Lowin’, Lee, Ness and me

Bones to ink—Oracle Bones to I Ching

The earliest known form of Chinese writing are the “Oracle Bones” (甲骨) of the Shang dynasty (about 1600BC -1046BC) a period also technologically associated with the Xia dynasty which preceded it and the Zhou which followed. as The Bronze Age. The writing was on animal bones, usually the shoulder of a cow or the bottom of a turtle.

These three images are CC, you can find information @ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_bone.

They were used to divine answers about the weather and other subjects of concern. A hot metal rod was poked into the bone creating cracks which were then divined to gain understanding. The writing usually included the question, the divined answer and general terms of the situation including names and the date.

Traditionally it was common for farmers to sell them to the “pharmacist” to grind up as medicine. About 1900 it was determined that they were divining tools from the Shang dynasty creating the oldest connection between the present and the written past.

The characters evolved over the millenniums

With the Zhou dynasty the Oracle Bones were replaced by Yarrow stalks and sixty-four hexagrams, the work of King Wu and his brother The Duke of Zhou with the Zhou I —or centuries later came to be called I Ching, aka The Book of Changes.

Alameda Creek

As long as Covid keeps up , for me, not much changes along Alameda Creek. Keep feeling should go somewhere; think everyday its the same thing; am getting older; got to get out and do some more stuff before cannot; . . . Walking along the creek daily for over 14 years and another 14 years walking my dog, meeting different people over those years. These are my weekly images.

When I see someone, generally I make an hello gesture—say something, or wave a hand. or sometimes its a look of the eyes combined with a nod of the head. Most respond, some do not even look at me, others are talking on their phones and Iid I know know them there is usually a quiet wave of hands.

We often assign causes to events—we call it understanding and a method of knowing—which requires there to be a thing differentiated and defined from other things, another thing related to it, and a description of events during at the duration.

One could say that the Universe does not much care abut al this or any of it, it just happens. Small particles move around here and there, they have affairs with other particles to make “things” which entropy and new things are created while old things dissappear

The Universe does not care?

Yet the Universe created people who care and the people are part of the Universe so it does care. Maybe the Universe created people to solve problems it could not solve, such as entropy or otherwise known its own demise.

The Universe created people to solve the problems of its own entropy , a quality of its own making or perhaps it was damage done to the Oneness during and/or after the Big Bang.

Entropy into what? Entropy with what?

Entropy is what happens inside the Universe. If the Universe were to entropy outside the Universe that would imply there is something outside of, separate from, the Universe. Perhaps cathie one “Our Universe.” Still universe means one and to suggest there are more universes than the one we know is to suggest that the Universe is not a universe at all, but one “thing” of another set of “things” which is more properly given the letters “uni.”

How do humans fit into the Universe. Is it even an important question given our material representation —what % of the Universe is human mattter to compared o non-human matter in The Universe ? What is Human matter? Matter in the Universe which is aware of itself.

But not aware of itself as of the Universe but as separated from The Universe. We know who we are because we separate ourselves from the ting we are.

OK, OK , so what else can you show me? Stand upside down inside handcuffs?

Maybe the Universe did not make us, but we happened in spite of the hopes, intentions, dreams or efforts of the Universe. Maybe the Universe kicked us out— like the Christian God kicked Adam and Eve out of Eden for eating the fruit of knowledge and there is not other place to go,

Humans are forever floating around in their alienation, an essential yet poorly designed part of the Great Oneness. Individuals separated from it until death, society never to find how to return because every effort only creates new things to know, to be never completely reunited again. Our endless job as a part of The Universe is not just to experience it like other forms of matter but to know it and report back, Humans are the Universe’s Department of Intelligence.

Is any of this results of conscious efforts of the Universe ? Alienation by accident or alienation by intent whatever people are the conscious effort of the Universe, whether by intention or by accident, to know itself.

