Zen of knowzen

In the West the word “Zen” has become a common everyday word yet I am often confused as to what people mean when they use the word especially as a headline, in a marketing slogan or as a DIY book title. The implication is the content or product enables one to get down to the very basics of something without the “unnecessary fluff.” The“ zen of this,” or “the zen of that” promises to expose you to “only the very basic truths of something.”

Basically Buddhism is a way to “know” (awaken) the Buddha inside yourself.
Sakyamuni saw the Morningstar and was enlightened, and he said , “I and the great earth and beings, simultaneously achieve the Way.”
Denkoroku
Keizan Francis Cook translation

In this story below from Mumonkan this knowing or awakening is transmitted directly from Gautama Buddha to Mahakasyapa.

Once when the World-Honoured One, in ancient times, was upon Mount Grdhrakuta, he held up a flower before the congregation of monks. At this time all were silent, but the Venerable Kasyapa only smiled. The World-Honoured One said, “I have the Eye of the True Law, the Secret Essence of NIrvana, the Formless Form, the Mysterious Law-Gate. Without relying upon words and letters, beyond all teaching as a special transmission, I pass this all on to Mahakasyapa.
Mumonkan (Japanese) 無門關   Wu-wen kuan (Chinese)    Case VI   The Buddha’s Flower compiled and written by Wumen Huikai  (無門慧開; Japanese: Mumon Ekai; 1183–1260). I have used the Blyth translation.

This is a special transmission, “Without relying upon words and letters, beyond all teaching as a special transmission, . . .”

The stories of the history of this “special transmission” from Patriarch to Patriarch passed on through 28 India patriarchs in India to Bodhidharma (Daruma) and with more names in China and Japan, is told in the Denkoroku ((伝光録, Record of the Transmission of the Light) written and/or compiled by Keizan Jokin Zenji in 1300.
This special transmission of the Buddha mind is Zen.

The silk road brought Buddhism to China centuries earlier and monks like Xuanzang (玄奘; 602 – 664) who traveled through Central Asia and India returning with “about a cargo container of Buddhist documents and art” (estimated by Laszlo Montgomery of The China Podcast) and was the basis for Journey to the West, a 16th century book and like Water Margin, one of the Four Great Classical Novels.

After Bodhidharma, aka Daruma, became the 28th patriarch of India he migrated to China where he became the First Patriarch of Chan, and settled at Shaolin. Often at more “serious” kung fu schools hanging somewhere is a brush drawing of Bodhidharma.

Buddhism was popular when Daruma arrived in China. Daruma is said to have stayed at Shaolin, famous for martial arts where he taught zen enlightenment through meditation and perhaps had something to do with the marital art known as Wing Chun.

The rise of Wing Chun, the destruction of Shaolin by the Qing dynasty in 1723, the escape of five masters, one of whom was a woman, its association with Zen and the transmission of the Wing Chun style to Ip Man who taught it to Bruce Lee makes this story very dramatic and exciting.

Another event in Zen was the story of the Sixth Patriarch, Hui-neng, six in line from Daruma and the last of the formal category Patriarch expressing the lineage of the Special Transmission.
Young Hui-neng was a poor illiterate wood cutter. One day he heard the Diamond Sutra, was instantly enlightened and became part of the kitchen help at the Eastern Meditation Monastery under the 5th Patriarch who in his old age was concerned that none of the monks showed ability to take his place. A poetry writing contest was scheduled.

NOTE: in China poetry writing skills includes both the ability to compose words & sounds as well as brush words was highly respected and considered a basic part of an upper class Chinese gentleman’s education, and essential for military officers.

The top student monk wrote this poem on the wall at the monastery (in green below). Hui-neng, who was illiterate asked his friend to read it to him, he then recited a poem and asked his friend to write it on the wall (in dark blue).

If you can understand the difference between the two poems then you have an “intellectual” understanding of zen enlightenment. If this seems a little strange consider Red Pine translates a writing said to be from Daruma: “Buddhas don’t do good, Buddhas don’t do bad . . .”

or remember Without relying upon words and letters, beyond all teaching as a special transmission, . . .”

DISCLAIMER: An intellectual understanding of Zen is not enlightenment nor is it necessary.

Though many other later names are included in Denkoruku, generally Hui-neng is regarded as a crossroads of the divergence of a northern and southern school, and the practice of sudden enlightenment or a slower meditation process.

Maybe the Heart Sutra makes a little more sense now.
“. . .form does not differ from emptiness,
emptiness does not differ from form.
That which is form is emptiness,
that which is emptiness form.”

