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

Read karephoo Lee, as your options have not changed

Lawrence Ferlinghetti passed away recently, here is a fold-up-table street vendor in front of City Lights Book Store, not quite sure what he is selling but it looks like a regular chilly afternoon in the shadowed canyons of San Francisco.

Powell Street Bart Station at Market St— Some C level executive is somewhere wondering how to increase profits, maybe dealing with a recall of 200,000 products, some other person is operating a crane downtown, another person in a nursing home is cleaning up excrement off the patient and bed while this woman is busy finger-pointing at and lecturing the tourists standing in line for a cable car ride. I wondered what she does with the other parts of her life.

California, Street, runs one side to the other across the city from the piers of Embarcadero to the Pacific Ocean

Market Street I see this man, I think how lucky he can flex his hips and legs like that, maybe he is Christian and believes in Saint John .Maybe he looks at me and thinks “How lucky he ate this this morning .

I wonder if rural people understand the logistics of city life. Lots of people, lots of problems, lots of responsibilities , it can take years to build a tall building, a project with constant flow of materials, trash, critical needs human emotions, In the rural area they may burn their trash, store stuff in the barn, even stick useless vehicles in a field. and take a walk to get away.

Human made shapes are different than natural shapes, they organize the information of the landscape differently than natural environment creating a different experience of uniform lines, colors and shapes

Parks with open space are important for people, taxes are higher for upkeep of the parks, financial city managers are held to higher, often more transparent, standards than in private enterprise. and are dependent on taxes for their budget. this all requires a lot of politicking .

Alameda Creek

Now, I’ve got four or five puppies,
Got one shaggy hound,
Takes all them dogs to run my

Women down.
Saturday Blues Ishman Bracey

Walking pretty much daily along Alameda Creek I can listen to radio, podcasts, and sometimes just think—I can feel sorry for myself, think about a pressing problem, sing an old song or try to close up some inconsistencies in some theory,

What is Blues music?   Some definitions refer to the blues “feeling” of the music. Another refers to the technical aspect— each verse is twelve measures long  with one basic  chord progression and  a few common variations.

Maybe you think doing every song  the same would be boring, but get a few hours of the works of great blues artists, such as  Muddy Waters or  BB King ,sit down and lesson.

While jazz spread around the globe the twelve bar blues grew as a worldwide  musical language. .Pretty much anywhere in the world  where musicians play “popular urban music”, they know it and at the drop of a hat they con sit down, and join in from the first downbeat.

This is the origin of structured improvisation in jazz music. Whether its a specific musician/ instrument, or as in most jazz groups each instrument gets it chance to improvise while the rest of the group knowingly plays the 12 bars, this is a global language created in the USA.

Early 1900s King Oliver  a cornet player  who improvised over his band playing 12 bar—vertical bars separate the measures—blues. . Louis Armstrong  joined the band to improvise on top of King”s improvisation

FYI_King’s wife’s name was Ruby Tuesday, the same name as a 1960’s pop song by The Rolling Stones.

The chord progression using I,  IV amd V symbols for the three chords where the roman numerals  designate the basic three chords of a pop song, such as  A, D, E7;  or G, C and D7.

four meaures of I; 
two measures of IV, 
two measures of I; 
one measures of V
one measures of IV
one measure of I.
one measure of V.

So if you are playing-blues in they key of A then I =A; . IV = D; and V = E or E7

At the last measure the music may sound as it is walking up or down steps into another room, this is called the turn-around, it turns the song around to start the 12 bars over again and just on thisonemeasure part alone if you listen you will hear some interesting and creative variations.

There was also an Eight Bar blues, from the Louisiana  Delta region, known as Delta blues, artists such as John Hurt, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Robert Johnson . Its not so common post 1950s, but  you could  hear Slim Harpo  doing eight bar blues and  personally I think his harmonica playing influenced that of Mick Jagger.

Chuck Berry had his own way of playing and listeners never seem to grow tired of it. Bob Dylan has used the 12 bar structure for many songs.

To say only one blues song, Statesboro Blues , written by Willie McTell who played 12 string guitar, a feat in itself as you either play the instrument or it plays you. He was blind and toured accompanied by his wife who might also sing on recordings. There are many great interpretations of this song, McTell was from Georgia, so was the Allman Brothers Band which did an excellent electronic version.

