Saturday, February 10, 2024

standing under stars on frozen earth

 The more silent

Moment hears nothing —

No more than this

forecasting menu for supper


Just a turkey-burger?

No -- how about I add cauliflower, paprika, peppers, baby spinach, and something Austrian over rice or noodles!


Broken-open sunflower seed shells make dark circle in old snow. 

Birds don't want anything special. 

They don't have to debate.

Fly in, fly out.


palpable, weirdly physical, and perceivable

 Here's two words not encountered often: meontic and oukontic. 

The book concludes with Timothy Morton’s fascinating and often funny ‘Buddhaphobia: Nothingness and the Fear of Things’. Here, Morton observes that nothingness, the territory of Buddhism, is already installed in the architecture of Western thought, and instills fear and anxiety when encountered. This ‘Buddhaphobia’ is symptomatic of a deeper fear of intimacy with the self that runs throughout Western thought, and often takes expression as homophobia. Nothingness, says Morton, is queer, uncanny. It alerts the observer of the presence of nothingness within oneself, and takes expression as anxiety, or fear without an object. 

Morton locates the origin of this nothingness in Western thought in Kant and Hegel. Kant posited an unknowable gap between a thing in itself and the phenomenon of that thing that is the object of perception. Hegel countered by arguing that because the subject can know there is a gap, then there is no gap. This is the first in an endless series of  avoidances of the gap that, Morton winks, is Continental philosophy. This gap is nothingness, which Morton describes with Paul Tillich’s term meontic nothing, a nothingness that is palpable, weirdly physical, and perceivable, as opposed to oukontic nothing, which is nothing at all. The meontic nothing is perceived as an uncanny presence. Hegel posits this nothing as the ground of logic that is outside the dialectic, and therefore necessary for thinking and omnipresent in Western thought. Fear of this meontic nothingness has many manifestations, which Morton sees in fear of consumerism, of narcissism, of passivity, of loops, and of things, all of which underwrite a generalized fear of Buddhism as the religion of nothingness. Morton’s essay maps the already-existing shared territory of nothingness that Buddhism shares

with Western thought, and thus identifies fertile ground for intellectual dialogue. Moreover, the expressive voice of Morton’s prose is well-suited to what is intended to be an invitation to a conversation.

(--Review of Nothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism, by George Lazopoulos, Oxford Literary Review)

A gap of nothingness?

Or, nothing at all?

I'll leave that to my companions.

Friday, February 09, 2024

who’s that knocking at my door

 Sometimes pain

Arrives saying

It’s nearly time

Hell, I know that

But, maybe,

Not yet


We pray

At day’s end

Thursday, February 08, 2024

off tone

 Meanness is devastating normalcy these days.

So disappointing.

with nature buoyantly tomorrow

There are days when dusk is Buddha. 

 Like empty boats

riding the waves,

going along with the high and low;

like a river winding through the mountains,

curving at curves and straight at straits,

without minding any state of mind,

buoyantly going along with nature today,

going along with nature buoyantly tomorrow,

adapting to all circumstances

without inhibition or impediment,

neither stopping nor fostering good or evil,

simple and straightforward,

without artificiality,

perception normal.

Such is the mind of the person

who clearly sees the Buddha way.

           --Chinul (1158-1210), dailyzen

When nothing happens.

And no one sees it not happen.

what is, a name

Thing about having 

a name

is having it called out


that someone 

recognizes you

if there was 

no name

you would be God




like old snow


into piles

up dooryard

bottom of 


Wednesday, February 07, 2024

as snow-groomer comes down mountain

 Big Dipper above

Icy patches underfoot—

Dog and I — dooryard

a monastic question

 What use prayer

We pray for one another


It feels right to do so

So let’s do it

Let’s pray for each


the edge of dooryard

looking at mountain, 

dusk climbs to summit, enfolds 

hunkers down for night --

if you want to know God, look

to where everything once was

something simple, infinitely simple

Perhaps if the philosopher remained silent? 

In one of his lectures on philosophical intuition, Henri Bergson claimed that every great philosopher ultimately aimed to express in his writings one simple intuition, the point where there "is something simple, infinitely simple, so extraordinary simple, that the philosopher has never succeeded in saying it. And that is why he went on talking all his life."