Heart Sutra brushed by Janney

The suffering of Buddhism is not about the suffering of others, its not about being poor or hungry, or homeless, it is that being human is suffering, a suffering everyone shares.

The four Noble Truths of Buddhism are the truth of suffering, the truth of the cause of suffering, the truth of the end of suffering, and the truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering. When you awaken the Buddha inside of you will no longer have suffering.
How similar is this to the idea that the God of Abraham expelled Adam and Eve from Eden to “a life” and life is suffering. Your enlightenment is to accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be rewarded into Heaven after your death.

 The Dies Committee investigation was presented to the 77th Congress, and alleged that certain cultural traits – Japanese loyalty to the Emperor, the number of Japanese fishermen in the US, and the Buddhist faith – were evidence for Japanese espionage.

Both of these are based on the idea that there was some previous existence for people which did not include suffering and now people are separated or alienated from it.

You can compare this to christians who believe that accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior regardless of whatever evil things you have done on Earth is all it takes to ensure your place in heaven and what they call “compassion for others ” is their witnessing christianity to others.

Both have their own “exclusions— In Mahayana, the Bodhisattva is an individual who could become a Buddha but is delaying it to help others in this world, and during the last 1000 years some Christians embracing the idea that doing good deeds on Earth will carry some weight with their God but why bother doing good deeds when all you have to do is proclaim faith.

Where the accepted approach in photojournalism up to that time had been for a photographer to put himself in the reader’s place Smith had found a way to put himself in his subject’s place. It is a crucial distinction, and a key to finding one’s way through the deeper layers of meanings in the photographic essays Smith would concentrate on for the remainder of his working life.
Jim Hughes, introduction to W. Eugene Smith, Aperature Masters of Photography

Krishna defeating the mighty serpent Kaliya who caused great hardships and harm to local people. Krishna danced on top of Kaliya’s hoods rendering him helpless while Kaliya’s wives appealed for his life and Krishna instead of killing Kaliya sent him into exile.

Most everyday since the covad virus I have fast walked four miles along Alameda Creek. Its the same place, a little different everyday.

For many people photographs are about the content. What is it? and often when people show their snapshots they get excited as the image stokes their memory and when the friend is not similarly moved they say “Well you had to be there.“ Generally the snap shot photographer let the excitement of the moment determine when they clicked the shutter. To get the image right you need to let the excitement of the moment move you to make the photograph but use your technical ability to decide when to click the shutter.

He wanted to spare her, not because he minded a killing but because his employers might prefer him not to exceed his instructions.
Graham Greene This Gun For Hire

If you turn this picture upside down, it looks like a Chinese junk going down the Yangtze River or something. Its better upside down! In fact, one of my collectors has painting he always hangs upside down. Told me, “Hope you don’t mind, but it looks better that way.” Its all right; I don’t care.
Andrew Wyeth from Andrew Wyeth Autobiography

Many people walk along the creek, on passing I usually speak a greeting, most people respond and sometimes I get to know the individuals. Others, even after passing countless times just ignore me

A low voice whispered an appeal quite distinctly through the door, Raven picked up the automatic again. Who would’ve imagined an old woman could be so tough? It touched his nerve a little in the same way as the bell had done, as if a ghost were interfering with a man’s job. He opened the study door—he had to push it against the weight of her body. She looked dead enough, but he had to make sure with his automatic almost touching her eyes.
Graham Greene, This Gun For Hire

Of course he could go the bank and let let the police get him. It seemed probable that the wold then be hanged. But the idea of hanging for a crime he hadn’t committed still had power to anger him: if he killed himself it would be for a crime of which he was guilty. He was haunted by a primitive idea of Justice, He wanted to conform; he always wanted to conform.
Graham Greene The Ministry of Fear

Some live along the creek and I see them regularly, watching them age, seeing myself in them

A tokyo style house on a very expensive piece of land.

This is probably not a residence, but a storage place for a business in Honjo, Tokyo, or the garage for the house on the right.

. . . I may have complained about my new environment but I know it will be difficult to adapt myself to the new surroundings right away. I am sure everything will brighten up soon and in a few weeks I will begin to love this place almost as much as my home inS an Diego. When I stop to think how the pilgrims started their life, similar to ours, it makes me feel grand for it gives me the feeling of being a full-blooded American.
Most sincerely,
Louise Ogawa

Dear Miss Breed Letters of incarcerated Japanese American middle and high school children written to Miss Clara Breed, compiled by Joanne Oppenheim

Often people say that Japanese are group minded, and unlike Americans they “overly” conform or submit to the group while many Americans view their self expressions as being sancrosanct, justifying their right to use political power to impose their petty beliefs on others even at the infringement of the rights of others.

