flows as holism, i.e. whole-within-parts, parts-within-whole, all, within-and-without, beholding-and-beheld.

St. Andrew Christmas Novena

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. 


Keep the faith, baby!


Keep baby-faith, that which doesn't know anything -- but for being-held!

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

lonely truth

 Conspiracy believers don’t think they are being lied to. 

They create lies and try to convince others the lies they’ve created are the truth.

Reality is never good enough.

Only lies will satisfy those who lie for a living.

Until truth becomes what we long for, we will be duped and scammed by liars.

radicata catholica -- inter nos

 In response to nytimes op-ed:

Perhaps "radicata catholica" is a term worth including. A "rooted catholic" is a designation fitted between the conservative/liberal popular split.

As a rooted catholic I note the right-wing intransigence and hostility to Francis' urgings. And I note the left-wing impatience and disbelief that Christ-Reality suffers restrictive and reactive political stances.

Karl Rahner noted that "The Christian of the future will be a mystic or he will not exist at all."

With so much political dismantling and angry secular/religious invective haunting us, let's hope that contemplation and self-surrender will be again considered a way of prayer going forward.

Here, at meetingbrook, I add: 

         Inter Nos 


Catholic and Buddhist


thisness and thusness 

(contemplation and zen)


mysticus et radicata

(mystical and rooted)


ut habitemus in pace

(may we dwell in peace)


ut in pace vivamus

(that we may live in peace)


undifferentiation preexisting all dualities

In novel this morning, this line noted by father in his daughter's poem -- 

"How each rose grew on a shark-infested stem"    (in Saturday, by Ian McEwan)

In wohnküche a single yellow leaf falls from hibiscus to dark red rug. Condensation on cold sun glass runs to bottom. Ice grip holds sliding door fast. Worn and torn small prayer flags hang outside by frayed line finger by yew.

Prayer, these days, is an emptying and absence. Still, one might say, we practice prayer.  

2. Kenosis and unyata

2.1. Kenosis

The verb κενόω (kenos) means to empty’ and St. Paul uses the word ἐκένωσεν (ekenosen) in Philippians 2:59 where he writes that Jesus made himself nothing’ and emptied himself:

Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient [even] unto death, yea, the death of the cross. (The Bible1929)

Kenosis is thus the self-emptying or self-renunciation of Christ, that is, Christs giving up the form of God and taking the form of a servant and ultimately dying on the cross.

2.2. unyata

The originally Pali word suññata is a Buddhist concept most commonly translated as emptiness (JPN. ku; CHN. kong) or nonsubstantiality and represents the state of undifferentiation preexisting all dualities. The Sanskrit word is unyata and is most fully developed in the Mahayana tradition (of which Abe is part). Its philosophical development is very much due to the Indian philosopher and co-founder of Mahayana Buddhism Nagarjuna (ca. 150250 CE) who criticized Brahmanical substantialist thought. In philosophical contexts, emptiness’ is often used interchangeably with nothingness (JPN. 無 mu; CHN. wu) and other central Zen-Buddhist notions such as impermanence (JPN. muj; CHN. wúcháng). In relation with negation and nihilism, unyata is often under- stood as the emptying of the self to attain nonself (Pali anatta; Sanskit anatman; JPN. muga; CHN. wúw). 

(--Kenosis, Dynamic Śūnyatā and Weak Thought: AbeMasao and Gianni Vattimo, by Thorsten Botz-Bornstein -- In,  Asian Philosophy -- An International Journal of the Philosophical Traditions of the East)

Dog goes out, comes in. Tierce from Abbaye du Barroux comes through Bose via iPhone. Bamboo wood chimes hang outside window subtley turning & tolling. 

God is everywhere present and nowhere to be found. 

Just like this . . .



toutes seules

Alone is alone. 

 “Loneliness is not solitude. Solitude requires being alone, whereas loneliness shows itself most sharply in company with others.”         —Hannah Arendt

Be alone with the Alone.

Feel it. 

rohatsu nears

 Call it hiatus

Respite from volunteering --

now shikantaza

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

jube, domne, benedicere

 Walking mountain I

Cannot but say thank you to

Mud and leaves and trees

from addiction to connection

So tired seeing 

face of, stories about, 

donald trump. 

Look forward to 

his passing 

from limelight 

back into shadows 

where abberance and 

antipathy lurk and 

fester as 

self-destructive oddity 

and not 

front page 


ordinary fare.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Sunday, November 26, 2023

cracking bones

 Grunting and groaning

Getting into bed — hard work

Everything hurting

les paroles ne sont pas les miens

the sound of which clears

everything coming into 

being, clear, silent

what-is/no-self; presence/transparency

I'd long tried to track down something I remember reading a half century ago, but it eluded me. I recall it as best I can as "Not to conclude is the sign of a creative mind." I remember it being a French writer. Today I think I've neared it

 There is this in final chapter of book I read this morning:    

