Last&first mu

First full moon of the New Year

Visit to Quanyin at Wat Buddhanuso in Niles. Quanyin, as Avalokiteshvara, spoke Heat Sutra to Shariputra.

Four face Buddha at Wat Buddhanusornto is the Thai Phra Phrom  representation of Brahama and is often a part of Theravida Buddhism. The front face represents career and life, clockwise, the second is symbolic of relationship and family, the third is for wealth, and the last for wisdom and health

Thich Nhat Hanh passed last week, he touched many people all over this Earth. I heard him talk in Berkeley over 35 years ago.

White Buddha

And if you are seeking a more aggressive deity, Guan Yu 关羽 Buddha Chinese military general served under the famous military leader Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.. And a hero of The Three Kingdoms. He was known as the general who defeats bandits.. He is a deity worshipped in Chinese folk religion, popular in  ConfucianismTaoism, and Chinese Buddhism, and small shrines to him are often found in traditional Chinese shops and restaurants.

Nakamise Main Street Madonna taking shelter, maybe from the ran or the unending work keeping the modern consumer. economy going g by being a worker spending days making a product and a second job of consumer,, buying the product.

Then using it, while later packaging, and used products go to the garbage dump OR perhaps are recycled, The product, has to be made from other “stuff, and from some meta-level, stuff is really just pieces of Earth. The Earth is our stuff , this is al we have to play with, do we us eit for $500,000 yachts or housing for poor people? At some point do we run out of pieces of Earth to make stuff? or do we learn to recycle everything.

Alameda Creek

I imagined someone doing back flips across the field.

Like Fujin and Raijin at Sensoji, the powering bare tree stands guard for the woods.

Momental records of a camera-computer visual cacaphony

Along Alameda Creek people do not always walk in a line, maybe they are walking three abreast—three -deep,and staggered— they feel like they share a disciplined purpose.

The bicyclist is in the “correct” lane.

One hesitant, the other rarin’ to go.

Looking for what do people do, Is this the way we really are?

Can we leave it on the ground like nature does in the name of entropy?

Reminds me of a line from the song by Michael Peter Smith . . .

The Dutchman’s not the kind of man
Who keeps his thumb jammed in the dam
That holds his dreams in,

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Light misconverswaytions with my celph..

When I got interested in string theory, read about more dimensions than the ”ones we know,” I thought the “ones we know” are not even real. One dimension? Its a concept, no “thing’ except a mental concept is one dimensional ;

Two dimensions? Same thing, its a concept we all use, even those no good at math understand that when you buy a rug for a 9′ x 9′ room, you do not bring back a 12′ x 12′ rug..

shado shado

Three dimensions? Basically the same thing, a three dimensional thing is always changing, even if the only force of change is Entropy & Time, which means changing.

A shadow is two dimensional—to the best of our knowledge—even a photographic print on paper of a shadow has some dimension, no matter how small, but the real shadow has none.

A shadow is not a “thing,” its an absence of some real thing— Light. Its having Light misconverswaytions with my celph.

The left is a shadow on an Acoma bowl, the right on a balloon.

Its a universal emptiness which at times is a worrysum . . .

yet is also a reason to reach out . . .

She picked up the book and asked him the meaning of certain words.
“I am illiterate,” he replied, “But if you wish to know the purport of this text, please ask.” “How can you grasp the meaning of the text when you do not even know the words.?” To this he replied, “The profundity of the teaching of the various Buddhas has nothing to do with the written language.”

From a conversation between the Sixth Patriarch and Bhikkhuni Wu Chung Chong.
(I enjoy the translator’s choice of words.)

Gate Gate, paragate, parasamgate, Bodhi Svhava

Four tell the past

“Little birdie, little birdie,
What makes your head so red.
You’ve a short time for to be here,
And a long time to be dead.”

traditional Appalachian song

Fifty years ago seems like along time ago:

Strong Maine , 1970

Leonard, Cambridge MA 1971

Japan Center, San Francisco, early 1990s

I have reached my definition of dementia —When I go to doctor with a problem, and the doctor tells me its because of my, age, it will not get better, and probable get worse as I age.

Arthritis

Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are part of the everyday life of of Tokyo residents, where people encounter them face to face as they go about their business. Here is one sandwiched in between office buildings with a grande view of an apartment building for their backyard landscape.Temples and shrines are designed for on-demand personal use.

Small among large, land ‘in Tokyo is very expensive and the zoning is very different,

The lush of San Francisco.