It didn’t seem to him as if there would be any harm in their meeting as long as he didn’t take his credentials with him, even in his socks. On the other hand, his room might be searched again. It certainly was a problem.
Graham Greene The Confidential Agent

People do like to be with people, when I was young I used to hitch-hike sometimes I did trips that took days and slept outside. One time I hitchhiked home from college, and on the last leg the driver who lived in the same city, offered to drop me at my house, but before he did we stopped at his house, it was on the way and considerably more modest that my parents house. I thought at the time it was unlikely that his kids had attended college and still he went out of his way to help me, a stranger, who I would never see again.

Once along the East Coast immid 1960s I hitched a long ride with an African-American semi truck driver, and we stopped twice for food at places a little off the highway with all African-American clientele.

People have their own lives, still we kneed knot no them.

When you see a homeless person dressed in dirty clothes begging, do you ever think it might be a Buddhist monk following the path of Shaka Buddha seeking enlightenment?

And maybe others are just glad to be paying the bills.

My mother was in memory care for over three years, and my wife and I saw her daily. Monthly I would make a photographic poster of experiences with mom for my sister in Japan. She like to go to McDonald’s and eat french fries.

We took her out every Sunday for lunch, generally at one of three restaurants that she liked, Each Sunday she would very seriously examine the menu, put it down, smile, explain that this was her first time at this restaurant and ask that I order for her.

Sometimes it seems that my photographs are nothing more than a conversation with myself, and my difficulty is that I do not communicate well to myself. When the photograph reminds me of something that brings back good memories, often its something that I lost long ago, may never have again and the good feeling turns to a sadness for what was lost. Would I rather have the photograph of the lost memory or no photograph and the good times still with me. That is why I call them Light Converswayshuns with my celph.

winzen is lostcost

At a Japanese temple or shrine people can purchase an ema—write on it and hang it, or take it home and, I guess, hang it.

In Tokyo and perhaps through much of Japan, temples and shrines are ubiquitous, some small, some large, and in Tokyo they are distributed everywhere. Many of them are older than the surrounding buildings, they were there first and new construction was built around them. They fit in the neighborhood.

Neighbors interact with temples and shrines as they go about their daily lives, and there is an integrated exposure and most of the experiences of neighbors is with the physical temple. This is different than how Americans interact with their churches, in the US the church is a focus, the interactive behavior among the people is around the church with things outside the church being excluded, not a part of it or the lives of the people. In Japan the temples and shrines are just other part of the daily lives of Japanese.

Some of the older and simpler ema are interesting.

Experiences with the temple priest are generally specific and personal, or on holidays such has New Years and Obon, temple priests may may be chanting and people can listen and join. Public events are held at temples and shrines and people visit them as individuals, representing themselves.

Anyone can make their own images, a flying eyeball or aliens from outer space, plenty to imagine here.

For most Japanese the temple and Shrine, Buddhism and Shinto are an integrated part of their lives, its what it means to be Japanese. For most Americans “the church” and their christianity is separate from their outside lives, when they are are “being Christian” they are generally in conflict with society, different from others, and too often self righteous about the whole thing. It functions to give them an identity which tells them they are separate and better than others.

One of my emas with Dancing Darumas,

These were at the Great Kanto Earthquake (September 1,1923) Memorial Museum, Yokoamicho Park.

In Tokyo and perhaps through much of Japan, temples and shrines are ubiquitous, some small, some large, here in a narrow space between a produce field and a residential area is a shrine where neighbors walk by and through everyday, the shrine was there before the housing.

The idea of “human alienation”, the notion that individual human problems are because each of us is separated from our “Real Self,” i.e. we are separated from something that is part of our nature and we need to become “whole again.”

The logo of the temple on its lanterns.

Buddhism says we are alienated from our natural state of enlightenment and each of us needs to awaken the Buddha inside each of us to realize it.

The Judeo-Christian tradition has “Paradise”and the expulsion of Adam and Eve. Painters such as Gauguin and Rousseau expressed a feeling that we are separated from something more natural.

