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I'm back because of a dream. Not one for dreams, most forgotten as soon as awake, but last night a rather strange one. Vivid. A thin tape was hanging from out of my cheek, this seen in a mirror. I sought to pull the tape and it just kept coming out, turning larger, about an inch across. Finally, at the tape's end, a fish, not large, not small, it popped out of the hole in my cheek. No impression as to whether it was alive, but it looked fresh but did not move. That's it. Strange enough to cause me to look up dream interpretations. One thing caught my attention, of fish representing opportunity; which made me reflect on just how I have been thinking on and off recently. Leaving three different Forums for various reasons, thinking my days were finally done with waffling on about whatever. Yet also thinking, just maybe, I need some sort of outlet for expression - I've realised that most of it is simply talking to myself , and perhaps I need to do it. We all have our strange ways. Did the dream tell me that I was pulling out a needed form of expression, killing an opportunity I still needed to take?

Anyway, PLEASE do not see this as an opportunity for dream interpretation. I'm happy with my own. I got into the habit on other forums of posting "Memo's from the Pure Land" where, as I sat in Costa's Coffee shops, I felt secure enough to let it all hang out and waffle contentedly. Most, I think, saw me as harmless. Things have been tough lately, what with Covid and family. My resilience has been, and is, being tested. But we all have our problems. 

So here I am. "The Cafe" aka "Chat" would seem to be the place for this and for any subsequent "Memo's", which tend to range far and wide. 

Thank you. Or as we say in the Pure Land, Namu-amida-butsu.


 

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The previous post was a cut and paste job, tapped out while at my daughters, who has no wi-fi (being installed today) Now I am seated in Costa's, extra hot cappuccino and a round of toast. 

When I spoke about my dream I also thought of a dream of Jung, this when he was in his early teens. The family atmosphere was a bit claustrophobic with his father over religious. Jung's dream was of seeing God high above a giant cathedral, and a large turd dropped from God's posterior, crushing the cathedral. (Certainly mere fish, dead or alive, cannot compete with such as this!) Anyway, for Jung, such was the end of what could be called "organised religion" with its creeds and dogmas. If only we could all dispense with such nonsense as easily. 

I say nonsense, but maybe it has its place. There is a quote concerning T.S. Eliot regarding this (yes, I still like a quote or two.....or three.....or four) This is it:-

Eliot feels no compunction in alluding to the Bhagavad Gita in one section of a poem and Dante's Paradiso in the next. He neither asserts the rightness nor wrongness of one set of doctrines in relation to the other, nor does he try to reconcile them. Instead, he claims that prior to the differentiation of various religious paths, there is a universal substratum called Word (logos) of which religions are concretions. This logos is an object both of belief and disbelief. It is an object of belief in that, without prior belief in the logos, any subsequent religious belief is incoherent. It is an object of disbelief in that belief in it is empty, the positive content of actual belief is fully invested in religious doctrine.

 

Well, that's it. Very suggestive and maybe discussion of it belongs in another section. For me I have long related to the self same idea, this from reading the views of the Christian theologian John Hick, who sought to argue that God should be at the centre of the World of Faith, around which the various religions circle. Obviously, not content with this, many like to place their own particular creed at the centre, maybe as an "only way". But as Meister Eckhart has said:- "They do him wrong who take God in just one particular way: they end with the way rather than God."

 But anyway, even my extra hot coffee is cooling and I have shopping to get. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome back and thanks for the reprise Tariki.

Regarding dreams ... since Covid I seem to be aware of an increasing proportion of them. Unlike yours mine are much more mundane and not as surreal as yours or Jung's. Mine tend to be around airports or train stations and running late and having to overcome some obstacle. 

I can see the train at the platform, but there is some person in front of me faffing about buying a ticket ever so slowly or changing terminals for some reason is torturous.

My take on interpretation? Don't worry too much about them. Of course there are underlying causes for the dreams, to me they seem like a chaotic (in the scientific sense) firing of the chemical processes in our brains.

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Welcome back, Tariki.  Chat away!

It seems to me that dream interpretation is almost as wide and varied as interpretation of millennia-old religious texts, so I don't think I'd even really bother trying! :)

But like Rom, I think there are underlying causes to dreams and our brain is perhaps recalling or trying to put together something, whilst simultaneously being chaotic.

I remember when I was going through a period of anxiety and depression years ago, I kept dreaming about being attacked by a vicious black dog, sometimes to the extent that I dreamt it was trying to drag me by the throat out of my bed and I'd wake up finding myself half hanging out of my bed!  I'm sure the underlying cause was stress and worry, but that's about where I stopped with the interpretation.

Anyway, again, welcome back.

