our heroes within – 57th day

Our heroes must be summoned from within. It’s up to us to put them to work and to learn how to save ourselves. 

sunset

“People …like the idea of someone with special powers watching over us, ready to intervene in a crisis and keep us safe from dark forces. The Buddha…spoke of ‘the two bright qualities [that] protect the world’ (dve sukka dhamma lokam palenti—Anguttara Nikaya 2.9). These are Hiri, or conscience, and Ottappa, our respect for others. …

“Today, …the greatest dangers we face now erupt from within our own hearts: human greed, hatred, and delusion, the arch villains that cause so many real-world problems. Greed, the powerful impulse to snatch whatever it can, will take even life itself from the defenseless. Hatred drives us to do unspeakable things to those we view as other. And delusion, so willingly embraced, smothers any insight that might arise about the danger we’re in or the harm we may do. The twin guardians are the crucial allies we have to foil their plots.

“The first hero, Hiri, can be thought of as conscience or self-respect. She… flies into our mental world at the moment when we are considering doing something that we know deep down to be wrong. Hiri is our personal sense of ethical integrity, our moral compass, our intuitive understanding of what is right and wrong, what’s appropriate and what isn’t. She is not a severe critic but a soft, caring voice whispering in our ear and guiding us through our lives with courage and compassion. She saves us from the demons lurking within and stands beside us when we say, ‘No, that is just not right. I will not do it (or say it or think it).’

“Her intrepid ally Ottappa is the elemental force of caring for others and respecting their concerns. It appears on the scene when we’re tempted to do something that is against the laws of propriety, is outside the social norm, or would be condemned by the people we respect. Ottappa draws its strength from the fact that we are social creatures who belong to a family or community, and that our actions are rooted in and accountable to a larger collective order.

“…The Buddha said [Hiri and Ottappa] guard the world, protecting it from getting broken by the onslaught of the worst parts of ourselves. Without them people could act like beasts, ravaging even their own mothers. We all know what atrocities human beings are capable of. For so many victims, Hiri and Ottappa do not always show up in time, held at bay by their nemeses, Ahiri (lack of conscience) and Anottappa (lack of respect). These two anti-heroes are present every time a harmful, cruel, or ignorant deed is done, blocking out the benevolent effects of conscience and respect.

“Fortunately Hiri and Ottappa have other friends, including Sati, or mindfulness, who goes first into every fray and summons the team into action. Sati is conscious awareness of what is happening right now, and Ahiri and Anottappa can only function when such awareness is absent. When people do harm to themselves and others, they are often not aware of what they are doing. They are conscious enough to act, but not conscious enough to be aware of the quality of their actions or of their consequences. Whenever a person musters even a degree of mindfulness, conscience and respect arrive there too, helping them do, say, and think what is helpful rather than what is harmful…”

cited: Andrew Olendzik, Guardians of the World Tricycle, Fall 2017

Nikon D750 f/8 1/50s 145mm 400 ISO

edited in Capture One 20 and Photoshop

this is because that is

Stay at Home Order … day 30 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

shadow

everything is connected by causality … and if nothing else, Covid-19 is waking us up to the fact that we are all connected

Brian Boucher, CNN These ancient images of the Buddha are more timely than you think

if one comes across a person who has been shot by an arrow, one does not spend time wondering about where the arrow came from, or the caste of the individual who shot it, or analyzing what type of wood the shaft is made of, or the manner in which the arrowhead was fashioned.  Rather, one should focus on immediately pulling out the arrow.

~ The Buddha

spring

Life is short; it must not be spend in endless metaphysical speculations which will not be able to bring us the Truth.

Andres Hedman, Consciousness from a Broad Perspective
sunset april 23, 2020

“The Buddha’s teachings can be read on many levels … at a fundamental level, all the storytelling was a way of conveying ethical values. One of them is the peaceful coexistence of all life forms, which is very germane today. We’ve wandered dangerously far from that principle in the era of climate change. Referring to the seated Buddha sculpture in San Francisco, which is inscribed with the message that all things are connected by causality (in contrast with the deterministic belief that our fate is out of our hands)… What [the Awakened One] saw when he woke up is that things don’t happen by chance, that everything is connected by causality … and if nothing else, Covid-19 is waking us up to the fact that we are all connected.”

