Sunday, September 1, 2013


 Robert Aitken


"When you cling to nothing as something, then you yourself are
not truly empty, and the emptiness you cherish is no more than an
idea. With this notion of emptiness, you can be persuaded that the
homeless are an illusion, the rain forests are not being destroyed,
there are no traditional peoples who are dying out, there is no one
 freezing or starving or dying from shrapnel in the former Yugoslavia. When you run over a child with your car, there is no child, after all. Put down that "not a single thing" or your successors will use it to enhance and support brutality and imperialism. "

 Robert Aitken

 Original Dwelling Place
(p. 154)
Counterpoint 1996



Conrad DiDiodato said...

Aitken's is a very important point.

The "nothingness" or illusion doctrine of Buddhism is not an empty tautology: with devotee reverting to a silly sort of navel-gazing.

When the illusion of the world (namely, its viciously self-serving credos) is seen the work of repairing the damage begins. And we've got a lot to fix: environment, ethnic relations, world peace, family and community, etc

Anonymous said...

A chilling point in time, Bob, to remind us, as the war drums beat ever louder. It was Robert Aitken's and Joseph Goldstein's writings on Buddhism, that I experienced as most worthwhile, given that Lao-tzu, for me, rings these muddy bells from the horizon of birth, the core of nothingness. Love to you and Susan, Donna

Bob Arnold / Longhouse said...

You nailed it, Donna, thank you — a reminder. Yes, indeed.

And, Conrad, I certainly don't have the answers; Aitken is gone (and the books and sermons stay) and tautology remains.

Wasn't August a great long month?!

all's well, Bob

Anonymous said...

That's what I love about August, the way it spreads out into a kind of temporal infinity making us think we have all the time in the world, like childhood summers.