Monday, December 31, 2007

Thanksgiving and Some of Dharma

November 22, 2007: Thanksgiving, for Robert
333 magnify
Thanksgiving and Some of the dharma

It is time for me to be, to fix our meal
I haven’t meditated; i shall now
I haven’t written; i have too
and i haven’t read
but a very little of Some of the Dharma by Jack Kerouac up to page 35.

His mother was a devout Catholic; his older brother, Gerard, died early. Kerouac loved him.

i so long for the glow of life
its sweet taste--

the world’s contempt of me
cuts into my heart
a stabbing wound that bleeds
no matter how i sing and joke and laugh
the world is unmoved and has nothing but disregard for me.
To the world i am a fool.

i want love, his mother’s kitchen (Kerouac’s), candles burning, oil cloth on the table
i want novenas and rosaries, i want holy water, the confessional screen
i want love, his friends, Cassady and Ginsberg
i want Mexico and California and New York City
i want love: safety, a night of stars, moving through the desert at night
i want love and memory
i want the glow of life; i want its sweet taste

i have a memory of safety, of moving through the desert at night,
a new Chevrolet, two tones of gray
and silver chrome
heading east in a star-filled darkness
bringing me here, to this moment
to prepare a meal,
to love. -- Mai Celia

In Some of the Dharma, (Viking-Penguin: NewYork, London; 1997; p.32) Jack Kerouac writes:

Verily, because beings, obstructed by delusions,
ensnared by cravings, now here, now there,
seeking ever fresh delight, therefore
it comes to ever fresh rebirth. --From MAJJIHIMA-NIKAYA

I am a student of Buddhism and very often feel lost in a vast continent of the unknown, Asia and its unfamiliar past, Tibet, China, India. As i read Some of the Dharma it is India with its long words and names from the Sanskrit, full of k's and y's, that spreads out upon its pages and Kerouac, in jeans, in the USA, in the fifties, small with short dark hair (at least he seems small) inhabits this huge ground (India) and the geography of its past , and visits teachers in caves and valleys, upon mountains and in books with loosened pages.

There is so much space in this book of his; its words like footprints left behind on soft earth,
like lines criss-crossing the universe where we wade through the stars. --Mai Celia

Saturday, December 22, 2007

reactionary stasists?

Hi everyone.

Just browsing this a.m. and found the following site with its review of a new book: The Future and Its Enemies.

Sounds to me as though the author has found a good derogatory label: reactionary stasists, for those of us who believe localization is a good thing. The site itself, Globaliztion Institute, is obviously in the pro-growth lemming pack leading the world over the cliff. Business as usual it seems.

Check it out:

Saturday, December 15, 2007

More deaths suspected in Myanmar

In keeping with my commitment to do more than I have been doing to work for human rights, I am posting the following link to a Reuters new story about Myanmar. Apparently, the United Nations' underestimated the number of deaths resulting from the government's response to the recent protests by monks and other activists in that country. Activistists who entered the country as tourists and met with in country activists, say the death toll is at least 70, more than double the UN's count of 31.

Myannmar or Burma is one of those undeveloped countries blessed (cursed?) with an abundant supply of our planet's most coveted natural resource, fossil fuel, mostly in the form of natural gas. Thailand, India and China all deal with the repressive military regime in Burma to gain access to those resources. Chevron Oil, the U.S.-based oil company whichemployed Condoleeza Rice before she joined the first Bush Administration as National Security chief, also has holdings in Burma and continues to work with the cruel regime and has been exempted from current restrictions on U.S. companies' dealings with the regime because its presence in Burma pre-dates the time parameters in the current restriction.

The regime could not exist without oil and gas revenues. The money is used to fund the extravagant lifestyles of the generals and their friends and to employ police and military personnel to enforce their grip on power in Burma.

The Chevron holdings in Burma were originally owned by Unocal. This is the company which recently settled with 15 Burmese peasants who brought a lawsuit against it for human rights violations and its complicity with the regime in forcing them to work on oil infrastructure projects for no or low pay and under conditions of extreme cruelty.

Milena Kaneva, a Bulgarian national working in Italy as a journalist, produced and directed a film about the lives of Burmese citizens and the court case against Unocal called Total Denial.
The film was released in 2006 and received a special prize for Human Rights from former Czech President Vaclav Havel during the One World Festival in Prague(March 2006).

I mention the lawsuit and Kaneva's film about it because they point up the linkages between world oil and gas consumption, oil and gas company (and stockholder) profits and our individual choices as consumers and citizens to human rights abuses in Burma.

The 17th Century English churchman and poet John Donne said in a sermon "no man is an island entire of itself" and this is true today. It has always been true; we are connected to all other beings. Acts that may seem invisible to us because they are behaviors encoded in our "lifestyle" are choices we make and our choices affect the lives of unseen others in distant places such as Burma. In his Meditation XVII Donne isn't writing about blame; he is writing about connection. It is said of England's Metaphysical poets, of which John Donne was one, that they were the last to write in a poetic language that reflected the union of feeling and reason. This severance of the mind and heart in English poetry was a sort of prophecy. We live in a world which pits our hearts and minds against each other, a world which has erased our connection to unseen others.