A symptom of a Universe gone mad with mental illness—how can the universe be mentally ill when there is only one, it is what Is, nothing else with which to compare it, is its own standard. We are here to witness The Universe as both subject and object with no way of knowing if its gone insane.

Sometimes I think one basic problem is we have is there is no number 2, its a tool humans created to survive. Mathematics is often called the “pan-galaxy “ language but its humans that classify things into a same group and then we find they are different from each other and no matter which direction we look, bigger or smaller., there is no end to this process of differentiating and defining, What we perceive as “same things” is only because we do not know them well enough, yet.


Most Japanese people like to socialize while eating and drinking. Even when you just drop in on someone you might bring a present such as senbei or cake, over sencha and conversation. Outside the house you will see groups joyously eating, drinking and talking. Popular TV shows bring these experiences into the homes as entertainment often featuring the craftsmanship and culture of the food profession.

I had just finished dinner at an Okinawan restaurant with a big sign on the wall welcoming US soldiers, and within a could of blocks after leaving found a takoyaki outside window. Full as I was, could not resist, bought six and ate them.


She liked the Art Boxes of Joseph Cornell who put objects inside his boxes. Inside Winifred’s box (about 1970) are a crucifix and three plaster molded shell shaped vaginas. In the lower window is an offset printed image of The Last Supper with press-type and press-arrows indicating clams are being served for Dinner. I may have known what, if any, religion she associated with, but I do not remember, its a work of Art, and does not make any difference.

Winnifred was my sister’s best friend in college, I became friends with her and her husband in Boston and later when they moved to Vermont where she worked a curator in a local museum and taught art. A few years later, mid 970s she moved to Los Angeles to work as a curator of an established museum and tragically, too soon after, she died in an automobile accident.
She left this piece with me before going to LA.

Inside three small plastic babies and clam shell.

Does this guy look like he is the eyes, the ears, the nose, the mouth and the tongue of The Universe?

We all are, whether we are paid to be here or not ,and some even get paid just have their \\photograph there.

By the end of this post are you supposed to know me better?

all dharmas are marked with emptiness;
they do not appear or disappear,
are not tainted or pure,
do not increase or decrease.
Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings,
perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch,
no object of mind;
no realm of eyes
and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.

From The Heart Sutra

No, ing is fore, ever.

Black Oak Bookstore and Okineos Press

In North Berkeley on Shattuck and Vine there used to be a popular bookstore selling books used and new called Black Oak, which for New Years and/or for other store events would print broadsides for their customers. It was a wonderful bookstore, always full with families on weekends.

On Sundays we would go up to North Berkeley, have a Chinese breakfast, browse the ACCI Gallery, and then wander over to the bookstore to browse, and, after go around the corner for a Pete’s coffee. Black Oak had a rare books section though I never browsed there, but I did get a book of five novels written by Dashiell Hammett for $10.00 which I have read many times. Sometimes when I feel intensely about something important and I cannot focus, it helps to wander a book store seeing all the other people’s stories.
The Broadsides were printed on quality paper, this one has a deckled bottom edge. The typography is excellent.

After the plague on bookstores, they moved over to San Pablo Ave south of University.
These broadsides were printed at Okineos Press and are Fine Works of Printing.

I Ching

The I Ching, 易經, is a very old book which has been in continual use for over 3000 years. Fu Xi observed the patterns of nature and established the eight trigrams  (八卦; bāguà), which comprise the 64 hexagrams which later were ordered by King Wen of Zhou. Later the Duke of Zhou added line comments and judgements and then, according to legend Confucius made more comments, which in a sense legitimized the I Ching , or as it was known then as the Zhou yi —Changes of Zhou— and now known as one of the Five Great books of Chinese philosophy. The name was changed to I Ching during the later Han dynasty.

