Saturday, February 27, 2021

An Oldie but a Goodie, Part 2

      Last week I was praising editor and translator Jane Hirshfield's book, Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women.  There is one poem that I would like to share with you, to give you a taste of the treasures in this book. 

     Written by the Japanese Zen poet Jusammi Chikako around the year 1300, it speaks of how the bright moon, a symbol of enlightenment, enters the house when the inhabitants are not awake, that is, not actively trying to reach enlightenment.  All that is needed is that the door remain open.  

On this summer night
All the household lies asleep,
And in the doorway,
For once open after dark,
Stands the moon, brilliant, cloudless.

(translation by Edwin A. Cranston)

     Lovely, no?

Saturday, February 20, 2021

An Oldie but Goodie

      Since I haven't been able to browse bookstores as I used to, with the pandemic and all, I've been pulling books off my bookshelves that have been ignored for too long.  One such book is the collection edited by the poet and translator Jane Hirshfield, Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women.  I'm so glad I had the opportunity to spend time again with an old friend like this book.  Perhaps you would like to add it to your bookshelf as well.

     It contains poems and brief writings by women from women spanning many centuries.  Fortunately, Hirshfield provides a brief biography of each writer and some interpretation notes when needed.  She also provided many of the translations.  Some of the writers are well known -- Mirabai, Teresa of Avila, Emily Dickinson -- but many are by writers who are not as well known outside of their respective countries.  I appreciate the efforts Hirshfield made to include writers from all spiritual traditions and many, many countries.  It makes interesting reading in that it allows the reader to compare how time and place don't make much difference in the insights of a spiritually enlightened person (or someone aspiring to that state).  Very highly recommended.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Some Interesting Quotes

   I found some interesting quotes that I thought I'd share.  Definitely something to think about!

It is hard to tell which is worse:  the wide diffusion of things that are not true, or the suppression of things that are true.  (Harriet Martineau)

In the past censorship worked by blocking the flow of information.  In the twenty-first century censorship works by flooding people with irrelevant information.  (Yuval Noah Harari)

The right to freedom of speech is no license to deceive, and willful misrepresentation is a violation of its principles.  It is sophistry to pretend that in a free country a man has some sort of inalienable or constitutional right to deceive his fellow men.  There is no more right to deceive than there is a right to swindle, to cheat, or to pick pockets.  (Walter Lippmann)