KAMALOKA (AND BEYOND)
[Loving God, I love not beautiful form, song, fragrance, tastes and embracements, but yet a ‘kind’ of them:] the embracements, food, fragrance, melody and light of my inner man, where there shineth unto my soul what space containeth not, and there smelleth what breath disperseth not, and there tasteth what eating clogeth not, and there clingeth what satiety divorceth not.
Augustine, St., Confessions, xc.
Speak not about ice and frost to the insect which lives but a summer day,
Nor tell of the ocean to the frog in the well.
[Seeing karmic consequences needs a good perspective.]
Leggett, Trevor, trs, A First Zen Reader (Tuttle, Rutland Vm., 1960), 157.
To each man shall his own free actions bring both his suffering and his good fortune. [Jupiter is speaking.]
Virgil, Aeneid (translated W F Jackson Knight, Penguin, 1956) 254: book X, line 110.
I suppose events are simply a sort of annotation of our feelings – the one might be deduced from the other. Time carries us (boldly imagining that we are discreet egos modelling our own personal futures) – time carries us forward by the momentum of those feelings inside us of which we ourselves are least conscious. [Clea is speaking.]
Durrell, Lawrence, Justine (Faber), 242.
The seeds of future events are carried within ourselves. They are implicit within us and unfold according to the laws of their own nature.
Durrell, Lawrence, Clea (Faber), 223.
Our deeds are like children that are born to us; they live and act apart from our own will. Nay, children may be strangled, but deeds never: they have an indestructible life both in and out of our consciousness. … that dreadful vitality of deeds…
Eliot, George, Romola (Penguin, 1980), 219-20.
Everything that a man does, good or evil, he does it to himself.
Giles, Friar (friend of St. Francis) in The Little Flowers of St. Francis.
… Siegfried’s [Sassoon’s First World War] rebellion… had been a completely honest action, and such actions are seeds carried on the wind. Nobody can tell where, or in what circumstances, they will bear fruit.
Barker, Pat, Regeneration (Penguin, 1992), 249.
We but teach bloody instructions, which being taught, return to plague the inventor. This even-handed justice commands the ingredients of our poisoned chalice to our own lips.
If thou do ill; the joy fades, not the pains:
If well; the pain doth fade, the joy remains.
Herbert, George, from ‘the Church Porch’.
Why are we here? Our deeds have brought us here.
The Omniscient One knows the choicest deed (devotion) which bears the choicest fruit.
Unsourced Buddhist text, from the French of Amida by Henri de Lubac S.J. Paris 1955.
There’s a tendency, or a habit, of judging an act by its consequences. Now that seems immoral to me, because when you act you know if your acts are evil or good. As for the consequences of an act—they ramify and multiply and perhaps balance out in the end. I do not know, for example, if the consequences of the discovery of America have been good or evil, because there are so many. Even as we are talking, they are growing and multiplying. Thus, to judge an act by its consequences is absurd. But people tend to do this. For example, a contest or a war is judged according to failure or success and not according to whether it’s ethically justified. As for the consequences, as I said, they multiply in such a way that, perhaps in time, they balance out and then become unbalanced again. It is a continuous process.
Borges, from interview, ‘Borges and God’, qupted New York Review of Books, November 2014.
KARMA see MEMORY, 5/87
KARMA, ANTI- see FATE, 9/93
KEATS see UNCERTAINTY, 3/91
KILLING see NON-VIOLENCE, 2/89
For we knew only too well:
Even hatred of squalor
Makes the brow grow stern.
Even anger against injustice
Makes the voice grow harsh. Alas we
Who wished to lay the foundations of kindness
Could not ourselves be kind….//
But you, when at last it comes to pass
That man can help his fellow man,
Do not judge us
Brecht, Berthold, “To Those yet to Be Born”, quoted by Brian Easlea.
KISS see EPITOME, 12/88; SEX, ANTI-, 4/97
KISSES see MEMORY, 5/87
KNOWING AND TRUTH
It is the manner of knowing that is important. We know the meaning of the singular thing only so long as we content ourselves with knowing it in the midst of other meanings: isolate it, and all meaning drains away. It is not the thing that counts, you see, only the interaction of things; and of course, the names…
The world will not bear anything other than acceptance. Look at this chair: there is the wood, the splinters, then the fibres, then the particles into which the fibres may be broken, and then the smallest particles of these particles, and then, eventually, nothing, a confluence of aetherial stresses, a kind of vivid involuntary dreaming in a vacuum. You see? the world simply will not bear it, this impassioned scrutiny.
… There is no need to search for the truth. We know it already, before ever we think of setting out on our quests…. The world, and ourselves, this is the truth. There is no other, or, if there is, it is of use to us only as an ideal, that brings us a little comfort, a little consolation, now and then…. [This truth] may not be spoken,… but perhaps it may be… shown…. By accepting what there is.
With great courage and great effort you might have succeeded, in the only way it is possible to succeed, by disposing the commonplace, the names, in a beautiful and orderly pattern that would show, by its very beauty and order, the action in our poor world of the otherworldly truths. But you tried to discard the commonplace truths for the transcendent ideals, and so failed. [The phantom of his dead brother is talking to the dying Copernicus.]
Banville, John, Dr Copernicus (Minerva, 1990, first edition 1976), 239-40.
Kant, I felt, had been right when he said that it was impossible that knowledge was, as it were, a copy or impression of reality. He was right to believe that knowledge was genetically or psychologically a priori, but quite wrong to suppose that any knowledge could be a priori valid. Our theories are our inventions; but they may be merely ill-reasoned guesses, bold conjectures, hypotheses. Out of these we create a world: not the real world, but our own nets in which we try to catch the real world. (p 60)
… the dogmatic way of thinking [is] due to an inborn need for regularities… (p. 49).
Popper, Karl, Unended Quest.
KNOWLEDGE AS TRADITION
We often have to explain to young people why study is useful. It’s pointless telling them that it’s for the sake of knowledge, if they don’t care about knowledge. Nor is there any point in telling kids that an educated person gets through life better than an ignoramus, because they can always point to some genius who, from their standpoint, leads a wretched life. // And so the only answer is that the exercise of knowledge creates relationships, continuity and emotional attachments. It introduces us to parents other than our biological ones. It allows us to live longer, because we don’t just remember our own life but also those of others. It creates an unbroken thread that runs from our adolescence (and sometimes from infancy) to the present day.
Eco, Umberto, Guardian Review, 3/4/04, 7.
It is a feeling of awe and fear which seizes on a man of noble mind, when conscious that his character is just about to be exhibited before him. Every tradition [sic] is a crisis; and the crisis presupposes sickness. With what reluctance do we look into the glass, after rising from a sick-bed! The recovery we feel: the effects of past diseases are all we see.
Goethe, Wilhelm Meister, Carlyle’s translation (Collier, New York, 1962), 454-5.