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The Boston Phoenix was a “larger than usual” alternative tabloid in the 1960s closing in 2013, Five decades ago living on the Cambridge side of the river I had a small business which advertised in The Pheonix and once a month I would go down, stand in line and pay for the ad. There was a dearth of movers then, all you needed was a van, two men and a phone, show up on time and do the work. There were over 250 college and post high school schools in Boston lots of students and recent grads (hang arounds) in the area with a bed, dresser, some kitchen tools, a table, chairs and books—all fit nicely in a van which is convenient to park and drive on busy streets.

Jamaica Plain early one Sunday morning out behind some business buildings in a snow field about 50 years ago this kid and I crossed paths, I vaguely remember the overall duration, I saw him,. made the image and we passed, cannot even remember whether there was a nod or any sort of acknowledgement, just two people passing each other on a vacant lot in a city. Without the photograph I would have forgotten about it.

Photographer Unknown: I found this image in a frame in a second hand store many years ago, was immediately moved by the intimacy, and fascinated by facial expressions and body gestures, its larger, about letter size, probably a special order print OR perhaps the photographer is a friend, perhaps even a family member and has enough expertise in photography to make their own prints, but what ever one of the group is not in the photo or they set up on a tripod. The lighting is interesting, a flash from the right side? Perhaps a little dodging on the two women and man on the left side? but not on the man bent over blowing out the candles. The head shadow of the man on the far right is as if the flash source is to the right and above of him.maybe the camera is more directed toward the “Birthday Man.”

New England summer afternoon, sitting in the sun

Western Minnesota flat land farm.

A house and empty lot in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston, probably over near the railroad tracks.

Avalokiteshvara spoke the words of Heart Sutra to Shariputa—form is emptiness, emptiness is form


Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

heart Sutra calligraphy byJanney

Whening is not the ending of zenning

The Qixi Festival (Chinese 七夕)

The Quxi Festival, celebrated for over 2600 years, on the seventh day of the seventh lunisolar month on the Chinese calendar (about now) celebrates the yearly meeting of Altair and Vega.The Chinese story is about two lovers, the weaver girl Zhinü (Vega) and the cowherd, Niulang  (Altair). Niulang was very poor and homeless, deserted by his family, met the beautiful Fairy Zhinü, on her visit to earth they fell in love, and against the wishes of Heaven she stayed, they married against the rules, their punishment was to be separated forever by a Silver River (the Milky Way). Altair built a bridge of magpies over the Silver River.and the Emperor of Heaven was so moved by their love they were allowed to meet once a year.

.Brush drawing by Janney for Quxi festival. Could be lovers in Albuquerque ballooning along the Sandia Mountains

The time of meeting is now, watch for the Summer Triangle

San Francisco

Sometimes words are too abstract. Its not that people do not understand the meanings of words, rather at The Beginning, there was never A Dictionary, people made sounds into words into languages while they were busy surviving.

Words have a structural social nature, they work with each other, they fit together in sentences to enable communication between people. Words represent the things in the human experience. They are used as symbols for those things but they are not those things.

Knowing how to say, or write the word does not mean one understands the meaning of the word.

Human beings lived in different places around the earth and developed different languages with different words.

If words represent things in the human experience and humans experience the universe similarly, then do different languages have different words which represent the same things.—after all if there is a set of things, we should have words for those things .Can we take different languages, list them side by side and find words which have a meaning-match, where translating is just a mater of knowing what word from your language matches—or represents— the same thing,

For many words this works but for many other words, for different reasons, it is not a simple process of matching words until its all done, Translation of poetry may be a choice between the “literal meaning” or the “feeling meaning.”

The corners of California and Powell are a favorite place, Both streets are steep inclines, there are blinking red lights and both streeta have cable cars not just running on them but also making a turn. People at all levels, pedestrians and drivers, are confused, lack confidence and are hesitant to go through the intersection. Imagine an out of town car driver stopped on a steep hill looking at the four blinking red lights on each corner, hesitant to move while behind is a SF regular in a large delivery truck honking the horn and the pedestrians are standing around waiting for a “walk” sign that never appears.The intersection of America.

