Monday, July 10, 2017

I Return to My Chair and Sit There in Darkness

  • We did get in an Anniversary Day hike in the window of time we had.
  • Had dinner last night at the home of one of Earthgirl's college friends and her husband and were joined by two other of Earthgirl's college friends and their husbands.
  • Small talk over drinks, small talk over dinner, then politics over coffee.
  • Seven of eight immediately identified as standard Rachel Maddow-watching Democrats.
  • Complaints Maddow teases main story over ENTIRE HOUR'S! worth of commercial breaks. Why does she do that?* Asked unironically.
  • One of the husbands is a neurologist, one of the friends a senior administrator in something medicine, LOTS of adamant ACA isn't perfect but better than yadda.  Noted.
  • Sanders never mentioned. Clinton never mentioned. 
  • Was What's the Matter with Kansas moaning, how the FUCK can so many people vote against their obvious self-interest etc.
  • Russians Trump, Donald & Vladimir's love child, was mentioned.
  • Guess who said nothing. Earthgirl can vouch.
  • *Almost got a rise out of me. Fine metaphors abound.
  • Was easy: Nobody asked once what I thought about anything. Each was crafting a keener, wittier, shut the fuck up youer summation of Life in the Clusterfuckocene, which requires not only not listening when others are talking but not asking them what they think.
  • Most importantly, it's knowing when your opponent fucked-up, missed a half-a-breath, HAH! now you're talking, buddy. 
  • Breathe. Pace.
  • I was thinking of this blog post as they talked.
  • Hey! There's new Waxahatchee!


James Tate


  1. speaking, as the poem does, of sitting alone in darkness - one could be meditating - i reminded of this interesting book recommendation by culadasa (john yates, ph.d.)

    Confessions of a Buddhist Atheist, by Stephen Batchelor - The autobiographical musings of a Westerner who first became a Tibetan monk, then a Korean Zen monk, and ended up as a secular Buddhist.

    This book is a very useful critique of the shortcomings of institutional and religious Buddhism. It, and his “Buddhism Without Beliefs,” enunciate an agnostic alternative to Buddhist religiosity that is well worth adopting.

    The author’s re-interpretation of the traditional story of the Buddha’s life is especially fascinating and helpful. There are many good reasons to read this book. It is an important work, and is very strongly recommended.

    But there is one important caveat:
    Batchelor’s disappointment and lack of personal fulfillment have led him to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Because he has not been able to achieve the ultimate goals of the Buddhadharma himself, he has seriously underestimated the validity and attainability of those goals. It does not occur to him that, not only have the Dharma teachings been grossly distorted through time, but so have the meditation practices that once led uncountable numbers to personal transformation and Awakening.

    A “Christian Atheist” is someone who accepts and values the teachings of Jesus, but doesn’t believe that Jesus is God or has the power of salvation. As a “Buddhist Atheist,” the author sees Buddha’s teachings as a valuable path to better living and social change, but not as a means to personal spiritual transformation or any transcendent Awakening. In the end, his disillusionment and cynicism show through quite clearly.

    This is a valuable, informative, entertaining and highly readable book, but despite the author’s seeming credentials, it is NOT authoritative on the subject of Buddhadharma.

    1. on the subject of Buddhadharma ... we read in wikipedia

      Buddha's teachings

      For practicing Buddhists, references to "dharma" (dhamma in Pali) particularly as "the Dharma", generally means the teachings of the Buddha, commonly known throughout the East as Buddha-Dharma. It includes especially the discourses on the fundamental principles (such as the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path), as opposed to the parables and to the poems.

      The status of Dharma is regarded variably by different Buddhist traditions. Some regard it as an ultimate truth, or as the fount of all things which lies beyond the "three realms" and the "wheel of becoming", somewhat like the pagan Greek and Christian logos: this is known as Dharmakaya. Others, who regard the Buddha as simply an enlightened human being, see the Dharma as the essence of the "84,000 different aspects of the teaching" that the Buddha gave to various types of people, based upon their individual propensities and capabilities.

      Dharma refers not only to the sayings of the Buddha, but also to the later traditions of interpretation and addition that the various schools of Buddhism have developed to help explain and to expand upon the Buddha's teachings. For others still, they see the Dharma as referring to the "truth," or the ultimate reality of "the way that things really are".

      The Dharma is one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism in which practitioners of Buddhism seek refuge, or that upon which one relies for his or her lasting happiness. The Three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha, meaning the mind's perfection of enlightenment, the Dharma, meaning the teachings and the methods of the Buddha, and the Sangha, meaning the monastic community who provide guidance and support to followers of the Buddha.