Friday, April 29, 2005

Zen - mindfulness

Mindfulness helps us focus our attention on and know what we are doing. Usually we are a prisoner of society. Our energies are dispersed here and there. Our body and our mind are not in harmony. To begin to be aware of what we are doing, saying, and thinking is to begin to resist the invasion by our surroundings and by all of our wrong perceptions. When the lamp of awareness is lit, our whole being is lit up. Self-confidence is re-established, the shadows of illusion no longer overwhelm us, and our concentration develops to its fullest. We wash our hands, dress, perform everyday actions as before, but now we are aware of our actions, words, and thoughts.


be a wear

Look closely at today's selection of images for within the manipulation of camera and light and mind of decisive frame we can surely see two eyes challenging us to look closer at a simple bolt on a purple painted picnic table. A mirrored image but no eyes in sight.

Sign of the times sectioned and isolated still reveals the root of all evil in is the consumption of all given. Manufactured steel combustive destruction of natural functions coded in a shape of two lines chasing a moon.

Behind the time from yesterday the circles match eyes as they peer back and forth between their mutual rust marks.

Again the diamonds and the x's play havoc with the fore/back interpretation of a scene forbidding garbage to foul our planet with disposable people polluting beautiful blue of ocean green adds a sense of serenity to the finality of the scene.

Small hands calculate pressure required to grasp the bar for support before hanging eternally for fear of inflicting pain when it is only a one foot drop. When he finally got on solid ground he said his hands hurt. The ultimate fear is the fear of the unknown, not necessarily pain, but how much of it.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Zen - springtime

Deep in the mountains, the great temple bell is struck. You hear it reverberating in the morning air, and all thoughts disappear from your mind. There is nothing that is you; there is nothing that is not you. There is only the sound of the bell, filling the whole universe.

Springtime comes. You see the flowers blossoming, the butterflies flitting about; you hear the birds singing, you breathe in the warm weather. And your mind is only springtime. It is nothing at all.

You visit Niagara and take a boat to the bottom of the Falls. The downpouring of the water is in front of you and around you and inside you, and suddenly you are shouting: YAAAAAAA!

In all these experiences; outside and inside have become one. This is Zen mind.


random encounters with round

In a yard without a garden the sun stays dormant behind gray thick enough to keep the flowers fooled into believing it isn't time to start the day. Get up gardener says the stray left over leaf holding the most brilliant shade of red below an edge but vibrant.

Inside the diamonds trying to hold the foreground of perception see the 'x', see the 'x', flip the mind between diamond and gold mine of all ways of seeing everything even me.

Contrasted across concrete gold paint tries to define blue sea colour of the landscape before selective over all scene perspective changes the connective synapse messages into something more cohesive.

Strong colours and a circle hidden within the fake orange smear and the thick burgundy red spotlighted by setting sunlight caught by roving frame trying to define meaning in random encounters with round.

Some kind of fruit tree ready to bloom sends tentative bursts of a shade of pink or purple unseen before.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Zen - flower

The story of the Buddha twirling a flower before his assemblage, like the story of the baby Buddha taking seven steps in each of the cardinal directions, need not be taken literally. The first account of his transmitting the Dharma is set forth in a sutra of Chinese origin that is dated AD 1036, fourteen hundred years after the Buddha's time. This was the Sung period, a peak in the development of Chinese culture when great anthologies, encyclopedias, and directories were being produced. Myth, oral tradition, and sectarian justification all played a role in this codification. The fable of the Buddha twirling a flower filled a great need for connection with the founder, and it was picked up immediately and repeated like gospel. The Sung teachers were making important points with their myths.


circular time

Targeted against flakes of steel pressed to form a barrier for the protection of our own good since the drop off the edge would be far below. Red circles of warning never fail to gain attention.

Perfect circles of shiny steel bound by a chain - the world owns us nothing, as a matter of fact, it's all ours.

Time is always measured backwards and implied by decay of paint to flakes of rust and little circles, even though the whole word can never be seen with it always in motion.

Inside the doctor's office we watched a sickly gentleman stop and clutch his chest. The first person they call is the Fire guy. He comes in in his little truck with no siren. After talking to the guy he calls for back-up. Suddenly sirens are wailing and a fire truck and ambulance pull up by the time we get outside. Seemed a little excessive for a guy just clutching his chest but that's how quick it happens. I just love the way the big red truck blocks in the nice tiny sports car.