Cheers

Paul

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Thanks to you both for the welcome. 

As I said, I don't really go much on dreams. Like anything I would think investigation would yield some sort of "result" - but I'm not sure what. 

But thank you again romansh and PaulS.

(PaulS, your signature made me think of the zen quip:- "Better to see the face than to hear the name."

Which in turn made me think of a line from Joyce's  Finnegans Wake:- "Let us leave theories there and return to here's hear." )

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, romansh said:

Of course there are underlying causes for the dreams, to me they seem like a chaotic (in the scientific sense) firing of the chemical processes in our brains.

Strange to pick the above out, but I sat down at my post in Oxfam (to wait for the first customer of the day, perhaps any hour now) and logged on and those words fired a few chemical processes. 

I must admit first that I have dipped down among the The Cafe's threads and find them far more congenial than the various debates. Quite interesting to read. 

I'm beginning to see most things as chaotic and that interpretation is everything. When I left the Bible behind (apart from one or two verses, especially "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness", which needs no commentary) I saw its text as some sort of rorschach test. Some sought to thrash it into some sort of order according to a particular theology but to me, in vain. Obviously, from there, if Reality is the only "revelation" then it to must be such a test. What you see is what you get, or as the zen master Dogen has said, "we are what we understand".

"Interpretation is not an isolated act, one thing among many that we do; it is what we are, the pivot, the crux of our being." 
(John Caputo, speaking of Heidegger)

 Recently I created another Blook, a cross between blog and book. I might tell you about it one day. It was "The Songs of Leonard Cohen" based upon a concert he gave at the O2 in London in 2008. A mate of mine, a good friend, had stepped forward during a time of trial and he sought no reward. But he had said he loved Leonard Cohen ( "real poetry" ) and so I enjoyed creating the Blook, lyrics cut and paste, images chosen courtesy of Google Images. Download to Blookup, edit, order. Two copies this time, my biggest print run. 

I mention this because of "interpretation". When I come to choosing images for blooks and their varied contents it is often relatively simple. But not so with Mr Cohen! Often the ambiguity tied me in knots. Much like Reality itself. Another one is James Joyce and Finnegans Wake, written in Wakese, a combination of English, French, German, Latin, a few more lanquages, plus colloquialisms drawn from an Irish upbringing.

Try this one....."The Gracehoper was always jigging ajog, hoppy on akkant of his joyicity."

Beautiful! You find what you want, what you are. Grace and hope perhaps. Happy only because of hops? And kant? Cant? The pulpit of miserly grace dished out in return for....what exactly?

Did Joyce intend all this? Or more? Or less? Or something else? Samuel Beckett said that Finnegans Wake was not about anything, it was the thing itself. Whatever, Joyce took 15 or more years to write the book, squinting late into the night, filling many notebooks. His long suffering wife Nora would hear him from her bedroom, chuckling merrily to himself as he punned and twisted language beyond all recognition.

(Apparently she would often plead with him to write something that people could understand, obviously having her eye on possible royalties. But Joyce was a notorious cadger and had no need to earn his money)

More from the Wake:-

"A dream of favours, a favourable dream. They know how they believe that they believe that they know. Wherefore they wail."

Or, more simple:- "They lived and laughed and loved and left." (Yet how "simple" is that, if it would be "the thing itself"?)

Well, I never intended to waffle on like this. Still no customers, the Travelling Wilburys on the player. Looking at the "Other Wisdom Traditions" sub-section I see I was keen on Dogen back then. I still am. He is very much "where its at" with his marvellous words from Genjokoan:- 

"Therefore, if there are fish that would swim or birds that would fly only after investigating the entire ocean or sky, they would find neither path nor place. When we make this very place our own, our practice becomes the actualization of reality"

Profound words. Without "knowing" we must find our very own path, time and place. Most have them allotted and are content to then play the cards dealt them. I think, if we find ourselves with questions, that we must delve deeper. It can become lonely, even frightening. 

Thinking of Samuel Beckett, some see him as one of the 20th centuries greatest writers, even philosophers. Beyond a couple of his plays, I'm not familiar enough with his writings to judge. But I was quite taken with his "Krapp's Last Tape" (I suspect "Krapp" is a bit of Wakese......) This play concerns a guy who likes to record himself waffling on every few years or so (good grief! Did I just write that?) and when he listens to it back years later he has lost all connection, not recognising himself at all. Well, something like that. Anyway, it's his last tape. No more. 

When I read through the Dogen thread I had this terrible Krapp moment! I'll say no more.