A hexagram may have moving or stationery lines, moving lines indicate change between a Yin and Yang line which may be better understood by consulting the hexagram which it is becoming. Previous posts presented the hexagram Hsiao Kuo showing the possible changes when one line, two lines three lines and four lines are moving.
Here are the final options of the situation of five and six moving lines for the hexagram Hsiao Kuo. With five moving lines there are six possibilities and with six moving lines there is only one possibility. When a person consults the I Ching the opposite and complimentary forces of Yin and Yang are expressed through the eight trigrams further expressed through 64 hexagrams each which has tens of further options. Each consult of I Ching having 1-6 possible moving lines there are many possible separate and unique outcomes which in turn are experienced by many different and seperate people.

Feel the visual changes in the balance between Yin and Yang:

Just the lines without the words to feel the interaction between Yin and Yang. How does the relationship between Yin and Yang— broken or solid line —feel. Look at Hsiao Kuo and then immediately look at the right changing hexagram.
Here has been one—the same—hexagram changing into different hexagrams.
Imagine different hexagrams changing into the same hexagram, which is possible by changing each line that needs to be changed, on an ad hoc basis so to speak or if you use coins on the luck of the throw.

It feels different in black and white. I started I Ching with rounded black lines, going to rounded colored lines, then to rectangular colored lines and to rectangular black lines. Maybe next see how varying the width of white space between the broken lines effects the feel of the hexagram.

The Aztec Motel

The Aztec Motel was located on Central Ave NE in Albuquerque, aka Route 66 , going west, a couple of miles before you reached downtown Albuquerque. It was the first motel built along Route 66 and demolished in 2011. By the time I discovered it, probably in the late 1980s, it was mostly occupied by local people living there.

Alameda Creek

Its starting to get cold “here in Fremont” which means in the 40s at night and 50s in the early morning, I moved to California from New England and that kind of statement makes me laugh.

During the Covad I have done my four miles almost everyday.

DoI look at the same things everyday and see them differently?

Perhaps they change everyday.

Both are true, this person will not be at the some place tomorrow but tomorrow the place will be there.

And it will look a little different than the day before. In these daily differences can you sense the interplay of Yin and Yan between Heaven, Earth and People? I wonder how many pairs of underwear and socks I will buy before I die. Otherwise, I am set for good five years. My suit is 38 years old, maybe I have worn it 10 times. I do not know any people in my family beyond three generations back, what difference does any of it make.

Somerville MA, at the bus stop at the corner of Highland Ave and Belmont Sreet, 1971.

Tai Chi in Boston Common about 1971

In 2008 my mother living in another state about 250 miles away had a stroke. She was in ICU, then a regular room undergoing therapy and then she was to move somewhere else. I had a small point&shoot to document. Here she is during therapy stay, eating lunch and, I thought then, trying to figure out what the hell happened to her. Here we were in the hospital cafeteria. noise all around while our table was a deafening silence like being in a glass bubble in the middle of a crowd.

I don’t think she ever stopped trying to figure out what happened to her, and I think she never understood in the way that she understood things or had her version of “closure.”

One day after lunch when she was sitting on her bed, she asked “What happened to me ?” I told her she had a stroke . Usually when the word stroke comes into the conversation she denies it but this time she asked more and I told her some of her story and tshe asked “Did I have any children?”
I said …“Three.”
She replied “ I loved them all.”
That conversation is not just in my memory, I have a video of it.


These were a few questions I found on a discussion board:

How can we accept Lord Krishna as God, despite his actions of flirting with the Gopis (village maidens)?

How do you justify Krishna having sexual contacts with Gopis and Radha outside marriage?

Why did Sri Krishna ask the maiden girls (gopis) to come out of the lake naked and collect their clothes from him?

In 1960s people used to watch other people dancing and chanting hare krishna. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Same gesture, San Francisco store, 45 years later.

During the past year I have mentioned the subject of the Kerner Commission to many people, I am 75 years old, it was made in 1968 and I did not find anyone knew of it. I started thinking how much of the past we remember? Does it even make a difference? We often think what happens in the past affects the present, but because we do not know what happened then we do not know how it affected our now.

