Thursday, 17 April 2014

The Origin of Morality

The sky above us is filled with worlds we know nothing about. A century of science fiction obscured the fact that we'd never confirmed a single planet beyond our own solar system until 1995. That was a gas giant, just over the county line in Pegasus, 300,000,000,000,000 miles away. It took another fourteen years to find one remotely like Earth. (Gliese 581 d; an estimated 40,000,000,000 other terric worlds are yet to be detected.) By that night, as I stood in the barnyard, we'd logged nearly a thousand. Carry the 3… comes to functionally none. We need to know this.

Humans are ignorant. Cœlenterate ignorant. Morality is remembering that.

(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson. Photo of 51 Pegasi, the sun around which the first-ever confirmed extrasolar world orbits, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Percy Meza.)

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

WW: Grilled butterflies


(Fresh-dug that day.)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Love Testimony

Nichtmeinurmel It's human to love the things that support us. I thought of Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend Wilson. I hadn't named my walking stick, which in any case had no mind beyond the reflection of my own, but the image made me laugh.

We judge love of objects crazy, childish, or most damning of all: sentimental. Of course, we say the same thing about love of people. All dependence is weakness now. But it's what got us here in the first place.

And so I say, love away. Equating indifference with strength has brought nothing but decay. Love built us. I won't apologise for it.

(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and a generous photographer.)

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

WW: Riding high

(M/V Corella Arrow)

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Walk-The-Walk Kyôsaku

Zori "One day a myoko-nin [wandering hermit monk] was traveling and he stopped in a Buddhist temple overnight. He went up to the sanctuary where they have big cushions for the priests to sit on, and he arranged the cushions in a pile on the floor and went to sleep on them. In the morning the priest came in and saw the tramp sleeping and said, 'What are you doing here desecrating the sanctuary by sleeping on the cushions and so on, right in front of the altar?' And the myoko-nin looked at him in astonishment and said, 'Why, you must be a stranger here, you can't belong to the family.'"

Alan Watts

(Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons and Ken Funakoshi.)

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

WW: Coast Guard patrol boat


(U.S. Coast Guard Marine Protector Class Cutter USCGC ADELIE
[WPB 87333].)

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Sangha

Mountain ango requires sangha. That's sangha, in the Buddhic sense: support, not supervision. In a better world Zen centres would supply this, but attached as they are to permission and rank, they seldom try. It takes comrades who know how long a day is; the dangers and fears; and why you must face them. Fellow hermits who will hit their mark, and whose response to a cry for help won't be to urge you to quit.

Show me a brother who wants to sit on the mountain, and I'll show up with the pickles. I'll help him prepare, visit reliably, and respect his vow. If he goes missing, I'll hike out and find his arse.

Because that takes a hermit. Backing without bullying. Assistance without control. Sangha. If the eremitical path can be reopened in the West, it will require that kind of brotherhood.


(Adapted from 100 Days on the Mountain, copyright RK Henderson.)
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