(--in Introduction, Karl Jaspers, From Selfhood to Being, by Ronny Miron)

That simple intuition...

remains as guiding reticence. 

Word after word after word.

what hegel had in mind

Who says sociology and anthropology aren't relevant? 

According to Hegel, the slow march of human civilization was intermittently disrupted and shifted by “Heroes,” singular figures “whose vocation it was to be the agents of the World-Spirit,” as he wrote. Such heroes interfere in and remake the world; their deeds produce “a complex of historical relations which appear to be only their interest, and their work.” All the realities of an era seem to trace back to these individuals. Hegel had Caesar in mind as well as Napoleon, his own contemporary; all of the heroes he identified were men. Today, though, Hegel might be forced to loosen his paradigm and assign the role of World-Spirit agent to Taylor Swift.

Swift was already impossible to escape at the height of the Eras Tour, her globe-spanning musical retrospective that launched in March of 2023 and has grossed more than a billion dollars in ticket sales. When the Eras Tour film appeared in October, the pop star got another boost: you could spend almost three hours basking in her sparkly aura in movie theatres across the country. Then news of Swift’s romance with Travis Kelce, the bearded, brawny Kansas City Chiefs football player, gave her a major crossover moment with the only group larger and more devoted than her own audience: sports fanatics. Blurry photos of Swift at games and clips of her with Kelce’s family were passed around like evidence of Bigfoot. It seemed unthinkable that the Swift hysteria could crescendo any further—until this past Sunday, when Kelce’s Chiefs won the A.F.C. championship game, sending the team to the Super Bowl, where they will play the San Francisco 49ers. The narrative, admittedly, was almost too neat: America’s sweetheart dating the national equivalent of a homecoming king, who was so inspired—by love, presumably—that his team made it to the championship. 

 (America’s Paranoid Taylor Swift Super Bowl MAGA Fever Dream, By Kyle ChaykaThe New Yorker)

Cute singer and strong athlete confound ideologues with their undeniable ability for dialectic consternation.

This is what makes waking up in the morning such a big deal.

durch und durch sein

 This is no time

To be



Let’s sit

Well within

All that is

Present to us

There is


But love

To those





Tuesday, February 06, 2024

more alone than not

 Living more as hermit than ever before. 

On hiatus from all volunteering at hospice and hospital for many weeks. Enjoyed the volunteering at end-of-life Sussman House, Cancer Care at PBMC, and patient visiting in special unit at hospital.

Volunteering continues with meetingbrook conversations at Maine State Prison and Buldoc Correctional Facility on Friday and Monday mornings. 

Conversation as spiritual practice.

Otherwise ...

Remaining more silent.

With little or nothing to say.


More alone than not.

no wobbling

Unseen and unheard

They persist 

These beings

Beyond comprehension

I can only sit

And breathe

Without anything

To hold onto 

Monday, February 05, 2024

just take a look around

In what is called the spiritual world, we are looking at what is called the material world, and seeing it, and seeing as it, and seeing through it. 

A miracle, just take a look around: 

the inescapable earth. 

            (--from poem Miracle Fair, by ~ Wislawa Szymborska ~ )

When we do not employ dualistic ratiocination, we are unemployed with intuitive diaphaneity -- not looking at things, but looking as things looking into oneself seeing through what is there.

No worries.

It's a gift, some say, to see both what is there and what is not there simultaneously.

It is inevitably a present (humbly and patiently) received. It will come in time for each of us.

In prison today the poem by Pessoa, I Don't Know How Many Souls I Have.

The quiet realization.

Speaking to one-an-other as though one were speaking to the many souls we are.

It is a joy to spend time together in such a way.

cool meal

 squirrels snow-search seeds

dooryard meander near birds

foraging feeder

Sunday, February 04, 2024

lux aeterna


God is not God

Pray without ceasing

Until prayer is no longer prayer

And daylight is once again daylight

gnothi seauton (nosce te ipsum)

 Socrates was annoying

He thought

Connecting and displaying

Most of us stare at him

Thinking him crazy

So Athens said "Kill yourself!"


Urging us to learn

So to

know ourselves

hermano, ¿puedes ahorrarnos esto?

 I pray

To whom and for what, I cannot say

To the unseen, the unknown, the core of all

I pray

for you, for them, for us

for whatever belongs to itself

I pray

to all that is loving, caring, a whisper of hope

through dark before dawn, this world