Zensations along the steepe

Socialization blues

Is this how you would like to look when you are two years old? Why do it do a dog?

Does a dog have Buddha Nature?

A thought, an instinctual movement, the itch is scratched.

He would play down town Boston, through the window you can see the Boston Commons along Tremont St, performing country hymns with a Martin D-28 using an open tuning and strumming with a hand missing parts of his fingers.

Eihei Dogen traveled to China to bring Soto Zen to Japan. I can not do it in the past, I can not do it in the future, I can only do in the now.

The dog! The BuddhaNature!
The perfect manifestation, the command of truth.
If for a moment , you fell into relativity.
You are a dead man!

Mumonkan Case 1 Ummon’s verse Blyth translation

Alameda Creek

In sociology, socialization is the process of internalizing the norms and ideologies of society. Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus “the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained”. Socialization is strongly connected to developmental psychology.
definition from Wikipedia

There is a socialization process with a specific outcome—behaviorial integration of the individual into society. And a non-socialization outcome must mean that individual’s behavior is not integrated into the society.

Does the process not work sometimes?

Socialization is not about an individual going from zero to a normative functioning adult in a society—going from nothing to something. It is just happening as the individual behaves, or as the individual lives in society.

However all the adults “come out”, so to speak, are the “results” of the socialization process in which each individual’s experiences are unique but still there is enough normative or common behavior among individuals to enable society to survive.

People learn by doing.

Are there not “biological influences” on behaviour?

The things we do not do are the things we do not know (about).

If everyone in the society had integrity , ethics, compassion, empathy and remorse, would we then not have bad behaviour in our society? If everyone in society behaved with those qualities (or any bad behaviours) would people undergoing socialization in such a society behave those good behaviours? i.e,. there be no bad behaviours.

If we have those words, those meanings, recognizing these behaviours in our society it means that we also have their opposite behaviours in our society.

We would not have those words in our language to identify those bad or good behaviours if we all behaved this way—we would not know about the bad behaviours.

Walden II tried to explore that, and I like the Wikipedia blurb:

Walden Two is a utopian novel written by behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner, first published in 1948. In its time, it could have been considered science fiction, since science-based methods for altering people’s behavior did not yet exist. Such methods are now known as applied behavior analysis.

The book is incredibly boring, which I thought was Skinner’s point in writing the book—Imagine how boring life would be without human differences in behaviour.

But then I wonder: Why does there have to be some living human beings who suffer as examples of the bad behaviours in life so that from their suffering others can know the good behavours?

People who’s life’s purpose is to be an example of what not to do? Does society’s need tor social solidarity require some people to be murderers so others can see how not to be a murderer?

Or is that just the way life is along Alameda Creek?

Without thinking what is good, Without thinking what is bad, Show me your original face.


“When the hogs were hung to cool, the hog’s bladders were cleaned and blowup, then given to us children to play with,as children play with balloons today.”
Violet David, 79, Brown County
Feeding our Families Memories of Hoosier Homemakers Eleanor Arnold, Editor, 1983

The Way should always be clear, like a mirror no fear.

Rather than hearing the name, seeing the face is better;
Rather than seeing the face , hearing the name is better.
But however much you help the nostrils,—
Look what you have done to the eyes
Mumonkan Case XXVIII Blyth Translation

Rekha and Conrad walking with Lucy., They lived next door to each other, Conrad”s son was in a famous heavy metal band, Conrad was a baker at a Safeway grocery store across from my office,

Does a person have Buddha-Nature on the steps of Sensoji?

Someone’s home, I wonder do police need a warrant approved by a judge to search it?

How would you feel if you lost everything you owned? Sometimes I see a homeless person with a shopping cart full of junk, sometimes I speak with them , and again learn just how important owning some “thing” is important to people.

Appropriate Sunday afternoon behaviour in a San Francisco Park —perhaps the only better place to read this book would be Nob Alley serenaded by the monotonous blaring of a fog horn on a dark San Francisco night.

Finnegans Wake (no apostrophe please ), fun to read, can pick it up anytime, anywhere, open it up, read (out loud) for awhile, enjoy it, and put it back down, You do not even need to mark your place, the next time you pick it up just repeat, open anywhere and read (out loud) for awhile and put it back down again, Wherever you open it up to, you will never have lost your place. And you do get to the end, the last sentence of the book is the first half of the first sentence. Its a book which is never confusing. (Hahahaha.)

