Know thin’ zen


Yellow flowers, Rape blossoms ,
You meet the spring once a year,
You paint the land by yellow.
When the wind visits, you flow.
During you are dancing,
I have a view of sea waving in yellow!

Poem and brush by Janney

Alameda Creek

Since Covid I have been walking along Alameda Creek almost daily.

An AlanWatts broadcast about 1973 mentioned the universe was happening in the same moment, perhaps the moment of no moment—a muMoment—everything happening in the same moment in infinity and time happens only inside the Universe, not outside of it, there is no outside. If its all happening at once why do we know the past but not the future?

The universe is estimated to be 6 billion years old—6,000,000,000; Homo Sapiens at 300,000 years. about 0.0005% of that time.

Time is one of the tools people created for survival, it seems real to us because as individuals we have “duration,” a life time, which has a beginning and an end. We live in societies where the “durations” of people overlap which, through communication extends individual experiences beyond those unique to a single life—we have a history.

.Around us the universe moves and we differentiate and define its patterns, some hourly, some daily, monthly yearly, all human created periods of time based on sensual experiences and reason..

Yet for the universe there are no years, no days, one second and 6 billion years are the same, there is only The Universe, no time outside of it. That is what makes the title of the book “A Brief History of Time”so interesting.

There is not anything which is not the universe, so how can it be aware of itself when it is itself? I am therefore I am.

To suggest the universe is not aware of itself implies that we know this, which implies there is a subject and an object, something outside the universe—us— which knows the universe,—but we are part of the universe, not separate. The more we know about the universe the greater is the distance between the universe and us, and the greater is our alienation. It is being human that alienates ourselves from our true self.

Sometimes I feel lke a motherless child a long way from home..
This is where we get the concept of alienation, the idea that human individuals are separated from their original self, their “true self.” and that separation is why we , as individuals, suffer. The Genesis Story, Freud, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, psychology’s “divided self.” the Buddhist notion of awakening the Buddha “naturally”inside each of us, and more.

Most of these “alienation theories” suggest alienation is the result of human social adaption which denies individual wants and needs for the needs of society for survival. Humans are social but alienation, like birth and death, is experienced individually. The notion that we are separated from our “ true natural self, “ real or not, through history seems to find meaning for many people..

Humans are a part of the universe—if there were no universe there would be no humans? and the universe appears to humans as being older than the history of humans, and perhaps of life itself.

My feeling is if the universe evolved (created) people to look at itself, then to get an objective assessment it had to separate itself from people —it created subject and object. Perhaps in a vain attempt to admire itself the universe created its own mirror—people—or perhaps more accurate, the process of seeing itself also created “alienated people. The Universe created perfect people and then in a vanity to see self turned them into alienated people.
Or just as likely, humans created the universe to have something which they could never full understand, a perpetual challenge so they would never get bored.

Japanese Pottery

Seto is a famous pottery area outside Nagoya—pottery in general may be referred when using the term seto-yaki, a fired-thing from Seto. Ki-seto, yellow seto, popular during the Momoyama period , usually has an overall yellow color with green spots and darker brown “scorch marks.”

Guro (or kuro) means black, Seto-guro is a black Seto fired thing. Oribe comes from the same area of Seto and Mino. Oribe is often a warm biege with green, often in drippings, and some dark brown brush drawing..

Bizen guinomi by Nakamura Mokoto, the Nakamura lip has a certain charm to it. Inside is often a unique alteration of the form, the edge may get thinner and a ridge forms—in the 9-12 quadrant below see the shadow of the ridge on the inside lip which you can feel with your tongue when drinking. the sake as it flows out of the guinomi over the ridge into the mouth.

I saw this E-karatsu guinomi in a Japanese online pottery store, it cost about $150 and the store only took US mail money orders, i.e. no credit cards, checks or Paypal, so I went to the Post Office, stood in line, bought the money order, sent it, and then . . . . the dealer never received it.
Some kind of an investigation took place and they figured it got delivered to the dealer in the next door store, no one knew where it was, but it was canceled and I had to send a new one but I had to wait 6-8 weeks to get a refund. The Japanese dealer just sent the guinomi to me with a note to send the money when the Post Office made the refund.. The clay is dark orange and the glaze is thicker and thinner, so in the thinly glazed areas the influence of the clay on the color varies.

I found this Hagi yunomi in a store out towards the end of Grant Street selling “Japanese stuff” —mostly not new and back when it was in style. It had a crack in it and he did not understand why I wanted it, I paid $5 , brought it home, filled it with leftover rice and a little water, let it sit for five days, cleaned it out and when you ping it with a finger it sounds solid and true— and holds hot tea as well.

