Taking what is not offered: Guest post by greenfrog

[Greenfrog, aka Sean,  is a piquant  concoction of Mormonism, Buddhism, and Lawyerism living in the Denver, Colorado area.  He  describes himself as an amphibious creature who  “breathes Mormon air and swims Buddhist waters, both quite happily.”  I became acquainted with him  through his  comments on posts at A Motley Vision.  Field notes he contributed to some of my posts (see here, and  here, scroll down) at Times and Seasons  further singled him out to my eye as an engaging writer, able  to bring words and place together.  “Taking what is not offered” is cross-posted  here from  his blog, In Limine: On the Threshold, at the Beginning.]  

 

During a recent meditation retreat, the other participants and I each undertook to live by the five Buddhist training precepts during our time there. One of those precepts is this:

For the purposes of training, I will not take anything that is not offered to me.

This is a common sense rule for those who will live in close proximity to one another — no €œborrowing € your roommate’s shampoo, no swiping someone else’s flip flops. It’s a basic principle that is embedded in social systems everywhere — in the yoga tradition as the niyama of asteya — non-stealing. God told Moses a version of the same thing. Continue reading “Taking what is not offered: Guest post by greenfrog”

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The Peach

by P. G. Karamesines

Blake’s angel, for all his winks and nods,
Wouldn’t have it, though it hangs for having:
Drop of down and blush quavering on the rim
Of ripeness, playing at a fall.

Pendant at the tip of a branch astray
From the greater fruited spray
Where sister peaches cluster meekly
Beneath green custom, this one sweet dangle
Trespasses air my side the fence
Where sunlight fires its skin and any breeze
May dance it.

My neighbor who set the tree as start
Is a man of strict authority, armed, invested,
An officer of our active legion laws.
He knows where all the lines are drawn,
Where fences stand, where right leaves wrong,
And keeping his faith good is wise.
Although this juicy prodigal does seem
To trail a gray gulf, he may better know,  
And so the peach appears to plump and glow
With consequence, a nectareous world
Ripening on a branch of orchard heaven
Under scrutiny from many angels’ eyes.

Taking such creature to tongue suggests
That becoming as a god by fell choice:
Will birthing, her first cry, Desire;
Light, on which the eye opens suddenly,
That infant slit of lid permitting
The flash from good and evil springing apart
To change the eye forever; then, vision:
Probability, lively, everywhere at once,
Refiguring the garden, reforming
Every place the eye alights each time;
Gleams of possibility sparking like drops
Of dew, infinite, engorged with sudden sun
As far as the eye dares see €”to the stars €”
And, clinging to skin, so wet and cool,
Instant thoughts of nakedness
Blush the body and Will seeks clothing,
Her prior choicelessness seeming comfort now,
If unfitting, and inaccessible as the opened womb.

Such first physics infusing All and Now,
Poised to go at breath, I too partake.   So:

Day by day shall the peach hang unmolested.
With its toys of luster it shall bob and sway
Till summer drops its sun, till it is swept
From splendor by timeliness or wind,
Or till he whose lawful peach it is
Decides its fate by his own hand.

________________________________________________

Published in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought (Fall 2005): 178.   “The Peach” won Dialogue’s €œBest of the Year Award € in poetry for that year.

Guilting the lily

I’ve been thinking about shaming language, rhetoric  meant to  motivate others to action by attempting to arouse  feelings of guilt,  unworthiness, or disgrace  —how  unhealthy it is, not just for people’s psychological  well-being  but also for the environment.   So I thought I’d run a couple of posts about how  using guilt to motivate folks to change their behavior toward the earth and its natural resources  might be  an environmentally unsound practice.  

“Guilting the lily” appeared originally at Times and Seasons  August 30, 2007  .   You might find the discussion that ensued on that post interesting (please overlook the font glitches that appeared in  the post  and comments when T &S changed its format).

The editors cite in the  Preface to New Genesis: A Mormon Reader on Land and Community an unidentified 1991 report* that places each of the thirty largest Christian denominations in one of five categories based on their environmental stances. The categories were: 1) Programs Underway: denominations engaged actively in national environmental programs; 2) Beginning a Response: denominations beginning to engage in national environmental programs; 3) At the Brink: denominations preparing to take the plunge into action on the national environmental level; 4) No Action: denominations not taking any action as yet; and 5) Policies of Inaction: denominations that, as the editors put it, are €œformally committed to inaction. €

Bet you can’t guess where this unidentified report set The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints: yep, firmly in the €œformally committed to inaction € category. Continue reading “Guilting the lily”

Earth Day 2009 (Field Notes #4)

Forgive, please, the late, overhasty and not especially informative nature of this post, but I wished to get something up for Earth Day before the opportunity passed.   As usual, consider yourself invited to  report on your own Earth Day activities  in the comments section.

Here in SE Utah, Earth Day opened gorgeously.   Warm and blue.   To the south, only a few drawn clouds showing, thin as weeds that snow flattened.   Around the Abajos to the north  rise those striking cloud formations that always provoke my wonder.   Can’t remember what they’re called, but I  think of  them as the “jellyfish formations,” because to my eye they resemble man-of-war jellyfish: small, top-heavy  clouds trailing long, wispy tentacles of vapor that appear to dangle into lower reaches of the atmosphere.   As I’ve sought to understand those cloud structures, I’ve read what’s actually happening is that the tentacles are  water vapor rising out of unstable air, seeking a more settled region of the atmosphere.   Once the vapor finds that more stable region it forms a cumulus cloud, which may in turn provide the seed of a cumulonimbus cloud, a thunderhead. Continue reading “Earth Day 2009 (Field Notes #4)”