Gate Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi svaha

Weigh, ting, fore gadough

Portrait of Li-Qin-Zhao, 李清照, Chinese poet

Li-Qin-Zhao, famous Chinese poet, 1084- 1155. She was born in a family of scholars-government officials received a comprehensive education. Along with her husband, both were poets,, they collected art, calligraphy and epigraphy and were famous for love poems. and essays about bronze artifacts of the Shang and Zhao dynasties. She is known as establishing the first detailed critique of the metrics of Chinese poetry and master of wǎnyuē pài (婉约派) “the delicate restraint”.

Usually remembered the sunset at a kiosk by a creek,
Didn’t know the way to get back as drunkenness,
Too happy to back to a boat so late,
Entered to the depths of lotus by mistake .
Rowing,rowing urgently,
Let egrets feel surprised to fly.

Painting, calligraphy and translation by Janney

Alameda Creek

Through history philosophers have asked —Are people naturally good, naturally bad? If one or the other, is every person good? or every  person  bad? or are there mostly  good with a few bad or mostly bad with a few good? Perhaps some good, some bad an most people in between on a continuum? A graded playing field so to say, a view conceptually metaphored by the bell-shaped or “normal” curve . . .

ie, , most people are more or less good (or bad), with a few real bad or good on the ends, kind of a middle of the road approach.

For me the thing is that if there is a “natural” human behavior then everyone should have it, and those that do not are people who are “unnatural.” That is too confusing, “they” are always the “other people.”

One story through history is some people (group 1) have something, other people (group 2) want it, so group 2 attacks group 1 , maybe loses, but if they win, they steal the desired property and then pass a law against stealing — i.e. stealing it back from them of course.

Is this a natural behaviour ? Is the cycle of humans on earth producing, killing and stealing?

Some see that all people have the same set of natural— basic human— qualities , but in different quantities, ranging more to less . . .

where one difference between people is the ability of the individual to control the negative aspects of the “natural human qualities”—which by the way always happens to be the “self controlled” behaviour of an elite ruling class of people, i.e. the ones who make the laws others are supposed to follow.

This cyclically comes to a climax when the people want back their stuff stolen from them or another group of people militarily stronger attacks, kills and plunders and then , and again, passes laws that killing and plundering are illegal.

Its a non-ending cycle??

Basically every white person in the USA who owns a house owns property on land which was not only stolen from the original owners but stolen by genicide—over 80% of the human beings who occupied this land were systematically murdered to steal this land.

Yet if any of these “descendants of the original people” were to make an armed effort to get their property back the “law and order” would not hesitate to prevent them from doing this or if they did it, would not hesitate to use armed force to get the property back for the descendants of the people who stole it in the first place Where is justice? does it matter, everywhere indigenous peoples have been not successful in recovering their property from those who murdered and stole it from them.

This is why order is more about sending the status quo than is about justice. Just imaging what would happen if in a specific case the US Supreme Court would find in the favor of the original people here and order the return of the land to them.. There would be civil chaos and violence to prevent it. In other words, in the cycle of producing, killing and stealing there is no end, or perhaps just no end that human beings can attain because of their “natural conditions,” —that’s life , what’s life, five cent magazine, I don”’t have five cents, that’s life.

San Francisco

The Earth is finite, people are everywhere in large populations, there are no “undiscovered places” to hide or restart life.You can r2un away from this cycle of violence and if its “human nature” it will always be.

Throughout history civilizations have risen and fallen by violence between those who have and those who do not. During that time political units have grown in size from family-clan to city-states and todays geo-political entities with tax payer funded weapons of mass destruction and professional armies to defend the sovereign tights of countires

Where does it end? When one last band of armed gangsters steals everything from everyone else and creates a “global order” ? Or perhaps better, people learn to get along with other and stop the cycle of killing, stealing property and justifying this inhumane behaviour with a political and/or religious idealogy.

Can we look at the unjust and genocidal path we had to get to the present, sort out the good things and find a way to mold justice with order? Do people who are born on this big rock winding its way through the universe have any natural rights as an individual?

Its unlikely we will ever know who we really are, who is our “natural self,” its a moot question. We seem to be always changing, and science instead of giving us answers to everything in the universe finds that the process of knowing results in more questions, not less.

New Deal style mural at Coit Tower.


Looking down the Sumida river from a bridge to Asakusa. You are basically safe where ever you walk around Tokyo, AND its clean AND there are convenient clean public bathrooms. Just having respect in the public space prevents a lot of crime while making being in public space more enjoyable.