On the other hand we are sure there is a causal relationship so we make one up.

Last night I watched an NHK documentary about a Japanese man who had lost is parents in WII. His father was killed in battle but he did not know what happened to his mother and the story wass his search.. They lived on Okinawa and they we’re preparing for the US attack. His mother at 17 years was impressed into military service as battle field nurse and at time was required to do non-medical things that otherwise a solder would be doing such as transporting ammunition. He finds a formal government written record—She was “killed in battle.”

There was also some written diary information, the officer that forced her into military service told her that if she died she would get the honor of being enshrined at Yasukuni.

Here is a formally dressed mother taking her daughter to a visit at Yasukuni Jinja.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna at University of Michigan, 1969

all dharmas are marked with emptiness;
they do not appear or disappear,
are not tainted or pure,
do not increase or decrease.
Therefore, in emptiness no form, no feelings,
perceptions, impulses, consciousness.
No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind;
no color, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch,
no object of mind;
no realm of eyes
and so forth until no realm of mind consciousness.
from Heart Sutra

Slowfoe, toe?—sew watt! Just charge me up again.

Photography of James Keller

One of my favorite photographers, James has a way that moves people to feel good about expressing themselves in front of his camera.
B&W photos by James Keller.

He has a strong respect for and interest in the individuality of others. Around this time every year we get a postcard, such as this, from James. Its a photographic print.

This one from NYC.

I don’t know any thing about this one . . .

Two generations of cowboy hats.

When I was in art school I was suddenly, with-no-warning, evicted from my apartment, fortunately James allowed me to stay at his house until I could relocate. I say fortunately for me, because James is neater than I am, not that I am a slob, but I have a degree of ADD and can have many in-progress projects in various states of progress going on at once with things piled up in different available-space places.

I shared apartments some different times, but did not slob-up common areas, well maybe once when I took over a room for personal projects, mostly photography and 4′ x 8′ colleges built on a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood layed waist high on two saw horses.

Photograph by James of me in Jamaica Plain almost 45 years ago

.Photograph James at Hay Market area Boston, , for 1-2 years we had a moving business together in Boston. It worked well, there are hundreds of colleges and trade schools in Boston, many of the students and some who hang on for a couple of years after graduation, share apartments, have a bed, chest of drawers, clothes, pots, pans, dishes, books, maybe a desk and some lamps, a TV set, sometimes a couch and once a piano and are living in an apartment in Boston. We had a van which held all of the stuff and it was a quick and easy job to move someone. Although technically it was illegal, moving businesses are regulated by both state and federal laws , large legitimate movers were too expensive for our customers and it was not worth their time to do the job. As a bonus it got the big trucks off the city streets.
These images of James were made by me.

Powell Street Station, Market Street, James comes out of the Powell Street Station and immediately finds someone to photograph. I like the clothes on the subject.

Alameda Creek

My weekly images of walking along Alameda Creek this week and words which express some the things about which I think..

It is commonly accepted what is visually experienced in a photograph is a “real visual representation of “things” in the photograph. Often they are conclusive “documentary evidence ” in a court of law. People will use manipulated images to take advantage of people’s tendency to accept a photographic image as an acceptable representation of reality.

Photographs have been around for a “little over” two centuries, or “only” two centuries, both perspectives are interesting. Humans have been on Earth for 300,000 years—that is photographs —images from reflected light— are 0.00000666 % of their history, In a court of law a photograph is usually accepted over a person’s testimony. Yet for much of the 300,000 years a person’s word was likely very important.

When a “non-normal” lens is used, a “fish-eye” for example, we know that what we see is not what it “really looks like,” Imagine if the first time you saw a photograph and it was a fish-eye image of a building ? If you had never seen a photograph before you would probably not know what is a building—hypothetically if you did not know what a building was you would not know the photograph was a visual representation of something or anything.

