Another weak on the same creak

Never ending sameness along Alameda Creek

Last week early one morning wake up to fog and nearly morning walk along the creek.

Technically few of my images are representative of Alameda Creek . Most of them are Alameda Creek between 880 and Isherwood which is at best an area 3 miles long. The Alameda Creek trails runs from Coyote Hills Regional Park into Niles, maybe 10 miles long. But mostly I do the part near my house.

Since 2007 I have been doing my fast walk for four miles along Alameda Creek. Since Covad19 I have missed one day.

We used to have a family dog and from about 1994- 2007 I used to walk the dog at least twice a day usually along the creek although on weekends for one of the walks I would take her to a special other place.

She was lucky , there is no other place for me and often wherever I am is not a place at all.

When Hongren, the Fifth Patriarch of Chan was old and concerned about passing on the bowl and blanket, he decided to have a poetry contest to see if any enlightenment popped up from the 800 monks.

The truth is hard to understand. Don’t uselessly memorize my words and take that as your responsibility. Each of you should freely compose a verse, if the meaning of the words is in accord with the truth , I’ll give you the robe and the teaching.
Transmission of Light Thomas Clearly

Shenxiu was the eldest of more than 700 monks , they all deferred to him reasoning if he couldn’t write an appropriate verse then none of them could.

Shenxiu tried to write his poem as proof of his insight but was not confident enough to present it in person, so one night when everyone was asleep he snuck into South Hall and wrote it on the wall:

The body is the tree of enlightenment,
The mind like a clear mirror stand;
Time and again wipe it diligently,
Don”t let it gather dust.

Transmission of Light Thomas Cleary

The next morning Master Hongren saw the poem on the wall, he knew who wrote it and required all the monks to memorize it saying:
If later generations practice in accordance with this, they too will realize an excellent result.
Transmission of Light Thomas Cleary

Imagine that if this poem were really the true insight would the master have to require anyone to memorize it? Hongren did not pass on the robe and the bowl to Shenxiu.

Huineng was an illiterate young man who upon hearing the the Diamond Sutra became motivated to work at the temple in an entry-level job washing the rice in the kitchen. On seeing the poem he asked a novice monk to read it to him, to which he replied: “Its very nice but not perfect.” to which the novice monk replied: “What does a common sort like you know.”

Later that evening Huineng took a (literate) servant boy with him to write his poem on the wall:

Enlightenment is basically not a tree,
And the clear mirror not a stand.
Fundamentally there is not a single thing—
Where can the dust collect?

Transmission of Light Thomas Cleary

Seeing this verse everybody on the mountain said it was the work of a living saint. The Master, knowing it was Huineng’s verse said “Who composed this? It is someone who has not perceived his real nature yet.” And he erased the poem from the wall.
Transmission of Light Thomas Cleary

Master Hongren did pass on the robe and the bowl to Huineng but because Huineng was an illiterate and the lowest of the temple hierarchy, he feared that the jealousy of the monks would create a threat for Huineng’s life and sent him away with the bowl and robe. What happened after is a fun story too.

Changing patterns of I Ching

Two lines moving

Each hexagram has a set of qualities  which discuss the changes implied by the relationship between the  Yin and Yang lines. For some these are an oracle, a fortune telling,  an insight into what the forces of nature  are doing to them. For others it is a  stimulus to a process of  personal  introspection to understand themselves and their relationship to their life.

Last week I presented the Hexagram Hsiao Kuo  presenting six different outcomes when one moving line in the hexagram changes. Below is the same hexagram with the different possibilities of two lines moving  resulting in  eleven possible outcomes.  The names and numbering system are from the Wilhelm/Baynes translation. 

Below are the same hexagrams when there are two moving  lines in the original hexagram with the words removed, you can visually feel how the balance of the hexagram changes  between the yin and yang  effects the nature of the hexagram, When two lines change there is no hexagram with three yin and three yang lines, ie. nowhere is there a balanced  hexagram when two lines are moving. Perhaps that only happens when there is a balanced hexagram to begin with and one Yin and one Yang line are moving. Does Yin surround Yang? Does Yang embrace Yin.?

A knother Section

I found this photograph in a frame in a second hand store,  somewhere in the SF Bay area about 30 years ago. Was this posed, did the photographer catch the moment, is this husbands, wives, sons and daughters? Each of these people had lives,  I did not know them, they did not know me, perhaps we passed somewhere on the street, perhaps one of them knew someone in my family., perhaps on of them worked somewhere that produced a product which I bought and used  in my life. 
 There are  twelve people (one is almost completely hidden) and  only four chairs at the table. 

When the gopis were bathing in the river Krishna took their clothes, climbed up a tree and and demanded each come up before him, one by one, to get their clothes.

Painted at the court of Raja Sansar Chand of Kangria in CE 1785-1790 from The Blue God Lalit Kala Akademi

After decades of walking along the creek I have met many different people. The dog can get a little aggressive with him but when his mother is taking the dog for a walk the dog is very gentle. Dogs can be good at shifting their personalities to adjust ti or maybe to impress their humans.

Getting old , I am 75 years old, I feel it. My father suffered with Alzheimer’s, my mother with a memory loss and expressive aphasia from a stroke. Every old person I meet on the levee is a mirror I look into two see myself.

What a name for a loan business, I think it was some kind of a pay check advance loan franchise “business” which closed down but this guy, his style and the car are fun In Gallup.

Everytime I see this image I wonder why this young man is walking away from four pretty young girls. I guess he has something else happening on his phone.

Shino (志野焼), fired in the Seto/Mino area of Japan, kind of north east of Nagoya was developed during the Momyama period (1568–1600) , a period which is considered a benchmark for quality of Japanese artistic feeling. The bowl in the poster was made similar to a famous bowl called Unohanagaki, a National Treasure of Japan from the late 16th century.

On the outside looking in, with no place for me inside, maybe know place outside except a a reflection —a one dimensional person stuck between Hegel and Marcuse.

gate gate
paragate
parasamgate bodhisvaha

All images unless specifically credited otherwise with image are @ Steve Naegele 2020.

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