At the stoplight, just a second to make the image, diagonals among perpendiculars framed by complimentary colors

If you had just a minute to breathe
And they granted you one final wish
Would you ask for something like another chance

Lyrics from The Spark of High Heeled Boys written by Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi

High, ding insighed

Denkoroku is a record of the transmission of, and the circumstances of that transmission, of the Buddha Mind, based on talks by Zen Master Keizan (1268-1324). Daopi was the 40th patriarch of Zen. When you think you are such a person who are you not.

Abandoned homes., whether in country, urban or suburban, create a visual tension. Who lived in the house? Why did they leave? Why is no one living there?

Its missing the shutters on the ground floor and one on the second. The front door does not have a walk to it. The front door seems a bit narrow.

Some people on Earth make their living by creating visual art representing Buddha for inexpensive, sometimes cheap, markets. This seemingly very content, perhaps smug? Buddha was given me over 30 years ago as a “souvenir” from a visit to the birth place of Shaka Buddha. What does it mean, “Compassion of the Buddha” ?

Over 50 years ago, the Old West End neighborhood inToledo. In the USA many people have cars, drive places and park their cars.

Alameda Creek

Carbon dating enables humans to determine the age or date of organic materials.

A photograph enables us to go back to a moment in time and our mind & emotions enable us to give that moment a special value as amemory which, when needed, works to remind us of better moments.

A photograph may be a “real image” of what was in front of the lens, but what was in front of the lens may also have been a “constructed set” — movies do it all the time. Or perhaps worse, the image is “real” and the caption is misleading or lying—the former may happen with good intentions, but the the latter is usually with bad intentions.

All we can know is the past, but that ability to know the past is also the commitment of the present to communicate with the future.

The Universe created people to know itself, and people have become diverted to use that time to know themselves.

Perhaps its out of control, this constant differentiating & defining, the need to be creating, the need to have a history, the knead to no who we are by knowing, and noing, who we were—our history.

Creating tools to make marks —writing tools—and mediums on which to make those marks—most significantly paper— and the tools to make mass printings—the printing press and now light printed on the computer screen.

Electricity powers light which is not just to enable functioning in the dark, but for the expression of written language which is used to communicate with and between human beings as well as from machine to machine.

The problem with electricity is that people do not have individual biological anywhere anytime —natural— access to it Even Tesla coil needs the coil to get-go.


In September of 2008 mom suffered a stroke with severe memory loss and developed expressive aphasia. She lived about 5 hours drive over a 7200 foot mountain which could require chains by November. The first time I drove up immediately to deal with legal matters; during my second visit I began to think about the future. Out of ICU but still in the hospital undergoing therapy, we had lunch —I had a delicious tuna cheese melt on sourdough—I thought a “kind of not so healthy” menu item for a hospital but it tasted so good.

Somehow I think she always knew something had happened that qualitatively changed her life . . .

. . . but try as hard as she could, she could not understand what happened.

She knew inside she was someone, but she could not remember, no matter how she searched inside of her self, she could not find those memories that would tell her who she was, those secrets inside of her she was never to know again.

“The winds [of discrimination] cannot enter this place of knowing. When you penetrate it throughly and fully, [you will realize] that you have possessed it since time immemorial and that t has not been absent for a second. Even though you seek it through thought , that [itself] is the Self and nothing else”.
Denkoroku Francis Cook

Alienated from yourself—everyday you are you, busily preventing yourself from knowing who you are.

Awaken the you inside of you. Do we believe that if we do not have a stroke, do not lose memory, do not develop expressive aphasia, that we are in touch with our real selves?

Early in the morning they will chant Heart Sutra at Sensoji.

Seal script brushed by Janney.

Mama don’low know fallin’ or standin’ here

The Thousand Character Classic, 千字文

The Thousand Character Classic, the last of the three great language books for Chinese school children written in the 6th century, includes 1,000 unique characters —no repetition—250 lines of Chinese characters written four across in four rhyming lines used by school children to learn a standard set of characters.

Sky is blue and black, the ground is yellow.
The universe is formed in a state of chaos and obscurity.
The sun is straighten and tilted,

The moon is waxes and wanes.
Stars filled the boundless sky.

A calligraphy of the Thousand Character Classic translation and brush in Seal Script by Janney.

San Francisco

Took the BART to San Francisco, first time since Covid 19., five weeks after vaccine #2,

The TransAmerica building, used to be the tallest building in San Francisco,

and on the escalator inside the Sales Force Bus Terminal complex , with the Sales Force building now the tallest building in San Francisco.

The public garden in the Sales Force complex.

Reflections in street windows are like constantly changing paintings. Are they more real than a painting?

Cannot imagine where this stair case goes or why it is there, its a long climb if you are just going from one building to another carrying something heavy to a different department.

