Rip Van Winkle (keta) Sat 19 Jul 03 08:27
I would agree with <tnf>'s paragraph breaks comment except that in the case of Scoop, it doesn't seem right! Everything is connected to everything else in marvelous, glittering, unexpected ways, and for a moment the subject-examples-conclusion form is held in abeyance while the words and ideas become dizzy, bumping into each other and creating...but I guess it's white space we're talking about not imposing structure, so...yeah, he's right, it does make it more readable, but also less special and fun. What I've been thinking about this week is the place of grief in a perspective of big-picture equanimity. It goes along with anger, but isn't there something different about it? Anger can be calmed by a bigger perspective, by compassion and forgiveness. But grief... You narrate in an historical way the emergence of "green consciousness" which in some sense is driven by the need to find a way to express grief, but I wonder if you could talk a bit more about the grief itself.
David Gans (tnf) Sat 19 Jul 03 09:41
> in the case of Scoop, it doesn't seem right! Everything is connected to > everything else in marvelous, glittering, unexpected ways Fair enough!
Tilopa: Look at the nature of the world: impermanent, like a mirage or dream--Even the mirage or dream does not exist. (constance22) Sat 19 Jul 03 12:36
The point is going beyond hope and fear, is it not? The point is placing the cause without attachment toward the effect.
Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Sat 19 Jul 03 20:20
Yo, yo! David G., I think the reason I let myself write on without paragraph breaks is an old desire of mine to be Jack Kerouac and just let the words spill out like the milk of consciousness when knocked over by the elbow of g-d. But I'll try at least to give a sense of when I'm changing the topic. Rip Van, your questions about grief are so pertinent and important, because I think we're all feeling some deep grief, perhaps subconscious, but for many of us it is just below the surface, if not spilling out. Feeling grief for the planet that we see being degraded and fouled by the greed and ignorance of humans. Grief for all of the people who our media now show us around the world, suffering, starving, being killed. If we didn't feel grief that would be a great tragedy and even more reason to feel grief. Indeed, sadness and despair is one of the things that we work with in Buddhist practice. As we witness ourselves in meditation, it is almost impossible not to feel some sadness about the human condition--the crazy brain, the endless desire, the fear of failure and death. A big part of the Buddha's path is to see the condition of our life clearly, and to feel the difficult emotions fully. (Remember that the 1st Noble Truth is about suffering. Jesus on the cross is the same message--life is hard! And then you die!) So you go into your grief, and after a while, the sadness over your own situation becomes a universal compassion and empathy for all suffering beings. That's when the grief starts to work its magic. As a great contemporary Buddhist poet, Rick Fields wrote in a haiku-like poem, "Heart broken. Open." The grief is the gate to the sublime state!!! Getting real! Rumi says something like, "Welcome the crowd of sorrows! Let them sweep your house clean! They may be preparing the way for some new joys!" You get the point. One more thing about grief. As I write in my book, The Big Bang..." where I really learned about grief was at a men's retreat with Robert Bly, James Hillman, Maladome Some, and Michael Meade. That part of the men's movement was emphasizing that men in our culture have so little ritual together, and also don't know how to grieve. We spent an entire week preparing a grieving ritual based on one from Maladome's West African tribe. By the end of it we (100 men) were all weeping like babies, and not just for our own sorrows, but for the sorrows of all incarnation. I never felt better in my life! The trick is to let yourself feel it. There are many methods for doing this. Find a practice and do it. I have some recommendations in an earlier book of mine called "Buddha's Nature." Good luck. Blessings to all... Scoopji
David Gans (tnf) Sat 19 Jul 03 22:24
> "Welcome the crowd of sorrows! Let them sweep your house clean! They may be > preparing the way for some new joys!" I like that. My own life experience has taught me that every kick in the ass is a shove in the right direction
David Gans (tnf) Sat 19 Jul 03 22:25
Off-WELL readers are invited to participate by sending questions or comments or koans to firstname.lastname@example.org We'll post 'em for you.
