Mistadzentures

Mooncake forewon

Last week was Moon Festival, Walking along Alameda Creek I met people who were celebrating, though I did not hear anyone mention the Stanley Brothers performing Blue Moon Over Kentucky bu† the local Sheng Kee Bakery had plenty of moon cakes and plenty of people were making lines to buy.

Moon-gazing, painting by Janney

Its special to sit with someone, enjoy gazing the moon and tasting the mooncake where the character on the top indicates the filling inside . Its ok if you are by yourself, but while these taste good they are best eaten in moderation and with others, maybe four people eat two different moon cakes and each person gets two different tastes, or two people eat two quarters each. Or you are like me, one person enjoying cake and moon-gazing, but mooncakes are best eaten in moderation, so leave two quarters for another day—but best eaten with someone who, with you also enjoys it too.

Does a dog have Buddha-Nature?

Have you ever been bored, maybe on a cold December morning while looking for your mind and the snow reached up to your knees, and you wondered, Does a dog have Buddha-Nature? The answer is in the last character on the right—“Wu” in Chinese and “Mu” in Japanese.

狗子還有佛性也無

You would not be alone if you did. Someone asked Joshu, who responded, “Mu.”

Has a dog Buddha-nature?
This is the most serious question of all.
If you say yes or no,
You lose your own Buddha-nature.

Ummon’s comment. from Mumonkan

”Mu“ has cearned its own place. This is the “mu” my sister used in her short film Corporate Warrior as a resolving connection between a Japanese country mother-in-law, who after her son dies from karoshi, comes to Tokyo to bring her American-career-minded-soon to be a mother, daughter in law, back to the family country home to birth her future grandchild.

Alameda Creek

Walden Pond is a large pond where on a hot day there will be many people swimming, rowing a rental boats around the pond or maybe spending an afternoon with friends drinking beer, singing and eating fast food,

It 150 years since Henry David Thoreau wrote about about Walden Pond, its no longer a long days ride from Boston, about 20 minutes drive from Cambridge .

Its been 46 years since I was there last one late summers day, Returning to Boston determined to enroll in art school to study graphic design, 30 years old, with my dog (the first dog pictured above) , we stopped one last time for a taste of freedom before entering the city.

I had no idea what I was going to do tomorrow, What was I doing? I knew somewhere in my heart I always wanted to be involved with art.

Yet here I was, college graduate just kind of wandering around seemlessly working my way towards death with no progress, no direction. All I decided was returning to Boston was going to be an end to that.

I was almost broke, I did some day jobs, spent some nights in my van, got some cash in the hand, got into art school , found an apartment and got regular work for 3-4 nights-a-week cab driver in Cambridge—Brattle Cab up in East Cambridge.

Even then I did not understand the commitment I was making, I just went day by day,—school, home work , cab driving and Saturday afternoons .walking with my dog along the Charles..

One year later after three apartment moves and once my dog was stolen, but I got her back, I placed my dog with a family on a farm in Vermont, I thought it would be better for her, I am not sure it worked out or not, Its a piece of sadness in heart that never goes away.

I graduated from art school, worked at a major printer in Boston for a year learning about the relationship between design, production of camera ready art and what the printed piece looks like when it comes off the press.

I learned a lot there at the printer and in 1979 I drove across country arriving in SiliconValley where fortunately I had some friends who let stay in their apartment for a couple of months until I was settled—Thank you!!

My car blew up , cost all my money to fix it and manage an apartment deposit, so I took the first job I could get, working in a small ad agency and a year later I rented an office in Fremont at $35 month, but no clients but I had a phone and back then you could cold call and connect with people—make 100 phone calls, get five appointments and one job. Along the way I received help from some other kind people. and the business footer 35 years designing marketing communications materials enabled me to marry, and have a family.

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Memorial Day,, Marshall, Minnesota, 1971: Not sure what to say , what you see in the photograph is what it felt like living there for one year.while teaching Sociology at the local college.

