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sometimes...

I just want to cry.  My favorite desk in the library, geomantically speaking, is in the furthest south east corner facing west, the backest of the back corner on the top floor of the stacks.  Its among the furthestmost desk in the library from the nighttime entrance.   Its a calm eddy.  It also is nestled amidst the B's, specifically the BP's, more than that, the texts of Turkey, and turkish mystics, and more specifically still, right beside the Mevlana and the Discourses of Rumi (BP189.7).

I was here for several days before I noticed I was sitting beside my hero in Islam.  One of the few truly clear voices in that mystical tradition. 

I have gotten into the habit of taking a break and wandering around the library, just reading the spines of books.  A consumate browser.  The other day, I was down a level and found myself amongst the atlasses.  The Oxford atlas is superior to the rest, I found.  They're coloring scheme for topology is sweet.  Purple means "must see."  Simple.

Today I wandered about and found the Zohar.  Another 1500 pages I have to wade through at some point.  I dispair sometimes...  But I do see light, if only a tiny dot, at the end of this tunnel.  A better image is having been buried alive, yet unscathed, with just enough room to squirm, and seeing a speck of light up above, giving one hope, that with dilligent effort, before dying for lack of sustanence, one just might claw one's way out.  Or yet again.  Buried in an avalanch; one formed a ball at the final moments, after frantically swimming to the surface through the deluge (following those rediculous instructions given to potential victims of The Fall), now, in the silence of the snowy tomb, one spits, to determine up, then slowly, deliberately, starts expanding the pocket of the icy tomb, begins (again) to claw one's way to the surface... Or, drowning, car driven off cliff splashes down, sinks to the bottom,   one waits for the car to fill with water, so that with equal pressure, one may at last open the door, take that final breath and...

anyway,

So Wandering through Islam today on my break from the Dhammasangani I dispair.  I look at the pathetic state of Pali translations, and indeed of the original pali texts!!! I look around, and what do I see: heartbreakingly beautiful publications.  Across the spines of a series, a continuous graphic, a calligraphic title, an arabesque design unifying the series into one comprehensive whole.  By contrast, the Abhidhamma in this library is scattered across the Pk's Bl's and BQ's.  Likewise the Tipitaka.  What happened?  How did this eldest and most noble of spiritual traditions degenerate so?  Why do we not have a copy of the Teisho Mahayana Canon in this library?  Why do I walk through row after row after row of Islamist studies, with series after series of precisely, imaculately, beautifully bound publications, only to have to scavenge the most ancient of teachings of buddhism piecemeal from here or there.  I even have to check out at least one volume from the Berkeley Public Library; never mind that one volume of the Abhidhamma, and several of the vinaya aren't even translated yet.  What happened?  What's going on?  Why this disregard for the most basic level of preservation of text.  Continuous publication of a Canon.  Where is the orthodoxy? 

Impovershed, beaten down by wars, colonialism, sectarianism. 

Anyway,  I dispair for other reasons.  All those beautiful texts are off limits to me for I don't know islam.  All the beautiful Hebrew texts (found the talmud today also) likewise so...

<sigh>  And this is but one small corner of this library in which I sit.  And in my immediate vicinity, several lifetimes of work...

 

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