Thursday, July 20, 2006

Final Zen Paradox

"The most profound reality in Buddhism is that there is no final, ultimate reality." --Master Sheng-yen, in Dharma Drum

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Poverty-striken witty drunkard friend


The high-class families
Teach their virgin daughters
English, flowers, and Tea;
Culture of the East -- poor girls
Ride boys' bikes balancing noodles.

Brutal sergeants, vicious aesthetes,
the meeting
Of the worst of East and West,
Silly priests in temples
Far too fine for now.
Discipline for what end?
We gave up wisdom long ago,
Enlightenment is kicks
--but there is better.
Cold smooth wood floors
And doves, stone pools, moss
Under maples, silent frosty rooftiles
Slanting high -- what sense
The old boys made --
Confucius, Lao-tzu, Tu Fu, Sesshu
and the rest,
Through the centuries, peed off
By politicians in their robes.
Perhaps some flame remains.
I hope
Again some day
To hit the night road in America
Hitchhiking through dark towns
Rucksack on my back,
To the home of a
Poverty-stricken witty
Drunkard friend.

--Gary Snyder from Left Out in the Rain

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Mother of All Peoples


Roots of Human Family Tree are Shallow

Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago, somewhere in East Asia — Taiwan, [!?] Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations. He — or she — did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children and die.

Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth — the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today. . . .

"It's a mathematical certainty that that person existed," said Steve Olson, whose 2002 book Mapping Human History traces the history of the species since its origins in Africa more than 100,000 years ago. . . .

Furthermore, Olson and his colleagues have found that if you go back . . . about 5,000 to 7,000 years ago, everybody living today has exactly the same set of ancestors. In other words, every person who was alive at that time is either an ancestor to all 6 billion people living today, or their line died out and they have no remaining descendants. . . .

It also means that all of us have ancestors of every color and creed. Every Palestinian suicide bomber has Jews in his past. Every Sunni Muslim in
Iraqis descended from at least one Shiite. And every Klansman's family has African roots. . . .

{the fairly simple math of this is explained at the link above}