Saturday, February 17, 2024

of a sudden

 Snow squall during walk

Hides mountain curtains field white

At dusk walking ice 

in the unity of things

What to do? 

The perfect Way’s like boundless space
Nothing lacking, nothing extra
It is because of choice
That its absolute truth is lost.
Don’t pursue externals;
Don’t dally in the interior void.
When the spirit remains serene
In the unity of things
Dualism vanishes by itself;
When that unity is not clear
There is loss in both directions.

Seng-ts’an (d. 606), dailyzen


Not anything.

Let disappear.

about the intersection

 This is America at its most new-normal.

Wednesday was Valentine’s Day, the sixth anniversary of the shooting that killed 17 at a Parkland, Fla., high school. It was also the 45th day of 2024, and by that night, there had been 49 mass shootings in the United States, according to the Gun Violence Archive. (The archive defines them as shootings in which at least four people are killed or hurt, not including the shooter.)

The Kansas City shooting raised familiar questions about the intersection of American sports and culture. Are sports events, and the parades that celebrate them, a place to forget the real world, or experience it?

Mourn, yes, our fate.   

“The language of a people is its fate,” wrote Amos Wilder.

The language of guns, shootings, hurt and death is america's epic narrative obituary.

a heavy black x

 Heather Cox Richardson tells this story about Teddy Roosevelt:

As headstrong as her father, Roosevelt’s daughter beat her father’s prediction by two days. On February 12, Alice gave birth to the couple’s first child, who would be named after her. Roosevelt was at work in Albany and learned the happy news by telegram. But Alice was only “fairly well,” Roosevelt noted. She soon began sliding downhill. She did not recover from the birth; she was suffering from something at the time called “Bright’s Disease,” an unspecified kidney illness.

Roosevelt rushed back to New York City, but by the time he got there at midnight on February 13, Alice was slipping into a coma. Distraught, he held her until he received word that his mother was dangerously ill downstairs. For more than a week, “Mittie” Roosevelt had been sick with typhoid. Roosevelt ran down to her room, where she died shortly after her son got to her bedside. With his mother gone, Roosevelt hurried back to Alice. Only hours later she, too, died.

On February 14, 1884, Roosevelt slashed a heavy black X in his diary and wrote “The light has gone out of my life.” He refused ever to mention Alice again 

Hard day. Hard loss.

Grateful to the historian for educating such a dull pupil as I am. 

Friday, February 16, 2024

non ancora



Slowly slowly


Not-yet there

from dusty hallways

 I agree to volunteer to serve as international investigator of human rights abuses against human beings with a focus on equal justice and fair treatment worldwide.

What’s that? I’m not needed?

You say Vladimir Putin has agreed to plead guilty to crimes against individuals and humanity? 

Well, that’s good news.

I guess I can remain in obscurity and anonymity futzing about with zen and meditation.

I’m pleased to await the end of this country’s useful idiot’s meaningless rantings from dusty hallways of mental vacuity.

I’ll sit this one out.

May God be out there and in here at the same time!

вечный покой*

 *Eternal peace!

Алексей Навальный  (Alexie Navalny)


to see our nature without being confused

 I do like zen.

 It's not as confusing as you might think.

18. Good friends, in this school of the Dharma, when we practice Zen, we don’t contemplate the mind, and we don’t contemplate purity, and we don’t talk about being dispassionate.

If someone says to contemplate the mind, the mind is basically a delusion. And because a delusion is the same as an illusion, there is nothing to contemplate. 

If someone says to contemplate purity, your nature is already pure. It’s because of deluded thoughts that reality is obscured. But once you are free of deluded thoughts, your original nature is pure. If you don’t see that your nature is already pure, and you rouse your mind to contemplate purity, you create the delusion of purity instead. A delusion has no actual location, which is how we know what we contemplate is a delusion. And purity has no form. 

If someone establishes a form for purity and thinks they have achieved something, those who hold such a view separate themselves from their own nature and become trapped by purity instead. 