But to finish with some upbeat words of Beckett, who is more known for pessimism I suppose, but these words come from the ninth monologue of Beckett’s 1954 "Texts for Nothing" which offers a literal translation of the four concluding words of Dante's Inferno:-  ‘and see the stars again’ (‘a riveder le stelle’). They are spoken by a tramp-like waif as he contemplates death:-

"There’s a way out there, there’s a way out somewhere, the rest would come, the other words, sooner or later, and the power to get there, and the way to get there, and pass out, and see the beauties of the skies, and see the stars again."
 
Good words. 
 
Finally, as I began with Leonard Cohen, here are a few words of his song "Anthem":-
 
 
The birds they sang
At the break of day
Start again I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be
 
Ah, the wars they will be fought again
The holy dove, she will be caught again
Bought and sold, and bought again
The dove is never free
 
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
 
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Ploughing on, another day, another Costa's, another stint at Oxfam. Dylan this time I think, once I've had my toastie and cappuccino. A couple of things since tuesday, reading of Bishop Spong saying that we need new ways of speaking of God, plus remembering exactly what drew me back to another forum after a long break. It was a question posed by someone:- "Is the knowledge of good and evil, good or evil"? Yes, believe it or not this drew me back, rather than simply counting my blessings and heading for the exit. 

Without looking back now to check I think I said something at the time about the O Felix Culpa of the Catholic/Eastern churches, of the necessary fall that "merited so great a redeemer". Fall not of unexpected rebellion and who knows why, but as "necessary". It certainly casts new light upon our existence, its possible meaning, and therefore, as I see it, on any "new" ways of talking about God.

I would rather say, new ways of being rather than of talking. Maybe there has been enough talk. A necessary Fall holds promise for any possible theodicy, and suggests a Cosmos of healing rather than one of "trial", "judgement", or the consistency of "justice". 

As far as Inter-faith is concerned, I think anyone remotely aware of the various Christian mystics knows of the suggested "incomprehensibility" of God. My favorite quote here is of Eckhart, "Nothing that knowledge can grasp or desire can want is God. When knowledge and desire end, there is darkness; and there God shines. " I'm pretty conversant with so called "eastern" ways and I've found they tend to blend into such "incomprehensibility" until it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to see the join. This because such leads inevitably into "being" and not mere talking. What the intellect cannot truly grasp must lead us somewhere, into that in which we "live and move and have our being". 

Which brings me back to "healing" and any possible meaning to our mad world with all its suffering. I've spoken of Dogen and I find his thought a revelation. Deconstruction before Derrida, post-modern before the modern! Which makes me sound as if I know what I'm talking about. But don't be fooled, its the cappuccino talking. 

Dogen was big on faith. He had trust and faith in "original enlightenment". His question was, if such was so, "why bother"? His answer, put simply, was "out of compassion for future generations". Which, really, should be enough, unless all we care about is our own skin. One of Dogens teachers, when he was in China, emphasised to him that though the "now" moment was indeed the "only" moment, this did not mean that there was no "movement toward Buddha". Dogen sought the authenticity of the moment, depth, intensity, "the present intimacy, transparency, and vividness of thusness" which "had to be forever penetrated" (as one commentator has said)

And he did so within the borders of 13th century Japanese zen, the cards he was dealt. In the words of a western student of zen, who knows his stuff, 

"Contrary to present conventions, Zen Buddhism developed and cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, ephemeral agent of awareness and healing." He goes on to speak of the liberative qualities of spatiality and temporality.

Once again, I had little idea of what I was going to waffle about. I'm trying in some ways to keep sane. The world is too much with me, and I will not be conformed to it. 

 

 

What do you do when you don't experience orthodox sentiments? Can you go on accepting the world that lives by them? He is already in exile." 

(Joseph Campbell, speaking of a character of Joyce, Stephen Dedalus, the literary alter ego of Joyce)

 

I simply have to have faith in the healing nature of Reality-as-is. Such is my Pure Land faith. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I was looking for the precise quote regarding the "now" by Dogen's teacher in China. I knew I had it somewhere:-

"To teach students the power of the present moment as the only moment is a skillful teaching of buddha ancestors. But this doesn’t mean that there is no future result from practice."

(Dogen's teacher in China to Dogen)

 

 While trawling through my cyber-notebook looking for the above, another note caught my eye. I saw it as relevant here (but I'm not sure why):-

Most Christians would assert that Jesus was sinless. Most Muslims would assert that the Koran is totally free of corruption. But the "zens" ask why a clearly enlightened person can fall into the well. And Saichi (the Pure Land myokonin - "saint") sees his very own wretchedness as "one" with Amida. "Thank you for the favour" he cries, as though speaking to his mum. 

(A koan, both a truth and a question)

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6 hours ago, tariki said:

will not be conformed to it.