Alameda Creek

Individual people have five senses which enable a person to function in the universe. Living things, unlike rocks for example, are required to behave, to do something, to enable survival. Our senses give us information which enables survival.

We interact with the universe and differentiate one thing from another, Some things help us survive,, some do not and some things are dangerous. We use our senses to know and we can only know what we can sense.

We also have the ability to create tools to extend our senses,

While this does enable us to see things beyond the biological capabilities of our human senses, it does not enable us to know the things which might be “sensed” or “known” by other kinds of senses, not just smell, sight, sound, smell or taste. We cannot know what we don’t know.

We also have “mind” or “reason.” Through the process of human knowing we have knowledge—we know a bunch of “things” and we can use the mind/reason to relate them to each other using language.People use their senses to differentiate one thing from another and mind to give it a unique identity—a name.

In one sense the history of people is a history of always ”discovering new things, ” a history which brought a new meaning with the creation and development of writing, printing, and now digital, which makes information instantly accessible and enables a qualitatively new level of comparative analysis.

Sometimes new discoveries shed light —a thing is actually not a thing , but a bunch of different things. Air for the example, the (no) thing we used to differentiate things like a mountain from a tree, actually a bunch of small particles.

Things can have both a general and particular quality to them . We scan peak of horses in general,, a concept, yet each specific horse will never be the exact of the concept and it works well for communication and survival but there no such real horse as the concept of horse.

The camera is a tool to enable people to use light to record a moment of the past.

Still when people see the same photograph often they do not see the same thing

A photograph is a specific record, a particular situation of a thing, and not a general. yet people may still disagree on what they see when viewing the same photograph.

Sometimes its easier for people to agree on what is the general, an ”imaginary concept” of a thing; than on what is the particular, a specific ”Real” thing.

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a) People are naturally good; or,
b) People are naturally bad; or,
c) People are naturally good and bad.

”Naturally” refers to a quality of human life which by default is unchangeable, immutable. We all have it, its human nature, in our biology.

Consider even if each of us has the quality, can there be quantitative differences of that quality among individuals . . .

Such as compassion, cruelty, a mechanical sense, a talent, a way with people, an instinct, an intuition.

a) People are naturally good; or.
b) People are naturally bad; or.
c) People are naturally good and bad.

Choose one of a), b), or c) from above: —How might the societies be different?.

Marshall McLuhan tells the story of two women meeting on a sidewalk.One is pushing a baby in a carriage and the other says ,“What a beautiful baby,” and the other responds , “Oh, you should see the photograph.”

I don’t care if my photographs are fake or real, they are just about trying to forget my problems to make myself feel happy enough to get through the day.

Gate gate paragate parasamgate, bodhi svaha

Noing know thing

The chartreuse (or any off tint of green) knight

About six weeks ago a wrist pain developed.—to type ? it’s painful, or, its hunt & peck. A couple of days ago I got an MRI . . .

Sometimes I reflect on the last times I saw my father, a period of about 4 years,  while he was increasingly physically and mentally deteriorating, and while the various discomforts and pains in my own body get progressively worse mostly I reflect on the former.

Now, fifteen years later I find myself  going through similar physical entropy –a nice scientific term for it—I askwhy did I not talk to him about it a bit more, No, a lot more;

Its not so much whether I remember the specific situation correctly—as it happened—as much I understand the situation differently .

Alameda Creek

There is a rhythm to Alameda Creek or there is n’s one.

Weather, time of day, calendar days, work day or weekend, light or dark, all influence the number of people using the path.

Its generally, but not specifically , predictable

Why do people do the things they do? What else would we do?

What is stopping us from doing those things?

Nansen said, “The mind is not the Buddha; knowledge is not the Way.”
Case 34 Nansen’s No Way Mummonkan Blyth translation

The weather is fine, and the sun appears;
Rain falls and the earth becomes wet.
With exceeding kindness he explains everything,
But how few have faith in his words!

Ummon’s Verse Case 34 Nansen’s No Way Mummonkan Blyth translation

When I thought about losing the use of my hands or even one hand, I wondered if my father—one of his favorite child hood books was Facing Death by Horatio Alger— had ever had to face something like that.

But the answer is “Of course he did!!!”. . .

. . . because he/she is a human being.

Being Buddha means to escape the cycles of birth and rebirth?

 the Truth of suffering,
the Truth of the cause of suffering,
the Truth of the end of suffering, and
the Truth of the path that leads to the end of suffering.

