Monday, 1 January 2018

和歌 January 2018

By Rory A.A. Hinton

January 01, 2018
Holding Buddha's whisk,
Dōgen Zenji swats at flies.
He never misses
killing words that buzz over
shit producing dharma-talk.

January 02, 2018
Sitting in silence
is all that is required.
Speaking is nonsense.
The true person spins the wheel,
alone in the abbot’s room.

January 03, 2018
Water bag of bones
always breathing on its own.
The mountain doner
grows fresh grass by the window.
Buffalo eats by moonlight.

January 04, 2018
Mazu’s “Lecturer!”
teaches the flipped sleeves Sutra.
Lecturer Liang
was never heard from again.
No such thing as heart and mind.

January 05, 2018
Shut the layman up
underneath the Xi River.
Pangyun's single gulp
eliminates everything.
Nothing left to write about.

January 06, 2018
Breath after breath breathes
Original Purity.
Breath after breath breathes
Original Purity.
Original Purity.

January 07, 2018
Mihu’s monastic
gets dragged into Yangshan’s shit,
without getting sick.
What is his enlightened trick?
He returns and then reports.

January 08, 2018
This old body sits
alone for the time being.
The cold clock strikes six.
Thirty minutes later on,
the singing bowl tolls for thee.

January 17, 2018
When the levee broke,
this man fled to the mountain.
Years later he spoke
up, higher and lighter now.
What he said doesn't matter.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

現代俳句 December 2017

By Rory A.A. Hinton

" color more Tibetan than Zen..."

December 2017

Friday December 01, 2017
Like father
Love son. 
So proud

Saturday December 02, 2017
Doc code
Hack her.
New view

Sunday December 03, 2017
Roar seventy
Four score. 
True blue

Monday December 04, 2017
First mount
Ton done. 
Last fast

Tuesday December 05, 2017
Old journal
Entry man.
Exit again

Wednesday December 06, 2017
Nose grind
Stone ground.
Many words

Thursday December 07, 2017
Cool monk
Man handle.
Aka hermit

Friday December 08, 2017
No documents
Slide showing.
Staying away

Saturday December 09, 2017
Very last
Day away.
Know way

Sunday December 10, 2017
Faithful fifty
Three vows.
Semper fidelis

Monday December 11, 2017
Northern Mountain
Order schedule.
Daily diligence

Tuesday December 12, 2017
Breathing thoughts
Without thinking.
Not unaware

Wednesday December 13, 2017
Trickster tries
Sitting schedule.
Physical humility

Thursday December 14, 2017
Office move
Pro exiting.
Next step

Friday December 15, 2017
All desires
Turn concrete.
Too slow

Saturday December 16, 2017
Transcribe words
Recorded reports.
Reluctant scribe

Sunday December 17, 2017
Let sleeping
Hermits lie.
Down here

Monday December 18, 2017
Relent less
Safety now.
Despite me

Tuesday December 19, 2017
Talking politically
Correct publically.
Private protection

Wednesday December 20, 2017
Phone call
Waiting back.
Never mind

Thursday December 21, 2017
Always kind
Behind view.
No matter

Friday December 22, 2017
Binge watch
Glitch fix.
All day

Saturday December 23, 2017
Cold gin
Time again.
Always win

Sunday December 24, 2017
Go lightly
Write her.
Of course

Monday December 25, 2017
Merton second
Vatican council.
Oriental theology

Tuesday December 26, 2017
Dog man
Best friend.
Holly dear

Wednesday December 27, 2017
Holed up
Side down.
Frosted flakes

Thursday December 28, 2017
Dried skin
Bone cold.
More heat

Friday December 29, 2017
Two minds
Think apart.
Old debate

Saturday December 30, 2017
Subject gate
Closed shut.
Man’s end

Sunday December 31, 2017
Merton magnificent
Maleficent matters.
Monastic mensch

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Why Do We Do This?