Shigaraki pottery often has a charming roughness to it, small stones may be embed in the clay. When using this guinomi its feels like one moment when I felt thirsty I naturally reached over, grabbed a hunk of clay, formed it into a cup and now I am using it to drink—it feels immediate as if I am at the beginning of what pottery means in the evolution of human beings.

Chinese, not Japanese, rooster bowls are commonly seen in Chinese restaurants. Usually they are larger for soups, this one was smaller, and the curves gave it a softer more nuanced feel, and beside,s my zodiac animal is Rooster.

End Papers

I like the places my feet can take me, along Alameda Creek, the streets of San Francisco or Tokyo. Besides if you start at the top, my head, and work your way down my feet are at the end . . .and,

with my head on top , I usually see my feet against the background of the ground while the ground experiences me walking all over it, often with little or no regard for any damage I might be doing to it.

Indoor, outdoor, feet are reflected outside on the rubber sandals.

The last few lines of The Heart Sutra in old script brushed by Janney

Scene too, the last.

春江水暖 Spring

Snow ices are melting ,
River  are flowing ,
Ducks feel warming,
So they are playing.
This is my poem for my painting .


Dragon Festival

The Dragon Festival, (Longtaitou Festival 龙抬头 ) Happens on the second day of of the second month of the Chinese calendar, or around our first week in March. Its name means “Dragon raising its head” because the dragon was regarded as the deity in charge of rain, an important factor in ancient agriculture.

Dragon Festival paintings by Janney

This is an ancient Chinese festival to welcome the coming of Spring, the warming of the season and the rain for the spring planting.

Alameda Creek

I wonder when I realized my parents were human beings, then again sometimes when I look back on my life I think maybe I never did. At 75 years of age I wonder if the physical ailments I have are the same ones my father felt and do I remember knowing he was undergoing these same experiences?

Can I appreciate that other people around me are human beings? I have no answers to it because I am not sure what it means. If we are all human beings by our biological being than all of this good and bad behaviour which happened in the past is what it means to be a human being and will continue as long as there are people.

I am sot sure what that mean? No end to War and no end to compassion and empathy?

Walking along the Alameda Creek levee you can often see over the fence into the yard,

Its different for those who view that we are what we have been in the past than for those who see what we are is what we could be.

At the question of whether people are “naturally” good or “naturally” bad we get stuck defining the terms good and bad, the same behaviour is good when “we are doing it and “bad” when they are doing it— Zappa had a line:

“We are the other people,
We are the other people,
You are the other people too.”

Rulers usually see their laws as reasonable and necessary for order, while those being ruled see them as lacking justice. and preventing them from getting the same benefits of the order available to the rulers.

But there will be no peace
‘Till men get equal rights
Equal rights and justice
Equal rights
Equal rights and justice

Bob Marley

Japanese TV shows

Autism has had exposure on popular TV shows in Japan. They are not documentaries, but artistic expressions finding a place in popular media for a discussion subject which has been commonly avoided in society.

Walk With The Light is about young parents with a challenging autistic son, the extended family dynamics and finding professional help to seek a workable future path.

Things You Taught Me features a young functioning autistic woman who is finding herself as she follows her dream of becoming a weather reporter, learning to navigate in society as well as about who she is as a person, including feeling love for a man amid normal the family dynamics that develop. This TV series, however shallow the characters, bring to a common front important issues for discussion.

End Matter

A hole formed inside the spout of the kitchen sink, I am 75 years old, never saw it happen before, and for the first3time in my life I hired someone to install a new faucet. I did not want to lay on my side, my ribs pressing onthe edge of the bottom of the cupboard under the sink with my hands held up n the air holding up this and screwing that and wishing I was a Hindu deity with another arm & hand. So I wrapped a sponge around it, secured it with a automobile tube clamp for a day and made this photograph

Trade shows and start ups and for me there were graphics tp be designed, not these in this image though,

School is out in Oakland Chinatown district. A printer I often used was located near the area and between press checks I might walk over and have lunch or just browse and spend some time.

A Japanese gold welcome-for-business-cat sits in the window watching the birds on the street.

My mother had a stroke with substantial memory loss and developed Expressive Aphasia. Sometimes we would look at her albums of photographs. She is stroking the image of my father, high school sweethearts and her husband of 60 years.My parents were nakodo when they lived in Japan.