Do Buddhists believe that awakening their Buddha inside will end their cycle of birth, death and rebirth?

Why are we separated from our Buddha hiding inside of us ?

Why are these kinds of “religious questions ” more important than understanding why some people behave in abusive ways towards others?

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

Maybe religion works better to help individuals get though the crap that it does to get rid of it.

“I’ll let you be in my dream if I can be in yours” (Bob Dylan said that).

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An old Zen story: If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him.

Would you recognize Buddha if you passed one on the street?

That said, How many would recognize Muhammad or Jesus walking along the street?

Maybe only a small few would fail to recognize Krishna —the only original Blueman in the crowd,

A monk asked Base, “What is the Buddha?”
Baso answered, “Not mind, not Buddha.”

If you are a Buddhist,
if you practice Buddhism,
if you have the hope of awakening the Buddha inside of you,
When it happens how will you know its happening, or even that it happened?

The thing that always bothered me about reincarnation, was; if at the beginning there was enough “human material” to make “N” amount of humans, with the human population getting bigger, does reincarnation mean that each new human born has progressively less of the needed amount to be “like the original human”

ShakaBuddha was born as a bodhisattva, so it was written anyway.

How did he get so far ahead? He never tells us the real secret—or maybe I just cannot hear it.

The eye of know-eye,
the ear of know -ear,
the nose of know-nose;
the tongue of no-tongue,
the touch of know-touch.

I don’t think I’m going to make it this time around, maybe someone younger will . .

. . . or won’t..
Who knows!! Maybe this guy is a Buddha and I just cannot recognize it.

I’d rather have a paper doll to call my own
Than have a fickle-minded real live girl

from a popular song by The Mills Brothers

Maybe a wooden Buddha is better than than a real live one.

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

Eatzenbe

Welcome from New Year’s Tiger

Year of the Tiger, brush drawing by Janney

Welcome to Dim Sum in Fremont California. Fremont, the fourth most populated city in the Bay area and was established in 1956 when the small local towns of Centerville, Irvington, Mission San Jose, Niles, and Warm Springs joined to become one city.

During the 1960s computer related engineers from Asia, especially from China and India, increasingly came to Silicon Valley for computer related jobs, jobs which also pay well.

When I moved here around 1980, house prices in the area from Palo Alto through Sunnyvale area were increasing and Fremont was not referred to as a part of “Silicon Valley.” Although many computer related businesses had locations in San Jose, along 101 and 237 there was an arrogant hesitancy to even call San Jose a part of Silicon Valley in spite of above 101 was an ever growing assortment of computer related business

Marinated tofu; tofu is one of my favorites foods, we have it probably 3-4 times a week.

Plate of three Old Fashioned Egg Custard

At this time Fremont had a safe town with plenty of business space and residential housing before going through the canyon to the other side of the mountains. .Many people from Asia have established in Fremont. I got my first office, $35/month, in Fremont, and a few years later moved my residence there. Plenty of Chinese and Indian restaurants.

Black Steamed Bun with Egg Yolk, soft and sweet,

Small matters

Before Christmas, I saw this elderly woman carrying her bedroom while moving the wheel chair with her feet. She was moving so slow, perhaps with know where too go, Imagine what it would be like, leaving a shelter in the morning to return at night, having to carry your belongings with you. And from a wheelchair on the street, I wonder “Just where and how do you use the bathroom.”

With modern society came many benefits, and wealth, an excess of wealth, people with billions while others are suffering . Most of us would like to solve that problem, we don’t know how or maybe we no how.

A burrito, a tube of chips and a newspaper for breakfast, al fresco.dining.

Where could I go but to the Lord.
”Seeking the refuge for my soul
Needing a friend to save me in the end
Won’t you tell me
Where could I go but to the Lord”

Where could I go but to the Lord. J,B Coats (1901-1961)

It is an old Martin-D28, between the stubs of fingers on his right hand he is holding a flat pick, its an open tuning and singing mostly southern gospel songs.

They had just arrived from Appalachia, an old gas guzzling car with a backseat piled with f clothes among old fast food wrappers. Toledo, circa 1969

Powell Street Station woman delivering a lecture to the tourists standing in line to ride the cable car up Powell Street.

Maybe he was a fisherman in his younger days, or perhaps someone”s ne’er do well brother., he has a job
Boston, circa 1970

Alameda Creek

I walk along Alameda Creek almost every day, Some times I listen to podcasts, other times I meet someone and walk&talk with her or him or I just use my five senses to keep my mind form wandering.

