Westernized Neo-Buddhism is eager at every opportunity to point out that Self is maya, an apparition, while the doctrine of no-self, anatta, is an early gleaned fruit on the path. I think this is both wrong and an incomplete interpretation. In truth, the conception of Self is evolving, and must do so more, especially now. This is the openly secret message behind the radical Gospel indication of I AM, most clearly evidenced in John. There are stages of I-ness which unfurl to the aspirant, qualities shed and cultivations added. A faucet spills liquid ceaselessly in a theater of consciousness. First we are the water; then with considerable effort we may become the faucet; perhaps later still the force of will which regulates the whole meshugina. But this is still only a beginning… Happy Easter!
My solo evening meal at one of Leonard Cohen’s favorite haunts. Perhaps the main reason why I came was to figure out why I came…
[ Parc du Portugal, in the evening ; Leonard Cohen as an almost-young upstart, from his first album cover circa 1968 ; Moishe’s Rumanian ambience ; Leonard Cohen as an old upstart, performing in London to wide acclaim, aged 75. ]
In centuries recently past, but not before men’s memory, deeply haunting and evocative calls echoed over valleys between adjacent hills, under the wing of night in the rural countryside of central Slovakia. The shepherds who loosed these sounds, it is told, communicated observations about wolves numbers and directions to others of their trade. Sometimes five kilometers their informative melodies would traverse. And an art form grew from this, the shepherd musicians soothing one another and flocks alike in the loneliness of the dark central European nights. Whether this legend was ‘true’ no long mattered to me when first I came across it; I knew I had to go there.
[ 3 fujarists under a crystal sky ; Details of traditional fujara decorative carvings ; Young musician integrating an alto fujara into her performance art ; Dushan Holik, selling his musical wares ]
We don’t remember conversations in full tableau. Instead, glistening moments, a bluesy vignette, a mere phrase filled with undisclosed meaning. They shine like supernovae across our lifespan, persistently prodding us to mine their significance with each new contemplation. Gifts which keep on giving.
I think on biographies often of late. Not that I read them much, just occasionally. I’m more attracted to imagining the life maps of people I’ve crossed paths with, sometimes in major encounters but just as likely in subtle, ephemeral ways, like when a billiard ball kisses another in passing on a pool table. As experience grows, so does the depth of meaning one becomes able to infer from these encounters. It was such an imagination which caused to me look up an old high school teacher not long ago…
The first two photos are snaps of the infrequently seen (for me) Chestnut-Sided Warbler. The image on the right is an American Redstart, somewhat more common (for me). Click to enlarge. Both are North American warblers and both paid me a visit on my morning walk today.
Pretty much I don’t do re-blogging, though I love lots of blog sites. This place is for me; what I think, and what I create. But this wonderful overview of the present technology-mediated crisis Western (and now global) culture is ensnared within — is simply too good and too important not to draw attention to. I hope and wish that some will listen to this short talk, which was given three days ago in Vancouver, and think about it. (Thank you if you do!) This person is “one who knows”, but is practically devoid of egotism.
This 3-minute musical snippet is an improvisation from about eight years ago. Entirely spur-of-the-moment, in the living room, and thus the recording is absolutely low tech. Two musicians, both amateurs. Mon amie is playing a hang, a Swiss innovation, which uses the sides and tips of the fingers to sound resonating metallic ringing tones. I’m playing a digital keyboard which had been set to emulate a zither. What unites these two instruments, an uncommon duo, is the scale they are tuned to. More on that after having a listen…
Introducing a new series of related articles describing some factual events in my life.