Life without backgrounds or frames: “Time’s Arrow,” by Hiroshi Sugimoto

"Time’s Arrow" (1987), by Hiroshi Sugimoto (seascape: 1980; reliquary fragment: Kamakura Period, 13th century) Gelatin silver print, gilt bronze.

I first saw “Time’s Arrow,” the 1987 photo collage by Hiroshi Sugimoto, as an illustration in the Spring 2018 issue of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly.

The image grabbed me, and I saved it as an image for contemplation.  It has taken me a while to grasp what the image suggests for me.

After a series of difficult personal losses and challenges over the past two months, I set the image as the lock screen for my laptop.  It is the

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Bardo

Self-portrait (2/11/2023).

I’ve been trying to be immortal.

Now I can’t pee right,
and my foot is swollen.

 

 

 

 

Friends have died recently. Others are facing it first hand. My younger siblings have already experienced the death of a spouse or a stroke or

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Nothing comes

Twisted Snow Gums, Charlottes Pass, Kosciuszko National Park, 14th May 2009. Photo by Jack Heyward.

So difficult to sit doing nothing
unless enforced by the presence of others.
Alone, I want to be busy every moment.

What makes me uneasy with stillness?
Uneasiness itself?

I’m not doing anything!

You are breathing, pumping blood.
Holding down the chair.
Filling space.
Dying.

No. That word
came from elsewhere than cleverness.
That word is
closer to the bones.

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Fixed

I feel stalled
+++and confounded.
Snow
+++not yet fallen
+++chills me and
+++gets in my way.

I do not want to slow down,
+++let go,
+++wait.

Yet I must,
+++either restlessly
+++or willingly.
Nothing seems fixed.

Saturday predawn</a></p><a href=

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On Good Friday: Affirming the body

There is a grave error in the penitential notion of “mortifying the body.”

It replicates the false dualism of “spirit versus matter ” that crept into and overwhelmed the Jewish faith and practice of Jesus as his followers spread out through the Greco-Roman world.

A truer practice is to “affirm the body,” to affirm it as a mortal yet sacred part of the divine whole.

When I allow myself to suffer the large or small sufferings of my body,

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