Do these differences represent different experiences ? Is there a “Real standard set of things” out there for people—for scientists—to discover, differentiate and define?
Produce store along Stockton Street

Alameda Creek

Covid restricted my travel and the Alameda Creek Trail, with levee, runs right by my (baby’s) door, As I like to walk everyday I often find myself on the trail. My photographs always have more questions than answers but they would never be evidence in a court of law.

Is there an actual standard set of “things” in the universe and oneday well people be able to differentiate each thing one from another and give them all a name.

There are many problems in knowing but what makes this work for human beings is that we all have a standard set of senses—sight, sound, taste, touch and smell and once we have words, we can compare our experiences and test if this experience is really deserving of the title “thing.”

Factors that makes it difficult is that societies —I use the word society here to mean a group of people theoretically defined as culture bound—have different historical experiences resulting in things which maybe completely or partially different.

For example different societies just by living in different geographical locations on the Earth may different different tools created to work in different places.

Levels of knowledge can play a part. Cultivated plants which for thousand of years appeared physically different from one society to another when, much later, investigated by science find them be like biological siblings.

The big “nothing, ” —air—which humans for millenniums used to separate one “thing from another thing” turns out also to be a bunch of things, small particles we cannot see.s

Consider all the new words in our society just since my life time of 76 years. Ae these all new things, created by people, words which never before existed?


When the term “Super Bowl” came out , I thought is was satirical joke, When young I played sports, enjoyed it— and have exercised most of my life— I do 3-4 miles miles every day along the creek—but I do not desire to sit around watching other people play, and other people become a bunch of partying fans— so for about 10 years I thought when people used the term Super Bowl that they were making a satirical joke about the irrational obsession many Americans had for football.—Shows you how removed I can be from pop culture.


Technically in the universe the amount of matter is constant— The law of conservation of mass states that mass in an isolated system is neither created nor destroyed by chemical reactions or physical transformations. Maybe the universe is an isolated system but then isolated from what?

So technically concerning the universe if we could agree on—discover?— the “smallest of all fundamental particles” and that the number of these particles would be a constant then there would be a finite number of different ways the finite number of smallest particles could join together. This is, for me anyway, no matter how small we look, we always find something smaller and no matter how big we look the universe is always the biggest, yet it keeps getting expanding —is the number of smallest particles particles in the Universe a constant that keeps getting bigger.

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This was along Alameda Creek trail but it does not fit the previous section, call it a “feet picture”, just a big concrete block concrete left there by some construction crew doing a government project—First Amendment rights? freedom of expression in a public place ?.Think of it as a pre-historic wall in a cave.

Maybe 15 years ago, a hot summer night in Reno —ever feel lucky? I did this morning.

Windows to the worlds, a corner is a turning point

but it only leads to another corner, and another corner, always going around and around rectangle. You can see through me but I don”t go anywhere.

If you look for me I am like Buddha holding the flower for Kasyapa. when you smile at me, I am the one that smiles back.

Which is why when I wake up in the morning I see The Heat Sutra.on my wall, it keeps my mind from getting too uncluttered from all this useful information.

Gate Gate Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhisvaha.

Kens, dens and sum lesszens

Once when the World-Honored One, in ancient times, was upon the Mount Grdhrakuta, he held up a flower before the congregation of monks.  At this time all were silent but the Venerable Kasyapa only smiles. The World-Honored One said, “I have the Evey of the True Law, the Secret Essence of Nirvana, the Formless Form, The Mysterious Law-Gate. Without relying upon words and letters, beyond all teaching as a special transmission, I pass this all  on to Mahakasayapa.

Case Six;  Mummonkan     Ummon   Chinese circa 1200

The 28th Patriarch in the line of transmission in India, ‘Daruma, on instructions from Prajnatara, brought Dhyana to China to become Chan..

Standing outside a cave on cold snowing December day Hakuin paid the price of an arm for an answer .

The Sixth Patriarch wrote the “better poem” and was the last of the line of Patriarchs as Chan diversed into quick&easy or long&hard.