This I think is impossible. The universe has shaped you to think that you are somehow independent of this world. 
ps I like Campbell.

6 hours ago, tariki said:

It was a question posed by someone:- "Is the knowledge of good and evil, good or evil"?

Genesis 3:22 quite succinctly points to having knowledge of good an evil was the original sin. In this verse we have God complaining to other gods, man potentially becoming like a god in part because of thinking in terms of good and evil.  (ps Campbell pointed this out in the Power of Myth). If this interpretation is true the whole edifice of traditional Christianity crumbles.

The cosmos just is. We can't be separate from it. It's our lack of awareness of the connectivity that allows us to think we are separate.  For me religion is understanding that connection.

 

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1 hour ago, romansh said:

This I think is impossible. The universe has shaped you to think that you are somehow independent of this world. 
ps I like Campbell.

Genesis 3:22 quite succinctly points to having knowledge of good an evil was the original sin. In this verse we have God complaining to other gods, man potentially becoming like a god in part because of thinking in terms of good and evil.  (ps Campbell pointed this out in the Power of Myth). If this interpretation is true the whole edifice of traditional Christianity crumbles.

The cosmos just is. We can't be separate from it. It's our lack of awareness of the connectivity that allows us to think we are separate.  For me religion is understanding that connection.

 

Impossible not to be conformed to the world? I don't agree. (Of course, it depends just how we define "the world". Given how so many live and act in the world, have lived and acted, their presumptions and apparent acceptance of its "ways", I would say refusal to conform to such is the only possible stance to take if we value honesty, mercy, empathy, love and compassion. Which puts us "in exile", irrespective of just how "successful" we are in living such values)

I'm not getting into Biblical interpretations. I am not a Christian and I do not recognise any "revelation" as pre-eminent. Reality is the only revelation (as you seem to imply) I was simply musing upon the implications of the O Felix Culpa, which has a long tradition within the Christian Faith. 

What "reality" is, is the question. My own faith is that it is "healing".

(As I see it, it is "separation" from that reality, our lack of connection to it, that is the "problem". We seem to agree on that)

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27 minutes ago, tariki said:

As I see it, it is "separation" from that reality, our lack of connection to it, that is the "problem". We seem to agree on that

The problem if indeed that is the right word is not the lack of connection, but the lack of recognition of that connection. We cannot help but be connected. 

We are shaped by our environment, past present and perhaps even future. We are not separate!

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49 minutes ago, romansh said:

The problem if indeed that is the right word is not the lack of connection, but the lack of recognition of that connection. We cannot help but be connected. 

We are shaped by our environment, past present and perhaps even future. We are not separate!

As I see it, we agree on this. Not recognising the connection IS "lack of connection". 

Of course we are connected! All is "one". 

As Merton says, "What we have to be is what we are". In theistic language, "We are already one with God (who is his own gift) yet how far we have to go to find you in whom we have already arrived.

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The great thing about Dogen is the total connection of his "practice". For him, dreams, illusions, whatever, are as "real" as anything else. Radical non-dualism. Quite strange at first, but eventually it makes sense. Writing of the finger and the moon, both are "equal", symbol and symbolised are "one". What matters is the authenticity of the moment (AKA mindfulness)

Enlightenment for Dogen is/was NOT a state of being that you at a certain point "attain" and "become" , but rather radical freedom which can only "be" in the "now". He was a man of deep integrity, committed to the Mahayana bodhisattva teachings, to "practice" for the sake of future generations. 

I see, linked to this, the "Gift of Freedom" that Thomas Merton spoke of in "New Seeds of Contemplation":- 

"The mere ability to choose between good and evil is the lowest limit of freedom, and the only thing that is free about it is the fact that we can still choose good.

To the extent that you are free to choose evil, you are not free. An evil choice destroys freedom.

We can never choose evil as evil: only as an apparent good. But when we decide to do something that seems to us to be good when it is not really so, we are doing something that we do not really want to do, and therefore we are not really free.

Perfect spiritual freedom is a total inability to make any evil choice. When everything you desire is truly good and every choice not only aspires to that good but attains it, then you are free because you do everything that you want, every act of your will ends in perfect fulfillment.

