Zensations along the steepe

Socialization blues

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

Does a dog have Buddha Nature?
Mu.

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

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

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

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

Mumonkan Case 1 Ummon’s verse Blyth translation

Alameda Creek

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

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

Does the process not work sometimes?

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

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

People learn by doing.

Are there not “biological influences” on behaviour?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EndPapers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gate Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi svaha

Mistadzentures

Mooncake forewon

Last week was Moon Festival, Walking along Alameda Creek I met people who were celebrating, though I did not hear anyone mention the Stanley Brothers performing Blue Moon Over Kentucky bu† the local Sheng Kee Bakery had plenty of moon cakes and plenty of people were making lines to buy.

Moon-gazing, painting by Janney

Its special to sit with someone, enjoy gazing the moon and tasting the mooncake where the character on the top indicates the filling inside . Its ok if you are by yourself, but while these taste good they are best eaten in moderation and with others, maybe four people eat two different moon cakes and each person gets two different tastes, or two people eat two quarters each. Or you are like me, one person enjoying cake and moon-gazing, but mooncakes are best eaten in moderation, so leave two quarters for another day—but best eaten with someone who, with you also enjoys it too.

Does a dog have Buddha-Nature?

Have you ever been bored, maybe on a cold December morning while looking for your mind and the snow reached up to your knees, and you wondered, Does a dog have Buddha-Nature? The answer is in the last character on the right—“Wu” in Chinese and “Mu” in Japanese.

狗子還有佛性也無

You would not be alone if you did. Someone asked Joshu, who responded, “Mu.”

Has a dog Buddha-nature?
This is the most serious question of all.
If you say yes or no,
You lose your own Buddha-nature.

Ummon’s comment. from Mumonkan

”Mu“ has cearned its own place. This is the “mu” my sister used in her short film Corporate Warrior as a resolving connection between a Japanese country mother-in-law, who after her son dies from karoshi, comes to Tokyo to bring her American-career-minded-soon to be a mother, daughter in law, back to the family country home to birth her future grandchild.

Alameda Creek

Walden Pond is a large pond where on a hot day there will be many people swimming, rowing a rental boats around the pond or maybe spending an afternoon with friends drinking beer, singing and eating fast food,

It 150 years since Henry David Thoreau wrote about about Walden Pond, its no longer a long days ride from Boston, about 20 minutes drive from Cambridge .

Its been 46 years since I was there last one late summers day, Returning to Boston determined to enroll in art school to study graphic design, 30 years old, with my dog (the first dog pictured above) , we stopped one last time for a taste of freedom before entering the city.

I had no idea what I was going to do tomorrow, What was I doing? I knew somewhere in my heart I always wanted to be involved with art.

Yet here I was, college graduate just kind of wandering around seemlessly working my way towards death with no progress, no direction. All I decided was returning to Boston was going to be an end to that.

I was almost broke, I did some day jobs, spent some nights in my van, got some cash in the hand, got into art school , found an apartment and got regular work for 3-4 nights-a-week cab driver in Cambridge—Brattle Cab up in East Cambridge.

Even then I did not understand the commitment I was making, I just went day by day,—school, home work , cab driving and Saturday afternoons .walking with my dog along the Charles..

One year later after three apartment moves and once my dog was stolen, but I got her back, I placed my dog with a family on a farm in Vermont, I thought it would be better for her, I am not sure it worked out or not, Its a piece of sadness in heart that never goes away.

I graduated from art school, worked at a major printer in Boston for a year learning about the relationship between design, production of camera ready art and what the printed piece looks like when it comes off the press.

I learned a lot there at the printer and in 1979 I drove across country arriving in SiliconValley where fortunately I had some friends who let stay in their apartment for a couple of months until I was settled—Thank you!!