In his critique of Auguste Comte's positivistic stupidity (bêtise), Gustave Flaubert (1821–1880) lamented that “ineptitude consists in wanting to conclude. . . .  It is not understanding twilight, it’s wanting only noon or midnight. . . . Yes, bêtise consists in wanting to conclude.” ¹    
 ¹  (Quoted in Jacques Derrida, The Beast and the Sovereign, vol. 1, trans. Geoffrey Bennington (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 161. ) 

--From CONCLUDING THOUGHTS  Pure Experience and Philosophy after Comparative Philosophy in NIETZSCHE AND OTHER BUDDHAS Philosophy after Comparative Philosophy by Jason M. Wirth

Stillness of a Sunday morning. Cold and still. Sound of truck going through gears. Stubborn fire in Waterford box is more promise than deliverance. The liturgical Festo Christi Regis this last week before Advent is not a concept that attracts. Kings and royalty, whether in the narrative realms of earthly or heavenly reference, are chilly like the morning.

The journey from nihilism to nihility begins with a singular step.

Dostoevsky and Nietzsche, among others, opened new paths towards nihilism, where things no longer stand firm on the basis on things human: The path towards Christ, the God-man, or the Übermensch, the man-God. While they by no means solved everything, there is no doubt that through their struggle they turned the European spirit in the direction of what is its profoundest dimension.  

However, the attempt to preserve the self from nothingness at all costs, means that the process of meaninglessness is not allowed into the self. It is cocooned from it, avoiding reality. We become self-enclosed and all our experiences relate back to the self. Thus, when we encounter nihility, we see it as eroding the very meaning of our life, and we try to resist it with our self, only to sink further into it, like quicksand.  

One of Nishitani’s deepest insights is that we haven’t been able to take nihilism deep enough so that it overcomes itself. Nishitani wants to achieve a radicalisation of nihility whereby nihilism overcomes itself. The awakening of the Great Doubt is the conversion to śūnyatā or “emptiness”, which is the deepest layer of being. 

Nihility is as part of the fabric of reality as Being is. On this new field of emptiness, you have the paradoxical coexistence of things, where nihility constitutes the realness of being. This interdependent co-arising is a key notion in Buddhism. 

Until one accepts nihility as part of the self, there is a lack of relationship with oneself and complete lack of contact. Nishitani traverses nihilism in a much more existential mode where it is not always relating back to the self as an external event, but is actually part of the self. Things can then be encountered on their own home ground, as Nishitani puts it. One doesn’t know something by representing it, willing it or expressing it, but by becoming it. 

(--Nihilism | Encounter with Nothingness, Eternalised, March 11, 2022)

In this end of liturgical year I wonder if christ-reality is the end of searching. Is it the end of self? 

Is christ-reality the breakdown and breakthrough of "what-is/no-self"? Is christ-reality the emptying out of that which is not me into all that is presence/transparency beyond any notion of "me"? 

"Death is a stripping away of all that is not you. The secret of life is to "die before you die" - and find that there is no death."   (-- Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now)

The realization of life/death is the revelation of what-is/no-self. We think it is something else. It is not something else. There is no something else.

Adult: Is there life after death?  

Thay: Life is always with death at the same time, not only before. Life cannot be separated by death. Where there is life, there is death; and where there is death, there is life. This needs some meditation to understand. In Buddhism we speak of interbeing, which means that you cannot be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with the other side. It’s like the left and the right. If the right is not there, the left cannot be. If the left is not there, the right cannot be. It’s not possible to take the left away from the right. It’s not possible to take the right away from the left. 

Suppose I ask one of you to bring the left to the Lower Hamlet, and one of you to bring the right to the New Hamlet. It’s impossible. The right and the left want to be together, because without the other you cannot be. It’s very clear. Like the above and the below. The above cannot be there if there’s no below. That is what, in Buddhism, we call interbeing. They have to be there at the same time. 

So when God said, “Let the light be,” the light said, “I have to wait, my God, I have to wait.” God asked, “Why are you waiting?” And light replied, “I am waiting for darkness to manifest together with me.” Because light and darkness inter-are. Then God said, “Darkness is already there.” And light said, “In that case, I’m already there.” 

That is true of good and evil, before and after, here and there, you and I. I cannot be there without you. The lotus flower cannot be there without the mud. Without the mud, a lotus is not possible. There is no happiness without suffering. There is no life without death. 

When biologists observe the body of a human being, they see that life and death happen at the same time. In this very moment, thousands of cells are dying. When you scratch your skin like this, many dry cells fall down. They have died. Many cells die every moment of our daily life. Because you are so busy, you don’t notice that you are dying. If they die, you are dying. You think that you don’t die yet. You think that you have fifty or seventy years more before you die: that’s not true. Death is not down the road. Death is right here and right now. 

(--Dharma Talk: No Birth, No Death, Only Transformation, Questions and Answers with Thich Nhat Hanh By Thich Nhat Hanh, Feb 2013)

Fire catches.

Cat basks in sun on cat tower.

Dog scrunches beside me on futon by glass wohnküche doors. 

This is where I am. 

Right here.

I have nowhere else to be.