Less, or then, zen

“We usually had a book apple orchard. Such a variety of apples that w had apples until the spring of the year.  After one variety would be gone  , the folks seems to know what the next varies you’d start using. 

And Dad, he’d  bury those [apples] in the oats bin, lard cans—50 pound cans. There might be as many as 15 cans buried down in the oats bin, and they be just like out of the refrigerator now, when you’d take them out.”

Mary Works , 84       Feeding Our Families    Memories of Hoosier Homemakers    published 1983

Do  you think there wold be no war?,   or crime?, or mistakes?,   if only world was populated by Buddhas . Or do you think these Buddhas would  sit around all day in deep prajna paramita? who would cook and clean and raise the children  or earn living?

The last lines of The Heart Sutra,    brush by Janney


Here in the US people are blessed with many diverse understandings of what is Buddhism and what is tofu. US farmers sell soy beans to countries in Asia and many think tofu is “weird food” while in the US “the zen of” something  is the basic essence of  it, without all the unimportant trappings, the nitty-gritty, the skinny, the pragmatic or the unimportant.


What is it that could be unimportant?  I guess non-Zen behavour  is doing a bunch of unimportant things such as cleaning your house or having a bowel movement? Drinking water? Feeling self pity?

Zen behavour is not doing those things? Or doing no-thing? Maybe the differences between the two, Buddhism and tofu, gets a  little confusing  for me.


Like tai chi along the Alameda Creek levee, its easier done without thinking, or planning, just a little repetition everyday and after awhile you stop worrying about whether it makes any sense.


Or whether being alone is really being or does being start  when you get there.


Having a purpose, a mindful destination  or even if mindful is the purpose what purpose  is there? What purpose did God have when creating the Universe?

alamedaCreek4487Det30%ppi100B900It sure was not very  perfect, otherwise God would never have kicked  Adam and Eve out of Eden How could God be so incompetent as to create so much imperfection, something which was so easily destroyed just by eating an apple?


Which is more important, the fore ground or the background when the back is  the foreground.


Why not birds in the sky or bananas in a  tree, neither one should be allowed to get in the way of enlightenment, so why  would  we let them?

Painting by Janney

janneyPnt6737_800One afternoon fifty years ago. Where are these people now and Morris the cat, after 50 years  is “likely”  no longer in this world. More than other cat I have ever known, Morris loved to be touched,  you could pick up  Morris, throw him in the air, catch him and he loved it and wanted more.


Then there is  my sister’s cat,  when visiting in 2018 I entered the house while my sister was not home, the cat  was alone, I was not properly introduced and during this visit this was the friendliest it ever got. In 2019 a dog had joined the household and the cat was very pleased and happy.


I am allergic to cats, being around them in rooms where the live  or touching them makes eyes itch and affects my breathing, my nose and mouth dry u.  Not every cat affects it the same, some less, some more and sometimes  its so bad I have leave.


Before the Covad-19 I used to go to Trader Joe’s and the bookstore on Saturday afternoons, after my  four miles exercise along Alameda Creek levee. The bookstore first as I purchased perishable food.  And before that there is a small Cancer Society second hand shop, the kind where the stuff is interesting to see and in good enough shape to enjoy seeing it.

At the bookstore I often get in a conversation with someone, seeing someone looking at a book  I may inquire about it  which often starts a conversation. This gentleman, being very proud of his daughter, spent about 20 minutes talking about her accomplishments.


I like to use quotes from books, perhaps as out of context flashes, these images are like quotes from the book  The Journey is the Destination  The Journals of Dan Eldon.


I can enjoy like  Finnegans Wake or The Gutenberg Galaxy or Mummokan—just open it up anywhere, anytime, any way, and start reading or in this case looking, and whenI decide I am  finished,  close it and put it down.  The experience of a book does not have be a linear-logic experience such as you might have with a book written  AI or living next to a forest  and upon walking enter it from different places.


Two people, Toledo, Ohio, late 1960s,


And one person,  me drinking tea from a SetoGuro chawan.



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