“When did people commonly think the future would be different? Homo Sapiens have been here for over 200,000 years; “modern life is about 6000 years old,” about 3%. yet think how long it took for people to develop technology until, as a society they began to think of the possibility of a better life in the future because of human capabilities. Before, life would just be adapting “best as you can” to forces beyond our ken.

Practicing Social Distancing” along Market Street.

Everyday doing the same thing for tens of thousands of years doing the same thing, day in, day, Get up in the morning, move forward step by step maintaining in the same direction. For tens of centuries it must have looked like the future, the present and the past were the same.

And then at some point human technology gave people hope, not that they would get though this day, but that because of human technology tomorrow would be better,. Just don”t let ourself get lost if you don”t know how to find yourself.

Does it make any difference what our day is like, we have to live it, we have to have feelings, we have to be born and die. And through all of that we have to live with ourselves. But it is technology has given human beings hope for a better tomorrow, a raison d’etre inspite of the abuse of power An old bluegrass song comes to mind:

Little birdie, little birdie
Won’t you sing to me your song
Got a short time to stay here
And a long time to be gone

Wonder what these relief letters looked like when they were originally made.

If when I give the student one corner of the subject, he cannot find the other three for himself , I do not repeat my lesson.
Confucius (its an old quote, Confucius would say to please feel free to translate he as she. ed.)

Repairing the BART escalator or maybe they open the top every so often to give the guy who lives there a little fresh air.

Who is left to blame? Only the messenger who has no name that is not the same as everyone else who came.

Coyote Hills

Some places appear more friendly than others, a path made easy hints at a secret waiting the hiker around the corner . . .

and another path obviously appears difficult.

Alameda Creek

What would happen if there were no gravity and no temperature ? Of course we, you and I , would not be alive but being human we can imagine it.

Would every thing be falling down forever? or just stay fixed in one position forever. Forever and now would be the same, there would be no calendar , no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, nobody, no mind. But guess we have heard that one before.

End Papers

One man’s hands can’t tear a prison down
Two men’s hands can’t tear a prison down
But if two and two and fifty make a million
We’ll see that day come round
We’ll see that day come round.

One Man’s Hands, Pete Seeger

What is the sound when I am lost and calling out to find myself ?

That is why I need four hands, three cameras and two heads to get a real photograph.

Gate Gate, para gate, parasangate, Bodhisvaha

Can eye get a witless?

Guanyin blesses the New Year of Ox 2021
“Good Propitious, Health, Happy-吉祥安康幸福!”

Alokiteshvara (India), the self-born eternal Buddha Amitabha who is the compassion of all Buddhas may artistically be represented as male or female. Avalokiteshvara is also known as Guanyin in China,  Kannon in Japan, Chenrezig in Tibet, and Karunamaya in Nepal. 
The Heart Sutra is Avalokiteshvara  explaining the fundamental emptiness to Sariputra, a disciple of the Shakyamuni Buddha.
Drawing of Guanyin by Janney

At Sensoji (temple) in Asakusa, Tokyo, dedicated to Kannon, early in the morning local residents volunteer to keep the temple grounds clean.

Before reaching the temple is an incense burner where pilgrims can expose their ailing body parts to the smoke of healing incense. I don’t know any scientific knowledge which would support the efficacy but they do it all day, at the least it must be fun.

Visitors make a lot of photographs here; enabling people to make creative quality images was one of the visions of Steve Jobs. Everywhere people carry a personal computer around with them, who cares that is not running Word or a Excel or taking inventory, people like the small computer-phone.

Art it fun, We1 enjoy it. Would you think a man who is a murderer and also a father enjoys taking selfies with his child? Should God allow murderers to enjoy happiness? I don’t sit around and wonder about this all day, Who am I to tell God what to do? But my guess would be that murderers often enjoy being with their children and that if God wanted to prevent them from feeling happiness God would do it, or have done it at the beginning. Or how about in-between?

Alameda Creek

Sometimes it seems easy to confuse a medium’s technical qualities with an artist’s style. Like any graphic art, a photograph has its own unique technical qualities which the eye identifies by feeling—categorizes and classifiess without thinking. Technique generally has a protocol, a standard, which the eye can “feel.” When this happens the eye feels its a photograph, or a silk screen, an etching, or a tree or a house, a blade of grass, etc and the brain moves onto the content. It finishes by giving it a name and judgement.—Its danger!, its a joke. its the right moment . . .. To know something by feeling.

