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Monday, January 24, 2022

24th January 2022

Birth and death are only notions. They are not real. The Buddha taught that there is no birth; there is no death; there is no coming; there is no going; there is no same; there is no different; there is no permanent self; there is no annihilation. We only think there is. 

Something Thich Nhat Hanh had said, which may leave you puzzling but of course is a truth - we think our world into being.  Though sceptics like me would say the physical reality is proof that we and the world co-exist together.

I sometimes think that religion tries to obscure beneath its covering of gorgeous architecture that a church or a temple represents the empty words of a religion that cannot be seen or touched.  It is, a belief system.

Paul always used to tell the tale of a monk begging at his Japanese home, by the gate and that he, Paul, put one grain into the begging bowl.  He never gave an explanation only a grin.  A bit like 'how does one hand clap?'

Thich died last week at the good age of 95, I had never heard of him before but have noticed his name trickling through social media. I have written of the time Paul for one year became a monk at the Ryoan-ji Temple.  He remembered from that time the long hours they would sit in silence cross-legged, should you fall asleep you would be hit sharply on each shoulder by a stick brandished by the overseeing person in charge, such as Gary Snyder....also there at the same time.

I started with the thought that religion is a belief system, but something this morning caught my eye.  It was about the Cailleach, a Celtic deity or goddess, representing  an old hag.

 She can be seen in the landscape, the most famous image is on the Isle of Lewis of the Cailleach, the range of hills depicting her can be seen here.  Though she appears in the Celtic landscape history of both Scotland and Ireland  The question raised was the word Cailleach had a Latin base, therefore must be medieval, and not the earlier Iron Age Celtic.  Such arguments interest me and if I can find it will print it.

"The word cailleach (in Modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic, 'old woman-hag-crone‘) comes from the Old Irish ‘caillech’ ('veiled one'), from Old Irish ‘caille’ (‘veil’): Generally thought to be a loan-word from the Latin ‘pallium/palli(i)’ meaning ‘cover’ or ‘cloak’.

If so, this would make the Cailleach a ‘relative’ newcomer (etymologically speaking), which has led many medievalist academics to propound that she is an early-medieval folk figure rather than an ancient divinity (no surprise there !)."

Taken from Monumental Ireland - found on Facebook....


  1. Interesting swirling reflections as usual like morning mist above the marsh.

  2. given up on present politics, it has become like a ball of knitting being batted around by a kitten! There is a Cailleach shrine somewhere in Scotland down a deep uninhabited valley, which actually gives the story some credence.

  3. Sometimes things get into such a state that one feels like wishing there was a pleasant soft woolly blob where one can stick one's head until it has all gone away.


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