Zen know shelter-do

The spring flower,
Dancing in the wind. Parting,
I remember, its beauty
Lasts the whole year.

painting by Janney


The shelter-at-home on your own terms is in force in Fremont, The first few days there were many families walking on the levee along Alameda  Creek, many who did not know I walk  there every day, like a tree along the way, and they ignored my hello.


Often in my photographs the viewer is not asked  to be concerned about identifying specific people or things . You do not have to know them, you do not even have to ask yourself the question Who  or what are they?

alamedaCreek6796_24%ppi100B800.jpgThere is no vicarious experience to have from these images, and perhaps no important information about some thing.


Once when I was young, a woman said to me,  “I would like to be with you when are taking photographs.” My images would never be in a travel publication, a marketing brochure for a traveler’s paradise, Architectural Digest or even on an advertising postcard for a real estate agent . . .


nor  the image, and probably not a desire-to-be-with-me prompted by seeing the image. People see my photographs differently than they see me, well after they get to no me anyway.


Maybe when you see the image you think its a waste of your time, a waste of my time, a waste of a camera that could be in hands of a good photographer.

Even if I figure out what it is there is nothing for me to no . . 


“The art of making pictorial statements in a precise and repeatable form is one we have long taken for granted in the West. But it is forgotten that without prints and blueprints, without maps and geometry, the world of modern sciences and technologies would hardly exist.”
 Understanding Media   Marshal McLuhan

We commonly use the word “graphic” to mean an image, and more so to the specific information in a specific image but actually the word means an image that can be reproduced  consistency in a media. The word means the process —silkscreen, woodblock, offset, digital print to computer screen and without regard to the information in the image.


The image is printed consistently enough that people see it the same . . .and according to McLuan that creates a qualitative difference in the structure of human relationships.


in the case of a brand graphic such as logo, people share the same visual meaning of the image—Company A— while their thinking and/or emotional experiences maybe different.


For McLuhan the importance is that the same image is consistently printed everywhere it is printed. Consider what happened to Penny’s when they changed their logo, it was an unprofessional job, for technical reasons it could not be printed consistently ——ads, website, mailers, plastic bags, badges, were not just dissimilar to the common eye, but the differences were visual technical difficulties in quality control when printing on various media resulting in a common visual experience of lack of control and general  sloppiness.  A logo must look and feel the same everywhere it is printed, no matter the capabilities or lack of capabilities of different printing process.


Along Alameda Creek, between 880  and Isherwood is not a wealthy, or a poor area,  yet for me, and many others, having immediate  access to this experience, funded by Regional Parks taxpayer fees as part of  county property taxes, is a greatly appreciated   valuable asset.


Somewhere in or around Skytree, could even be the MacDonald’s, it feels like spying on someone and yet you do not get any “valuable” personal information, as a photograph  its a “waste of time” so to speak,


Or could it be over responsive when seeing  photograph where instead of the eye feeling it, the mind classifies and categorizes until it has identified everything and given it a name— “knowing” the image becomes more a thinking experience than a visual one.

Yasukuni Jinja (Yasakuni Shrine), one rainy morning—shrines, jinja,  are Shinto, temples, ji,  are Buddhist.


A shrine built  to summon the souls of those who gave their lives fighting for Japan  in the Boshin War of 1868–1869 through the First Indochina War of 1946–1954.


Later I walked to  Zojoji or Zojo-ji—English translations include “Temple” but “ji” means temple, its redundant— where President Grant and Vice-President Bush planted trees on the grounds . . . It features one of the most serene Buddhas I have ever seen.

Perhaps the visual image many have of Buddha is a person sitting zazen, but don’t you think Buddhas do other things too. Certainly if Buddhas are as great as people say, then shouldn’t they  be able to multi-task, do mulitple things are one time? Should God allow  them to only do one thing?

Why not a statute of a Buddha eating? pissing? working at the post office? maybe you think Buddhas don’t work—Daruma said “Buddhas don’t do good, Buddhas don’t do bad.”


Buddhas do other things too and just how many hours can you sit zazen? Ummon said “Siting blankly in Zen practice is the condition of the devil.” Well, Daruma sat nine years wall-gazing.

The Heart Sutra says,
In emptiness there is no form,
no sensations, no perception, n mental patterns, and no consciousness;
no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind, . . .

Behind  Zojoji  is Tokyo Tower. . .  a young Eve plucking the apple of knowledge!  
Cuidado! God does not like curious women . . .


Why do you think there are differences between men and women?  What does it mean for survival in a society ? Other than being able to  “find/produce food, shelter,” there must be some reason for the differences, or is it just a random event like everything else in the universe. Why do these atoms keep coming together to produce men and women?


