Sunday, May 12, 2019

Hearing with the Eye

"Once a monastic asked the Tang Dynasty Chinese National Teacher, Nanyang, 'Do the insentient understand the expressing of the Way?' The National Teacher said, 'They express the Way continually, energetically, ceaselessly.' The monastic said, 'Why can't I hear it?' The National Teacher replied, 'The fact that you don't hear it has nothing to do with others hearing it.' The monastic said, 'I don't understand. What kind of person can hear it?' The National Teacher said, 'All the holy ones can hear it.' The monastic asked, 'Do you hear it?' The National Teacher said, 'I do not hear it.' The monastic said, 'If you do not hear it, how do you know that the insentient can express the Way?' The National Teacher said, 'Fortunately I do not hear it. If I did, I would be one of the holy ones and you would not be able to hear me expressing the Way.' The monastic said, 'In that case, sentient beings can't hear it.' The National Teacher said, 'I express the Way for the sake of sentient beings, not for the sake of the holy ones.' The monastic said, 'Then what happens when sentient beings do hear you?' The National Teacher said, 'At that moment they are not sentient beings.'" 

- John Daido Loori (1931 - 2009)

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Mystery and Confusion

"We are the representatives of the cosmos; we are an example of what hydrogen atoms can do, given fifteen billion years of cosmic evolution. And we resonate to these questions. We start with the origin of every human being, and then the origin of our community, our nation, the human species, who our ancestors were and then the riddle of the origin of life. And the questions: where did the Earth and Solar System come from? Where did the galaxies come from?

Every one of those questions is deep and significant. They are the subject of folklore, myth, superstition, and religion in every human culture. But for the first time we are on the verge of answering many of them. I don’t mean to suggest that we have the final answers; we are bathing in mystery and confusion on many subjects, and I think that will always be our destiny. The universe will always be much richer than our ability to understand it."

- Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Life Itself

"As human beings, we are part of the whole stream of life. We have been human beings for perhaps a million years. But life itself — passes on something of itself to other life — that mysterious entity that moves and is aware of itself and its surroundings, and so is distinguished from rocks or senseless clay — [from which] life arose many hundreds of millions of years ago. Since then it has developed, struggled, adapted itself to its surroundings, evolved an infinite number of forms. But its living protoplasm is built of the same elements as air, water, and rock. To these the mysterious spark of life was added. Our origins are of the earth. And so there is in us a deeply seated response to the natural universe, which is part of our humanity."

- Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964)

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Beauty and Mystery

"Some people believe that there is no distinction between the spiritual and physical universes, no distinction between the inner and the outer, between the subjective and the objective, between the miraculous and the rational. I need such distinctions to make sense of my spiritual and scientific lives. For me, there is room for both a spiritual universe and a physical universe, just as there is room for both religion and science. Each universe has its own power. Each has its own beauty, and mystery."

- Alan Lightman (1948 - )