A few centuries ago western philosophers wondered was it the “nature” or “structure” of “modern society” which alienated individuals from their “natural state of being.” For those who believed that the natural state of being was harmony this separation was seen as negative for the individual

For those who believed that society is conflict&competition, and “winning&losing,” this is the “natural state” of being and its as good as it ever gets. The “good” and “bad” of society is measured by the best and the worst of the individuals in the society and society is never more than the sum of its parts. The “winners” see themselves as more deserving than others.

I like the gestures , I do not need to know too much about the person, I am sure they do not want that either.

From this perspective living in a society is never better than living by oneself but it can be worse because human nature means there are bad and good people and when you live in society, the bad people are always around you somewhere.

For others it is the alienation which prevents us from finding our real self.

Certainly faith as an act of the whole personality has strong emotional elements with in it., Emotion always expresses the involvement of the whole personality in an act of life or spirit. Faith is definite in its direction and concrete in its content.
Paul Tillich Dynamics of Faith

tokyo street

Photographs are different than drawings, even when we are busy trying to figure out what the drawing is a drawing of, the eye brain connection is softened up a little so we can relax and enjoy the process of “figuring it out, ” i.e. enjoy the lines and colors and shapes while are bus figuring it out—all happening instantly or perhaps like Finnegans wake and Mona Lisa which happen perpetually.

Wonder if the square hole was part of the original design, maybe it’s also just another photograph pasted in place,? it does seem kind of odd, a place where you insert money and out comes the hand and face of a woman. Maybe some people come by every day looking for some human interaction. It might hard to imagine being that lonely for you.

For Nietzsche it was enough, or maybe beyond his ability, to understand the cause, perhaps the existential human quest was to find your own answer, but Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Freud and many others were to propose alienation from one’s true self was a property, changeable or unchangeable, fixable or not fixable, of modern society. Marx said to Feuerbach “Its not enough to know it!!!”
 “Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways; the point is to change it.”

There was “something” about the changes individuals made from being a natural baby to a grownup adult so society could function which was the source of this alienation— sociologically the term “socialization” describes this. People are social and living in a society is necessary for the survival of the species but it has negative result on individuals as it makes them repress their self interest behavour.

Minnesota is both flat and cold.

Many perceived these behavior changes during the process of socialization which made society possible as self imposed repression of basic human urges preventing individuals from becoming who they could be, their real self.

Minnesota is both cold and flat.

It begins to all sound the same, we are not the person we could be because we have been separated from our true natural self.

You can get lost in the forest of words where words themselves are just abstractions of reality,

Others might say its like yin and yang, there is some good and bad mixed in together and that is the human dilemma, you need to learn to live with it and make the best of it. Y

Closed down in 1992 the town name, Amiret, the name adopted in 1879 for Amiretta Sykes, the wife of local a railroad official. Wonder how this post office would handle millions of mail-in votes.

Even today christians believe they will go to heaven—their return to the place from which they were separated —by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal lord and savior. That will take away all of their sins. And if you are Catholic you can have choice of attrition, or perfect or imperfect contrition.

I am reminded of Brideshead Revisited;

“I believe that everyone in his (or her) life has the moment when he is open to Divine Grace. It’s there, of course, for the asking all the time, but human lives are so planned that usually there’s a particular time – sometimes, like Hubert, on his deathbed – when all resistance is down and grace can come flooding in.
Evelyin Waugh from a personal letter.

The end was not for me. As you can imagine my heart was in my mouth all through the deathbed scene, hoping against hope that the old man would not give way, that is, take the course he eventually did.
novelist Henry Green in a personal letter to Waugh.

I remember when I read the book I felt the same way.

For Socrates Man has become separated from the “real”light of truth, the transcendent realm of the Gods. Platonic philosophy promises that after a series of reincarnations such a state of unity might be attained.
Christopher Want and Andrzej Klimowski Introducing Kant

But I like walking in the rain, most of the time when I am walking in the rain, I am walking alone, even when someone is walking next to me.

Sometimes I feel like Basho who used to travel around Japan and write haiku about famous places he visited. Sora wrote if a temple was famous for the sunrise and it was raining, Basho would write a haiku as if he saw the sunrise.

Often the images I make using the photographic process is not REALLY the visual experience of being there when I was there but what I wanted the experience to be or maybe I just imagined it for fun and did not really care about i and when I finished I forgot all about it.

But this is pretty much what walking along Alameda Creek looked like late morning during the past two weeks, with the smoke from the fires over 100 miles away. I wore two masks while “speed walking” the four miles.

A couple of photographs by James Keller. James has wonderful rapport with people, he can meet them, interact with them , get them to show something about themselves and manage to get the camera in focus, the exposure correct and click the shutter all at the same time.