My car blew up , cost all my money to fix it and manage an apartment deposit, so I took the first job I could get, working in a small ad agency and a year later I rented an office in Fremont at $35 month, but no clients but I had a phone and back then you could cold call and connect with people—make 100 phone calls, get five appointments and one job. Along the way I received help from some other kind people. and the business footer 35 years designing marketing communications materials enabled me to marry, and have a family.

EndPapers

Memorial Day,, Marshall, Minnesota, 1971: Not sure what to say , what you see in the photograph is what it felt like living there for one year.while teaching Sociology at the local college.

Street Klansman

Head-to-head discussion on the open street

How often it seems an answer is busy in search of a question—In the case of Nansen’s cat Joshu came too late.

Brother and sister selling lemonade on the sidewalk, Central Square, Cambridge, on the lowerr part of Magazine Street— the street which in late 1700s was the road from Central Square to the Magazine Depot (where they stored the ordinance ) at Cambridge Port along the Charles River..Since I moved to California its become an historical (gentrified) area.

After all that I still feel like I am on the outside looking in at a world that doesn’t want me; then I remember I never would have experienced my life if I would have been in that world

Ending lines in The Heart Sutra, calligraphy by Janney

Wise-inn

I like the stories

I never had  questions that would lead me to wonder about God—actually its not that I never had those questions, when I thought or felt about it there seemed no reason to pursue it. I was interested in Philosophy and religion is often considered in the same category so I have been exposed to it intellectually.

Buddhism is classified as a religion but there is no God—not some, or one. The faith is to awaken the Buddha inside of you. Is this the same Buddha for everyone or does each of us have our own personal unique Buddha different from everyone else.

I never understood why we should have to “awaken the Buddha inside,” why is My Buddha sleeping in the first place? (I am sure there is an answer in the old books somewhere). At least in Christianity the separation from the perfect life is clearly explained— Eve using her women’s ways influenced Adam to break God’s order for which they and all of us to follow were condemned to a life and then a death, I guess we only get one. I enjoy the stories in Zen much more .

So in Buddhism the purpose of awakening the Buddha inside of you is to end the process of “alienation by reincarnation,” compared to Christians who seek to end the process of one life-one death by being allowed into Heaven.

A gift from a friend, a hand carved Buddha from a vendor located at the Mahabodhi Temple, site of the Bodhi tree— where Shakamuni mediated and rediscovered enlightenment.

When I was 12 years old my father returned from a San Francisco business trip with a little book of Zen sayings and little by little my interest has grown. I think Zen has the best stories, not just in the category of religion, but in the category of stories. One of my favorite is the Sixth Patriarch of Chan.

A molded or shaped piece of soft metal attached to a piece of wood, bought at the Berkeley Flea Market early 1990s from a Korean vendor.

Shaka Buddha born and raised in India, established Buddhism in the 6th Century BCE.. It was popular for awhile and for centuries it spread from Greece to China all along the Silk Road. Bodhidharma (aka Daruma) brought Dhyana to China around the end of the Sixth Century where it grew for a few centuries, and later, about 1200 CE, it came to Japan as Soto and Rinzai Zen.

The Fifth Patriarch, being old, was seeking someone to pass on Daruma’s robe and bowl as the next patriarch. At the temple Shen-hsiu was considered to be outstanding in his qualifications; Shen-hsui, still uncertain of himself, snuck out in the night and wrote this on the wall:

translation by D.T.Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism

The Fifth Patriarch was not moved by Shen-hsiu’s poem.. Hui-neng , an illiterate country boy who worked at an entry level job in the kitchen preparing rice. saw the writing on the wall, asked his friend to read it and then asked him to write his response, on the wall :

translation by D.T.Suzuki, Essays in Zen Buddhism –

Upon reading this the Fifth Patriarch immediately recognized Hui-neng as his successor, transmitted the Dharma, gave him the bowl and the robe and sent him on his way —with a warning that the other monks might be angry at this succession and seek to do him harm, and that is another story.