Does defending  against other people who are trying to kill you and steal your food and shelter count as survival?

Perhaps not really, human survival is not dependent upon whether the good people or the bad people win, but rather do both or either one survive and nature could care less. which one. It does not matter whether its you, or me, or them, except to you or me or them.  World Peace. who could imagine it would be so difficult.


During this Covad-19 Corona virus crisis many people are going to their jobs to provide others, like me, with essentials we need to survive, we cannot make our own food, we cannot dispose of our garbage, working at food stores, in medical and elder care jobs  and many people at these jobs are there, placing their lives at greater risk, not out of the  goodness of their hearts, but because society defines their jobs as low paying (unessential??) jobs and they cannot afford not be there,

Maybe this needs to  be reconsidered .

Sow, mini-books on Zen?

I would like 
to offer you something,
But in the Daruma Sect
We have nothing at all.

Ikkyu      R.H. Blyth translation

A fun painting by Janney.


So,  many books on Zen?  Can people hear words, or read words, and their life is changed? Does it take a longer or a shorter time?

There was a constant rain when we walked along the Alameda Creek levee, you can find something special about walking in the rain;  I like the sounds of falling rain echoing off  the low clouds . . .


There are so many books about all kinds things, you can find solutions for all of the personal or political problems in the world in books.

Here in Fremont it doesn’t rain much, mostly its north of San Francisco that gets the heavy rain—not likeNew England where it can rain all day, and maybe two or three days more— but it can be grey all day, or just as likely gray in the morning and then the  clouds burn off or move away, and it becomes sunny, even when its raining north of San Francisco. 


What is raining? “Its” is raining? Is “its” the “weather”? For all of the things we “understand” sometimes words are used to express things even when we do not understand the basic assumptions surrounding the words; we know we do not understand  the basic assumptions surrounding the words;  and we know we do not understand  the basic assumptions surrounding the words we get into a discussion  about we do not understand the basic assumptions surrounding the words, it goes nowhere.

Lines, shapes  and colors of a small neighborhood business in Asakusa. Japan has many corporations but it also has many small businesses and a very competitive  small business and consumer market. 


Its raining, what is the “its”, the sky? the clouds? the earth? . . . a process which we can describe in many different ways ranging from poetic to scientific and yet the basic  message is if we go outside we are going to get wet.

Telegraph Hill San Francisco


The word “its” enables us to communicate important, or maybe not so important, spoken or written information without getting into a philosophical discussion. Implicit in words is the willingness people have to compromise, kind of an implied  contract, to get along with each other

Feeling alone in a group with a deeply held shared feeling? SDS Days of Rage, Chicago 1989. Most college students involved with SDS were not supporters of the Weathermen but outside of the war issue, were more concerned with increasing on-campus student participation in matters of their personal and academic lives.


North Scituate Beach, maybe a mother and son relationship. Do you think this kid feels as lonely as the young man in the above image?


Kids will be curiously serious when they are young,  as we grow older we fit into society, making what compromises we can make to get things we want ?

A summer bible school in a rural New England town, about 1970


We become more concerned with our self  . . 


With a photograph over time you can see changes, not in the photograph but in your own eyes, how you see the person and you say to yourself “I understand better, why could Not see it then, it was right in front of me” but photographs are  often too late.


Central Square towards the river and Western Ave, maybe Green Street or the next block down, circa 1970. 


San Francisco, maybe here I might pass Sam Spade walking in the opposite direction or maybe behind me. 


Pottery may be like zen—or zen is like pottery — you see it, you like it, you buy it, you enjoy using it, you break it . . . and you get another one.

Hagi is special, its very porous and as you use it the color changes—it remembers an every little something from an every serving of tea.


The six  old  “folk kilns” of Japan, “Nihon Rokkoyo,” includes bizen and shigaraki. Both use an ash glaze. “Folk” may be the translation, but in Japanese its different than how we think of folk craft in the US.

One difference is that “tradition” is important whereas in the US  “creativity”  and “personal expression” are important. You can see bizen, shigaraki, oribe, shino, made today and 300 years ago and feel the tradition. There is still individual expression, creativity, uniqueness of the potter, but without thinking you know its bizen, oribe, tamba etc.

 Feeling the rough texture of shigaraki ,
the rough smooth texture of bizen
 makes the sake taste better.


Repeating an image of my shadow (which includes the camera) I made blanket  patterns . .  .