Freedom therefore does not consist in an equal balance between good and evil choices but in the perfect love and acceptance of what is really good and the perfect hatred and rejection of what is evil, so that everything you do is good and makes you happy, and you refuse and deny and ignore every possibility that might lead to unhappiness and self-deception and grief. Only the man who has rejected all evil so completely that he is unable to desire it at all, is truly free. God, in whom there is absolutely no shadow or possibility of evil or of sin, is infinitely free. In fact, he is Freedom. "

In the same theistic language, God's will is that we be free, and God "is his own gift" (the gift and grace of incarnation)

Yes, I know I'm just waffling. I have been on "grandad duty" this morning, getting two little tykes to school in the pouring rain. Just to say, seeing our grandaugher at the bus stop, beneath her "Frozen" umbrella, her little face smiling, beaming, lifted grandad's heart. (Curses of said grandad were saved to later, soaked through, on the bus back home)

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

It seems that I have returned to Sleepy Hollow, but this suits me fine. I'm very quickly annoyed by anyone questioning my waffle in any way whatsoever. I have just been on Facebook, posting another music video. Where would we be without music? Nietzsche once said that without music life would be a mistake. A few days ago I was in Oxfam and this guy came in and we got chatting and he told me about a Prince video, a guitar solo of his when a "supergroup" of musicians were playing George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". This guy gave me a superb air guitar demonstration of the Prince solo, which certainly captured my imagination - even without the music the timbers shivered. Anyway, Oxfam recently added Wi-fi to our shops many delights and after the guy departed (possibly to give another demo in The Heart Foundation or Barnado's - it's all charity shops these days) I took a look at the video, turned the sound up loud, and yes, enjoyed it. Here it is if anyone is interested. If you watch to the end Prince throws his guitar skywards, never to return.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6SFNW5F8K9Y

(That must be George Harrison's son in the line-up)

PS. I was intending to waffle about "zazen as metaphor", but the cappuccino took its toll. Perhaps another day. You have been warned. 

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On 10/2/2021 at 5:36 PM, tariki said:

It seems that I have returned to Sleepy Hollow, but this suits me fine. I'm very quickly annoyed by anyone questioning my waffle in any way whatsoever. 

Sleepy in any rebuttal maybe but be assured that others are reading.  There are literally dozens and dozens of purveyors of this site on a daily basis - many just choosing to read and not comment.  Each to their own.  But if you would like others to engage, please be encouraged to throw a question out there or suggest a response.

On 10/2/2021 at 5:36 PM, tariki said:

Prince was an amazing performer and artiste!  I do wonder where that guitar went after he chucked it!

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Thanks Paul, yes I do understand how some simply prefer to read. I'm finding my own preferences, but I'm a slow learner. It's taken too long! I just like to sit in Costa's and I find there that a lot pours out, a few ideas floating around beforehand but that's about it. 

This morning there was a feature on Breakfast TV about Music for Dementia. Inspiring. This guy, in the early stages, always a musician, was constantly tapping out on the piano a few chords, just three or four (Status Quo only knew 3 - two more than myself - but made a career out of it) and made some sort of melody. His family, loving and supportive, arranged for some composer to take the simple melody and transform it, bringing in an orchestra to accompany the guy on his piano. Deeply moving and inspirational to listen to the composition, the guy moved to tears, his family looking on. 

Maybe the key is (no pun intended) that music is "the thing itself" and not a representation of it. This is one of the ways that Dogen interests me, his support of words, recognising their meaning and significance. Wittgenstein once said:-Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent” but if I understand Dogen correctly he would have deferred. Words, like anything else, can be the thing itself . I recently read through the Dogen thread again, on the Other Wisdom Traditions section (that Krapp's Last Tape moment!!) and I said something about Dogen always seemingly having his cake and eating it. Learning more about him I see this as some sort of key. "Every particular contains the universal" James Joyce said it, among others, past and present. Just as any single DNA cell is a blueprint for the whole. 

In that way I can see Jesus as a "particular" containing the universal. Yet no more so than any other. Once you begin to claim Jesus as some particular,singular particular uniquely unique, prepare for the Inquisitions! 

Getting back to Dogen, eating his cake or whatever, I think of a little verse or two of Chuang Tzu as translated by Thomas Merton. I've been told that Merton's  translations of Chuang Tzu are pretty "loose". Maybe so, but the looser the better I would think. Here is the verse:-

"The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits. When the rabbits are caught, the snare is forgotten.

The purpose of words is to convey ideas. When the ideas are grasped, the words are forgotten.

Where can I find a man who has forgotten words? He is the one I would like to talk to."

 As I see it, this does not advocate silence. The "man who has forgotten words" (or woman!) can still speak, in fact, must speak. But having "mastered" words, they would speak in the "now", in the moment, the "appropriate statement", appropriate there, then and for no other time. Meeting another with openess and empathy, hearing them, not speaking at them but with them. In Christianspeak, as the "other" that Christ already "knows". Alas, evangelisation often takes the form of speaking AT others.

Merton again:- The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.

