Sunday, November 29, 2015


This is dedicated to the memory of my late friend, Dr. Kenneth E. Rich.  I think he would have appreciated some of the things I write about here.

Ken was the antithesis of the person shown in several of the images below.  (Some wiser folk are also depicted.)
Could these two--Kenneth Rich and Donald Trump--belong to the same species?  I am sure that questions such as this have arisen in the minds of other beings through the eons.
-- Arjun
There’s ignorance that comes from circumstance,
and then there’s ignorance from lack of caring or
from shutting out the things we neither know
nor want to know.  The first is curable,
by effort or by change of circumstance.
The other is, it seems, incurable,
unless there is a genuine change of heart.
Donald Trump, real estate heir and Republican Presidential front-runner, U.S.A., 2015
The ills that plague the “nations”—all the wars
they wage against the others or within,
and also all the conflicts in our lives,
arise, in part or totally, from this—
those darknesses which fate may serve to us
or those with which we choose to be content,
while damning all who dare to point towards light.

The senses, heart and mind can lead us each
to liberation or to bondage deep.
Gotama and so many others past had seen,
in quietude, the ills that work within.
And by observing these, they found that all
that rises also crests—and ebbs and fades,
unless we feed it, through our ignorance.

How easy it can be to fall in sin—
to add yet more and more to endless grief.
How hard it is to turn away from this—
to face the dreaded emptiness and be
aware of all that soils the space within
that only can be cleansed when we release
accumulations gathered through our lives.

The virtues old remain our virtues still—
compassion, courage, patience, honesty—
and all the vices that we celebrate
are still the vices that can lead to grief.
And chief among these vices still remains
that ignorance that blinds the heart and mind—
for which we even are content to kill.

Humility, when learned by those that pride
has led astray, can serve to check its reach.
But ignorance and hubris, hand in hand,
breed havoc, as they kiss and copulate.
The times we’re in, like others past, have carved
these two as idols, intertwined, to which
we sacrifice, while shouting foolishness.

When tossed upon the storms that roil the sea,
it seems that we are helpless.  Yet we find
that we can still observe our plight and breathe—
releasing, as we breathe, the pain we feel.
And knowing that the ones who wound have lost
that sight, for which we then may pray for them,
we might regain that calm and peace that is.

The wise have learned—how little, what they know,
how vast, that ocean dark of ignorance!
So when they find a piece of light, they smile
and hold it up to see, for just a while,
before they let it float upon its way.
The ignorant persist in ignorance,
insisting that the “others” go away.

To answer noise with noise, and violence
with violence, may seem the only way.
For see—the quiet ones are silent still,
and those who shied from arms are buried deep.
And yet, aggression—that of speech and deed,
and even in defense, can only lead
to more of this—and more of ignorance.

So let us pause, or slow, amidst the haste.
How many lives were saved by only this?
Defend yourself and others, who cannot
defend themselves—but know, that path can lead
to more and more and even more of grief.
So be aware of what you do, and see—
the one you strike has eyes and heart as you.

I saw a frog that sat beside a lake.
I looked at him and he looked back at me.
I’d heard him croaking.  Now that frog was mute.
I saw his muscles tense, as if to leap.
And so I froze—and breathing, looked at him.
We stayed there quite a while, that frog and I.
It seemed we talked—of truth and ignorance.

Does Wisdom Come With Age?
2015 November 29th, Sat.
Skyway dhaba, Bath Avenue
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn

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