The eye sees what it is, and then later the brain tells you what it is. Sometimes the eye is confused and unwilling to admit the image, it may ask:
“Is this a real thing? I cannot find a match to any of the categories of things in the universe that this brain knows.

If known things can not fit, the eye declares an alarm to the brain—what is this? Think of this as visual tension. The experience of visual art usually begins with a visual tension/attraction, especially in advertising, which works to attract the eye like rubber necking on the highway attracts almost everyone and forces the others into line.

Sometimes a style can be a violation of the standard which the artist has used as a technique. In “standard photography” people expect to see “reality,” or a violation of the reality standard which is some kind of artistic statement.

Its not just black or white, there is continuum between first seeing and judging which seems like it is traversed in instant time because this human ability to respond is what it means to know some thing. What we know is more easily measured by our automatic responses which act naturally than our brain which requires human skill to use or measure.

Unfortunately our “natural knowledge” is based on our perception of experiences. Things change, and those conditions of the situation of those experiences have changed which can make the knowledge no longer applicable. All the time we are learning, and later discarding age appropriate behaviors.

Photographs can have different kinds of information and generally people are comfortable with that. With words for example, (words as things) which can have variable meanings we learn to moderate the literal meaning to fit the situation—“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.” In the same way we learn to moderate our experiences with photographs.

One of the features of the photographic process is its ability to express continuous tone. Most pre-digital printing techniques needed halftones to express the photograph, but electrical media only needs light on a surface —but a different kind of media surface. As ink needs paper electric information needs it own kind of surfaces.

The film and ink image printed on paper needs the printer to bring the paper to the printing press and later to deliver the paper to the reader. The digital image can go to wherever the printer is, can be printed by many different printers inlay different locations and in the case of the cell phone, the printer may be personal property of the reader (the cell phone screen) which makes the person available anywhere and anytime . . .

. . . as long as there is electricity. Then, there are always Plan B, Oracle Bones from the Shang.

End Pieces

Real and fake people come together along the river in Asakusa.

Real and fake people again, , but if you consider the boys in the advertising photo as Fake then what about the whole image itself Is not it all fake people? A photograph is not a real person but in this image we can sort out levels of Fake people, some are more Fake than others, we understand that the photo is a Fake image of real people standing in front of Fake people.

What difference does seeing this image make in my life. I will never see this girl again, she will never have seen me . In a photograph, the subject—the photographer and the object come together as one.

Are these moments of my life, the life of the person in the photo, or the moment of the two of us interacting together, never to come together again. Most of these images are not answers but questions about is being seen. Maybe I saw something, pointed the camera, clicked the shutter, and just maybe got a lucky moment.

Perservance landed on Mars and we communicated through photographs. Here are two photographs used for communication between people and Perservance. The first is a “regular human sensitive photograph”;

The second is a visual map for Perseverance plotting the danger risks for landing locations. Two images of the same place do not appear the same to the human eye while enabling precise communication between men and machines.

People have five senses and technology enables us to extend those five sensual capabilities—as quantitative extensions of a specific quality. Can we create a technology which enables us to experience a qualitatively different sense? How would we know it? Only through the technology?
And if that technology was digital, we would need electricity to use it . So if we ever established a relationship with “life from another dimension” using electric technology and then lost access to electricity!! What would happen.

How often do we do what we want to do. Is what we want to do worthy of being done? Is satisfied with everyday doing some stuff that is not satisfying, as well as doing some stuff that is satisfying satisfying enough or do we do it anyway.

Did the Universe create human beings to study itself, to see what its made of, so to speak. Suppose suddenly you are aware you are the Universe, You don’t know your history and as you evolve you are trying to learn more about yourself, or you evolve because you are trying to learn more about yourself and evolving human beings increasingly speeds that up process.

The Universe is trying to find out who it is, or what it is or even when it is, who wants to even try What is it?
Or, perhaps its seen its own death and is trying to stop it.
Wonder? Did the Universe create itself to fail?
Or did it just create itself.

It seems people have many questions which cannot be answered but if they seek an answer they will often find one, kind of the place where religion fits into human society. Why do we have questions for which we have answers? Is something wrong with our language that we have words to make questions but sometimes there no words to make answers.

Krishna and Radha—Try this, question, Why did Krishna and Radha never marry?

What happens when you compare Buddha, Krishna, Avalokiteshvara and Daruma,? Is it better to have some Gods or one God? In Tokyo there many shrines, temples, and many small shrines. Many people in Tokyo do not have cars, they often walk past, or cut through, temples and shrines. Sometimes they stop, others may just bow their head as they pass through, but their daily lives ar imbedded.

Erasing hard drives will become like book burning.