Anyway, my coffee is getting cold in the cup. At the moment I have about 8 books on Dogen downloaded on my Kindke. It's a bit of "pic n mix" which is the way I like it.

A final name drop......Nietzsche:- 

"I distrust all systematisers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity."
 
 Just like "conclusions", system are killers of the spirit. 
 

 

 

 

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Greetings Tariki (Derek)

Interesting dream. Kind of a past dream buff myself.  My quick take on it.

Fish is a basic source of life to people and tape holds things together and the cheeks are a view of our emotional life. 

It seems to me you are finished with the emotional need of engaging to feed your basic need. The tape finished getting larger and larger and the fish was removed. While you may think you need to continue with this need (you mentioned). It seems to me it is no loger necessary. (But you already know this)

Joseph

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

Greetings Tariki (Derek)

Interesting dream. Kind of a past dream buff myself. 

Joseph

Hi Joseph, yes, "interesting". As I indicated, I had long admired/envied Jung his dream of Cathedrals being crushed, given my own very mundane dreamscapes. The fish coming along was in that sense quite welcome!

I never saw you as a dream buff, but I recognise your interpretation. I don't really feel any need now to argue or "justify" myself, I'm confidant enough in myself to simply waffle away. 

I think we just have to find a "base" (even if "empty"), or as Merton called it "The Hidden Ground of Love", let go in faith, and from there diversification follows; this and that, opposites - but such are more for "passing over, not for grasping" (as the Buddha's parable of the raft has it) No need to justify them, nor fight over them. And if others wish to dispute anything, so be it. I don't really wish to get involved.

I think this is what Dogen meant when he said:-

"That the self advances
And confirms ten thousand things
Is called delusion;
That the ten thousand things
Advance and confirm the self
Is called enlightenment"

Hopefully no one sees the above as a claim to "enlightenment", which would be ridiculous. Dogen played with words, and often appears to contradict himself from verse to verse within his sermons and various writings. He said that enlightenment is not the goal of practice, but a way of practicing. Not a final state of "being" but a way to be. What matters is commitment, therefore "authenticity",  and as such he was not the "elitist" that some see him as. As one commentator asserts regarding Dogen's view, "however lowly one’s symbols and practices are as in, say, a peasant’s religion, one is nevertheless entitled to enlightenment if and when one uses them authentically. Here is the egalitarian basis for the claim that Dōgen’s religion is a religion of the people." Elsewhere he implies that the journey itself is home and that the road goes on forever.

 So, resting once again in my Pure Land faith, there is always hope for any bombu (or "foolish being") however wayward at times. 

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1 hour ago, JosephM said:

Greetings Tariki (Derek)

Interesting dream. Kind of a past dream buff myself. 

Joseph

Hi Joseph, yes, "interesting". As I indicated, I had long admired/envied Jung his dream of Cathedrals being crushed, given my own very mundane dreamscapes. The fish coming along was in that sense quite welcome!

I never saw you as a dream buff, but I recognise your interpretation. I don't really feel any need now to argue or "justify" myself, I'm confidant enough in myself to simply waffle away. 

I think we just have to find a "base" (even if "empty"), or as Merton called it "The Hidden Ground of Love", let go in faith, and from there diversification follows; this and that, opposites - but such are more for "passing over, not for grasping" (as the Buddha's parable of the raft has it) No need to justify them, nor fight over them. And if others wish to dispute anything, so be it. I don't really wish to get involved.

I think this is what Dogen meant when he said:-

"That the self advances
And confirms ten thousand things
Is called delusion;
That the ten thousand things
Advance and confirm the self
Is called enlightenment"

Hopefully no one sees the above as a claim to "enlightenment", which would be ridiculous. Dogen played with words, and often appears to contradict himself from verse to verse within his sermons and various writings. He said that enlightenment is not the goal of practice, but a way of practicing. Not a final state of "being" but a way to be. What matters is commitment, therefore "authenticity",  and as such he was not the "elitist" that some see him as. As one commentator asserts regarding Dogen's view, "however lowly one’s symbols and practices are as in, say, a peasant’s religion, one is nevertheless entitled to enlightenment if and when one uses them authentically. Here is the egalitarian basis for the claim that Dōgen’s religion is a religion of the people." Elsewhere he implies that the journey itself is home and that the road goes on forever.

 So, resting once again in my Pure Land faith, there is always hope for any bombu (or "foolish being") however wayward at times. 

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Posted (edited)

I mentioned Blooks in my 28th Sept post, with the threat of more information...🤑As I said, Blooks are a cross between a blog and a book. Creating them has become a hobby of mine, always wanting to publish my own book - and I eventually managed it, even if the print run was only one! 