In the west the common media sense of “Zen” is that it refers to “getting down to the basics” of something— Many books have titles such as The Zen of This or The Zen ot That implying the reader will learn some basic elemental secret to the subject separated from the BS to become more focused on only the essentials.

To others is something more simple

Alameda Creek

In a sense reincarnation is materially possible,

Each of us is a specific set of particles, the Universe is six billion years old, and it made1of a bunch of particles which spend their time making thing s by constantly joining and separating with each other.

One could figure out how many particles are in the universe . . .

track their movements and calculate the odds of a set of specific particles once again coming together?

Still, the particles that makeup a person are not static, throughout our lives they are continually changing, a person is not one set of small particles but a set of constantly changing particles.

and the only chance for a person to be (materially) reincarnated is for every particle to be exactly the same and be in the exact same place again, which might require every particle in the universe to be exactly the same exact place again.—Is that in contraction or expansion mode?

At this time we cannot know where a particle is and what is it’s the velocity at same time , at any specific moment we only can know one. of these.

Can you remember before you were born.? Matter is conserved and energy is neither created nor destroyed . . .

kPerhaps you could say the energy is there but the matter is knot or the matter is there but the energy is not.

EndPapers

Where do you start? What is beginning of this road?

One could stand around looking good, hoping it comes by . . .

Brush drawing by Janney

or seek a window of opportunity . .

But you knead to be prepared . . .

One person’s opportunity is another’s prison

tBut one day you wake up in the morning and its clear as can be . . .

ready to be found . ..

Two Brush drawings by Janney

and sometime I may need a little push .

Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha

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

EndPapers

“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

Zen misconflusion

Caligraphy by 17th century Chinese Buddhist monk Nangen from Mampukuji, founded by Chinese Chan monks in 1661, near Kyoto Japan. It is the head temple of the Japanese Ōbaku Zen sect, named after Wanfu Temple in Fujian, China. The large character translate as heart, or mind such as when used with mu—無心.

The basic character for heart (below), in Mandarin pronounced Xīn and Japanese might be pronounced shin or kokoro. Japanese borrowed the Chinese characters giving a Chinese charactera a Chinese and Japanese pronounciation—in Japanese an On and Kun. While China does not have “specific only ” phonetic writing, their are more or less phonetic hints while Japan and Korea bodies using Chinese characters have a phonetic only writing.

One day in SF China town passing a “going out of business” stationary store on Grant Street with a sign in the window — SALE! Characters written $7.50 each, so I bought two, Mu and Shin 無心, An elderly man brushed them while we waited .

Below, a shin (from a MuShin) by Gengo Akiba Roshi

In writing Chinese characters there are basic strokes . . .

brushed like this

. . . written in this order. Hand brushed Chinese characters can be appreciated for their own visual qualities without understanding the literal meaning. It is different than western caligraphy which also writes the letters by hand, while the design may feel like a “thing,” a chinese character is visual representation of a thing,

Above examples from Chinese for Beginners Foreign Languages Press

The Birth of Krishna: King Kamsa had been foretold that a son of Devaki, Krishna’s mother, would kill him. When she was pregnant he put her in jail, When Krishna was born, Devaki’s husband secretly exchanged him with female newly born, Yoga Maya. This painting from the 18th century depicts the action.

Contrast Dylan’s Its All Right Ma literal image to a WPA painting on the interior walls of Coit Tower: One is in the hole and the other getting out.
While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole that he’s in

Money is a black hole easy to be sucked into.

Most every day I walk four miles along Alameda Creek seeing the same things everyday. Same things ? ? ?

. . . 2? two things, the idea seems strange. Where does it come from? Are any two things in the universe the same? Compare buyers in the produce section choosing apples at $/lb or $/each, see how easily they can move from one standard of choosing to another.

If everything is unique, if we could count up all of the things in the universe, give each one a name, there would be so so many if we were never to finish.

One of the qualities of human beings is having developed a language with words which can have hierarchical relationships, meta levels . . .

