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Responding to Hend Amry

Sunday, September 3rd, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — yes, we can feel for Muslim victims as we do in a different register for their persecutors, Buddhists untethered from their moorings ]
.

I must respond:

Yes, the core, the deepest stratum of being — zen’s “original face” == the soul goes out. Whether heart and mind follow is variable, utterly human, as you observe.

**

Readings:

  • Washington Post, Hundreds are dead in Burma as the Rohingya crisis explodes again
  • Human Rights Watch, Burma: Satellite Images Show Massive Fire Destruction
  • Hunger, in the closing lines of a poem

    Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — of the space race and children unborn, hungry ]
    .

    Here are the closing lines of the poem, The Earth is a Satellite of the Moon, by Leonel Rugama:

    The children of the people of Acahaulinca, because of hunger,
    are not born
    they hunger to be born, only to die of hunger.
    Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the moon.

    I find these lines quite striking.

    Rugama’s moon is a bleak moon, but that’s a function of Rugama’s comparison of the cost of moon shots with the fate of generations hungry in Acahaulinca, wherever that is. I can point you to the moon, though — with the mandatory zen caution.

    Ouroboros, btw.

    Face toward the wall

    Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Hezekiah’s Bodhidharma Zen? ]
    .

    Bodhidharma sat in meditation nine years facing the cave wall, so we have heard.

    Fly fishing with Trump, Priebus and Suzuki Roshi

    Saturday, July 29th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — or fly swatting, fly watching, in white house and zendo ]
    .

    Trump once summoned Priebus to kill a fly in Oval Office: report

    A source told The Washington Post that once during an Oval Office meeting, a fly began buzzing around Trump’s head, distracting him. Trump eventually summoned Priebus and told him to kill the fly. As a senior White House staffer, the chief of staff would not ordinarily be tasked with such matters.

    **

    I was going to write something about the fly being the buzzing, distracting thought that disturbs the quiet of meditation — but hey, I’m not a zen master, I just play one, as the saying goes..

    Shunryu Suzuki, om the other hand, just might be the real thing, and in his book Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, on pp 68-69 he leaves the question of the fly open:

    A real-life situation not unlike the trolley problem

    Saturday, July 22nd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — a koan for our western world ]
    .

    This description of a patient with an aneurysm is from British neurosurgeon Henry Marsh‘s book, Do No Evil, excerpted here:

    If we did nothing the patient might eventually suffer a haemorrhage which would probably cause a catastrophic stroke or kill her. But then she might die years away from something else without the aneurysm ever having burst. She was perfectly well at the moment, the headaches for which she had had the scan were irrelevant and had got better. The aneurysm had been discovered by chance. If I operated I could cause a stroke and wreck her – the risk of that would probably be about four or ?ve per cent. So the acute risk of operating was roughly similar to the life­time risk of doing nothing. Yet if we did nothing she would have to live with the knowledge that the aneurysm was sitting there in her brain and might kill her any moment.

    **


    The trolley problem: should you pull the lever to divert the runaway trolley onto the side track?

    **

    What would Jesus do?

  • neurosurgery?
  • trolley?
  • What would Bodhidharma do?
    What would Solomon do?
    Can we really transport ourselves that far back in time and that far across in culture?
    What would the outcome be if Somerset Maugham were telling this tale?
    What would you do?

    I am so thankful I am not a neurosurgeon.

    Zen (ie dhyana, ch’an, not Mark!) is supposed, somehow — via koan practice — to prepare you for situations like the neurosurgical one described above.

    That brings salvation vividly into the here and now.


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