Unwillful zensatiation

“In their traditional house, the Japanese have evolved a very special relationship between the home module and the surrounding public space, between “inside” and “outside.” For many Westerners a house is a thing, an object, or as the Bauhaus theorists defined it, a “machine for living.” But to the Japanese it is a context or rather a shifting set of smaller contexts within a larger one.”

Barrie B. Greenbie   Space and Spirit in Modern Japan 


“Pine tree says Good Morning, ” painting by Janney Y Z


I live a few houses away from the Alameda Creek Trail, its a levee which runs from  the bay into the Niles Canyon area. You can walk or bike either side for about 10 miles. Many  walk it regularly,  some everyday, its not unusual  to see people use these steps   for exercise repeatedly going up and down,


There is an emptiness in the morning when the air is clean, and the sun rises over Mission Peak, like God’s  Reveille calling you to another day,


It gives a meaning to the everyday lives of  people,


With the “stay at home” guidelines, many people in this neighborhood are a little  restless, cabin fever,  but its only been about month or six weeks—Daruma sat in front of the wall at Shaolin and mediated for nine years.


One  thing that has greatly increased along the path is the dog poop, The regulations are that people are supposed to pick up after their dog poops  and dispose of it “properly.” Free plastic bags are available for this purpose  at the Beard Road Staging area and probably at other locations along the trail.


Most people do,  and then,  some just leave it, But over the past six weeks increasingly people have been picking the dog poop with the plastic bag, tying it up and leaving it by the side of the trail.


People look different along the path, no one is required to look the same,


Its also a place were  I like to fantasize, maybe its centuries ago like some European landscape  painting along a river, some buildings, fields, maybe skaters on a frozen river running through the center of a small village of houses with smoke billowing  from their chimneys  . . .


Growing up I lived in areas which had a winter with cold, snow, ice,  warm coats, goulashes, different from Fremont which has a rainy season and a few months of “jacket weather.”


Before the  concept of a “market economy”—something we have always taken for granted—was just emerging in Europe.

A market economy is an economic system in which economic decisions and the pricing of goods and services are guided by the interactions of a country’s individual citizens and businesses.
from Investopedia.com


That is kind of a “biased ” definition in that  it wants to contrast a market economy  to a centrally controlled economy, you know, “ socialism.”  For a long time humans were mostly self sufficient, or in some sort of “relationship with varying degrees of “human bondage.”  Provide for yourself, or provide for someone else on their terms.

The “provide  for others who in turn provide for you” economy with a common division of labor was still developing. Human economic relationships were  very different then.


When people do things they get better at it. Not every person is good at every thing, some people will be better than others at doing different things. Once humans are doing the things that enable them to survive, they do survive, and as they continue doing the things which enable them to survive they get better at it, and in the same period of time they can produce more than before, which means they make more than they need to survive. The magical ugly word, ”Surplus!!”


Does this mean there are more things than people need? or maybe they also spend more time making the things better—competition,? technological change? whatever with a surplus  you have more than you need, or if you make a product better, you need customers who’ll appreciate  it by spending more money  and  you need a market  and an opportunity to sell int he market.


What happens when things are produced that, everyone wants, or needs, everyone knows they are available but not everyone has access to them.  Maybe “wanting”  and “needing” are different things, and sometimes the economy kneeds people  to want things that are not necessary  even more than they want things that are necessary.


Hagi, its subtle color is always changing  through use, just like outlives  and the  face we see in the mirror every day.


Alligator told me he was Native American  and African-American. My mother was in a memory care facility for a few years where he was a regular entertainer.  He plays guitar, accordian, fiddle, banjo, harmonica and sings and dances around and gets close to people as he sings to them, and he performs songs by Hank, Dylan, Fats Waller, Sinatra, Beatles, Cajun and Zydeco, Blues, R&B. popular songs,  Johnny Cash,  Jimmy Rodgers, and more, and people feel good about themselves.

He is an amazing performer,  its never about him but about the audience—an audience where the common denominator was that they were in a memory care facility — he performs like the feeling I get when I hear Bob Dylans’s Mr Tambourine Man.


“My dad’s a soldier blue
I’ll be a soldier, too
When I grow older you
Will see me rescue you
I’ll teach you this old song
So you can sing along
When I am dead and gone
The day won’t be so long”

Clap Clap     Piccolo Coro deli’Antoniano


Could it be that the Empty Mind of Buddhism is like our memory of  before we were born and our memory of after we die.

Mushin (Japanese) or Wúxīn (Chinese)  by Janney Y Z


Gate, gate 
Bodhi Svaha

From The Heart Sutra

2 thoughts on “Unwillful zensatiation

  1. I was just reading an article on “home” in Japanese Photography in the current House &Home issue of Aperture Magazine, about the various words in Japanese for the English “home”: ie and katei for the spatial house, kazoku for the family and household, furusato for a nostalgic image of your home, hometown, or birthplace. As you quote at the beginning, its all context.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David,

      thanks for the comment, Ths is an interesting subject, I have found good insight from the book “Space and Spirit in Modern Japan ” by Barrie B. Greenbei. He writes from the perspective of an architect who has lived in Japan and focuses on the relationship of architecture and social behaviour. HIs photographs used in the book illustrate his discussion.

      Liked by 2 people

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