A camera using a “normal lens (about 50mm focal length for a 35 mm camera) sees like the human eye and by “normal,” one that looks normal to the human eye.  We know other animals may have qualitatively different sensory capabilities such as sonar or a similar sensory experience which varies on a continuum of a quality—more or less.

We probably share many of our senses with other living firms on Earth. And where there are different sensual experiences, still they are used to differentiate the small particles into a common “set of things”  People “see” the mountain; a bat sonars the mountain; different senses but a common conclusion from differentiating and defining.  Or smell, both people and dogs can smell but the dog has a great capability doing this then do people.

Would it be the same for aliens from other galaxy ? Is there a finite number of “things” in the universe? Are they evenly distributed in the universe? Are “things” relative?

The first question—obviously life forms in the universe are made up of particles—call them“things”, if there are a finite number of things then the probably increases the chance for similarity of life forms by a limited poolof particles.

Second, how are particles distributed around the universe gives a feeling for their availability to be used which cold differ from regionally.

Third, relativity —any “thing” in the Universe means particles are “sensed” or “known to be a thing.” Does the thing actually exist “in nature” or is it a thing relative to the capabilities of some other thing observing it —subject versus object, thought we did that hundreds of years ago.

Waiting in the car outside Marina grocery store Union City CA


The sky is densely clouded, the forest is dark with Tamala trees; Krishna is afraid of the night .
O Radha, you alone must take him home. This is Nanda’s command.
But Radha and Krishna linger near a tree in the grove on their homeward path
To the bank of river Yamuna and their secret love prevails
Illustration of the first verse of the first canto of the Gita Govinda from The Blue God Lalit Kala Akademi
(Krishna and Radha are on the left.)

I Ching

I Ching is a a very old book. Fu Xi studied the interactions of Yin and Yang in th erelationship of Heaven, Earth and People and delivered the eight trigrams —八卦; bāguà—graphically representing the possible relationships between Heaven, Earth and People. They were arranged into the 64 hexagrams by King Wen —before he became King because he was a hostage. The Duke of Zhou wrote some commentary, the book was known as Zhōu Yì or Changes of Zhou—this all happened BCE. In the later Han dynasty many of the writings of and about Zhōu yì were consolidated, standardized, probably edited and re-assembled to be called the I Ching.

Previous posts presented examples of the hexagram Hsiao Kuo showing the possible changes of one line, two lines and three lines moving. Here are the possibilities of one hexagram Hsiao Kuo and four moving lines.

About 1970 I bought the Wilhelm/Baynes version I Ching with the forward by Carl Jung. I was an instructor of Sociology then and more focused on academic matters. Later I became a graphic designer (for over 35 years) and in my recent renewed interest I am first focusing on visual experiences of I Ching. This is a long term project on which I do a little every week as my eyes gradually learns to see.

The same thirteen pairs of hexagrams without the “descriptive words” enable easier visual experience of the relations between Yin and Yang from the possible movement of four lines in the hexagram Hsiao Kuo. Every understanding or interpretation of the original hexagram, here it Hsiao Kuo, may be affected by the moving line(s).

Photo of me by James Keller, about 1972-73

The Heart Sutra is a teaching by the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, to the monk Shariputra:

. . . all dharmas are forms of emptiness, not born, not destroyed;
Not stained, not pure, without loss, without gain;
So in emptiness there is no form, no sensation, conception, discrimination, awareness; No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind;
No color, sound, smell, taste, touch, phenomena;
No realm of sight . . . no realm of consciousness;
No ignorance and no end to ignorance . . .
No old age and death, and no end to old age and death;
No suffering, no cause of suffering, no extinguishing, no path;
No wisdom and no gain. No gain and thus
The bodhisattva lives prajna paramita
With no hindrance in the mind, no hindrance, therefore no fear,
Far beyond deluded thoughts, this is nirvana.

excerpt from Heart Sutra

Noh life threw phake fotos

Dan Eldon

I could not describe as succinctly as this:
Dan Eldon was American and British, but living in Kenya with his family who relocated there for work. He went on assignment to Somalia to cover the turbulent events of the famine. As he attended a peace rally, US Marines made the fateful mistake of bombing what they thought was a council of warlords in Mogadishu.
The angry crowd turned on Eldon and his three fellow journalists as a result. They were and (sic) stoned and beaten to death. Eldon was just 22 when he died.