I don’t know if seeing these photos of her life touched any memories for her, but we did it anyway. I left the books in her room but I never noticed that she looked at them while I was gone. Still, it seemed a good idea to m e and we often did it. Sometimes I would buy “child safe” cute things at the Daiso store and leave them around her room to discover on her own. She was curious person so it seemed like a good idea to create some discovery experiences for her when she was on her own.

Seeing feet realizes they connect me to the ground

and help me keep my head up high

Can you remember how you felt before you were born?
Is that the emptiness in The Heart Sutra’s “emptiness is form and form is emptiness”?

Still if there is another side to cross over to, once you are there will you want to cross over (back) to the other side, the one from where you came.? Buddha, do not leave me with such there will always be another answer and another question.

from the last few lines of The Heart Sutra brushed by Janney

No woe, man, no cry


Niles was one of five townships which joined together and later evolved into Fremont. In the early 20th century silent films were made in NIles, known for Charlie Chaplin and Bronco Billy.

Niles has a unique quality—it feels like the most visually interesting place in Fremont,

No one is at home, in all this house, in all this land. It is a long while before their return, I shall move as they would trust me not to, and as I could not, were they here. I shall touch nothing but as I would touch the most delicate wounds, the most dedicated objects,

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men James Agee and Walker Evans

There is a Bronco Billy’s piazza parlor, with a counter on one side and a column of tables lining the others, sandwiched in between walls exhibiting a plethora of reminders of the local past.

There is a motorcycle bar and a stop for the train that runs to Sunnol, and back, about an 8 miles journey for Saturday and Sunday families,

Niles also has its name spelled out in big white letters on the local hill side and a little museum celebrating its place in the past of silent film. Still a movie was and is, just a bunch of still of photographs joined side to side on a piece of film and run-through a projector.

What does The Heart sutra mean? Does it make any sense ?Do you think nothing exists? Or if nothing exists its opposite, something , must also exist.

. . . form does not differ from emptiness,
emptiness does not differ from form.
That which is form is emptiness,
that which is emptiness form.
The same is true of feelings,
perceptions, impulses, consciousness

From The Heart Sutra

Or maybe by mediating correctly we can control our feelings and not let our problems bother us so much. Its not really that we have problems, its that we see them as abnormal, unwanted, not a desirable part of life , when problems and dealing with them successfully, or no, and going on to the next one, is what life is. Many of us would trade our problems for those of someone else, and if we could we could find its no better.,

Still, feeling, no feeling, no perceptions, impulses,or consciousness., how can they all be just illusion?
Janney liked the lanterns and made this image which I made into an illusion. Orange and blue are complementary colors.

Are you conscious in your own writing (substitute photography, ed,) of the existence of a ‘usable past’? Is this mostly American? What figures would you designate as elements it? Would you say, for example that Henry James’s (pick a photographer) work is more relevant tot represent and future of American writing (photography) than Walt Whitman (pick a photographer)?

From a questionnaire sent out contemporary writers in 1939 from the Partisan Review

Alameda Creek

Photography is usually about the content ,or the meaning of the object in the image, . Show me something ! Show me some “Thing.

There are many different categories of photographs— snap shot, family portrait, wedding photograph, journalism, advertising and fashion, scientific, Fine Art, documentation, spying, the ubiquitous driver’s license photo, catalog, a picture postcard, selfie and more. People like to see photographs of themselves,

.Each of these categories has their benchmark of quality. Many of these benchmarks include that the photograph not tell you anything about the photographer. that would intrude on the function.

“Photographs concerned with basic human consciousness rather than social consciousness” Photographs concerned with with man’s dreams and aspirations and photographs of the flaming creative forces of love and truth and corrosive evil inherent in the lie.”

Edward Steichen from the Introduction to The Family of Man

Still the photographer”s craft is there, photographers are differentiated by their skills and when, over time, the photographer’s intrusion on the function or purpose of the image is consistent, it stops being an intrusion, it becomes a style and maybe even a fashion.

“It was conceived as a mirror of the universal elements and emotions in the everydayness of life—as a mirror of the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world.’

Edward Steichen from the Introduction to The Family of Man

Perhaps the universe created people to see itself, perhaps to know itself . . .
and perhaps people created photography to see themself? or to see themselves?

Its been almost 200 years since the first photograph, there are so many different categories of photographs, and in a sense each shows us who were are. We have seen starvation, .Nazi concentration camps, war and the end of war, and peace, until the next war—photography has shown us so many faces of ourselves and has not been able to to generate a solution .

There is always tomorrow until there is no tomorrow..

Japanese TV shows

In high schools and colleges in Japan there are “clubs,” which may range from sports teams to photography to almost anything and this story is about five students who form their own literary club and their evolving personal dynamics. Its a softly told emotional moving story with no end.