tambourine verde (barb-albq) Mon 21 Jul 03 09:57
Hello and it's been wonderful reading this topic. This point strikes home with me: >My sense of the religious fundamentalism and tribalism that we see everywhere in the world represents a last gasp of old traditions, a fearful retreat into stories that are losing their hold on humanity.< Perhaps in just communicating and visualizing we are in the midst of creating new stories and myths that will ultimately replace the old ones that are losing their power. Channeling signposts of things to come. It may be good to remember that anything on it's way out tends to fight the hardest to retain its old power. I thought of this song by Tracy Chapman when I read about the stories losing their hold. Especially the line about the need to make new symbols: New Beginning (1995) The whole world's broke and it ain't worth fixing It's time to start all over, make a new beginning There's too much pain, too much suffering Let's resolve to start all over make a new beginning Now don't get me wrong - I love life and living But when you wake up and look around at everything that's going down - All wrong You see we need to change it now, this world with too few happy endings We can resolve to start all over make a new beginning Start all over Start all over Start all over Start all over The world is broken into fragments and pieces That once were joined together in a unified whole But now too many stand alone - There's too much separation We can resolve to come together in the new beginning Start all over Start all over Start all over Start all over We can break the cycle - We can break the chain We can start all over - In the new beginning We can learn, we can teach We can share the myths the dream the prayer The notion that we can do better Change our lives and paths Create a new world and Start all over Start all over Start all over Start all over The whole world's broke and it ain't worth fixing It's time to start all over, make a new beginning There's too much fighting, too little understanding It's time to stop and start all over Make a new beginning Start all over Start all over Start all over Start all over We need to make new symbols Make new signs Make a new language With these we'll define the world And start all over Start all over Start all over Start all over ...
n (leroy) Mon 21 Jul 03 14:11
I'm curious to know more about how you managed to avoid being drafted by convincing the draft board you were insane. Have there been any consequences? And how does this kind of dishonesty square with your Buddhist ethics?
I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Mon 21 Jul 03 14:25
And I wonder if you'd say more about your epiphanies. You speak, towards the end of the book, about the value of ritual, and of Jack Kornfield convincing you to try one of Robert Bly's get-togethers. I've had similar experiences with coursework that parallel what you describe. The inital resistance, the willingness to let go of the cynicism, and the catharthis available. I, too, am a recovering cynic, and appreciate seeing myself in your writing.
Rip Van Winkle (keta) Mon 21 Jul 03 15:10
I don't suppose he said, "I'm lost in a Roman wilderness of pain, and all the children are insane." Re <57>, although I like that song, the "start all over" approach reminds me of an aspect of the 60's (and onward) that I don't feel comfortable with anymore, that in a way turned out itself to be a tired old story. To me, a big aspect of creating those new stories and myths is investigating the suppressed, outcast, broken stories and traditions, and also the "what did this really once intend to be?" aspect of the dominant and threatened stories.
Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Mon 21 Jul 03 17:53
Yo gang! This is fun, and I only wish I could see your faces, or do I? Anyway, Tamborine Verde, thanks for the Tracy Chapman song, "Start all over...." Unfortunately, that's a big order, and when you try to imagine a sustainable, harmonious society, just try to imagine how difficult it will be, even if you could convince the public to accept the vision. For instance, how do you decommision and replace the private automobile! The projects that many of us envision will take generations to implement, and that's only after the majority of people come around to see the need or feel the necessity of the change. So we plant our seeds, and do our work, and try to keep the faith that our visions will be realized someday. n Leroy? I got out of the draft by convincing a psychologist at the University of Minnesota that I had taken LSD and was having horrible flashbacks -- the ground would open up in front of me and I would be afraid to take another step. (By the way, the name of the psychologist was Dr. Dredge! No lie!) Anyway, the lie didn't conflict with my Buddhist values because I wasn't a Buddhist yet! But even if I had been, the primary principle of the Buddha is "do no harm," and I think refusing the military is more important than a little white (lightning)lie. RIP, I think the old stories all have value, but as time goes by they no longer speak to many of us, so they have to be reinterpreted to serve our spiritual needs. New metaphors or rituals have to be created. Jesus is great, but is he the only child of god, or is there another way to interpret what he said? Does his death save us? Do we still believe that literally, or is his suffering a message that we are all together in this difficult incarnation? Anyway, you get the idea. When I wrote about the men's retreat, I mentioned that we did rituals that sometimes spoke to me and at other times left me feeling cold or cynical. Strangely enough, it was a West African greiving ritual that really opened my heart. In recent years I seek out events that celebrate and mourn our common condition. Never pass up a funeral. Dance whenever you get the chance. Blessings to all. Scoopji
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Tue 22 Jul 03 09:03
There's a saying posted somewhere on the WELL (I think by tnf): "If you can talk, you can sing, if you can walk, you can dance." (Hope I got that right, it popped into my head when I read the end of your last paragraph, Scoopji.)
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 22 Jul 03 09:54
You know, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom" is a great title. You're mightly handy with phrases, Scoop, so it may have been effortless. But I'm curious -- did you reject other titles? Did your publisher have a hand in choosing it, as is so often the case?
