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,

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