By ARCH STANTON
August 4, 2021
With further additions from Lasha Darkmoon
ULULO, ERGO SUM
(I howl, therefore I am)
LD (Introduction) : This beautifully crafted prose poem came my way the other day. I decided to post it here because it comes at just the right time, when the need for a radical reassessment and a marathon spring clean of the mind seems to me of paramount importance to us all.
Without a change of focus, there is little hope for us. We all need, desperately, to have the sawdust knocked out of our brains and the lumber carried away; in short, to be born again, and find the God in little things — including ourselves.
Arch Stanton reminds me of an Ancient Mariner adrift on a sea of infinite sighs, in search of a lost paradise beyond the horizon. It is a chill day in winter, and a chill wind blows over the watery waste, and the Mariner looks up at the scowling sun, shaking his fist at the God hiding behind the clouds. “Ubi Deus ….. Ubi Deus ….. Where is God?” , he mutters darkly, as a passing albatross flaps its giant wings over his head. [LD]
ARCH STANTON REFLECTS:
IS THIS WORLD ANOTHER PLANET’S HELL?
I’m not taking sides. I am merely observing. And frankly, aside from praying, I see little else one can do these days.
The fact is no matter what we do, no matter how we do it, no matter how quickly or how slowly we do it, we are all going to die.
Whether it’s global collapse, vaccination, cancer, 5G waves, rampaging Kneegrows, food shortages, or we fry like eggs under a UV burner, at some point we’re all going to die.
The question at any point after birth is this: are you willing to return?
Do you want to return?
If so, you most assuredly will.
One cannot imagine what the next life might look like. I know I could never have imagined this one. I have made my decision in this regard, which is why I came back this time. I had to see, experience and at last understand the folly of my former lives.
From my earliest memories, I never felt any attachment to this world, only profound alienation.
I look at life on this planet; I look at the natural order, I look at the pain, misery and suffering, I look at the struggle in which all life forms engage merely to survive another day.
I look at human history and know this is the design. This is how it works now and how it has always worked. It’s never been any different and never will be any different in this existence. It’s the design of this world.
Therefore, I focus my efforts on using my remaining time in this version of hell to learn and work at transcending this existence and to help others as much as possible within my means.
The one thing of which I am absolutely certain, existence here is cyclical until one is willing to work to stop the process.
The first step I took in this regard was not to reproduce, not to bring new life into the continual suffering of the old life. I did this intuitively not intentionally. The intention came later.
Like the Buddha, at the end I want to say, “Now I will never again enter another womb.”
— § —
LD: Since we are now in the right mind space and mood to reflect on the eternal verities, let’s pass from Arch Stanton’s existential pessimism to the bleak stoicism of the Buddha’s more bracing worldview.
Based on extracts from The Gospel of Buddha,
complied from Ancient Records by Paul Carus, 1883
NOTE: The term ‘Tathagata’ is a title of the Buddha. Ananda, the Buddha’s cousin, was his closest and most devoted disciple.
“SEEK YE FOR THAT WHICH IS PERMANENT
AND WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH DILIGENCE.”
I am now grown old, O Ananda, and full of years; my journey is drawing to its close. I have reached the sum of my days, I am almost eighty years old.
Just as a worn-out cart cannot be made to move along without difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata can only be kept going with much additional care.
Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help.
Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Seek salvation alone in the truth. Look not for assistance to anyone besides yourselves.
We must separate ourselves from all things near and dear to us, O Ananda, and must leave all behind; for everything that is born and comes into being contains within itself the seeds of its own dissolution.
This mortal existence, O Ananda, must now be relinquished, cast away, renounced, rejected, and abandoned by the Tathagata.
Practise the earnest meditations I have taught you. Continue in the great struggle against sin. Walk steadily on the path of saintship.
Behold, O brethren, the final extinction of the Tathagata! It will take place soon, it will come before long.
I now exhort you, saying: ‘All component things must grow old and be dissolved again. Seek ye for that which is permanent, and work out your own salvation with diligence.’
I will end this article with a related Christian meditation on the same theme. This is by John Donne (1572-1631), the great metaphysical poet and Christian Divine whose verse was unmatched for its sonorous sound effects.
“No man is an Iland, intire of itself; every man is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine [sea]; if a clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or if thine own were; Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.”