By Rory A.A. Hinton

I was raised as an agnostic. "No mind? No matter. No matter? Never mind." This sums up my attitude at the time. The only religious conversation I had with my father was at the dinner table one evening when I was a young boy. My mother had taught me a simple prayer that I was told to pray before each meal: "God is great. God is good. Let us thank Him for this food. Amen." I did what I was told. It eventually became more of a poem than a prayer for me. I liked the cadence of it, but that did not prevent me from wondering why I had to recite it.
     After I prayed this prayer before dinner this one evening, I asked my father, incredulously: "Why do we do this?" Only now (forty years later) do I understand the wisdom not only of his response to my question, but of my parent's decision to have me continually pray (meal after meal) in the first place. He looked at me and said, insightfully: "Fine. We won't pray anymore."
     I lived as a spiritual materialist from my late youth to my early adulthood. This was a form of rebellion against my agnostic upbringing (Curious George was my spirit animal growing up, so my monkey mind was in high gear). An interviewer once asked Jung near the end of his life whether he now believed in God. Jung answered: "Now? Difficult to answer. I know. I don't need to believe. I know." I wanted to know like Jung.
     After ten years of living as a Gnostic Christian, my early agnostic roots got the very best of what I thought was me. Curiously enough, it was Jung's "Forward" to Suzuki's Introduction To Zen Buddhism that woke me up out of my Gnostic slumber. From here, it was only a small step from realizing the illusion of God to realizing the illusion of Ego. These illusions long contained in the thought-cluttered bucket named 'Rory' kept me from all that we need and from all that we love.
     I took this best of steps at the worst of times in my life. I had finished a Ph.D and started an academic career. However, I could not find full-time academic work. All I could do was teach courses on a part-time basis for a fraction of a tenured salary. The struggle to make a living in the career of my choice, coupled with my maddening confusion over just what this "I" was, drove me to literally sit and do nothing. The bottom of the bucket was on the verge of bursting.
     During this time I read Kapleau's The Three Pillars Of Zen. This introduced me to the practice of shikantaza. I sat shikantaza on my own until I started sitting at a local Zen Center. This experience was instructive, but not long lived. My wife at the time was resentful toward me practicing Zen at the center, and did not want me to practice there any longer. I had to make a choice. I was married with three children. Loving them was my top priority. I wrote the Roshi at the Zen Center and said that I would not be sitting with the sangha any longer because of my situation at home. He wrote me back a very short letter. It was to the point. He wrote: "You are obviously not ready." He knew.
     Not long after this my marriage ended in a very difficult divorce. The experience left me bankrupt (in every way). I was without hope. As I sat in this hopeless hopelessness I read (and read) Trungpa's Crazy Wisdom and felt freedom for the first time in my life. The insight that to have no hope is to have no fear, and to have no fear is to be free, eventually led me to practice at a local Shambhala Center. However, as I sat at the center, I started to feel like I was missing something. What is there to miss? This gave me serious pause. It was a form of longing that I was not unaware of, but could not clearly determine.
     As I sat in the foyer of the Shambhala Center one evening before a scheduled sitting, an older and seasoned member of the sangha noticed that I was wearing mala beads. He looked at me and asked: "Do you wear those for fashion or for practice?" This felt like a fatal blow from a Zen master's stick. For one brief shining moment time stopped. My answer was as impetuous as his question. Without thinking I answered: "Both." I did not know who or what was speaking, but the form of longing that troubled me was clearly determined. I realized that what I was missing was the sitting style of cool boredom found within the Zen tradition. His use of 'fashion' made me think of 'style.' At that moment style and practice became one. I had to experience another style of practice in order to figure out what was best for me.



     What do I mean by "best"? The best answer I can give is to say that zazen (single-minded sitting) in the Zen tradition makes me feel grounded in basic goodness. This is a commentary on my history, of course. It is what it is. And part of this history consists in my discovery of Dōgen in the midst of the various life experiences that I briefly describe above. This feeling is therefore not fleeting, but founded on and informed by Dōgen's demonstration of the dharma. His Zen is the threadless red thread that threads through the fabric of my life, providing wise guidance as the endless ensō of it is so continues on, to the point of death and beyond (history indicates that Dōgen died in the zazen posture).
   "On the great road of buddha ancestors there is always unsurpassable practice, continuous and sustained. It forms the circle of the way and is never cut off. Between aspiration, practice, enlightenment, and nirvana, there is not a moment’s gap; continuous practice is the circle of the way. This being so, continuous practice is unstained, not forced by you or others. The power of this continuous practice confirms you as well as others. It means your practice affects the entire earth and the entire sky in the ten directions. Although not noticed by others or by yourself, it is so."
     These words of Dōgen remind me of the wisdom behind my parent's decision to have me experience the continual practice of praying. There was a method to my parent's madness here (whether noticed on their part or not): it was only through this experience that I was ready and able to ask my father about its significance, and willing to hear the answer he gave me. And it is only now, after experiencing all of the methodological madness of my life up to this point, that I lovingly approach (day after day) the gateless gate of the Great Matter and ask, ironically: Why do we do this?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

和歌 December 2017

By Rory A.A. Hinton

December 2017

Sunday December 10, 2017
Have you come to stay?
Yes, Sister, if you’ll have me. 
Solitude: the way
to die and to love again
while sitting doing nothing.

Tuesday December 12, 2017
Why do we do this?
Fine. We won’t pray anymore.
Following my bliss ...
full of thanks for my father,
who knew what he was doing.