This helps make “2” possible because things can be differentiated, counted and at the same time be grouped together in different overlapping hierarchical categories and structures. Things canoe the same and different at once.
Apples, oranges and pears as fruits are different, and a moment later the differences between good looking apples and bruised apples are easily defined, one moment apples are the same and the next moment they become different from each other.

This works better for material things —apples and trees and rocks—than for common ideas in society.

Science is the most reliable and practical method for doing this process in the common interest.

There are many answers which science cannot know because the problem cannot be defined or the problem is defined incorrectly. However the latter is usually discovered by scientists doing peer reviews, the process is not just “checking” but the process of incorrectly defining things is also a part of the scientific creative process and peer review often leads to a working definition for developing an workable hypothesis.

While science is based on common human empirical experiences and a community of people who commit to scientific method, individuals have unique anecdotal, non-scientific experiences which are also a way of knowing which uses faith as “proof” and when what they “know” is incorrect there is no check and balance to it—critical efforts usually end up as a personal attack. A religious experience which is not “logical” or “scientifically provable” can seem “truth” on the basis of faith while criticizing a person’s faith often has negative results.

When we see a photograph we feel its a photograph . . .

And all the way held your camera
like a bible ,just wishing so bad
it held some kind of truth.
And I stood nervous
next to you
in the darkroom,
You drop the paper in the water
and it begins to bloom.
Old Soul Song Conor Obrest

Even when we know its not real, the colors, the continuous tone, the texture, the surface of the medium and still no matter what it is, when we see a photograph we always want to know “what is it?

Pottery, clay containers which can hold liquid was an important human development. Fragments of pottery in China date back 20,000 years ago.

In general my taste is pottery made by potters. Local potters, crafts fairs; Pueblo pottery; and Japanese folk pottery.

Hagi is a Japanese pottery folk kiln— folk kiln referring to potters with a history, in a geographical area using similar materials and techniques with a similar look and feel.

Hagi is one of the old kilns, its located on the lower west side of Honshu. It can be more porous than other types, absorbing as it is used and changing color. Its its own history, a history like people, it changes color from because of its experiences and can never go back to what it was. Or you can keep your hagi bowl in a  tomobako tucked away in a drawer never to feel the warmth of tea.

The zen of pottery —get one, really like using it, its part of your life, it breaks, feel bad, get another one and really like using it, but you never forget the other ones.

An Okinawan tokkuri flask shaped for the hip. Some may have clay rings connected and a rope goes through the rings and wraps around the waist, so, I have heard, so farmers in the fields can drink when they get thirsty.

To make the pottery-zen work you need potters, people who like using pottery and people who like selling pottery and some clay, glazes, a kiln and some fire and a pottery-zen mind.

Hidasuki Bizen guinomi.. When pots are stacked in the kiln for firing they may be tied together by twine and then fired.

Pottery is one of those things that is functional and also Art. Using pottery is like having your own museum and touching the exhibits everyday . . .

Ekaratsu made in Kyushu: the “e” refers to picture same as wood block prints are called ukiyo-e . Often karatsu pots have paintings such as bamboo leaves

. . . and not paying an admission fee.

Ki-Seto guinomi and Shigaraki tokkuri from Seto-Mino area and Shiga Prefecture.

Simple bikes left outside in a corner, — the object is confused by the subject with no cares, or maybe no one cares, in this world.

Every new day dawns with seventy new landmine victims in the world. Yet two million new mines are strewn every year, increasing the appalling scourge of more than 100 million of them lying in wait, without respite, flush with the ground, buried anywhere and everywhere, for months, perhaps years, until their cruel purpose is fulfilled.

Ignasi Carreras, Consuelo Lobo, Pedro Arcos from the introduction to Vidas Minadas by Gervasio Sanchez and photographs by Juan Manuel Castro Prieto, published 1997

gate gate
pāragate
pārasaṃgate
bodhi svāhā,