Sow, mini-books on Zen?

I would like 
to offer you something,
But in the Daruma Sect
We have nothing at all.

Ikkyu      R.H. Blyth translation

A fun painting by Janney.


So,  many books on Zen?  Can people hear words, or read words, and their life is changed? Does it take a longer or a shorter time?

There was a constant rain when we walked along the Alameda Creek levee, you can find something special about walking in the rain;  I like the sounds of falling rain echoing off  the low clouds . . .


There are so many books about all kinds things, you can find solutions for all of the personal or political problems in the world in books.

Here in Fremont it doesn’t rain much, mostly its north of San Francisco that gets the heavy rain—not likeNew England where it can rain all day, and maybe two or three days more— but it can be grey all day, or just as likely gray in the morning and then the  clouds burn off or move away, and it becomes sunny, even when its raining north of San Francisco. 


What is raining? “Its” is raining? Is “its” the “weather”? For all of the things we “understand” sometimes words are used to express things even when we do not understand the basic assumptions surrounding the words; we know we do not understand  the basic assumptions surrounding the words;  and we know we do not understand  the basic assumptions surrounding the words we get into a discussion  about we do not understand the basic assumptions surrounding the words, it goes nowhere.

Lines, shapes  and colors of a small neighborhood business in Asakusa. Japan has many corporations but it also has many small businesses and a very competitive  small business and consumer market. 


Its raining, what is the “its”, the sky? the clouds? the earth? . . . a process which we can describe in many different ways ranging from poetic to scientific and yet the basic  message is if we go outside we are going to get wet.

Telegraph Hill San Francisco


The word “its” enables us to communicate important, or maybe not so important, spoken or written information without getting into a philosophical discussion. Implicit in words is the willingness people have to compromise, kind of an implied  contract, to get along with each other

Feeling alone in a group with a deeply held shared feeling? SDS Days of Rage, Chicago 1989. Most college students involved with SDS were not supporters of the Weathermen but outside of the war issue, were more concerned with increasing on-campus student participation in matters of their personal and academic lives.


North Scituate Beach, maybe a mother and son relationship. Do you think this kid feels as lonely as the young man in the above image?


Kids will be curiously serious when they are young,  as we grow older we fit into society, making what compromises we can make to get things we want ?

A summer bible school in a rural New England town, about 1970


We become more concerned with our self  . . 


With a photograph over time you can see changes, not in the photograph but in your own eyes, how you see the person and you say to yourself “I understand better, why could Not see it then, it was right in front of me” but photographs are  often too late.


Central Square towards the river and Western Ave, maybe Green Street or the next block down, circa 1970. 


San Francisco, maybe here I might pass Sam Spade walking in the opposite direction or maybe behind me. 


Pottery may be like zen—or zen is like pottery — you see it, you like it, you buy it, you enjoy using it, you break it . . . and you get another one.

Hagi is special, its very porous and as you use it the color changes—it remembers an every little something from an every serving of tea.


The six  old  “folk kilns” of Japan, “Nihon Rokkoyo,” includes bizen and shigaraki. Both use an ash glaze. “Folk” may be the translation, but in Japanese its different than how we think of folk craft in the US.

One difference is that “tradition” is important whereas in the US  “creativity”  and “personal expression” are important. You can see bizen, shigaraki, oribe, shino, made today and 300 years ago and feel the tradition. There is still individual expression, creativity, uniqueness of the potter, but without thinking you know its bizen, oribe, tamba etc.

 Feeling the rough texture of shigaraki ,
the rough smooth texture of bizen
 makes the sake taste better.


Repeating an image of my shadow (which includes the camera) I made blanket  patterns . .  .


They are like design exercises, making illusions


Trying to understand why something wats to be something its not


Can people actually learn from books? make ourselves better? enjoy ourselves?  make the world a better place? enjoy the world?  Find God? So many books on this earth, so many authors, and increasingly fewer book stores which were often just as fun, or even more fun, than the books.

Early morning in Maine


I like to hold books in my hand, see the covers, feel the type, and remember what I read.

I only remembered seeing this place, the house and the barn were not quite inline,  years later I made a sketch.


The mind of man is without a sound
Without odour;
He who answers when called
Is nothing but a thief.

Ikkyu      R.H. Blyth translation

The sound of zen calling in the early morning.bwermonttree005Det800




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