This one would be about 1975 or ’76, I started art school and soon lost my apartment on Putnam Ave in Cambridge —the landlord, retired from a life of military service wanted to “renovate” the building and had big dreams to get rich. It was seven rooms, three guys lived there, cost me $35 a month and I was right up the street from Central Square and the subway to art school.
One Saturday I woke up to a banging and while I was still in bed there appeared in my room the landlord with a handgun pointed at me telling me to get out now. Fortunately James extended the hospitality of his apartment in Jamaica Plain to my dog and my me until we could find a new place back in Central Square just a couple of blocks away from the old one. This was in the kitchen in Jamica Plain.

Maybe I would rather just be fishing on this side of the shore.

Gate Gate,
Paragate,
Parasamgate
Bohdhi Svaha

Wore know more

Krishna shoving his left arm into the mouth of the Horse Demon Kesi. Krishna is the good guy here even though if you not familiar with the Krishna story you might think of him as less aggressive than this image. His arm and fist are like a hot piece of expanding iron thrust into the mouth and down throat of Kesi as he kills the Horse Demon, sent kill him by the bad king Kamsa. Note the “frightened” gopas hiding in the trees

To know who the people are and what is happening you need to know the story. Compare a cave painting to a photograph or a movie. Everyone knows what is going on in the cave painting because everyone knows the story from oral transmission, spoken, not written. Most ‘Western ’ people would recognize an image of King Arthur, or Hercules, even though there was never such a person.

Modern media may include, and spread, visual information from less common, more specialized, more contemporary sources, such as news, fashion, or a popular movie or book and create is own “folk images, ” Santa Claus would be an example of a made up person by modern media whose image most Westerners as well as many around the world, would visually recognize.

Alameda Creek where I walk almost every day, we are at least 100 miles away from the fires. There would be blue sky except for the smoke and because of the heat from the fire, the smoke is above the clouds . Yesterday it was a little cooler, the smoke was pushed down below the clouds which made breathing difficult. Skin is covered over with a layer of something foreign.

The photographic image is generally considered to be a representation of some “thing” real, or a “real” thing. When camera exposure is different the images of the some thing made with different exposure settings will be different images.

The camera can make different images of the same thing using different exposures, the extremes on the exposure continuum from no light or too much light with different light exposures in between resulting in different images of the same thing.

Which one is the Real Thing ? The “Real” photograph is the one which shows us the same thing as it looks to our eyes. Eyes of other living things may experience something different but other living things do not have photographs nor do they have expectations of what is photograph.

We know people see photographs differently, and as well, we know people see “real” things differently. Philosophy explored this issues centuries ago.

There was enough commonality between how people sensually experience the universe to evolve a social structure enabling survival, society, trade, shelter, a body of skills and knowledge and a language.

The camera sees it not just differently, the camera can see the same thing in different ways, different being in non-human ways that produce an image we cannot experience with our eyes but the camera can show it to us ,or does it create it. Would you think a photograph made from digital information transmitted through outer space is “more real” than an image created by a NASA illustrator.?

Humans have five senses; sight, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling. This is how we experience the universe. My own definition of empirical is the human process of knowing based on the experiences of the five senses.

This establishes a common human standard to compare “what is known” by comparing it to “how it is known.” If I see it and you see it and they see it and we all saw it and agree on what she aw (conclusion) while standing (methodology) next to each other, we will accept it as “Real.” And when you write it down so others in the future can do it again to check it, that is basic science methodology.

“There was a time when the wisdom of the men of old was perfect. When? When they were not yet conscious that things existed. Next, they knew that there were things , but did not attempt to distinguish them , Next, they distinguished things but did not try to label some “right” and “others” wrong. As soon as such judgements were passed, the integrity of the Tao was dilated and prejudice came into being.”
The Chang Tzu James Legge translation

One evening at a large business social gathering, inspite of the din of people eating, drinking, networking while passing out business cards, I found myself in a corner conversation with an engineer from India. Somewhere in the conversation I said that in the development of knowing religion came before scientific method.

If it were a painting would you think What is it?

He replied that logically empirical methodology (scientific method) had to come before religion because without it, religion could not deliver enough information for humans to survive.

This bird has amazing patience, it can stand there for long periods of time intently focused.

Which makes logical sense. By the time religion came around people already figured out how to survive without words or books. Language, instead of being a part of the “biological OS,” was developed over time in the very process described by The Chang Tzu above—the process of differentiating things and giving them names.