David Gans (tnf) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:17
> "If you can talk, you can sing, if you can walk, you can dance." I believe that is an African proverb.
I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:32
And in English. Wow.
David Gans (tnf) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:42
Gail Williams (gail) Tue 22 Jul 03 10:45
It's supposedly from Zimbabwe, colonized by English speakers centuries ago, so the English version may well be in use there.
I'm on the Chet Atkins Diet. Pass the BBQ, please. (rik) Tue 22 Jul 03 11:44
David has my number.
tambourine verde (barb-albq) Tue 22 Jul 03 13:24
Re the changes, yes they may well take a long, long time, and all we can do is plant seeds within and without. But seed planting can be fun and worthwhile of course. And the Earth may rear back at some point and provide a moment that will speed things up in the minds and hearts of many.
Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Tue 22 Jul 03 15:28
Another great proverb, from somewhere in West Africa I believe: "When death comes, may it find you alive!" Amen, and women too. Yes, Gail, I came up with the title of my book, "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom." There may be an gene that selects for alliteration, but I always remember doing it. My publisher, HarperSanFrancisco is a great place (in spite of corporate conglom ownership) and does a lot of "spiritual titles." I was just on a panel with two other Harper Buddhist authors -- Joseph Goldstein (One Dharma) and Noah Levine (find three Jews in the Bay Area and you'll get at least 1 and a half Buddhists). Noah has written a book called "Dharma Punx" (in the same lineage as Dharma Bums) and he's started to teach gen x punk rockers and skateboarders about Buddhism. Says Noah, they wouldn't trust hearing about it from the hippies and boomers, but if you've got tattos and piercings and have been an addict, then you must know something. "The torch has been passed to a new generation of rebels..." Scoopji
Teleologically dyslexic (ceder) Tue 22 Jul 03 15:54
The concise paragraphs are very beguiling. This book is not intimidating at all--rather comforting as are your posts, Scoopji! ;-0
These are the days of miracle and wonder (tinymonster) Tue 22 Jul 03 17:31
All I can say about the title is that every time I see it, I want to add, "The Boy in the Bubble and the Baby with the Baboon Heart." ;)
wherever i go there you are (ggg) Tue 22 Jul 03 19:51
namaste, scoop-ji. your scrolls bring merit to the hallowed depths of this well, (where on some rare nights can be heard the sound of big-eyed fish leaping and snapping at flies). [i say "scrolls" 'cos of your refrain from using paragraphing (on my keyboard the key is marked "no returns" -- so maybe this too is buddhist : no returns ). (me, i just can't shift for myself.)] cld you tell those of us'n who couldn't attend bodily a little more about what was said @ the books-by-the-bay buddhist conference this weekend, sponsored by northern california independent booksellers association, amongst noah and you and joseph and (no emcee?) and anyone else who came out at 11 a.m. ? (if you remember; no matter.) [palms-joined]
a monor quibble (chrys) Wed 23 Jul 03 18:55
Today during the lunch hour, I got together with other interested persons to watch the documentary about Thich Nhat Hahn 'Peace is Every Step'. In the closing credits your name turned up. It reminded me how you seem to have a hand in so many projects. What are you working on now? (Besides sharing "The Big Bang, the Buddha, and the Baby Boom" with everyone.) What will you be working on shortly? And what would you like to be doing in 10 or 20 years?
Wes Scoop Nisker (scoopnisker) Thu 24 Jul 03 16:58
Palms joined to you too! What happened at our Buddhist panel at Books By The Bay was that we agreed that Buddhism has taken root in the heart of the beast (U.S. Out of North America!), and that people hear the teachings of the Buddha through their own cultural filters. Noah Levine was on the panel, and he just wrote a book about his journey from drug-addicted, incarcerated punk to "Dharma Punx" (title of his book) and he said that his generation of slackers and rebels rejected anything associated with hippies, so they couldn't hear about Buddhism from their elders, and he is now trying to teach them the beauty of Dharma, which he calls the Ulitmate Rebellion, against the tyranny inside of us as well as the tyranny outside. Anyway, the Buddha is alive and well in the U.S.A., and still smiling! Ms. Quibble, I don't really have my hand in so many projects. I just do journalism, and teach Buddhism, and the two happen to intersect a lot. I am hoping to do another book soon about the benefits and importance of embracing our nature "as" nature, and how to get intimate with our identity as mid-sized mammals. I am part of a growing movement that wants to adopt the story of evolution as our contemporary mythology, using it as a spiritual text and guide. As the Hindu sages used to say, pointing in all directions, "Thou art That!" Scoopji
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