They are like design exercises, making illusions


Trying to understand why something wats to be something its not


Can people actually learn from books? make ourselves better? enjoy ourselves?  make the world a better place? enjoy the world?  Find God? So many books on this earth, so many authors, and increasingly fewer book stores which were often just as fun, or even more fun, than the books.

Early morning in Maine


I like to hold books in my hand, see the covers, feel the type, and remember what I read.

I only remembered seeing this place, the house and the barn were not quite inline,  years later I made a sketch.


The mind of man is without a sound
Without odour;
He who answers when called
Is nothing but a thief.

Ikkyu      R.H. Blyth translation

The sound of zen calling in the early morning.bwermonttree005Det800




One known noe

On a busy Sunday afternoon in Asakusa, a neatly, dressed in polysynthetics was busy directing the pedestrian flow,


voicing commands,


inspecting packages


managing  the  flow . . .


It was fun to watch,  fake or reel? I absolutely adore the rain catchers (pants cuffs). A nice sketch for Asakusa visitors on a Sunday afternoon.


Off the Metro at Asakasa,  came in this entrance—NOTE: these red gates would be  associated with Shinto—up the hill,


and left on the other side, down the hill,


encounter construction.


Common to see young women with child, child seat, or  two child seats, back and front, and two childs,  or some have one child and use a  second child seat  as a container for packages,  (this one has a basket however) on a bike, though generally not this fancy of a bike.


waiting for a change . . .


or waiting to eat.


Another age old mess age, still they do not see


I wonder if we ever be.


Buddha held the flower, Kasyapa smiled and 2500 years later, still we are hearing and reading, what a waste of human life

I do not look for what is reel, nor what is phake, images to just express my feelings, and responses without thinking, a mother with two children making a copy or sending  a FAX at a  7-11, I hope this family has a retirement plan.


women meeting at a local art center, how beautiful everyday—rainy day or sunny day —women are!!


or just walking buy a Shinto shrine…


friends sharing media, how many times did you ever see people together reading the same newspaper article? electronic  media ! Marshall McLuhan !! Steve Jobs!!!


Still tradition is passed on,  taiko and more taiko at a small local mountainside shrine


And walk or don’t walk, electronic media communicating  to pedestrians and vehicles so no one gets run over, or under…


Old doors of perception and enlightenment too


Yellow hats, standard backpacks and kids calling out to each other on the street, never noing what these jerks (me, and you) are leaving for them and only reading history books what great people we were while everyday dealing with the problems we leave them —ah kwatz!, the younger generation, the victims of our stupidity and ignorance and the benefactors of new opportunities and challenges…


Still, the mundane, everyday careerless choice of the most important job in the world.


And still Fuji -San is there to guide us,  as well as those long passed on and those to come.


Sixthly unseptly and slightenly betrayed

Sora would accompany Basho on his trips around Japan, some would say where Basho brushed the ideal image Sora would later report the reality, but it is Basho’s haiku which  we remember, the fake story and not the true story of Sora, because of his presentation, that is one thing which Art is.


Any information on  computers is quantitative not qualitative. Its either a 1 or 0, and that include what appear as  images. With quantitive  information you can infinitely create any number of mathematical tools to make relationships between the individual pieces of quantified data , which can lead to an infinite number of interpretations which one can then sell to customers and anyone willing to believe.


With people like the mercers, the kochs, the trumps and the trump white hosue administration, the bannons, fanatical talkshow hosts,   this kind of information  is a great tool to deceive that group of Americans that are so easily deceived and which we see as trump true believers.


This is what quantifying  the human experience leads to, quantified data which  enables people  to put the different pieces together i ways which are out of context to make fake conclusions to groups of people who lack the ability to measure reality but are  thrilled to enter the world fantasy.


Guinomi are “one-gulp” cups to drink sake,  generally the term refers to the art of the container  as opposed to any container in which one might serve sake. Below are samples of ki sets, hagi, bizen, kyo style, euro oribe, oribe, sets,mashiko, and  you can see a Daruma .


One Saturday afternoon on Market Street probably a few blocks up from Powell Station, the kid looks about 12 years old… imagine his life thirty years from now…


Its the heads that catch  my interest, out on a Sunday afternoon in San Francisco,


A group of hippies, back then people would gather together, get stoned  and enjoy each other interacting  in a different setting,


It could be outside or it could be inside, one of those is really  me as I might have appeared  for 1/125 of a second 48 years ago,


Along Alameda Creek  Levee where I walk most every day, nothing happens too often,  a dead body floated by last year, no one saw it, we just know the place where the car went into the water was above and the it was found about 5 miles below, Most people were busy doing their normal daily lives.