Brian Boucher, CNN These ancient images of the Buddha are more timely than you think

All images created with a Nikon D750

sunset april 23, 2020: f/5.6 1/500 42mm 400 ISO

basketball court: f/5.8 1/800 100mm 400 ISO

spring blossoms: f/5.6 1/160s 300mm 400 ISO

a snakealope

Stay at Home Order … day 19 plus 14 seclusion retreat days

snakealope…the emptiness of non-existent or an existence dependent upon the union of a tree log and a set of horns?

five types of emptiness:

  • The emptiness of what did not exist before, pre-existence.
    • the lack of yogurt in milk
  • The emptiness of what does not exist upon being destroyed, post-existence
    • the lack of milk in yogurt
  • The emptiness of the utterly non-existent, non-existence
    • the lack of horns on a rabbit’s head*
  • The emptiness of one not existing in the other, exclusion
    • the emptiness of an ox in a horse
  • The emptiness of entityness,** separate self existence
    • non-inherent existence of all phenomena

*The jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore (a fearsome critter) described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns. The word jackalope is a portmanteau of jackrabbit and antelope. … The Wyoming Legislature has considered bills to make the jackalope the state’s official mythological creature. For additional information regarding Wyoming’s jackalope, visit Jackalopes of Wyoming – Myth or Reality?

**Entityness is meant to suggest something that is capable of independent existence.

The emptiness of entityness is like the nonexistence of a human in a cairn that is mistaken from a distance to be a human.

To reflect upon the human body, sensations, sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, thinking, and consciousness one finds each of these are dependent upon contact; for example, ears, bird’s song, and hearing consciousness.

Recommended readings:

D S Lopez, Jr. The Heart Sutra Explained

Red Pine, The Heart Sutra

Thich Nhat Hanh, The Other Shore

cee’s photo challenge: birds

Nikon D750 f/1.8 1/2000s 35mm 200 ISO

Canadian Geese demonstrating social distancing while reclaiming their freedom to wander…where ever.

Combining Jeff’s isolation project and Cee’s black and white photo challenge: birds with my 30-day photo assignment – same lens camera wide open.

Speaking of Canada,  the band Steppenwolf was formed in Toronto, and have always been regarded as pioneers of Canadian rock.

Please be safe. Breathe, smile, and seek out factual, non-emotive, and reliable information resources…

30 day assignment: same lens…camera wide open (3)

winterwalk

Nikon D750… f/1.8 1/800s 35mm 200 ISO

“FRIDAY MORNING, 9 O’CLOCK. People complain about how dark it is in the mornings. But this is often the best time of my day, when the dawn peers grey and silent into my pale windows. Then my bright little table lamp becomes a blazing spotlight and floods over the big black shadow of my desk. … This morning I am wonderfully peaceful. Just like a storm that spent itself. I have noticed that this always happens following days of intense inner striving after clarity, birth pangs with sentences and thoughts that refuse to be born and make tremendous demands on you. Then suddenly it drops away, all of it, and a benevolent tiredness enters the brain, then everything feels calm again …”

cited: Trans: Arno Pomerans, An Interrupted Life The Diaries of Etty Hillesum, pg 69.

lens-artists photo challenge: reflections

window reflections

Sony RX100 f/1.8 1/640 8.8mm 80 ISO

Miriam (The Showers of Blessings) a Lens-Artists guest host defines reflection/mirror photography as using “… reflective surfaces to create an artistic echo of a scene. This type of photography can add an interesting spin to locations that are hot spots for photographers such as oceans, lakes, puddles, and even rain drops.”

Wet’suwet’en’s resistance

As the Government refuses to move an inch continuing the resistance is critical! 

facebook
Nikon D750 f/4.5 1/2000s 85mm 800 ISO

“The BC and Federal Governments have abruptly stepped away from talks that were scheduled for this week as the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs justly stated they would not ask other Nations to stand down as a precondition to having Nation to Nation talks. 

“Powerful actions and a widespread will to struggle against injustice have proliferated in response to the raid on Tyendinaga as anger grows at the Government’s use of force and steadfast refusal to negotiate in good faith. 

“The Government’s demand that blockades end for talks to begin illustrate how powerful this movement is and how afraid they are of widespread and sustained Indigenous resistance. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary chiefs have asked for people to continue to act in support of their demands.   

“… people have risen up in defiance of colonial injunctions and set up new rail and road blockades across the country: Over 500 people shut down rail traffic in Toronto, The Port of Vancouver was shut down for over 24 hours, Kahnawake Mohawks reinforced their barricades in response to an injunction, Indigenous youth retook the BC Legislature vowing to stay until Nation to Nation talks occur, and new rail blockades went up in Chase, Abbotsford, Maple Ridge, Hamilton, Gitxsan territory, Lennoxville among many other incredible actions. 

“As police begin to act more aggressively towards new blockades many people have made tactical temporary retreats avoiding arrests and setting themselves up to continue to struggle in a sustained fashion.” 

cited: facebook