Blog Post

Today’s Writing and Reading

Wrote 1047 words, working on a poem, the Irish book, and an essay.

I’ve read up to page 122 in The Starship and the Canoe, about the relationship of George Dyson with his father, Freeman Dyson, and their different (at the time) philosophies of life. Still very much enjoying it. I also bought Freeman Dyson’s latest book Dreams of Earth and Sky (NYRB).

The only real reading I’ve gotten done today is a chapter in The Zen Teaching of Homeless Kodo by Kosho Uchiyama and Shohaku Okumura, edited by Molly Delight Whitehead. I read Chapter 15, “Opinions Gone to Seed,” in which the following quote from Dogen Zenji Shobogenzo Gyoji occurs:

“Even if we don’t have lofty temple buildings, if we practice, this place can be called a dojo of ancient buddhas. Foolish people in this degenerate age should not be vainly engaged in construction of temple buildings. The buddhas and ancestors never had desires for buildings. Many people today meaninglessly construct a Buddha hall or other temple buildings although they haven’t yet clarified the eye of their own self. Such people build temples, not in order to offer the buildings to buddhas, but to make their own houses of fame and profit.”

And over the weekend I got a good chunk of Kay Boyle: A Twentieth-Century Life in Letters read and like the following two quotes:

” . . . I haven’t anything other than the conviction that all writing and everything else that is creative grows, develops in great part as unconsciously as the creature in the womb, and that the writing organ goes on functioning like mad exactly like the digestive process or the reproductive organs, whether one is conscious of this or not.”

And this is Boyle quoting a Dominican:

” ‘By tradition,’ Bruckberger writes, ‘the European intellectual has a special character–a vocation beyond the limits of his own profession of writing, or science, or teaching. He believes himself called to a more universal responsibility, and that is to keep watch on the world and call the plays as he sees them, at whatever risk to himself. The dangers of his position are as real as poverty, exile, prison or death: and, unlike the soldier or priest, he has no organized body to defend him.’ “


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