It might seem as if I am little abnormally obsessed with images of myself, however I do not have another model, often when I make the photographic image no one else is there except me and often if someone is there they may not want to be in the photograph. But as the song goes:


If you give me weed ,whites and wine
And show me a sign,
I’ll be willin.’

Willin’ Lowell George

At certain times,  I believe certain things. But my beliefs are fleeting. That’s why I’m troubled when asked to state my policies, my beliefs. If I could express my beliefs in words I wouldn’t be making clothes.
Isey Miyake


Show me the me I am when I am not me?

And these are all people who may have different views of a same photograph. Can they have the same view of different photographs?

Its fun to make photographs of people . . .

First there is skepticisim.
This is what I think,
Creation begins when I doubt my own thinking
and question whether something is really so.
Issey Miyake


. . . and with people; When someone else is there you get two sides of the camera. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Is there question here? or just an answer?

Because photographs are just fun all by themselves, guess that’s an answer,

Warm&cool: the yin&yang of perpetual motion made in heaven

Last week I included some different chinese brushed characters for Heart, here is “Iron Heart” brushed by Ryuko Tomoyose in the spirit of Uechiryu Karate-Do.

Kokoro by Shingei Muho in the spirit of Zen

Daruma brought what is known as Zen in Japan (and the western world) from India (Dhyana) to China (Chan) in the 6th century. This half body view, often with a bold brush stroke, is one common motif of brush paintings of Daruma. .

Japanese have a fondness for Daruma images and even though, in a sense, Daruma is a “religious image,” Japanese do not fear hi s image. I have aof a glow-in-the-dark Daruma image bumper sticker; restaurant shoyu packages, tissue paper packages handed out on the street with Daruma images on them —Daruma loves life. Nana korobi ya oki” He would be friends with Kokopelli.

Even though he s a religious image, that image is part of everyday secular life in Japan. It only makes him more popular, but don’t tell him, it might go to his head.

Darumas wondering, Are they having fun yet?

Daruma ema, thees two do not look like Happy Darumas. Emas are small wooden votives, a string or cord, often twine, like a shoe lace goes through the hole on top and you hang it, sometimes you write something on it. You may hang it at a shrine or temple, take it home, or give it to someone for well wishes.

Back of a t shirt and note on the right side, halfway down . . .

Daruma was the 28th Patriarch of Dhyana in India, and the First Patriarch of Chan in China. This is his verse, the story of his enlightenment while living in India, in Denkoroku (伝光録).

Sign mounted between two vertical poles in the shape of a a Japanese ema. You can see influence of Kabuki traditional stage sets or maybe traditionally stage designers came from sign painters.

A cow and a pig, the cow feels masculine and the pig feels feminine, the pig looks happy and is looking to see if she is being noticed by others while the cow is thinking about something looking at the pig.

A sign, hanging in the window of a local gas station, feels as if someone thought they could fool people with it.
Visually it feels uncomfortable to read; the contrast between the black “2” and blue numbers and the size differences requires the reader to do more work to “read” (understand) only to learn after all that work to read it that there is no benefit to spending that much time figuring out what is going on, like this last sentence— the designer should have made it easier to read.

And a person will process this analysis by feeling, almost instantly, with no words ,just feeling.

Still, $29.95 is a good price, depends on the quality of the oil and filter, even at that price I would not expect oil and/or filter to be up my standard.

Its amazing we have so many words with so many meanings! If history is the story of increasing information, is there a limit to how much word information the biology can absorb. Will there be an overload to the human computing system, will computers save humans or can humans evolve biologically fast enough to deal with all that new information forced upon us by this market economy?

Morris Bellis in front of Tire Discount Center, Arlington Massachusetts. In the winter hands and any outside skin get exposed to cold, often irregularly, it makes it harder to use your hands. I would tuck the back of my shirt inside the back of my pants to keep the cold air from finding my skin.

But it didn’t matter, cold always finds a way, think of all the temperature differences throughout the universe. Get your coffee, put it on the table, This is one little spot in the universe where hot and cold are meeting, the universe is cooling the coffee—The same old question for 13 billion years Which one wins? hot or cold?

A closer look at Morris Bellis
; Cannot remember ever seeing him with an employee, he did the work of changing tires in the cold with his hands using metal tools.

Is warmer or cooler aggressing the other, disruptedly warmer like in a nuclear explosion on Earth or a star millions of light years away. ? Or is there a kind of mutual dissipation, both warm and cold snuggling closer and closer to each other until they become one like just before winter dawn creeps the window in you feel the chill.