Street Klansman

Head-to-head discussion on the open street

How often it seems an answer is busy in search of a question—In the case of Nansen’s cat Joshu came too late.

Brother and sister selling lemonade on the sidewalk, Central Square, Cambridge, on the lowerr part of Magazine Street— the street which in late 1700s was the road from Central Square to the Magazine Depot (where they stored the ordinance ) at Cambridge Port along the Charles River..Since I moved to California its become an historical (gentrified) area.

After all that I still feel like I am on the outside looking in at a world that doesn’t want me; then I remember I never would have experienced my life if I would have been in that world

Ending lines in The Heart Sutra, calligraphy by Janney

Wise-inn

I like the stories

I never had  questions that would lead me to wonder about God—actually its not that I never had those questions, when I thought or felt about it there seemed no reason to pursue it. I was interested in Philosophy and religion is often considered in the same category so I have been exposed to it intellectually.

Buddhism is classified as a religion but there is no God—not some, or one. The faith is to awaken the Buddha inside of you. Is this the same Buddha for everyone or does each of us have our own personal unique Buddha different from everyone else.

I never understood why we should have to “awaken the Buddha inside,” why is My Buddha sleeping in the first place? (I am sure there is an answer in the old books somewhere). At least in Christianity the separation from the perfect life is clearly explained— Eve using her women’s ways influenced Adam to break God’s order for which they and all of us to follow were condemned to a life and then a death, I guess we only get one. I enjoy the stories in Zen much more .

So in Buddhism the purpose of awakening the Buddha inside of you is to end the process of “alienation by reincarnation,” compared to Christians who seek to end the process of one life-one death by being allowed into Heaven.

A gift from a friend, a hand carved Buddha from a vendor located at the Mahabodhi Temple, site of the Bodhi tree— where Shakamuni mediated and rediscovered enlightenment.

When I was 12 years old my father returned from a San Francisco business trip with a little book of Zen sayings and little by little my interest has grown. I think Zen has the best stories, not just in the category of religion, but in the category of stories. One of my favorite is the Sixth Patriarch of Chan.

A molded or shaped piece of soft metal attached to a piece of wood, bought at the Berkeley Flea Market early 1990s from a Korean vendor.

Shaka Buddha born and raised in India, established Buddhism in the 6th Century BCE.. It was popular for awhile and for centuries it spread from Greece to China all along the Silk Road. Bodhidharma (aka Daruma) brought Dhyana to China around the end of the Sixth Century where it grew for a few centuries, and later, about 1200 CE, it came to Japan as Soto and Rinzai Zen.

The Fifth Patriarch, being old, was seeking someone to pass on Daruma’s robe and bowl as the next patriarch. At the temple Shen-hsiu was considered to be outstanding in his qualifications; Shen-hsui, still uncertain of himself, snuck out in the night and wrote this on the wall:

translation by D.T.Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism

The Fifth Patriarch was not moved by Shen-hsiu’s poem.. Hui-neng , an illiterate country boy who worked at an entry level job in the kitchen preparing rice. saw the writing on the wall, asked his friend to read it and then asked him to write his response, on the wall :

translation by D.T.Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism –

Upon reading this the Fifth Patriarch immediately recognized Hui-neng as his successor, transmitted the Dharma, gave him the bowl and the robe and sent him on his way —with a warning that the other monks might be angry at this succession and seek to do him harm, and that is another story.

In the west the common media sense of “Zen” is that it refers to “getting down to the basics” of something— Many books have titles such as The Zen of This or The Zen ot That implying the reader will learn some basic elemental secret to the subject separated from the BS to become more focused on only the essentials.

To others is something more simple

Alameda Creek

In a sense reincarnation is materially possible,

Each of us is a specific set of particles, the Universe is six billion years old, and it made1of a bunch of particles which spend their time making thing s by constantly joining and separating with each other.

One could figure out how many particles are in the universe . . .

track their movements and calculate the odds of a set of specific particles once again coming together?

