Late night sky & patriarchs

Past midnight, pulling up to the gate after a teaching in Madison, getting out of the car to open the gate, my attention opened upward to the clear moonless sky with stars bright and beautiful. Breath paused for a moment. Smile of gratitude.

Off the highway and out of the car, more embodied again. Returning to our valley refuge each time, whether from a physical trip or the internet, I’m brought back to the immediacy of Nature as Dhamma.

I thought back to a comment from the evening about “patriarchal escapism.” What’s going on with the male monastics who use terms like ‘revulsion’ and seek escape from the living breathing sensate world? Can’t they find it in their hearts to care for this? I bet they do, so why can’t their doctrine admit it? What’s the mindset in there?

Such revulsion and vibhavatanha (craving for non-existence) has been confused by elaborations of ‘rebirth’ that came centuries after the Buddha. Rather than the early and simple “this life and the next,” a thread of the tradition bought into the cosmic vision of the late Upanishads. Misreading paticcasamuppada (dependent co-arising) they seek escape from embodied existence, or at least talk like it. Poor guys, the issue is egoistic existence, including the egos that want to escape.

As I climbed the hill after treating Tara’s eye, necessary before I could sleep, coyotes yipped and howled. I check the have-a-heart traps on the porch – no mice to release far from the cottage. It’s possible to live meaningfully today without seeking escape for tomorrow. With all not-self/void, who is there to escape anyway?

Pity the patriarchs.

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