Onsen is a story of a traditional Japanese restaurant surviving in the modern world of forget tradition, fast food and big profits.

Food in Japan has its own unique place with many Japanese tv stories built around the “magical meaning” of food. In Tokyo there are many excellent small neighborhood restaurants, there is no need for any of them to be the “best,” they can all be different and all be the best because of their uniqueness. One series is a food detective business where clients bring their precious but lost food memories for the detectives to find the source and make the special dish, most are vey common dishes prepared uniquely by a special person in their life . .

Onsen is a story of the tradition of a Japanese kaiseki restaurant and along with the stereo type LCD the viewer experiences the meaning of Japanese traditions in food preparation and serving, learning about the importance of traditions ikebana, painting, pottery, food preparation, food service and training—all things which are part traditional Japanese cuisine

End matter

An even number of cats broken into two groups of one and three, and the three broken into two groups of one — who got the soft pillow?— and two.Front door cats photograph by Janney.

InJapan public services are welcomed, when there are problems delivering the service, such as in mass transportation or education, the Japanese fix it and.conservatives do not behave as if the problem is a bunch of economic failures who will get something for free, something which they do not deserve and will decrease their motivation to work. Tokyo is a much more pleasant city to live in than any in the USA because you can go anywhere and enjoy all the different neighborhoods without fear.

Many in the big retail business use outside facing windows to display their wares, when you watch many people passing by are more busy looking at their own reflection in the window,. Looking, I wonder if I see myself the way others see me though I am quite sure they do not see me as I see me, that is why when you see my photos, I am not trying to tell you who is this or that person, why they are doing this or that, whether they are good or bad, its just a little about how their lines, shapes, colors, and textures fit together to make a scene.

So proclaim the Prajna Paramita mantra,
proclaim the mantra which says:
gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

From The Heart Sutra

Them epiphony bones

The Oracle Bones ( 甲骨文) which for many years, perhaps for many, many, many years, were “curious discoveries” farmers sold to be ground up into powder for use as “medicine.” Around 1899 it was understood that the strange marks on these “bones” were similar to Chinese characters and over years learned that these “bones” dated from the Shang Dynasty 1600 -1050 BCE. This effort opened up archeological efforts which uncovered many material remains of the Shang Dynasty including bronze objects with more characters on them from palaces and intact tombs.

Shang Dynasty ranges about 1600 -1046 BCE, the Zhou is from 1046-771 BCE, the Spring and Autumn period (the title of a chronicle of the state of Lu) 772-481 BC and the Qin from 221 to 206 BC. These dates are approximate for a sense of relationship and duration.

Below shows hǔ, 虎 , representing “tiger” from bronze inscriptions (in green), compared to other script forms in yellow.
Information and graphic from Wikipedia.

Before these Oracle Bones were understood the Shang Dynasty was just a legend, a glint in the eye of some historian except for the record of The Great Historian, Ssu-ma Ch’ien ( 司馬遷, 145 – 86 BC) who centuries earlier had compiled a list of 30 kings identifying 20 generations of the Shang which was supported from the records of the “Bones” —the Shang Dynasty was no longer a legend.

How much do you know about someone by seeing the place where they live?. Imagine starting a relationship, learning about someone and then later you visit their home and now you understand them better—do it in reverse, visit their home and then figure out who they were.

What is write and what people whant are too often

Vidas Minadas by Gervsio Sanchez—I bought this book off the clearance shelf, $3.00, its subject is the “collateral” human toll from the tools we use for war, in this case land mines which we hidingly place in other countries and then without cleaning up after ourselves, leave them as our “gifts” when we go. And one day, they go, off.

One philosopher, when he was a philosopher, was said to respond to another—If you know the truth of human suffering does that not compel you to act on it?
These are brave people to pose for these images. The world did this once to them, why would we not do it again when they told us this truth. Do companies which make landmines have any liability resulting from the misuse of their customers, such as maiming and killing people? Some would say their very use is a misuse, others say is sovereignly legal.

Vidas Minadas by Gervsio Sanchezvods

Alameda Creek

Are humans better off with or without a language? There is no Answer to that question—only those with a language would have an answer—we have nothing else to compare it except what we think it will be; imagine what it will be; fear what it will be; or hope what it will be.

What does it mean to have a written language and what does mean to have “graphic arts”, i.e. the ability to make many “reasonably exact” copies of that written language. Still, even when the copies are the same ink marks on paper, people who read them often express differences in their experiences and interpretations..

