In other words, a version of NationStates, only with poetics instead of geopolitics.
a grouse with completely feathered feet
What I want to do next with Taverner's Koans, in my alleged overhaul of the entire site:
JW: It's dicey to make comparisons, but perhaps Gary Snyder was right when he said to me, "Well, I think these critical theorists could have a lot to learn from madhyamika emptiness philosophy."
NF: Yes. They could learn to be sweeter, and simpler, and more relaxed.
"In being vertically lofty and horizontally broad, the vertical is the door to the source whereas the horizontal is the door to the manifestation. The spiritual roots are like those of grass and trees. The grass and trees are the idea of the door to the manifestation. The source itself is water. Pouring the water on the grass and trees is like the idea of the door to the source." --Nichiren
Good news...the biopsy came back as "chronic inflammation" and not cancer. My dermatologist isn't 100% convinced, she still thinks there's something weird going on, so I'll be seeing a subsubspecialist in about 6 weeks. So very relieving news, albeit with an asterisk.
It looks like it's raining outside but it's not. I'm not sure if it's haze or minute insects. It's supposed to rain tonight. I'm on pg. 71 of the poem. I'm exhausted by it. But I'm not stopping as of yet. I'm not entirely sure how the different sections are cobbled together coherently, as there's a panoply of, er, "expedient means" throughout the poem, with some recurring characters, or should I say "characters". One of which is my father in a recent section, who was a courier in post-world war II germany for army security. There are mermen on the base but not the trains. In progress, in progress. I'm afraid of having it just konk out and end--like my novels tend to! Funny that.
"Let us suppose there is a stretch of bad road five hundred yojanas [a rough unit of measurement adding up to the distance an army could march in a day] of long, steep and difficult, wild and deserted, with no inhabitants around, a truly fearful place. And suppose there are a number of people who want to pass over this road so they can reach a place where there are rare treasures. They have a leader, of comprehensive wisdom and keen understanding, who is thoroughly acquainted with this steep road, knows the layout of its passes and defiles, and is prepared to guide the group of people and go with them over this difficult terrain.
"The group he is leading, after going part way on the road, become disheartened and say to the leader, "We are utterly exhausted and fearful as well. We cannot go any farther. Since there is still such a long distance ahead, we would like now to turn around and go back.'
"The leader, a man of many expedients, thinks to himself, What a pity that they should abandon the many rare treasures they are seeking and want to turn and go back! Having had this thought, he resorts to the power of expedient means and, when they have gone three hundred yojanas along the steep road, conjures up a city. He says to the group, 'Don't be afraid! You must not turn back, for now here is a great city where you can stop, rest, and do just as you please. If you enter this city you will be completely at ease and tranquil. Then later, if you feel you can go on to the place where the treasure is, you can leave the city.'
"At that time the members of the group, being utterly exhausted, are overjoyed in mind, exclaiming over such an unprecedented event, 'Now we can escape from this dreadful road and find ease and tranquility!' The people in the group thereupon press forward and enter the city where, feeling that they have been saved from their difficulties, they have a sense of complete ease and tranquility.
"At that time the leader, knowing that the people have become rested and are no longer fearful or weary, wipes out the phantom city and says to the group, 'You must go now. The place where the treasure is is close by. That great city of a while ago was a mere phantom that I conjured up so that you could rest.'
According to The Lotus Sutra & The Nirvana Sutra, the Dharma (Teaching) of the Buddha will degrade over 500 or 1000-year periods after the Buddha's entry into Nirvana.
There is no Nirvana that is detached from Life & Death...They are inseparable parts of each other.
Overheard in line at the coffee shop, two guys with badges from some marine manufacturing company:
Forgot to mention that my Introduction to Experimental Poetry class at the Loft is going swimmingly, as it always tends to do. Great, engaged students as always. The 6 weeks is amazingly short, and there's only so much you can do to cover what I'd like to in the last, oh, 90 years of poetry. But you launch a general framework out there, and you hopefully give some names for them to pursue later on, and it ends up that the students end up teaching you more than the other way around.