Wednesday December 13, 2017
Escape is at hand
for the vanishing manic.
His last grain of sand
drops down the bound hourglass
of public obscurity.

Thursday December 14, 2017
With her coy chuckle
my singing chambermaid left.
She wasn’t subtle:
checking out hours before
all my desires became.

Friday December 15, 2017
Why? What did he do?
He legislated our world.
The poets who knew
followed this Trans-Canada
highway, fully, completely.

Saturday December 23, 2017
The bell tolls for thee,
binary identity.
The death of god, the
illusion of the ego:
hymns to the empty silence.

Sunday December 24, 2017
Return to the real,
the only is what it is.
This star-gazer feels
blooming under the night sky.
There never was you and I.

Monday December 25, 2017
Practice like you are
saving your head from fire?
Practicing afar:
shaving the hidden dragon
fire burning through the skull. 

Thursday, 30 November 2017

現代俳句 November 2017

By Rory A.A. Hinton

November 2017

Wednesday November 01, 2017
Java doc
Her code.
His mode

Thursday November 02, 2017
Virtual vision
Field glitch.
White world

Friday November 03, 2017
Buddha pest
Control bored.
Stiff back

Saturday November 04, 2017
Floor bored
Nails polish.
Jagged edge

Sunday November 05, 2017
Passenger seats
Changing greets.
Vanishing row

Monday November 06, 2017
Winter wind
Blowing in.
Side angle

Tuesday November 07, 2017
Give back
Track more.
Bliss fully

Wednesday November 08, 2017
Another one
Gone good.
Brief impact

Thursday November 09, 2017
Document method
Madness drama. 
Quietly delivered

Friday November 10, 2017
Facing fears
Cheers ears.
Word talking

Saturday November 11, 2017
Bow man
Ville chill.
Buds bloom

Sunday November 12, 2017
Lost pass
Word found.
Good eye

Monday November 13, 2017
Ad hoc
Key ring.
Bell tolls

Tuesday November 14, 2017
Silent adoration
Working humility.
Daily practice

Wednesday November 15, 2017
Sworn silent
Greetings off.
Leaving alone

Thursday November 16, 2017
New seeds
Sown now.
How timely

Friday November 17, 2017
Bald dragon
Den father.
This works

Saturday November 18, 2017
Build fortress
Around town.
Teen dreams

Sunday November 19, 2017
Shaved clean
Start again. 
Grow slow

Monday November 20, 2017
Stone cold
Temp drop.
Stop crop

Tuesday November 21, 2017
Drop hint
On point.
Stop shop

Wednesday November 22, 2017
Net worth
More gain.
Pain game

Thursday November 23, 2017
Virgin above
Viper below.
Know show

Friday November 24, 2017
Old friend
Birth day. 
In fashion

Saturday November 25, 2017
Solitary work
Week ends.
Inside job

Sunday November 26, 2017
Bright white
Light night. 
Thank you

Monday November 27, 2017
Home work
Out more.
Body mind

Tuesday November 28, 2017
Angel breaks
Free dome. 
Flat heaven

Wednesday November 29, 2017
Own worst
Enemy it.
Pass by

Thursday November 30, 2017
Entering into
Great Silence.
Night office

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Heidegger Files

By Rory A.A. Hinton

Sein Und Zeit - Signed First Edition

"It is rather the darkest of all." (Martin Heidegger)

I recently finished binge watching The X-Files on Netflix. It took me two weeks to get through it. Xbox Gold rewarded my obsessive effort with a virtual trophy. Nice. What started out as a way to spend some spare time ended up as a nostalgic indulgence.
     My late father introduced me to the show when it first aired twenty three years ago. Watching it was one of the few things we did together. He later confessed to me that his commitment to it had less to do with his interest in science fiction, and more to do with his love of Gillian Anderson. Like father, like son.



     He did, however, tell me that the X-Files were real files. I wanted to believe. So I did. Instilling in me the belief that the show was more science than fiction, that Mulder and Scully were actually dramatizing real events cataloged in top secret government files, has been the inspiration behind my ever evolving reconnaissance mission to seek the truth out there, wherever and whatever it might be: "Supposing truth is a woman - what then?" (Friedrich Nietzsche).
     The tenth episode of the seventh season of The X-Files is entitled "Sein Und Zeit" (Being And Time). It was written as the first of  a two-part segment that reveals what happened to Mulder's sister Samantha. It is one of many episodes that informs the narrative arch of the alien-conspiracy mythology.