Electronic digital information rebalances people’s sensory intake flow, the “printing process’ of digital—right now you are looking at information printed on a screen using light, not ink and with a smart phone you can take this image almost anywhere you would normally go. Its not because sight has been less, but other senses have been extended. Its even stored in someone’s house. There can be as many prints made on demand, anytime requested by browsers around the world unless the server breaks down, i.e. the plug is pulled, the gig is up. Or with print I could put mine in a safer place than you did.

Marshall McLuhan argued that the medium is the message, the medium people used to communicate with each other determines the structure of human relationships, and the difference between the print media and digital media is qualitative, It wasn’t that a viewer learned (experienced) more about something, rather what they learned (experienced) was different.

Some have written that reporting using photography from war increased the anti-war movement by bringing home the realities of war while was happening at the from such as during the Civil War and the influence of Matthew Brady’s (and others) Civil War images.

The photographer and the image of a photograph—Should a person who is an image of a photograph be required to give a contractual ok to any use of that photograph? Or does the person who made/created? the image have proprietary ownership? Is it the same for images made such as a snapshot at a party, a surveillance camera, the Google traveling camera, at a public event, or as someone who walks along the creek and takes photographs of people on the other side.?.

If I make photographs of someone doing something weird and then use them for black mail should Nikon be responsible for enabling me to do that? Should Nikon be responsible for how I use my images?—Maybe they would be satisfied to distance themselves away from me.

Courts have judged producers to be responsible for poor quality in manufacturing such as air bags as well as for the product itself such as cigarettes and lead paint. Then there is always my dog ate the instructions.

Don’t get caught up in the words, they are only there to distract you from having to see how boring is Alameda Creek.

Writing made letters and their words into realities and printing made them into common realities. Probably at the start of printing the public reaction was similar to the public response to the news media, FaceBook, Twitter, etc.

What about the Google traveling camera which randomly makes images, you know by random some of the images will be compromising to someone. Do you think maybe Dr Gachet was not fond of the painting of himself by his friend Vincent? Were the businesses that made the paint and canvas responsible?

Electronic media is different than print. McLuhan argued that traditionally people used more a balance of their five senses to receive information to send to their brain but with the centuries of print the usage of vision became extremely dominant resulting in a reduction in the use of other senses for knowing.

Electronic media alters that balance . . .

Not by reducing the quality of the visual capabilities but increasing the extensions of other senses. Understanding, for McLuhan, means understanding both what it means “to know something” and how knowing through ink is different than knowing through electronic media.

Is there more to know about a thing than the experience of it? or your or my experiences of it ? If there are no people there to have the experience what is there to know about it?—more guessing, fearing, hoping? Janney would see this different than me , so much texture.against the smooth bridge, the calm under the bridge.

We are the experience of the Universe watching itself when the subject and the object do not know which is which. When humans are killing each other, is the Universe banging its head against the wall because it feels so good when it stops or is just culling the herd or maybe the heardless.

So much of world wealth comes from taking a piece of the earth, transporting it somewhere else, doing something to it and selling it to someone else who takes it home. Matter is neither created or destroyed, but it can break apart and join other matter.Or it ends up in the junkyard, or recycle yard. Good things in the universe collect in gravity bound groups, which keep most them in place—order— as we journey through the universe and still the small particles are never settled, entropy happens.

Japanese TV

Both of these Japanese TV shows feature a young girl, both are sentimental and full of stereo typed characters/scenes with stories which at their concept are worth watching. An Okinawn Island, most young people having left, the school has been scheduled to close down and with no births in sight one couple and the village “adopts” a skeptical expressive Tokyo “foster child.” The drama is churned by a young man seeking peace over the death of a friend who comes to love the island and what it means to be a family.

In God, Give me more time there is a star-struck young girl wants to see a singer/songwriter pop star perform, she loses her money and in order to get money to buy the ticket she has sex with a man who, as it turns out, is HIV positive. She goes to the performance, moved on by drama a relationship develops. Later she learns her HIV status is positive and again and again moved on by drama, the relationship winds through conflicts in his business, his artistic ego and their personal lives. It was an opportunity, using popular media without moralizing, to present information to a mass audience about HIV and AIDS.

We “know scientifically” there was a big bang, we have an estimate when, science cannot agree on a date which is precise enough to have a precise calendar from the beginning of time. If we started a calendar “from the beginning,” we would not know where to start it. Its easier with a mid point which enables one, conceptually, to be where ever you want to be, and while it is considered rude to ask why, people still do.

Form does not differ from emptiness,
Emptiness does not differ from form.
That which is form is emptiness,
That which is emptiness form.