“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Dawn Mountain

My very first seminar here was with Anne Klein, who to my great surprise presented material from the Longchen Nyingthig: if you don't know what it is, look it up, and you will understand why it sent a shiver down my spine that this was my first seminar at Rice. I got to unwrap her copy of the Tibetan. Tibetan liturgies are protected by cloth.

I really like Anne. She is an amazing translator for one. It's very difficult if you're not a practitioner to convey why her translations are so amazing. But they are very, shall we say, accurate. Experientially accurate.

I was a fan of her work before I showed up, and when I turned down Rice when they first asked me to apply (yes, that's right!) I was sad because I'd had a chance to work with her. Jeffrey Kripal and Anne are running the contemplative studies program, which just started. I am part of it, it seems.

So two blocks the other direction than the Menil, from my house that is, is Dawn Mountain, which Anne founded. They were having a children's program. And downstairs as luck would have it, they were about to do Amitabha, who is the Buddha you invoke when someone is in the bardo.

Anne was directing the practice, and we were using her translation of the liturgy. Very good. Very pithy.

It was quite quite good. Again it's not very easy to describe unless you are a practitioner. But let's say it was spontaneous.

Last time my son Simon went to the children's program, they had to wish for something for themselves (narcissism alert, Hegelians! :) ). Simon: “I wish...I wish...I could go home.” Said with great thoughtfulness and sincerity. Everyone fell about...

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