The hobby began after my blog on the google blogspot had been going for a couple of years. Fearful that my ramblings would at some point dissolve into cyberspace I started looking for ways to print it off. I eventually found this company in France, Blookup, which did printed books (blooks) of blogs. The reviews were good so I took a chance (and one young lady who dealt with queries, called Angelique, took my fancy.......in my imagination of course)

The website was reasonably easy to use, downloading the blog simple, and the editing facilities quite good (and have improved since) The finished product was excellent and my blook, "Dookie's Place - Ramblings of a Pure Land Buddhist" soon sat proudly on my bookshelves. 

After printing off my blog I had the idea of creating various other Blooks. The process is easy. Google provide virtually unlimited (and totally free) blog space, you cut and paste whatever text you want, then choose accompanying images from Google Images. This last is the best part, at least I find it so. Just tap into "Search" an appropriate word or two and instantaneously vast numbers of images related to your search words appear. These often suggest associations of meaning unthought of, grist to my mind (which loves correspondences and similarities between things often deemed as contrasting, even opposites)

Anyway, I now have a library of Blooks. Just one glinch, when a Blook posted to me ended up in Switzerland. However Angelique soon sorted it..😍

Blooks of favorite poetry, a Dhammapada (this, though a Theravada text, now graced with images from zen, the Mahayana and beautiful Chinese landscapes), one of zen, another of favorite articles and verses etc of Pure Land Buddhism, Tang Poetry, favorite prose such as the prologue to Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, popular song lyrics. 

All considered, one of the best is of Chapter 1 of the Flower Ornament Scripture. This is the blurb I put on the back cover:-

"The verses of the scripture given here are the proclamations of a great series of Enlightenment Beings (Bodhisattvas) revealing how each came to realisation. Like all human beings each is unique and the circumstances of their enlightenment are singular. This can be seen as a mythic representation of all the countless acts of kindness, compassion, empathy and love expressed each and every day within our human family."

 Another favorite was a blook produced for our grandchildren, this during the first months of Covid Lockdown. My dear wife and I came up with various ideas. "The Dong With The Luminous Nose", other poems by Spike Milligan and "lots more" (as the ads always say) One endearing memory of this Blook was when down in Kent playing with the grandchildren, "lego-ing" and whatnot. Our grandaughter ran downstairs to get the Blook, came back and began to sing a few lyrics we had put in of one of her favorite pop songs. As she sang I whispered to my daughter "Don't worry, we took out the rude words". Our grandson overheard and piped up:- "Like 'I hate you' ". Which was endearing.

 

Edited by tariki
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Posted (edited)

I mentioned Blooks in my 28th Sept post, with the threat of more information...🤑As I said, Blooks are a cross between a blog and a book. Creating them has become a hobby of mine, always wanting to publish my own book - and I eventually managed it, even if the print run was only one! 

The hobby began after my blog on the google blogspot had been going for a couple of years. Fearful that my ramblings would at some point dissolve into cyberspace I started looking for ways to print it off. I eventually found this company in France, Blookup, which did printed books (blooks) of blogs. The reviews were good so I took a chance (and on young lady who dealt with queries, called Angelique, took my fancy.......in my imagination of course)

The website was reasonably easy to use, downloading the blog simple, and the editing facilities quite good (and have improved since) The finished product was excellent and my blook, "Dookie's Place - Ramblings of a Pure Land Buddhist" soon sat proudly on my bookshelves. 

After printing off my blog I had the idea of creating various other Blooks. The process is easy. Google provide virtually unlimited (and totally free) blog space, you cut and paste whatever text you want, then choose accompanying images from Google Images. This last is the best part, at least I find it so. Just tap into "Search" an appropriate word or two and instantaneously vast numbers of images related to your search words appear. These often suggest associations of meaning unthought of, grist to my mind (which loves correspondences and similarities between things often deemed as contrasting, even opposites)

Anyway, I now have a library of Blooks. Just one glinch, when a Blook posted to me ended up in Switzerland. However Angelique soon sorted it..😍

Blooks of favorite poetry, a Dhammapada (this, though a Theravada text, now graced with images from zen, the Mahayana and beautiful Chinese landscapes), one of zen, another of favorite articles, verses etc of Pure Land Buddhism, Tang Poetry, favorite prose such as the prologue to Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, popular song lyrics. 

All considered, one of the best is of Chapter 1 of the Flower Ornament Scripture. This is the blurb I put on the back cover:-

"The verses of the scripture given here are the proclamations of a great series of Enlightenment Beings (Bodhisattvas) revealing how each came to realisation. Like all human beings each is unique and the circumstances of their enlightenment are singular. This can be seen as a mythic representation of all the countless acts of kindness, compassion, empathy and love expressed each and every day within our human family."

