The Reality of Joy

May 2, 2016 – month of daily flower & buddha photos – day 2

The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it.    — Thich Nhat Hanh

Avalo flowers


dash one

dashboard flowers photo ©

photo of painting from a greeting card on my bulletin board,

“Mindfulness” by Angi Sullins & Silas Toball, Duirwaigh Studios

Tree-Free Greetings, Swanzey, New Hampshire

“Within the general Buddhist framework of the three yanas — the Hinayana, the Mahayana, and the Vajrayana — the Dzogchen teachings and practices belong to the Vajrayana. In the Hinayana, Buddha taught the means by which we can transcend our personal suffering, and in the Mahayana, Buddha illuminated how to develop the genuine heart of love and compassion that aspires to elevate all beings from the state of suffering to the state of enlightenment. Finally, in the Vajrayana, Buddha pointed out that the true nature of our experience is not the reality of suffering but the reality of joy — great joy and happiness. There is a sense of agonizing bliss in samsara. When we apply the view and instructions of Vajrayana with mindfulness, we can experience great joy right within the experience of tremendous pain and suffering. The only way we will know this is by doing it. If we make an effort, we will have that experience.”

— Dzogchen Ponlop, Wild Awakening: The Heart of Mahamudra and Dzogchen (2003)







Flowers for Bodhisattva Dan


cat flower

wild desert flowers splitting open city sidewalk May 2016                        copyright ©

 handsome dan


dan laughs

Jesuit Priest, Peace Activist Daniel Berrigan Dies At 94

May 1, 2016 6:14 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The Rev. Daniel Berrigan, a Roman Catholic priest and peace activist who was imprisoned for burning draft files in a protest against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 94.

Berrigan died at Murray-Weigel Hall, a Jesuit health care community in New York City after a “long illness,” according to Michael Benigno, a spokesman for the Jesuits USA Northeast Province.

“He died peacefully,” Benigno said.

Berrigan and his younger brother, the Rev. Philip Berrigan, emerged as leaders of the radical anti-war movement in the 1960s.

The Berrigan brothers entered a draft board in Catonsville, Maryland, on May 17, 1968, with eight other activists and removed records of young men about to be shipped off to Vietnam. The group took the files outside and burned them in garbage cans.

The Catonsville Nine, as they came to be known, were convicted on federal charges accusing them of destroying U.S. property and interfering with the Selective Service Act of 1967. All were sentenced on Nov. 9, 1968 to prison terms ranging from two to 3 1/2 years.

When asked in 2009 by “America,” a national Catholic magazine, whether he had any regrets, Berrigan replied: “I could have done sooner the things I did, like Catonsville.”

Berrigan, a writer and poet, wrote about the courtroom experience in 1970 in a one-act play, “The Trial of the Catonsville Nine,” which was later made into a movie.

Berrigan grew up in Syracuse, New York, with his parents and five brothers. He joined the Jesuit order after high school and taught preparatory school in New Jersey before being ordained a priest in 1952.

As a seminarian, Berrigan wrote poetry. His work captured the attention of an editor at Macmillan who referred the material to poet Marianne Moore. Her endorsement led to the publication of Berrigan’s first book of poetry, “Time Without Number,” which won the Lamont Poetry Prize in 1957.

Berrigan credited Dorothy Day, founder of The Catholic Worker newspaper, with introducing him to the pacifist movement and influencing his thinking about war.

Much later, while visiting Paris in 1963 on a teaching sabbatical from LeMoyne College, Berrigan met French Jesuits who spoke of the dire situation in Indochina. Soon after that, he and his brother founded the Catholic Peace Fellowship, which helped organize protests against U.S. involvement in Vietnam.

Berrigan traveled to North Vietnam in 1968 and returned with three American prisoners of war who were being released as a goodwill gesture. He said that while there, he witnessed some of the destruction and suffering caused by the war.

Berrigan was teaching at Cornell University when his brother asked him to join a group of activists for the Catonsville demonstration. Philip Berrigan was at the time awaiting sentencing for a 1967 protest in Baltimore during which demonstrators poured blood on draft records.

“I was blown away by the courage and effrontery, really, of my brother,” Berrigan recalled in a 2006 interview on the Democracy Now radio program.

After the Catonsville case had been unsuccessfully appealed, the Berrigan brothers and three of their co-defendants went underground. Philip Berrigan turned himself in to authorities in April 1969 at a Manhattan church. The FBI arrested Daniel Berrigan four months later at the Rhode Island home of theologian William Stringfellow.

Berrigan said in an interview that he became a fugitive to draw more attention to the anti-war movement.

The Berrigan brothers were sent to the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Daniel Berrigan was released in 1972 after serving about two years. His brother served about 2 1/2 years.

The Berrigan brothers continued to be active in the peace movement long after Catonsville. Together, they began the Plowshares Movement, an anti-nuclear weapons campaign in 1980. Both were arrested that year after entering a General Electric nuclear missile facility in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and damaging nuclear warhead nose cones.

Philip Berrigan died of cancer on Dec. 6, 2002 at the age of 79.

Daniel Berrigan moved into a Jesuit residence in Manhattan in 1975.

In an interview with The Nation magazine on the 40th anniversary of the Catonsville demonstration, Berrigan lamented that the activism of the 1960s and early 1970s evaporated with the passage of time.

“The short fuse of the American left is typical of the highs and lows of American emotional life,” he said. “It is very rare to sustain a movement in recognizable form without a spiritual base.”

Berrigan’s writings include “Prison Poems,” published in 1973; “We Die Before We Live: Talking with the Very Ill,” a 1980 book based on his experiences working in a cancer ward; and his autobiography, “To Dwell in Peace,” published in 1987.

(Copyright 2016 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


Soar On, Father Dan!


black cup

tea bowl / communion cup (2010), & photo by yours truly copyright ©


reps cup one

(poem & inkbrush drawing by Paul Reps)

Got the news yesterday that Father Dan Berrigan has died. Peace activist, Civil Rights activist, outlaw-priest, contemplative poet.

When I was working as a conductor on the underground railroad (the peace train), helping assist fellow war resisters escape to greater peace and safety in Canada and beyond, Father Dan was one of the Catholic clergy who gave real help as well as inspiration. He is one of America’s true heroes. One day, long after relief from the nightmare of creeps like Trump and Cruz has firmly settled in, Americans will truly come to appreciate Dan, and his brother, Father Phil. They will be greatly honored across the land in ways that can only be dreamed of just now.

dan time

There is so much more to remember and speak of about Father Dan, but it will take a little while to pull it together.

For now, I’m extremely grateful that he is liberated from the painful bodily limitations that typically come with great age. I have no doubt that he is soaring with the angels now — a bodhisattva for the ages.

And extremely grateful for Dan’s many decades among us and for all the assistance, concern, loving aid and comradely inspiration he gave so many.

I’m happy for him, so happy about him, though sad that his presence here among us, in the Earthy body, is withdrawn, of course. Well, I feel his presence has simply expanded in its scope, that’s all.  More subtle, more influential now. But such changes come with an odd sense of sorrow for us as well as great joy.

Joyous soaring, Father Dan, beloved elder brother!

reps cup two

Paul Reps’ revisited inkbrush poem/drawing, featured in The World of Zen, 1960. Edited by Nancy Wilson Ross. NY: Vintage Books.