Translations of Nichiren are always going to be tendentious, and necessary to read with a grain of salt, with all of the weirdnessess of the various sects that want to "push poll" (to use a political term) their own idiosyncracies to the forefront of the translations. (For an example of the most embarrassing, slovenly, non-Buddhist, and altogether greedy rendition of Nichiren Buddhism possible--and sadly, the most popular--one need look no further than the most recent issue of the Utne Reader. The cover story, no less. Our parents' chanting entitles us to a certain amount of karmic nepotism [boldface mine]) All of which is complicated by the fact that Nichiren was certainly a product of an isolated feudal society, one that was on the verge of a virtual apocalypse (i.e., the threatened Mongolia invasion of Japan). But despite his sometimes priggishness and narrow mindedness, Nichiren has this habit of taking in and then giving back the most generous readings of the Lotus Sutra possible, that belie the landmines that the more...ardent contemporary adherents like to strew in the path of modern ideas of tolerance and critical thinking:
This means that if the dead have their Buddha nature made manifest then it must be the same for plants, trees and the environment. In the first fascicle [fascimile?] of the Universal Desistance from Troublesome Worries in Order to See Clearly, it says, "Any materiality that is endowed with some kind of colour so as to give it form or even any odour which can be perceived but is not seen belong to the middle way which spans both relativity and phenomenon." Myôraku said, "Even though people can admit that materiality, colours and odours are the reality of the middle way, the idea that plants and things that are inanimate are also endowed with the Buddha nature, perplexes their ears and puzzles their minds." Out of which of the five colours is this single colour? The five colours of blue, yellow, red, white and black are each recognised as colours on their own. But the singleness is the Dharma nature that is explained here by Myôraku is the middle way between relativity and phenomenon [or the bridgelike instant between the appearance of something and the recognition of what it is]. The Universal Teacher Tendai also said that there is nothing that is not the middle way.from Plants And Trees Becoming Buddhas
A sheet of paper just floated up near my 26th-floor window outside. Did not see what was written on it.
And speaking of Tusk, The Twilight Singers have a great version of the Buckingham-penned "What Makes You Think You're the One" out.
Er, and all of the sudden, on page 62 of the poem, I'm writing about Corey Feldman as a bodhisattva.
Already fall is beginning to creep in. Leaves are turning. NBA training camp isn't that far away. But I digress. I'm still working on my long poem. It's up to 53 some pages now. Bit by bit. And the funny thing is, as I guess was to be expected if you really think about it, that my "poetics" or whatever you want to call it have already mutated from the beginning to the now. And will likely before I reach the end. (Whenever that is.) Moving towards the esoteric to the exoteric.
This absoultely rules:
REREADING GOGOL'S MISWRITTEN BOOK: "Gogol could ill stand the presence of unfamiliar people, wrote out his lectures (or else feigned sickness), and tried to monitor from Europe all the movements and exchanges of information related to him, for instance, the itineraries of acquaintances who could bring him messages or money, as well as the circulation of his letters and the exchange of opinions about him, instructing his friends how to refute misrepresentations. He was notoriously secretive, traveling under altered names and avoiding contacts with fellow-travellers (he would go to such lengths as feigning sleep or not recognizing them), and (like Petrushka) often slept fully dressed - armed, as it were. In correspondence, he "falsified" his motives and personality. He concealed his addresses, changed printers, misleading his associates...He also had a penchant for destroying his writings: he burned a juvenile novella,a romantic poem, a historical drama (after it put Zhukovsky to sleep), and twice the second part of his "epic." Sure enough, after the failure of SP Gogol regretted not having burned it.35 Gogol's annihilatory pyrotechnics can be viewed as a will to monopolize his literary rights, and his near-suicidal death, as a desperate gesture of control over his very life.
Listening to Tusk--not only a good album but a brilliant album. Lindsey's parts are easy to like, of course, but it's Christie's songs that lull you into a false sense of calm. And then you realize her songs are really unnerving when paired against Lindsey's cokeapaloozas. Oddly, it's Stevie (if anyone) who doesn't hold up her end of the bargain as much. I'm probably showing how square I am by talking about FLEETWOOD MAC. Elad, I put 2 songs from Tusk on my mix CD for you--surprise! (I didn't label any of the songs, alas). Anyway, Tusk is like a sprawling prefab mansion. It keeps going and going, and it starts getting creepy as to how clean the rooms are. But that's part of the charm.
One of the most fascinating chapters of syncretic history: the Greco-Buddhist kingdoms:
Evidence of direct religious interaction between Greek and Buddhist thought during the period include the Milinda Panha, a Buddhist discourse in the platonic style, held between the Greek king Menander (160 to 135 BC) and the Buddhist monk Nagasena.