Alameda Creek, almost every day a fast walk four miles along the levee.

The same thing that is going on all over the universe is happening as we speak across a kitchen table over coffee, the warmth of the coffee is dissapating into the room, while the cold in the room is seeking the warmth coffee.

How “large does the interaction have to be before the temperature is “normalized.” What is normal? Is there an absolute quantifiable normal? Why can’t the cold and the warm just be content in their own area. Why do they have to go making trouble everywhere?

I have been walking along the creek almost daily for over 13 years. Its a public space but some people treat it as if its their private space

Maybe its just happening all over the place. Or the Big Bang?? whatever was going on regarding temperature, at the Bang, was it more volitive and more extreme making all of history a process of cooling down. But then were does the “cool” come from that is causing the warmer to cool. Maybe what is lost from big bang is a constant decrease in the ability to produce heat.

Earth’s Global warming is only a small piece of this universal warming and cooling,

People who do not pickup dog poop, people with loud radios, people driving illegal vehicles, bicyclist who seek to dominate and intimidate walkers with their vehicle,

One difference is people on Earth created this problem. There is no reason to expect that the heating of the Earth will not expand outwards until it is dissipated or inwards until “unknown” happens, until a new balance reached or created

Most people pick up their responsibly , stlll there is a lot of it

We cans people on Earth created this problem however maybe its the other way around, cold is moving in and the warm is responding and humans are just caught along in it.

Different people are on the levee for different reasons. Some are even paid to be there . . .

Can we do something, should we do something, will we do something?

. . . while others are paid to play there.

How will we know what to do? I think most people do not really believe it can de-story the Earth.

A different season than last week,
the deciduous tree is shed of leaves,
leaving the house naked.

Throughout the universe the continuous dynamics between warm and cool are constantly changing, maybe just the constant interactions of small particle generate enough heat to confront the cold and even though the heat is dissipated as long as new heat is generated the process energizes and perpetuates itself.—A perpetual motion machine.

I was fascinated by her top, or dress or shirt or whatever its called, and the blue jeans, they seemed like adult clothes not on a little girl but on a small woman,( circa 1970).

To generate heat to create warmth to interact with cool gives the universe a reason to create things (particles)— A Raison d’être.

Who is this young man looking to meet? Its obviously a cold day and this mantas the top his chest open for public view. (Boston Commons Circa 1970) . . .

The universes does not want to freeze up, then all motion would stop, it would stop expanding, it would stop moving, it would die.

. . . and who is this man looking to meet? Maybe he is the drummer on break not wanting to risk leaving his drums unguarded. (in a park in Cambridge MA Circa 1970)

Gate Gate para gate parasamgate Bodhisvaha

Zen misconflusion

Caligraphy by 17th century Chinese Buddhist monk Nangen from Mampukuji, founded by Chinese Chan monks in 1661, near Kyoto Japan. It is the head temple of the Japanese Ōbaku Zen sect, named after Wanfu Temple in Fujian, China. The large character translate as heart, or mind such as when used with mu—無心.

The basic character for heart (below), in Mandarin pronounced Xīn and Japanese might be pronounced shin or kokoro. Japanese borrowed the Chinese characters giving a Chinese charactera a Chinese and Japanese pronounciation—in Japanese an On and Kun. While China does not have “specific only ” phonetic writing, their are more or less phonetic hints while Japan and Korea bodies using Chinese characters have a phonetic only writing.

One day in SF China town passing a “going out of business” stationary store on Grant Street with a sign in the window — SALE! Characters written $7.50 each, so I bought two, Mu and Shin 無心, An elderly man brushed them while we waited .

Below, a shin (from a MuShin) by Gengo Akiba Roshi

In writing Chinese characters there are basic strokes . . .

brushed like this

. . . written in this order. Hand brushed Chinese characters can be appreciated for their own visual qualities without understanding the literal meaning. It is different than western caligraphy which also writes the letters by hand, while the design may feel like a “thing,” a chinese character is visual representation of a thing,

Above examples from Chinese for Beginners Foreign Languages Press

The Birth of Krishna: King Kamsa had been foretold that a son of Devaki, Krishna’s mother, would kill him. When she was pregnant he put her in jail, When Krishna was born, Devaki’s husband secretly exchanged him with female newly born, Yoga Maya. This painting from the 18th century depicts the action.