I discovered one of his journals, The Journey is the Destination in the clearance section of Half Price Books—I like (d pre Covad) to go there, browse though the clearance books, talk to other people in the stacks about books or music recordings.

I like what Joyce did with words in Finnegans Wake and my initial impression was that Eldon was doing something similar with photography, or even more generally, with graphic elements of design—getting the viewer to experience what the eyes saw and not “ understand” what the brain translated.

Like when reading FW readers cannot help but say the words out loud converting the reading experience into a “pre-print” oral experience; I felt something similar about how Eldon was using photography in this journal. Besides, Basho also mentioned the Journey is the Destination.

I Ching— The Book of Changes

Can people know the future? Can people devine the future? Are these two different things?

My father told me something which I did not understand until 15 years later, a few years after his death. He predicted a possible future event if he died before my mother and I like to think that I responded appropriately because of what he said to me. While there were other times he had “predicted” things, there was something special this one— and at the time I did not realize it was both a warning and request to me. Years later when it started to unfold I recognized it and responded, appropriately I hope.

Would I have had as much “insight” using the I Ching?

In China for 3000-4000 years the I Ching, The Book of Changes has been consulted with hopes of better understanding. For Chinese, the philosophical question is: How to understand the processes of Nature and act in accordance with them. I Ching is one old tool to do that. Solid line is Yang, broken line is Yin and their interaction is I Ching.
Previous posts presented the possible changes in the hexagram Hsiao Kuo when one line or two lines were moving. Here are the possible changes when three lines are moving.

Anciently when the sages made the Yi,it was with the design that its figures should be in conformity with the principles underlying the natures (of men and things) , and the ordinances appointer (for them by Heaven). Whit this view the exhibited in them the way of heaven, calling (the lines) yin and yang; the way of earth calling them the strong (or hard ) and the weak (or soft); and the way of man, under the names of benevolence and righteousness. Each (trigram) embraced those three Powers, and being repeated, its full form consisted of six lines.
I Ching, James Legge Introduction by Dennis Sterling, Flame Tree Publishers

Here are the same set of hexagrams each with three moving lines, no words. Note the visual interplay between the balance of yin and yang. Each time the original hexagram changes from the weak lines protecting (or imprisoning) the strong lines to a new balance “for the moment.”

This is the first time doing this for me. In 1970 I purchased Wilhelm’s translation but I was not yet a designer and so I read it, and “consulted” the words. In 1979 I moved to Silicon Valley to start a graphic design business, it sat on the book shelf for over 35 years. Recently I became interested in it again, seeing from a designer eye— looking but not reading. Maybe this is like doing “technical analysis” to evaluate buy and sell points on a stock chart.

The relationship between the moving lines create a different balance between the Yin and Yang lines in the diagrams as whole. Next week I shall attempt something artistic with the hexagrams.

First row, second column: looks like the strong have moved to to protect the weak from an attack or maybe they are hiding behind the weak? First row column three, the threat has grown larger and a stronger defense is needed.

Alameda Creek

Suppose you owned an Art Photograph, an image made by a famous photographer worth money . . . and your house was burning down , you had a one armload chance to save things, would you take the famous photograph or would you take ones of your family,

Even more, the “family images” included family members who had died, maybe three generations ago.

Suppose your “family heirloom” photographs had sat in storage for decades while everyday you looked at the image by the famous photographer . . . suppose it was worth $5000 and also it gave your life some personal meaning.

Suppose it was your own life, not a life or death situation but a choice between taking a risk and losing something important or taking a higher risk and getting something better?

