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I will read through the poem sometime when the television is not on. Right now Dominique is listening to Segolene Royale trying to save her chances to be president of France. She's not doing too well. I read the first part of I Was Blown Back and was impressed by several of the poems. When I write about your poetry I should make a list and say this one and that one, but when I read them, they go by and when a poem strikes me very deeply I read it again and go on to the next one. Sometimes I find it again when I start reading from the beginning. You have a rather strong sense of irony, even disappointment in the way things are and how we go on with it.

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March 28, 2007

Mar 28, 2007

Sunday, February 25, Myogen Steve Stucky was installed as abbot of Zen Center in the Mountain Seat Ceremony. Feb 24 Jiko Linda Cutts stepped down. I was supposed to have attended that ceremony and spoken but it was Kathie's birthday, (our son) Noah and (his girlfriend) Ann were visiting, so we all went wine tasting instead. I didn't realize they were expecting me. Some kind of communication glitch. Many people afterward told me they missed me, were worried about me, where was I, it was embarrassing etc. But I did manage to go, as planned, to the Mountain Seat Ceremony next day. As a former abbot I had, with Blanche Hartman, Mel Weitsman, Linda, and Paul Haller, (the sitting abbot), a special seat on a ceremonial chair.

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New Abbot at SFZC

Mar 03, 2007

Sunday, February 25, Myogen Steve Stucky was installed as abbot of Zen Center in the Mountain Seat Ceremony. Feb 24 Jiko Linda Cutts stepped down. I was supposed to have attended that ceremony and spoken but it was Kathie’s birthday, (our son) Noah and (his girlfriend) Ann were visiting, so we all went wine tasting instead. I didn’t realize they were expecting me. Some kind of communication glitch. Many people afterward told me they missed me, were worried about me, where was I, it was embarrassing etc. But I did manage to go, as planned, to the Mountain Seat Ceremony next day. As a former abbot I had, with Blanche Hartman, Mel Weitsman, Linda, and Paul Haller, (the sitting abbot), a special seat on a ceremonial chair. Wearing my fanciest robes, holding my red, silver, and gold Japanese fan. Hoitsu and Akiba were also there, with their fans, up on their fancy chairs, representing Japan. Zen Center’s Buddha Hall, which years ago seemed such a large room, containing universes, is actually quite small. Most of those attending the ceremony had to watch from the dining room, on closed circuit television. So I was fortunate to have a front row seat. I somehow did not notice the video camera.

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Muir Beach

Mar 01, 2007

I will read through the poem sometime when the television is not on. Right now Dominique is listening to Segolene Royale trying to save her chances to be president of France. She’s not doing too well. I read the first part of I Was Blown Back and was impressed by several of the poems. When I write about your poetry I should make a list and say this one and that one, but when I read them, they go by and when a poem strikes me very deeply I read it again and go on to the next one. Sometimes I find it again when I start reading from the beginning. You have a rather strong sense of irony, even disappointment in the way things are and how we go on with it.

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Went to the new Modern (where I saw Koons’ famous, but really not so terribly impressive, three basketballs suspended in water in a glass case). What an odd experience! The whole perplexing lunacy of what art is, or what anyone thinks it is. On display in this new, outrageously expensive, post-modern space, open so that in one room you can see many other rooms and on one floor many other floors (as if, acknowledging there’s no landscape-gazing in New York, so the mind’s confined, one’s got to create – it begins to make sense in the logic of New York space and mind – indoor landscapes, heroic indoor views) the great works of Modernism, the ground-breaking works, the ones you see in all the art history textbooks.

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March 13, 2007

Jan 10, 2007

Went to the new Modern (where I saw Koons' famous, but really not so terribly impressive, three basketballs suspended in water in a glass case). What an odd experience! The whole perplexing lunacy of what art is, or what anyone thinks it is. On display in this new, outrageously expensive, post-modern space, open so that in one room you can see many other rooms and on one floor many other floors (as if, acknowledging there's no landscape-gazing in New York, so the mind's confined, one's got to create — it begins to make sense in the logic of New York space and mind — indoor landscapes, heroic indoor views) the great works of Modernism, the ground-breaking works, the ones you see in all the art history textbooks. The Picassos, the Braques, the Matisses. The Pollacks, de Koonings, Rothkos, etc.

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March 9, 2006

Jan 09, 2007

New York's for and about art, art and fashion. Even the natural world there, the human world certainly, exists as what's said and written about it, what's signified and discussed, scarcely exists otherwise. Went to Chelsea of course, to Oliver Kamm's 5 B Gallery, to see (our son) Noah's show, the purpose of our trip. This the day after we arrived in town, January 4 (having spent January 3 waiting around for Kathie's missing luggage, then on to Brooklyn Museum with Lewis Hyde — on that see below). K. burst into tears when she saw the show. When I asked her why she said, three reasons: first, because it was a beautiful and tragic piece; second, because she knew how much Noah had worked and sweated over it; third, because it was so much the essence of who Noah is and who (as she and no one else could know) he's always been. The piece had been well reviewed, critically successful, though nothing had so far sold. It consists of two white rooms. In the first room a series of pedestals arranged in two diagonal lines converging on a center. On each pedestal an object crudely made: a television set made of wood, a pathetic paper mache eagle, a cardboard tank, a paper bullhorn, a plywood arm, a plastic movie-projector. In the center, tiny near the floor, small figure of a man standing on a miniature podium.

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In one of my Dharma talks in the sesshin I discussed Isaiah's vision of the angels, six-winged, two wings covering their faces, two their legs, and with the last two flying up and down calling out to one another "Holy! Holy! Holy! Lord of Hosts, the whole world is filled with God's glory." We all stood up at the end of the talk and sang this prayer. I presented it as Isaiah's radical shift in viewpoint: after this vision he was furiously inspired as a prophet of God, having through the vision been purified of his sins when one of the angels touched his "unclean lips" with a live coal from the temple altar. So, I said, practice changes our point of view radically, if less dramatically. Buddha's enlightenment amounts to that: a radical shift in viewpoint.

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As you know, Everyday Zen does a lot with very little. Our budget has always been modest. With the exclusion of what you send in with these mailings, virtually all we need comes from donations received in the course of my teaching, travel, and lecturing. Our wish has been to practice simply, encouraging people to give to others, not to us.

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ultures, red-hooded and lazy of wing fold and unfold their wings claws dangling unevenly to land on my low roof Then flap off again low beyond the garden then up into wind's lifting drafts, Two of them, one after the other following an impulse in concert, Off then back again in a richness of detail, a fluid slowness, languor of wing and intelligence — Someone sees all this — sees the birds lazily descend from the cypress tree disturbing the branches as they fall There's no drama, no style, nothing's spoken of, signified, as the red-faced big black birds ascend and descend

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