Still, the particles that makeup a person are not static, throughout our lives they are continually changing, a person is not one set of small particles but a set of constantly changing particles.

and the only chance for a person to be (materially) reincarnated is for every particle to be exactly the same and be in the exact same place again, which might require every particle in the universe to be exactly the same exact place again.—Is that in contraction or expansion mode?

At this time we cannot know where a particle is and what is it’s the velocity at same time , at any specific moment we only can know one. of these.

Can you remember before you were born.? Matter is conserved and energy is neither created nor destroyed . . .

kPerhaps you could say the energy is there but the matter is knot or the matter is there but the energy is not.

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Where do you start? What is beginning of this road?

One could stand around looking good, hoping it comes by . . .

Brush drawing by Janney

or seek a window of opportunity . .

But you knead to be prepared . . .

One person’s opportunity is another’s prison

tBut one day you wake up in the morning and its clear as can be . . .

ready to be found . ..

Two Brush drawings by Janney

and sometime I may need a little push .

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

Whenning my past

Demontia

At 86 years Mom suffered stroke, severe memory loss and expressive aphasia, I was here and there for the next few months, this is her out of ICU with regular bed in rehab, She was telling me family stories from her childhood, It was a new situation for both of us.

Alone is her apartment,: a japanese lantern they brought back from Japan with a photo of them sitting together, smiling, in front of ofJapanese prints.

For the next three years she lived in a nearby memory care facility. In “memory care” the door to the outside world is locked.

After her operation she had the mental will, and developed the physical capability needed, I lived only ten minutes away, though at lunch time it could be difficult to find a place to park.

I never felt like she did, —she always wanted to be number 1!! Sometimes I felt that way, but she felt that way all the time—put a benchmark in front of her and she is off the races.

Being human we rarely know what is around the corner, except death, and still we rarely know which corner..

Alameda Creek

Of all the planets in all the solar systems in all the galaxies in all the Universe, we (scientifically) know of “intelligent life” only on one—and the “intelligent life form” on that one, Earth, is busy killing each other and has made killing each other a profession and a business in the name of their religion and politics. Who is the enemy?

We may veiw a camera as a machine which when adjusted correctly is used to make an image of “reality”— a photograph, which is a print of the “reality ” as the human eye sees . . .

except when its “photoshopped,” or perhaps is “incorrectly ” exposed, or maybe there was just not enough light for the human eye to see.

Or we make a photographic image from light sources not visible to the humane , such as x-ray, infra red and convert it to an image humans can see.,

The feelings people have about the photograph are in the present, as they see it. Different responses to the event in the image. will not influence the image but may influence interpretations of the image—i.e. how people respond to the image.

Its like the classic sci-fi story of the dinosaur hunting trip and the stepped-on-butterfly—only those people back from the past would know the difference in the present.

Earth quakes, hurricanes and landslides, often we accept the deaths because its a natural disaster—the word itself seems to absolve us of any personal responsibility.

I may get up at night, enter the bathroom, turn on the light and see a bug walking across the floor, I’ll pick it up and squash it—I cannot tell the good bugs from the termites and the house is an investment!!!. Though, when I see a spider in the tub, probably crawled up through the drain, I will pick it up and put it outside, Spider, or spider webs keep the wasps away..

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Some say religion is an answer looking for a question.

Some say those who can”t do, teach. yet many of those I have known who can do, cannot teach.

Some say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely which in the end only serves to motivate those seeking absolute power.

f,

Some say people are naturally good, or naturally bad, or born tabla rosa and their personality is a result of their experiences.—nature or nurture.

Here we are, to the best of our knowledge, the only “intelligent life” in the Universe and we are busy killing each other today while being even more busy making bigger and better weapons for the future of human relationships.

Gate Gate,paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha

calligraphy of Heart Sutra verse by Janney

Nay, shun all savren tea

Should a photograph be a specific visual record of a moment in time? Or the feeling of that moment in time?