Contrast Dylan’s Its All Right Ma literal image to a WPA painting on the interior walls of Coit Tower: One is in the hole and the other getting out.
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole that he’s in

Money is a black hole easy to be sucked into.

Most every day I walk four miles along Alameda Creek seeing the same things everyday. Same things ? ? ?

. . . 2? two things, the idea seems strange. Where does it come from? Are any two things in the universe the same? Compare buyers in the produce section choosing apples at $/lb or $/each, see how easily they can move from one standard of choosing to another.

If everything is unique, if we could count up all of the things in the universe, give each one a name, there would be so so many if we were never to finish.

One of the qualities of human beings is having developed a language with words which can have hierarchical relationships, meta levels . . .

This helps make “2” possible because things can be differentiated, counted and at the same time be grouped together in different overlapping hierarchical categories and structures. Things canoe the same and different at once.
Apples, oranges and pears as fruits are different, and a moment later the differences between good looking apples and bruised apples are easily defined, one moment apples are the same and the next moment they become different from each other.

This works better for material things —apples and trees and rocks—than for common ideas in society.

Science is the most reliable and practical method for doing this process in the common interest.

There are many answers which science cannot know because the problem cannot be defined or the problem is defined incorrectly. However the latter is usually discovered by scientists doing peer reviews, the process is not just “checking” but the process of incorrectly defining things is also a part of the scientific creative process and peer review often leads to a working definition for developing an workable hypothesis.

While science is based on common human empirical experiences and a community of people who commit to scientific method, individuals have unique anecdotal, non-scientific experiences which are also a way of knowing which uses faith as “proof” and when what they “know” is incorrect there is no check and balance to it—critical efforts usually end up as a personal attack. A religious experience which is not “logical” or “scientifically provable” can seem “truth” on the basis of faith while criticizing a person’s faith often has negative results.

When we see a photograph we feel its a photograph . . .

And all the way held your camera
like a bible ,just wishing so bad
it held some kind of truth.
And I stood nervous
next to you
in the darkroom,
You drop the paper in the water
and it begins to bloom.
Old Soul Song Conor Obrest

Even when we know its not real, the colors, the continuous tone, the texture, the surface of the medium and still no matter what it is, when we see a photograph we always want to know “what is it?

Pottery, clay containers which can hold liquid was an important human development. Fragments of pottery in China date back 20,000 years ago.

In general my taste is pottery made by potters. Local potters, crafts fairs; Pueblo pottery; and Japanese folk pottery.

Hagi is a Japanese pottery folk kiln— folk kiln referring to potters with a history, in a geographical area using similar materials and techniques with a similar look and feel.

Hagi is one of the old kilns, its located on the lower west side of Honshu. It can be more porous than other types, absorbing as it is used and changing color. Its its own history, a history like people, it changes color from because of its experiences and can never go back to what it was. Or you can keep your hagi bowl in a  tomobako tucked away in a drawer never to feel the warmth of tea.

The zen of pottery —get one, really like using it, its part of your life, it breaks, feel bad, get another one and really like using it, but you never forget the other ones.

An Okinawan tokkuri flask shaped for the hip. Some may have clay rings connected and a rope goes through the rings and wraps around the waist, so, I have heard, so farmers in the fields can drink when they get thirsty.

To make the pottery-zen work you need potters, people who like using pottery and people who like selling pottery and some clay, glazes, a kiln and some fire and a pottery-zen mind.

Hidasuki Bizen guinomi.. When pots are stacked in the kiln for firing they may be tied together by twine and then fired.

Pottery is one of those things that is functional and also Art. Using pottery is like having your own museum and touching the exhibits everyday . . .

Ekaratsu made in Kyushu: the “e” refers to picture same as wood block prints are called ukiyo-e . Often karatsu pots have paintings such as bamboo leaves

. . . and not paying an admission fee.

Ki-Seto guinomi and Shigaraki tokkuri from Seto-Mino area and Shiga Prefecture.

Simple bikes left outside in a corner, — the object is confused by the subject with no cares, or maybe no one cares, in this world.

Every new day dawns with seventy new landmine victims in the world. Yet two million new mines are strewn every year, increasing the appalling scourge of more than 100 million of them lying in wait, without respite, flush with the ground, buried anywhere and everywhere, for months, perhaps years, until their cruel purpose is fulfilled.

Ignasi Carreras, Consuelo Lobo, Pedro Arcos from the introduction to Vidas Minadas by Gervasio Sanchez and photographs by Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, published 1997

gate gate
pāragate
pārasaṃgate
bodhi svāhā,