And if someone cultivates dispassion, as long as they don’t pay attention to the faults of others, their nature is dispassionate. But deluded people act dispassionate then open their mouths and talk about right and wrong and turn their backs on the Way. Meanwhile, contemplating the mind and contemplating purity are actually what separates them from the Way. 

19. In that case, what do we mean in this school by ‘to practice Zen’? In this school, by ‘to practice,’ we mean not to be obstructed by anything and externally not to give rise to thoughts about objective states. And by ‘Zen,’ we mean to see our nature without being confused. 

And what do we mean by ‘Zen meditation’? Externally to be free of form is ‘Zen.’ And internally not to be confused is ‘meditation.’ Externally, if you are attached to form, internally, your mind will be confused. But if you are free of form externally, internally your nature will not be confused. 

Your nature itself is pure and focused. It is just that you come into contact with objects, and as you come into contact, you become confused. When you are free of form and not confused, you are focused. To be free of form externally is ‘Zen.’ Not to be confused internally is ‘meditation.’ External Zen and internal meditation, this is what we mean by ‘Zen meditation.’

(--from The Platform Sutra, The Zen Teaching of Hui Neng, Translation and Commentary by Red Pine) 


Not confused?

Ask questions.

Tell no lies.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

if i had, to live, my life, over

Yes, down stairs to red coals, new logs from barn, eighteen degrees, 

Furnace kicks in, slivermoon gone beyond ragged mountain

I never thought I would live so long, not yet shot as American sacrifice

To gun sellers and NRA, Isaac on a pyre, his distracted father on phone

To wife wanting beets from market, no ram in thicket to substitute —

No school of assassins for me, no clean shot, no fuss, I’d become

A Carthusian monk in Alpine snow far from unprayer and nonsilence 

Climbing stairs loading stove looking out window seeing no God

Only tolling bells in frigid tones the clomp in prayer-stall feet

Slowing slowing fading fading a single intonation — it starts again

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

décréation en disparition

I remember that I am earth

From which I come and to which

I shall return

It’s no great mystery

It is the law of

Diminishing returns

A decreation into

Pure desire with no object

The imaginary looking back

To where it once was what it was

down and into earthly...then returning

Ever wonder why meditators are encouraged to focus on the breath? 

With attention?

And so the cycle goes, bringing heavenly Light down and into earthly Life, and then returning Life to Light—thus uniting downward Agape and upward Eros,  Descending and Ascending, Compassion and Wisdom, with every breath that you take.

(--Ken Wilber,  One Taste: Daily Reflections on Integral Spirituality (Boston: Shambhala, 2000), p. 100)  

Hey you!

    Who, me? 

Yeah, you!


Pay attention!

    If you say so.

I do.

    I will.

today is a heart-ash day

Seldom do I post on social media.

An exception today: 

    A good day to reconsider madness, going with sanity, and saying out loud that republicans, especially their leader(s), are a genuine disappointment.

    Don't be fooled about love. Love is the ground of existence. Those who do not love, who prefer to destroy and disparage, need to be sharply scrutinized and discouraged from public office.

    Today is a heart-ash day. Let's mull what is happening.

Although, I think I understand, I might be ill-informed. 



                (a waka for Michael)

You beat me again

Eighty forehands, slicing serves 

Running side to side —

Set, match, net, I shake your hand

A good man I’m glad to know


….  …   …

…bravo mon ami,



Blue dawn seeps through slat

Bamboo ash hue edging sky

Beginning again—

I cannot imagine you

Gone me gone god gone all gone

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

we are this joke of god's

Reading of Simone Weil.

Wondering about "decreation":

 According to Father Perrin, the last sentence she wrote in her notebook was: 'The most important part of education -- to teach the meaning of "to know" (in the scientific sense).'

Possibly her greatest influence has been in, as it were, demythologizing mysticism. She believed that the truths she glimpsed in her mystical experiences were simple truths, open to all, which had been deformed over time (since the thirteenth century in particular) by a certain patriotic and partisan spirit in the Church. The meaning of those experiences was as clear as 'the love that irradiates the tenderest smile of somebody one loves'. Their reality is siezed through what she termed the decreation of the personality.