Suppose taking that risk also means possibly or definitely hurting the lives of others. Would you choose to be unhappy and not hurt others or to be happy because you were willing to hurt others. Would you later, in your unhappiness, perhaps in your self pity, resent making that choice?

That is why when I walk the creek I listen to podcasts which can keep me focused and prevent me from thinking.

What would the women talk about while they were waiting for the men to eat?
Usually about the grain, the fields and the crops.
Didn’t gossip?
No, I was never around very many people that gossiped.
They pretty well know what everybody was doing anyway.
Yes, all doing about the same thing.
Zada 79 Grant County
Feeding Our Families Memories of Hoosier Homemakers Eleanor Arnold, Editor published 1985

The men got to eat first, and then the ones that really helped got in second. There was two or three tables. The kids and women would eat last, so the men could get out and thresh again.
Dorothy 60, Adams County
Feeding Our Families Memories of Hoosier Homemakers Eleanor Arnold, Editor published 1985

talking one

We don’t see any bread from a store only at wheat threshing time. My dad would come in and buy an armload of loaves. Walter Brothers down here made it, and of course it wasn’t sliced. Then one woman would slice the bread , and us kids would hang around and eat the heels of the bread, becuase it was store -bought bread.
Audrey 86 Posey County
Feeding Our Families Memories of Hoosier Homemakers Eleanor Arnold, Editor published 1985

I often meet people along the creek, sometimes we have interesting conversations, often about things associated with the creek, the water level, the wild life, the sky and on fire danger days, the smoke.

When faces become less important you notice the body gesture.


The gopis were lovingly entranced with Krishna and they all left their husbands for him. But Krishna told them to return home, saying, “. . . the supreme duty of women is to serve their husbands.” As you can see its another “Do what I say and not I do.

The top is interesting, it looks like mules, a small elephant, cow and horses with Brahmin riding a goose in the middle and the long faces on the lute and cymbal musicians—Is this a paying gig?

Illlustration from the Bhagata Purana. Pahari School, Mankot kalam, from The Blue God Lalit Kala Academi

Hagi Yunomi

Some years ago there used to be a shop on the end of Grant Street across Broadway which sold used Japanese stuff, a fun place to browse. One day I found this yunomi, it was cracked in multiple places but was not broken. The owner did not want to sell it, he verbally implied unkind things about it, and me for having bad taste.
I gave him $10 for it, brought it home, filled it with left over white rice, added some water, let it stand for five days—it was fixed, solid once again. I can drink bancha or sencha just fine. The color of this yummy is true Hagi.

Half Price Book Store: Dave likes music, its nice to get an opportunity to discuss music, do some name droppin, , share some music experiences. Often when I meet people that like the same music I do and then find out they also like music I do not like, when I listen to them I learn something. I still may not like that music but I learn something to appreciate it.

Chicago, 1969, Days of Rage. One year after the 1968 Democratic convention SDS had its break up event in Chicago. The Weathermen group parted ways and went “underground” to act against the Vietnam war. While there was activity going on between demonstrators and police in the streets, over in a park this conversation between an anti-war and a pro-war was happening, There was no violence confrontation or name calling , just a conversation where people expressed their positions.

A self portrait, or maybe its just a camera click making an image of someone I wish I was, or someone I was before but no longer can be or maybe I never was this person. That is what is so great about a photograph, I can claim its not the real me, even say that that may have been me before but now I am a changed man. Its a phake foto.

And a little Heart Sutra:

gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha

(or in sanskrit) Tad yathaa gate gate paaragate paarasamgate bodhi svaaha

Another weak on the same creak

Never ending sameness along Alameda Creek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transmission of Light Thomas Cleary

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

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

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

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

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

Transmission of Light Thomas Cleary

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

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

Changing patterns of I Ching

Two lines moving

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

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

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

A knother Section

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

gate gate
parasamgate bodhisvaha

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