Hopelessness means that we no longer have the spirit for holding our trip together. We may still want to hold our trip together. We long to have some reliable, comfortable ground under our feet, but we’ve tried a thousand ways to hide and a thousand ways to tie up all the loose ends, and the ground just keeps moving under us. Trying to get lasting security reaches us a lot, because if we never try to do it, we never notice that it can’t be done. Turning our minds toward the dharma speeds up the process of discovery. At every turn we realize once again that it’s completely hopeless — we can’t get any ground under our feet.
The difference between theism and nontheism is not whether one does or does not believe in God. It is an issue that applies to everyone, including both Buddhists and non-Buddhists. Theism is a deep-seated conviction that there’s some hand to hold: if we just do the right things, someone will appreciate us and take care of us. It means thinking there’s always going to be a babysitter available when we need one. We all are inclined to abdicate our responsibilities and delegate our authority to something outside ourselves. Nontheism is relaxing with the ambiguity and uncertainty of the present moment without reaching for anything to protect ourselves. We sometimes think that dharma is something outside of ourselves — something to believe in, something to measure up to. However, dharma isn’t a belief; it isn’t dogma. It is total appreciation of impermanence and change. The teachings disintegrate when we try to grasp them. We have to experience them without hope. Many brave and compassionate people have experienced them and taught them. The message is fearless; dharma was never meant to be a belief that we blindly follow. Dharma gives us nothing to hold on to at all.
Nontheism is finally realizing that there’s no babysitter that you can count on. You just get a good one and then he or she is gone. Nontheism is realizing that it’s not just babysitters that come and go. The whole of life is like that. This is the truth, and the truth is inconvenient.
— Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Boston: Shambhala, 1997), pp. 39f.
Survivors [of domestic and sexual violence] don’t tend to go to faith communities for help… Clergy have not been their allies. There’s not a history of support. Where else do they go? — Victoria Ferguson, founder of Kindred Moxie, a faith-based domestic violence advocacy network in Atlanta. Source: Catherine Woodiwiss, “‘I Believe You:’ The Silence and the Shame of Sexual Violence in Church,” God’s Politics Blog, Sojourners (May 3, 2013).
My hut lies in the middle of a dense forest;
Every year the green ivy grows longer.
No news of the affairs of men,
Only the occasional song of a woodcutter.
The sun shines and I mend my robe;
When the moon comes out I read Buddhist poems.
I have nothing to report, my friends.
If you want to find the meaning, stop chasing after so many things. — Ryokan. From John Stevens (tr.), One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan (Boston: Weatherhill, 2006, c1977), p. 43.
(via First Official Poster For ‘The Trials of Muhammad Ali’ Is A Tidal Wave Of Red | Shadow and Act)
We’ve noticed, number one, that these individuals develop what we call “self-mistrust.” It’s a view of yourself that you can’t always rely on yourself, that you’re not always there in the ways you need to be, and others, of course, tell you all the time, you’re not responsible, you’re not coming through when you need to. The anxiety comes up especially in performance situations, so these individuals have tremendous social anxiety, because they’re afraid they’re going to blow it in social situations, and they have tremendous anxiety around performance, either work or school. The depression eventually comes in after repeated failure and repeated loss without compensatory successes. If you’re not succeeding, most of the time, at whatever you’re doing, eventually you become depressed. — Tony Rostain, Medical Director of the University of Pennsylvania Adult ADHD Treatment and Research Program and professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, responding to a question about the connections between adult ADHD, anxiety, and depression. “ADHD in adults,” Voices in the Family, WHYY (June 20, 2011). Quoted portion begins at 11’21”.
And Y deme, that the passiouns of this tyme ben not worthi to the glorie to comynge, that schal be schewid in vs. For the abidyng of creature abidith the schewyng of the sones of God. But the creature is suget to vanyte, not willynge, but for hym that made it suget in hope; for the ilke creature schal be delyuered fro seruage of corrupcioun in to liberte of the glorie of the sones of God. And we witen, that ech creature sorewith, and trauelith with peyne til yit. And not oneli it, but also we vs silf, that han the first fruytis of the spirit, and we vs silf sorewen with ynne vs for the adopcioun of Goddis sonys, abidynge the ayenbiyng of oure bodi. But bi hope we ben maad saaf. For hope that is seyn, is not hope; for who hopith that thing, that he seeth? — Romans 8.18-24, Wycliffe translation.
Khaled tried to read the names on the Marines’ uniforms when they entered the house, “but they were covered with blood,” he said. “Their hands and vests were soaked in blood. They only wanted revenge. When they came, I could see tears in their eyes. When they left, they were laughing.”
“They are barbarians,” added Yusuf, Khaled’s uncle, the only surviving brother of the victims. “We wish they never had come… The injustice is a bigger crime than the crime itself, and now we know for sure justice will never be done.” — Khaled and Yusuf Anizi, family members of four of the civilians killed by U.S. Marines at Haditha (November 19, 2005), remembering the events of that day. Source: Liz Sly, “Civilian deaths at root of U.S.-Iraqi disconnect,” The Washington Post (Dec. 10, 2011).
Johnny Cash’s to-do list (via Lists of Note). This piece of paper sold for $6400 in December, 2010 at Julien’s Auctions.
This poster is hand-drawn… Slick, right?
A few blocks from my house. Curious about what goes on in here
My favorite short Latin poem: Catullus, XIII.
(Source: babybrando, via lab111)
Anselm Kiefer: Aschenblume, 2004 - oil, acrylic and emulsion on canvas (private collection)
Ever wonder what happens to the pontifical Twitter feed when the Pope abdicates? Now we know.
(via WomCam whiteboards hit Rad Cam in radical revolution | The Tab Oxford)