Decreation is based on the idea of a voluntary, unsolicited, unreasonable, unnecessary and absurd act. This act in an imitation of what she calls the abdication of a God who is entirely absent from the universe. The world is defined by necessity, within whose physical laws human beings are obliged to live and knowledge of whose causes and effects can be acquired. The attempt to acquire knowledge of its ends and purposes, however, leads to a cut-de-sac of contradiction which may be seized through the perception of beauty and of affliction. Instead of looking for purpose in the existence of the world she focuses her attention instead on the reality of her love for it. In the context of her own death, the following takes on special significance:

Losing somebody: one suffers because the person who has died, the absent one has become imaginary, false. But the desire one has for him is not imaginary. Must go to the depths of oneself where desire which is not imaginary lives. Hunger: one imagines food, but the hunger itself is real: sieze it. The presence of the person lost is imaginary, but the absence is real enough; it is from now on that person's way of appearing. (Weil, 1952a)

There is an absurdity in the act of decreation, of ridding oneself of the personal and of all that is named 'I', and to Simone Weil the universe is viewed as a kind of absurdity. 'As a child, for a joke, hides behind an armchair from his mother, God plays at separating himself from God through creation. We are this joke of God's.' (Weil, 1950) In order to achieve the impersonal, a humility is required which is not an attribute. It is not the opposite of arrogance for example, and can never be included in an opinion of oneself in comparison with a personal ideal. For Simone Weil there could not exist a personal ideal since what is ideal is ipso facto impersonal. Humility, she claims, is not a poor opinion of one's own person in comparison with others. It is a radically poor opinion of one's person in relation to what is impersonal in one's self. God or the Good, in refraining from intervening, by remaining supernatural and refusing to affect the necessary and natural order of things is powerless. The imitation of this powerlessness on the part of human beings is a similar refusal to intervene in areas into which they are not irresistibly impelled and provided none of their actions is done 'for God' or 'for' anything.  'God should not be put in the dative.' (Weil, 1956) In decreation, human beings perform only those actions which they can in no way refrain from performing and these in turn are limited by the quality of attention bestowed upon them. 

(--pp. 51-52 Introduction, in Simone Weil, An Anthology, Edited and Introduced by Siân Miles, 1986)

 I'll have to sit with this.

What does it mean "ridding oneself of the personal and of all that is named 'I'"?

I'm sitting.


round circles of light remain shining at night

It was just Christmas

now, tomorrow, it is Ash Wednesday.

he's born, then in 40 days

he'll die -- liturgical shorthand

Each morning I sit looking out

to yew tree, old prayer flags,

yellow bird feeder, wood wind chimes

cracked open sunflower shells

I don't much celebrate these feasts

just day after day bottles of water

afternoon naps, books on philosophy

science, theology, and many poems

I did not watch the Super Bowl

(America's true religious feast)

don't care who's kissing whom

watch summaries of late night comics

When I became a hermit

religion disappeared to the inner

and culture was not interesting

I became uninteresting, and still am

the feast of tuesday

 the clock

in here 

is stopping,

(she said)

every clock



(he said)

their antiphonal




middle dark, pre-dawn prayer


Diminishing returns

Would only 


It were




Ascending into

Here and


Monday, February 12, 2024

not truth, but simulation

We live


This seeing




It is 

unseen information 


a morning in prison

 meth/math: I am responsible 

for all addiction

Truth has no answers

all it can do is be itself

sóbrii estóte, et vigiláte

Everything in 

Its place

Time to sleep

Sunday, February 11, 2024

can’t throw a strike.

One comment following an opinion piece: 

 I love Grandpa Joe. Love. Let’s face it. He is too old. The problem is that our politics have become such a blood sport that no one sane and capable, much less transcendent, inspiring, or visionary, would run. Why would you? Why? It’s a suicide mission for you, your family, and everyone you love, like, or moderately tolerate. It’s nuts. Who would do it? Seriously. Would you?   