When the water comes from here it means the dams are open upstream. Sometimes young people come here as a group or by themselves .

Fremont lies in the shadows of Mission Peak

There is a notion that what you sense—see, hear, touch, smell and taste—are Real, and we differentiate and define them as “Real Things.”

And then the Universe is a bunch of things with space between the things enclosed in an undefined (but expanding) area. The purpose of Science is to differentiate each thing and give it a name and one day we will know everything in the Universe.

Yet as we examine the “space” between things, we find “smaller things” with space between them, which as time goes on, repeats itself. Oh the Absolute Absurdity of It All——The Myth of Sysphus ( book by A. Camus).

Stephen Hawking remarked (my paraphrase): At one time Philosophy was ahead of Science, but now Science was ahead of philosophy and will be until Science has discovered everything in the universe.” —which he he suggested was coming soon.

It seems that while Science is an excellent human tool for knowing, we are the universe looking at itself and its a a classic subject-object situation. For the Universe . people looking at the Universe is like me looking at my foot, or how about me looking at my mind?

And does this search by the Universe have a purpose ?

Look around you, most other living things are busy meeting basic needs. People on the other hand are busy doing all kinds of things including many choose and enjoy the work they do.

Suppose that the Universe had developed a sickness and evolved human beings to cure itself. —But would not the sickness be a part of the Universe? or Maybe we are not the doctor but the sickness?

Imagine culture as a snowball rolling down an infinite decline, forever increasing its size as it gathers more snow as it rolls, maybe discarding some here or there and mixing some different snows together,

Through history people pop up here and there on the always-increasing-in- size snowball, and their experience is limited to what they can muddle around and see, hear, smell, taste or touch .

Each individual has a different place in the snowball, each has their own unique experiences in real and historical time., though there are enough “near-the-same” experiences to enable normalized working social relationships—human survival as a society.

Appreciate how having a written language means a qualitatively different society—Its a game-changer, a paradigm shift. Communication with people you will never meet from time periods you will never experience,

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Usually I like to “just have fun” with the camera.

I usually carry a small point&shoot —I still use a flip phone. Walking along an upper floor of an open parking building it was fun to see myself in the windshield of the car below.

A “thing” is differentiated from other things by identifying its unique set of qualities—different from other things, One “thing” that helped build our vocabulary for many years was that “air” was accepted as“no thing. Air as a no-thing helped to differentiate one thing from another—sky from mountains, dog from ground, can eat from can’t eat— and then Science established that air itself was made up of “things” —78% nitrogen and 21 % oxygen.

But the process of scientific investigation often seems to result in an ever ending finding flow of smaller and smaller particles, aka things.

Stores can be very confusing if you cannot read. and history can be very confusing if you can read. People spend a lot of time consuming things in both personal, businesses and civic life. During that process they read a lot of information and make buying decisions based on that information.

But as important as differentiating one thing from another, its abstract qualities are interesting We can speak the word “couch,” go into a furniture store and see tens of “couches” none of which look the same, but it does not matter, we understand the concept of couch and can apply it in (most) different situations, doesn’t matter how unusual, strange or new the couch looks— the Particular is never the General, except perhaps in popular media.

Actors in popular media are often selected for their visual appearance qualities. Add camera angle, lighting, technical fixes and of course, writing, rehearsing and acting, all things can be used to enhance the “real photographic” impression experienced by mass audiences—a dialectic of The Ideal and The Real. Actors are people, and the video moving image deliver amore comprehensible Ideal -real experience, there is no room to question what see, and it becomes a vicarious experience. But reading a character development in a book your imagination plays a far more important role in the your mental image of the character. because your mind fills in all the missing visual stuff delivered by the video.

Bizen tokkuri on a lacquered tray with pueblo weaving

This “physical idea ” is not just “attractive” people, but whenever a physical appearance (is believed to) matches the visual character of the role, most characters of which, by definition are “common ” to a mass audience, are a stereo-type. We often use stereo-types in our daily lives. And yet a common critique of people in general is that too often we use stereotypes in judging others.

Ki-Seto tokkuri and Kuro-Oribe guinjomi : Kuro-Oribe, and Oribe in general, is is differentiated from other Japanese folk pottery by its long tradition of creative expression. The guinomi appears to over power the tokkuri—“You’re too small to get me drunk!’’

