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Feb 02, 2014

You don’t need a dramatic story of ascent and descent - even a quiet modest life ends in total loss. Awakening is letting go of self and world - that’s liberation. Letting go you find something else. Not a new identity, a new self, a new belief system. Something completely different. Letting go itself. I am arguing that Lear does finally let go - but he has to be beaten into it.

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Flying home from Mexico after sesshin. On the plane I am working on ms of my big book of essays on "reading, writing, language, and religion." I keep cutting, polishing. There is no finished text, but at some point you say "finished" and off it goes to the publisher. Is any day ever finished? No, but the sun goes down anyway, and we had better be satisfied with it.

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As you know, I like to read. I am always reading. I don’t remember most of what I read, but I keep on. And everything I read sounds like Dharma.

Lately I have been reading about light, which is, for us, the world. Without light we wouldn’t be here and neither would anything else. When we see the world we are actually seeing consciousness activated by light, which creates an image in our brains of something “out there.” And the light that activates our eyes and brains isn’t actually light per se - it’s the mixing of light and the objects we see. Light itself, it turns out, is invisible, may or may not actually “exist,” and requires an observer. Light is the one thing in the universe that isn’t subject to the relativity of space and time. In others words, light - the most everyday occurrence there is - is impossible to understand or pin down. It is, in every sense of the word, a miracle. Everyday life is a miracle.

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December, 2012

Dec 04, 2012

I am writing you as another year draws to a close. This last month has been pretty trying and exciting, what with Hurricane Sandy battering New York (where our children and many friends live: all are well) and the grueling Presidential election. Once again, we have survived. There is always suffering but we always survive. That's practice, that's the Buddha's teaching. It inspires us, and gives us great strength and confidence.

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Mid-June, 2012

Jun 16, 2012

It’s summer at Muir Beach. Bright warm days (not the usual fog and blustery wind). I have been reading and ruminating. Two thoughts keep returning to mind. First, the strangeness of life. I can’t seem to get used to it. How days pass by, time moving on, but to where and from where?

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March 6, 2012

Mar 06, 2012

Lately i have been thinking about the past, the long long past. Each life comes out of it, and, at the end, each life returns to it. When you forget this - when you think your life is just your own little life - you can feel very lonely and lost. But when you remember it, your life takes on a great weight and a great meaning. You do what you do not only for your life but for the lives that have gone before and for the lives that will come. This means we all live in deep time.

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Ruth sent me this link to blog of a Japanese nurse who went to help with disaster relief in March, after the quake and tsunami. Very sad stuff, but more than sad, stark. When stuff like this happens here far away from it you don't know what to think, you go numb, anxious, guilty that this is going on and you can't do anything about it. Agonizing.

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June 2, 2011

Jun 20, 2011

my pal lama surya das has just come out with a great new book, buddha standard time (bst). from harper one publishers. i think it came out a few days ago. he sent me an advanced copy and i am enjoying it a lot. "buddha standard time," what a great idea!

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I am typing this on an airplane on an ipad with a keyboard that attaches to the ipad. on my way to vancouver, for weekend sesshin. i have been reading a book about zen and post modern thought written by a professor, pub in 2000 so written in the 1990's, an eon ago. on the machine is a string quartet of shostakovitch, the 8th, played by the sorrel string quartet, an all-woman group, that's recorded all shostakovitch's string quarters, I don't know how many. they are very very good. i have two of the cd's on my machine so i can listen to them while i am typing on ipad on airplane zooming up pacific coast. this is how it is in these days.

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Bin Laden is dead. It's a great victory for America and Obama they say and maybe it will help us to recognize that the War against terror should never have been a war and that now we can declare that it is over. Fight terror and find terrorists, but bring troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq. This is good. But it is of course impossible to rejoice over the death of a human being, any human being. I have never shared the feeling of Bin Laden as a devil, as evil incarnate.

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