So we have an incredibly qualified grandpa, who’s still a grandpa and has suffered unimaginable losses in his life. He should be enjoying his sunset years. Instead, he is doing the best he can and what he feels is his duty as an American because there is no one on the bench to back him up. The next pitcher in is the center fielder, who can’t throw a strike. 


And then you’ve got the other guy: a psychopath.   


God help us. Let’s come together as Americans. Let’s be brave enough to try to understand our differences, hear each other, and be compassionate and empathetic. Let’s want the best for each other and work towards that.   


I hope something good happens to you today.

(--TC, CO, NYTimes comment, Maureen Dowd opinion, 11feb24) 

I didn't like her piece. 

I read it.

I liked the comment.

I present it here. 

one day there will suddenly appear

When I complain about DJT and the MAGA right wing, I am complaining about myself.

He is Queens to my Brooklyn. He is arrogance to my insouciance. He is shadow of my shadow.

There's work to be done.

Brambles should be cut away,

Removing even the sprouts.
Within essence there naturally blooms
A beautiful lotus blossom.
One day there will suddenly appear
An image of light;
When you know that,
You yourself are it. 

-- Sun Bu-er, dailyzen 

Wanting things to be a particular way, wanting things to be different than they are, this is how suffering, like a dormant microscopic cell from Mars, becomes a mortal threat to earth. (Yes, we watched that movie).

Of course we want things to be other than they are -- but there is no-other. Hence we are inclined and liable to suffering. There is suffering in life. We are alive. Thus, we suffer.

Just because I do not like DJT or the MAGA crowd does not mean that I should accept them, their way of behaving or thinking, or take false solace in the realization that, as the Korean Zen Master often said before he died, that both DJT and I will be "soon dead."

I will continue my suffering by desiring that he and his cohorts go away, shuffle off, hit the road, bogart the joint, disappear, and skip town -- leaving the rest of us to stumble through our own particular meshugana with one another without some projected enemy to divert us from our shadow work.

That Jesus fellow suffered his unhappiness for the divertimento of human behavior toward cruelty and disharmony. He wanted something different. He thought humans could be more God-like. By that, we suppose, he meant loving and compassionate.

One day there will suddenly appear

An image of light;

When you know that,

You yourself are it.  

Let's keep one another informed!

riven by misfortune

We want to think someone, an adult, an authentic elder states-person, a bevy of dedicated young Americans, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, or an awakened and wizened institutional remnant of constitutional integrity would emerge up and through this narcissistic, idiotic, and stupid time wherein a hollow, mean-spirited, delusional and most likely insane man wants to return to the United States presidency with the backing of the uninformed, vapid, and deplorable.

But I perseverate.

The fight over U.S. aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and the other countries with which we have made partnerships is not about saving money—most of the funds for Ukraine are actually spent in the U.S.—or about protecting the U.S. border, as MAGA Republicans demonstrated when they killed the border security bill. It is about whether the globe will move into the 21st century, with all its threats of climate change, disease, and migration, with ways for nations to cooperate, or whether we will be at the mercy of global authoritarians. 

Trump’s 2024 campaign website calls for “fundamentally reevaluating NATO’s purpose and NATO’s mission,” and in a campaign speech in South Carolina today, he made it clear what that means. Trump has long misrepresented the financial obligations of NATO countries, and today he suggested that the U.S. would not protect other NATO countries that were “delinquent” if they were attacked by Russia. “In fact,” he said, “I would encourage [Russia] to do whatever the hell they want.”

(—Heather Cox Richardson, Letters from an American, 10feb2024)

Donald Trump is an odd man.

He is troublesome.

We’ll forget about him someday.

Shake our heads and wonder — How did he happen?

The spirit of C.G. Jung will hover over America and remind us of “shadow” and wander off.

“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it… But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected, and is liable to burst forth suddenly in a moment of unawareness. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”  (Carl Jung, C.W. Vol. 11: Psychology and Religion: West and East)

Leaving us to ourselves.


Riven by misfortune.

We go about morning tasks.

Like feeding the livestock.