Fox And Samantha


     The title of the episode intrigued me. I first read Martin Heidegger's Sein Und Zeit as an undergraduate philosophy major. It left its mark on me. Over the years I have come back to this book and read it through new eyes each time (these days they are decidedly pragmatic). Richard Rorty's summation of Heidegger's significance sums up my present attitude: "Heideggerese is Heidegger's gift to us, not Being's gift to Heidegger."
     This is a pragmatic way of saying that Heidegger's worth is in the language he has given us in Being And Time ("Heideggerese") to get things intentionally done in the world, rather than using "Platonese" to leave things ineffably undone (supposedly) elsewhere. So much the worse for Platonic onto-theology: "Christianity is Platonism for the masses." (Friedrich Nietzsche).
     One of the things I wanted to get done after I watched episode ten was to determine if (and how) Heidegger's philosophy in Sein Und Zeit influenced the writers'/producers' decision to call it what they did. I am not the first person to think about this. But all that I could find online was an acknowledgement by a serious X-Files fansite that the connection between Heidegger's book and the title of the episode was something left unanswered. At least it was asked.
     Heidegger's philosophy is a modern commentary on the ancient claim made by Heraclitus that "all is flux." What distinguishes Being And Time in the history of Western philosophy is the emphasis that it places on the word 'all'. To be in the world (being) is to continually become in a world of constant change, a world that is experienced as the indefinitely continued progress of events (time), and grounded in primordial temporality (history). So, to be in the world is to be in history (and no where else). This is true of all that is (without exception). Michel Foucault's important insight that we are all "historically condemned to history" is nothing but a footnote to Heidegger (who did not mind the condemnation).



     With this in mind, my guess about the title is that the key to understanding Mulder's "Closure" (the title of the second part of this segment) about Samantha is found in his recognition that her death is a tragic end, but that it does not occur through alien means. As he comes to terms with the recent death of his mother, this discovery about Samantha plays a central part of what it means for him to be in the world. He finds peace at this stage of the story by letting go of his conspiratorial quest for a more-than-natural answer to Samantha's human-all-too-human disappearance. Like Heidegger, he accepts his condemnation without complaint.
     "Heideggerese" has helped me gain descriptive closure over the death of my father. Writing this essay in his memory certainly makes this process easier. But such closure does not close the door on the mystery of being in the world (whether that includes the disappearance of your sister or the demise of your father). In the end we still must face the question of the Being of beings, the "darkest of all." This is the real X-File.

Albert Hinton (1934-2011)

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

現代俳句 October 2017

By Rory A.A. Hinton

October 2017

Sunday October 01, 2017
Dignified grave
Site preserved.
Protective shade

Monday October 02, 2017
Sun shine
Shot seen.
Hoop her

Tuesday October 03, 2017
Sitting still
Moving up.
Time being

Wednesday October 04, 2017
Dead on
Arrive all.
Flat line

Thursday October 05, 2017
Last call
Mall meal.
Table duty

Friday October 06, 2017
Bud wise
Her wisdom.
Con federate

Saturday October 07, 2017
Space time
Being station.
Strange image

Sunday October 08, 2017
Fire place
Trace light.
Entire night

Monday October 09, 2017
Nothing left
Over eating.
Boring cuisine

Tuesday October 10, 2017
Don’t fuck
Things up.
Stay down

Wednesday October 11, 2017
Six years
Ago today.
Daily grind

Thursday October 12, 2017
Savaged beauty
Secretly returns.
Fashionable life

Friday October 13, 2017
My physical
Death wish.
Be ready

Saturday October 14, 2017
Never knowing
You completely.
Knew suggestion

Sunday October 15, 2017
Bathurst hill
Battle weary.
Life cycles

Monday October 16, 2017
Final season
Ending race.
Eighty eight

Tuesday October 17, 2017
Bivalent effort
Less mess.
Still valiant

Wednesday October 18, 2017
Ex on
Her ate.
Me oui

Thursday October 19, 2017
Thank you
Too much.
Video booth

Friday October 20, 2017
Some times
Two love.
Strange her

Saturday October 21, 2017
Stranger things
Change places.
Best memories

Sunday October 22, 2017
Home base
Ball game.
Last season

Monday October 23, 2017
Sitting zazen
Reading Dogen.
Nothing more

Tuesday October 24, 2017
Body breaking
Down window.
Falling apart

Wednesday October 25, 2017
Amount two
Nothing much.
Cube tube

Thursday October 26, 2017
Bodhi dharma
Bum life.
Idle idling

Friday October 27, 2017
Do nothing
Burger king.
Brother bling

Saturday October 28, 2017
Only #poetry
Hash tag.
White flag

Sunday October, 29, 2017
Sharp pain
Dulls brain.
Can’t ignore

Monday October, 30, 2017
Virtual rain
Drops falling.
Movie music

Tuesday October, 31, 2017
Account ant
Man machine.
Tour ended.