David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

07 July 2010

Dharma came too.

C has been reading Tagore. Yesterday morning she read me this.


Every day in the early morning this faithful dog
Sits quietly beside my chair
For as long as I do not acknowledge his presence
By the touch of my hand.
The moment he receives this small recognition,
Waves of happiness leap through his body.
In the inarticulate animal world
Only this creature
Has pierced through good & bad and seen
Complete man.
Has seen him for whom
Life may be joyfully given,
That object of a free outpouring love
Whose consciousness points the way
To the realm of infinite consciousness.
When I see the dumb heart
Revealing its own humility
Through total self-surrender,
I feel unequal to the worth
His simple perception has found through the nature of man.
The wistful anxiety in his mute gaze
Understands something he cannot explain:
It directs me to the true meaning of man in the universe.
We have a dear such dog, so we get that. She also read me the commentary note (from here) :
Dharma and canine fidelity are linked in a famous passage near the end of the Mahabharata, when Yudisthira, eldest of the five Pandava brothers, refuses to enter heaven without his dog Dhruba. Eventually the dog is allowed in, and turns out to be the god Dharma.
I'll return to this soon.
. . . .

During the afternoon, in the office here, we watched a live internet broadcast of celebrations at Dharamsala for the 75th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Here are some screen snaps from that.

An artist presents a portrait.

Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, speaks at length.

To which His Holiness responds.

The Dalai Lama acknowledges the presence of "our Chinese friends". They are seated to his immediate right.

The speeches are mostly in Tibetan.

Various national/cultural groups offer gifts of song and dance.

After several hours His Holiness takes his leave ...

... and the celebrations continue.

Towards the end of the concert a dog appears and wanders freely among the performers. No one makes any move to remove it.

A Person Looks At A Work Of Art/

someone looks at something ...