Is a Zen Master “a Buddha” or Buddha? Would I even recognize a Buddha if we met? Does Zen seem too simple for me and you ? Why if the Buddha Mind can be transmitted without words are there so many books written about it?

Various Japanese Buddhists such as Dogen Eihei visited China and brought Chan to Japan to become Zen.

. Calligraphy by Sengai

Are the Four Noble Truths, the Three Fold Refuge and the Eight Fold Path part of Zen? Does Zen have a purpose such as Awakening the Buddha inside yourself? Or The Great Prajnaparamitra Heart Sutra:
Form is no different from emptiness,
emptiness is not different from form.


The Heart Sutra, calligraphy by Janney

Do you think about someone who does not produce their own food or not earn the means to buy it, and rather lives by begging from others who do and claims to be on “ The True Path” to become Buddha?  Siddhārtha Gautama left his wife and family to earn living by begging.

Alameda Creek

Walking along the Alameda Creek Levee mos’ daily, i see other people, I take photos of them, each day seems like every other day . . .

Actually these photographs have no place thinking they are some broken records of a short term historian . . .

they are instances of color, shape, gesture, line, all stuff that happens, all-by-itself,-I do-not-need-to-be-here-to-make-it-happen stuff, and it happens everywhere you look.

White and Black plaid pants? Ean you think of a better thing you could be doing right now? when you are walking?, when you are bored? when you are eating? Anticipation makes the heart grow divided and disenfocuses the Mind.

How can a person be freed from all suffering? Can we all be free of suffering at the same time? Or does someone have to keep us safe from dangers?

Maybe this is what a music concert is supposed to do to the audience?

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
None but ourselves can free our minds

Bob Marley Redemption Song

From What is it our minds need to be “freed.?”

The whole kit and caboodle is in disrepair
There’s no where to go that’s not here . .
.
So God bless motorcycles and far out heavy trifles
You know you can’t memorize Zen
Hang your hat on your nose, don’t hide in your clothes
Smile at someone, begin to begin

from Rooty Toot Toot for the Moon Michael Jay Johnson (August 8, 1944 – July 25, 2017) 

Is there really a Buddha inside of us? Is it our our personal Buddha and only we can awaken it? When we awakener Buddha will be we freed from our mind?

When ignorance arises, we have discrimination of the objective world and attachment to it , and a continuous sequence of such thoughts and feeling results inner having a mind,
Blythe in Mumonkan, Case I referring to a passage from The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana (part 3 Section 1)

.Perhaps the very “natural survival skill” possessed by humans is the ability to differentiate and define (give it a name)— create the things in the Universe..

Why was Shaka Buddha a man and not a woman? The makes the Christian Genesis story more interesting . . .It was God who wanted Adam and Eve to live forever in a utopian ignorance under His’ care, It was ok forAdam, but Eve seemed to be toocurious, too inquisitive, and searching for something . .

they say curiosity will kill the cat, perhaps the persons too, as Eve could not repress her desire to taste the forbidden fruit of knowledge., but then again would it not be God who created the knowledge in the first place—why leave such a temptation for his “creations” to trip over.

So here I am, trying to use electronic media in place of “Without relying upon words and letters, beyond all teaching as a special transmission, ” to explain something which I do not understand in words no tongue can tell

You can try . . .

or give up

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“Only thank God men have done learned how to forget quick what they ain’t brave enough to try to cure.”
The Hamlet  William Faulkner 

The below image is from last week in San Francisco, on the corner of Market and maybe 4th, . . .

the below image is from a few years ago, somewhere on Market St just about Powell Staton. It hurts to see life wasted yet its not that we can not solve our own problems, its that the way we solve our problems results in more problems.

Is the man withdrawing cash, or checking to see if someone prevaisly withdrew cash may have left something in their haste.

Entrance to Tokyo Tower, no place to sleep though.

It feels the only way I can know nothing is to no knowthing,

;If you study Zen, you must really study it.If you become enlightened it must be the real enlightenment. If you once see the barbarian”s reface intimately, then have at last got “it.” But when you explain what you saw, you have already fallen into relativity.”
Mumonkan Case IV Commentary Blythe translation

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.

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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.