 Another favorite was a blook produced for our grandchildren (then 7 and 8), this during the first months of Covid Lockdown. My dear wife and I came up with various ideas. "The Dong With The Luminous Nose", other poems by Spike Milligan and "lots more" as the ads always say. One endearing memory of this Blook was when down in Kent playing with the grandchildren, "lego-ing" and whatnot. Our grandaughter ran downstairs to get the Blook, came back and began to sing a few lyrics we had put in of one of her favorite pop songs. As she sang I whispered to my daughter "Don't worry, we took out the rude words". Our grandson overheard and piped up:- "Like 'I hate you' ". Which was endearing.

 

Edited by tariki
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Blooks sound like a fabulous idea, Tariki.  We've done a similar thing with photos.  It's easy enough to upload a bunch of photos and text which are then formatted into a printed book that gets sent to you.  We've done a few for family holidays, events, and for significant birthdays where we've captured a lot of historical photos and stories.  They're great to have on the coffee table and I find I look through them more often than I ever refer to photos I have saved on the computer or in a box somewhere - yes, I'm old enough to have actual photos developed from rolls of film! :) 

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I know what you mean about photos stored on a computer. Easy enough to choose "slideshow" but it never happens! No family gathering around the laptop. We did a "Family Tree" album. We had a large shopping bag full of old photos and had the idea of sorting out pictures of family members. Our "tree" was fairly rudimentary, and went no further back than our own parents, and forward to grandchildren. (Further back and we would have hit an unexplained sudden change of surname around the time of the Great War.....maybe skeletons in the cupboard, Tariki's shady past ancestors!) But a good album. 

Blookup also can be linked to Facebook, Instagram, your Tweets and Tumbler, with various print-offs available. Twooks? Tumooks? I've got a couple from Facebook, where I post mainly family photos with various "storylines" and the Albums are good (I'm not on commission.....😁)

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Reading more on Dogen, apparently he wrote his vast corpus of writings in a virtually new form of Japanese. I'm getting shades of Wakese, he language of Finnegans Wake. Dogenese I suppose. 

It seems to come back to words and what they can mean, how they can be used. Samuel Beckett said Finnegans Wake was not about anything, it was the thing itself. The words were the "thing" or at least, were attempting to be. Dogen played with words, trying to capture a world of becoming in words - which can themselves be static, defining, concluding, systematic.......all contrary to Reality-as-is. 

Here is one fine commentator on Dogen, Hee-Jin Kim. A rather long quote but relevant:-

Words and letters, however socially constructed, are never mere signs in the abstract, theoretical sense, but alive and active "in flesh and blood." Contrary to the conventional view that language is no more than a means of communication, it is profoundly internal to an individual's life as well as to the collective life. Language flows individually and collectively through the existential bloodstream, so much so that it is the breath, blood and soul of human existence. Herein lies the essence of Dogen's radical phenomenalism. Thus knowledge becomes ascesis, instead of gnosis or logos — "seeing things as they are" now means "making things as they are." In this light the indexical analogy of "the finger pointing to the moon" is highly misleading, if not altogether wrong, because it draws on a salvifically inefficacious conception of language. 

 

Or, as Dogen says elsewhere, we are what we understand. 

I'm fully aware most will see all this as pointless mumbo jumbo. But for me it all derives from the Buddha saying/ claiming:- "I teach this and this alone, suffering and the ending of suffering". The central Buddhist claim is that suffering is a result of ignorance, of not seeing/knowing Reality correctly. Which, as I see it, is a positive and optimistic claim, in as much as the implication is that if we see/understand correctly we will be free of dukkha (suffering) Free, in this world, not hoping for another world to follow on from this one, not betraying this world for some imagined "other", bestowed upon the faithful or whatever. This world realised, not a new world offered as "reward" for the "tests" demanded in this life.

Fundamentally I am a simple bombu (foolish being) of the Pure Land faith. I rest in Grace.

 

My eyes being hindered by blind passions,

I cannot perceive the light that grasps me;

Yet the great compassion, without tiring,

Illumines me always

 

(And for my Christian friends, from Julian of Norwich on the same theme......

"If there be anywhere on earth a lover of God who is always kept safe, I know nothing of it, for it was not shown to me. But this was shown: that in falling and rising again we are always kept in that same precious love" )

 

Yet "faith seeks understanding". Although faith can never be sight as such, it can be illuminated by understanding, convincing that what "illumines" is not simply a chimera, a "tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing". 

 

Once again, I've waffled on. Therapeutic in a strange way. It might just be the caffeine hit! 

 

 

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