When we see and If there is no “quick fit” of the original visual image to some category in the database of our mind, question develops. Depending on the situation—life threatening or minor intrusion — the outcome may be more or less important. The “concept of a thing” is more important than any “real thing.” which by the way changes, decays, entropies—empirically observable by the presence of conservatives. in socities.

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

Les know, thing too say

Light misconverswayshuns with mycelph.

. People have eyes which sense, light and pass the information to the “brain.” which defines it, gives it meaning,
Young ones looking for their mother.

The camera is a tool to record light to be printed as an image, an image people believe is “close to a real representation of a thing.” The camera can be adjusted to read and print an image which corresponds to the image seen by the human eye. That seems logical— the printed image resembles what we see with our human eyes, or why would people make a camera which recorded things the human eye cannot see..

“Seen by the human eye” itself begs many questions——

Photographs are acceptable as proof in legal matters—they serve as proof of identification; people are comfortable to order things from printed and digital catalogs,;marriages are destroyed by photographs of unfaithfulness, .

In a sense the universe, from the human visual perspective, is a bunch of “things” with “space ” (no thins) between them, though as we “learn more about the universe” we also learn the space containing “no things” is made up of mor smaller things.

Is “no thing”really a thing itself?

Does a dog have Buddha nature?
Mu!.

In the Universe there is no such thing as no thing, nothing., the thing of no-thing —outside of the Universe? We only know things when we can compare to another thing., bt when we do that, we misbelieve the thing exists all by itself separate from anything else.

And even when The Light points the Way people may ignore it.

Alameda Creek

I walk along Alameda Creek Trail mos’ everyday, and make these images, sometimes a meet with another person and walk, but mostly I walk by myself, listen to podcasts and think about stuff.

The camera records a moment of light which may be printed to a medium. We can also “see” that moment, but cannot make a “photographic record of it like the camera. image which no matter how many times it is printed it looks the same.

People do record the image, it goes to their brains , gets a definition, a meaning but as one lives the recall of that moment often becomes different, it gets a different meaning.

In same photo people will also see different things even when the camera sees the same thing.

People may also see the same photograph, agree they see the same thing an at the same time also see different things . . . . .

In a photograph of a poor family, two people agree its an image of a poor family but one feels compassion and injustice while another sees a “loser” and feels proud of their personal achievements.

In a sense a person’s life is like a snowball rolling down a never ending mountain, getting bigger and bigger.

Sometimes the snow it rolls through may be more or less sticky, sometimes the sun comes out and melts some snow off it. and sometimes its really cold and freezes it up, maybe it even stops rolling down until the sun comes back out to melt it a little..

And sometimes various pieces which joined the snowball at different places melt together to become some different thing, maybe some thing which never existed before.

Our snapshots are visual records of things in our lives. If you owned a “famous photograph” worth mucho money and you house caught on fire, and you could only grab one load, would you take the “famous photograph” or your book of family snapshots?

Sometimes we refer to people who can remember things more accurately than most as having a “photographic memory.”

While others who make photographs seek to have knowthing to say

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Monday, nothing
Tuesday, nothing
Wednesday and Thursday nothing
Friday, for a change
A little more nothing
Saturday once more nothing

Song by the Village Fugs (middle 1960s)

Is the kid seeding the field with a new crop or throwing a bomb?

A summer afternoon in western Massachusetts.

When the right hand does not no what the left hand is doing .

The Morris Bellis Tire Center, Arlington MA, circa 1971

For a couple of years we did furniture moving in Boston with a van, ran an ongoing ad in The Pheonix , a bed, table, chest of drawers, maybe a couch and stereo, and who knows what in black opaque plastic bags, though it it were books ora set of dishes we found out when the bag broke from too much weight.

We would buy used 6 or 8 ply tires from from Mr.. Morris Bellis.

Sengakuji on a late Spring afternoon, no one there to pay respects to the 47 Ronin For ¥500 buy a package of stick incense and light one for each plus Lord Asano and his wife as the city continues to grow up around them.

And young people have better things to do than dote on the past.

Mom was in memory care for 3 1/2 years, we saw her at least once a day,. often went out shopping, eating, sightseeing and for doctor visits. At this place everyday I would sit with her for supper.. Mom was very bright, since her stroke and severe memory loss, she knew something had happened, that something was different, and she was constantly trying to figure it out, but he could never understand why or how things changed .

周文公旦

When we were young is now a thing of the past, and still many fail to meet the standards set by Dan, Duke Wen of early Zhou. dynasty.

Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bohdhi Svaha