We use the camera to make images which correspond to how we see, but the camera can be adjusted to make images which are not compatible with how we see,

If you owned a signed Ansel Adams photographic print, it was hanging in your living room and iontwhe wall in another room was hanging a 115 year old large photograph. of your mother’s family made1 in 1907, and a fire burst out, you made an emergency exit and you had to choose, would you take the Ansel Adams print or a large photograph. of your mother’s family made1 in 1907?

A moment of some kind of Truth glimpsed through its own confusion.

It all appears as confusion until we put some order to it, That is how we make the Universe what it is.

Alameda Creek

Why do your war ship ride on my waters? 
Why do your bombs fall down from my skies? 
Why do you burn my farm and my home down? 
I’ve got to know, friend, I’ve got to know!


I’ve Got To Know Woody Guthrie

Walking along Alameda Creek I could easily get bored if it were not for all the interesting things I see. The observable universe known to science is estimated to contain 200 billion to two trillion galaxies.

There are 100 billion to 200 billion estimated stars—possible solar systems?—in “our” Milky Way Galaxy—To whom does it “belong ?.”

By the standard of today’s scientific knowledge, the only place in the universe where there is “human style intelligent life” is, here, on Earth.

There are over 7.6 billion people on Earth . . .

and millions of them spend much of their lives involved with making war happen . . .

with killing other people—many of them innocent people born in the wrong place at the wrong time,—whether actually doing the killing, producing materials or paying taxes that enable the politicians to wage war with no accountability armed with tax payer funded standing armies. On this Earth war is an acceptable business, and a respected professional career.

A few weeks ago excitement over UFOs maybe we think aliens who traveled here,—even from such a short distance as another planet in our own galaxy— will be impressed by our achievements?

Maybe such “aliens” would be the same as us—war is just another part of their ”life style”—I cannot come to use the word “culture” anymore, it has seemed to have lost any semblance of having a common meaning, even when the conversation is just two people..

To whom does the Universe Really and Truly belong?

Human history is a story of people in small groups geographically separated, finding behaviours which enabled survival . . A story of “societies” —an interactive group of people with a definable common structure to their behavior—evolving from family to clan to village, to city to country. Can it come together to form a global political entity with rights and freedom for everyone?

It seems obvious, humans survived by doing the things that enabled survival.—But if they did not do those behaviors we would not know about them, failure is life or death.

Along the way war became part of that.behaviour, that “lifestyle” which enabled survival included death, just like real life.

We cannot seem to get rid id it. Out damn Spot!

Where ever we go to get away from each other , others are already there—Earth is getting full, no place to go without having a conflict with other people.

Its unlikely we can get people to stop killing each other, that is a Real Big Step, too big.

hBut we could learn to settle many other things peacefully.. There may always be those who are physically stronger and use that attribute to take advantage of others. There are those are wealthy and use their money to buy the muscle of those physically stronger. Perhaps in the end the only way to stop was is to have laws enforced by the threat of and use of violence. We are our own enemy.

For some its they have rights while others have responsibilities.—in the end everyone will have to give some freedoms to get the advantages of living in a global society, You always have the choice of being an outlier, to a degree of more or less, depending on how much you are willing to give up or how much you reject. Everyday we are increasingly involved with other all round the globe—i.e. Other Human Beings—and the best way to bring order and justice —and its both that are important—is to open the society to opportunity by tearing down the barriers that people have built during their 300,000 of becoming human beings..

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There are many ways of seeing but the truest and best is with the intuition, for it takes in the whole, whereas the intellect only takes in a part.

The Unknown Craftsman Soetso Yanagi with editorial support from Bernard Leach

My mother’s name was Lynn, this was in Union Square in Somerville, along the train tracks, its possible that that the train runs through Lynn MA, I am sure the commuter train from North Station does—then gain who knows what the train does in Somerville? . this was almost 50 years ago.

Paseo Padre—the father’s walk—runs by Alameda Creek for a short distance, still many years ago it was a distance long enough to take the life of a child—someone still remembers.

Hey there Rick, Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world on all the planets in all the solar systems in all the galaxies in the Universe, she walks into mine.

Gate gate, paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi svaha