The first photo with new batteries. I had hoped to see the difference by shooting the same scene with and without the new juice but got all screwed up with the focus so it didn't quite work. I want to try that red umbrella in sunshine again.

These purple ones are awesome against the gray concrete background plus the new batteries are working just fine again. Anyone care to inform me of the names of these flowers as I go along, go right ahead. I hate flowers but I'm warming up to them slowly as my soil dry from winter cold seeks some warmth, but names I need names. For the fantasy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Zen - original face poem

Original Face is the reality of the realities:
Strectch your hand to the winging bird.
Vertical nose, horizontal eyes - and then?
What if your mind is empty?


by the skin of my teeth

A day I dreaded for awhile now. Free Dentist Day. Fortunately the head Dental Hygenist for Interior Health was able to get me on the list to be a recipient of free dental work. I had nine teeth pulled today in less than an hour. Total bill is usually about 120 a tooth, so almost a grand worth of work for free. It's awesome and it's the dentists' dedication to good Oral health that should be commended her. But I saw Mara, the woman who set it all up, on my way to the school with Tyla this morning so I took that as a sign meaning things would go well. I went an hour early and they gave me some Atavan, supposed to take away some of my anxiety. jenn calls them baby Valiums. After taking it I went back outside and sat across the street at the pawn shop. The guy in there is ultra chill, old biker who's seen his share of things. I told him what was going on. Asked him if he'd ever heard of this Atavan and he said no. "I've done lots of different drugs in my life but never that one," I said. No, never heard of it, he said.

The dentist was well aware of my nervousness. I described in detail the time a tooth crumble while the dentist was extracting it and it made me start to shake so bad the dentist dragged me out of the chair and up to the hospital because he thought I was having an allergic reaction. There they gave me a tranquilizer and told me I was just having an anxiety attack. So today when I start shaking, I hold up my hands to show him, I see the little arcs of light between the fingers but I think he sees a tremble perhaps. Regardless he tells me it's the drug that comes along with the anesthetic, some ephedrine thing maybe, he said it rattles the nerves a bit. The assistant threw a blanket over me and I calmed down. Weird that the only pain I felt the whole time was when she slipped and let the suction cup pinch my lip. Otherwise they came out of my head like pulling your baby finger out of a pound of butter. In fact some of them he just stuck his little crow bar in there, pried the tooth back and forth and bit and she came along with the vacuum tube and sucked the tooth right out. In case you're wondering these nine teeth were just root tips basically so there was nothing to be saved. It is weird they are gone, to avoid being known as the poet with the toothless skull I here and now choose cremation, ashes to be spread across the elephant eye, the real one, the one Arron and I tried to find before the bear scared us away. Hmm, I wonder now, are blogs legally binding.

Garry picked me up right after the work was done and we went to the gray house for supplementary medicine that works amazingly well with Atavan. For about an hour I didn't even think about the fact I had just had nine teeth pulled. But of course on thinking that, it was on my mind until later when I finally got some sleep.

Testing weak batteries again I took a few shots of some colour. The pink and yellow, I don't know, primrose something or other looked very cool and had just bloomed today.

Then the tulips, Jenn called them Dutch but I thought she said wild...that's Texas isn't it. I should go to Texas just to find my wild rose. Maybe someday....uh yeah.

I'm not sure what these little blue flowers are. Jenn says anemones, but I looked up pictures on google and they aren't quite the same. The anemones have distinct little circular leaves and these have more like daisies or whatever those ones are where you do ..she loves me..she loves me not... I never did win that game...wahhh. Circular blue flower.

Then I took a couple of ten inch shots of Jenn's face with the close-up feature. The first one cut off her mouth, the second one cut off her eyes, so with a little computer manipulation I was able to save it to a single file.. I call it "Pieces of Jenn" . . . sounds like a good title for an epic ...hmmm

Monday, April 25, 2005

Zen - sacred

There is nothing that is not sacred; nothing that is not spiritua1 practice. Hakuin, that wonderful eighteenth-century Zen master who restored the vitality of Zen in Japan, warned against the belief that Zen requires the forceful rejection of all worldly concerns. True Zen practice is carried on in the midst of activity. When we are cooking, we are in deep cooking samadhi. When we are cleaning, we are in deep cleaning samadhi. This condition, samadhi, is not a vacancy, a stupor, a spaced-out state of mind. It is a deeply awake, alert, vividly present condition and of course, it may be blissful. We may be so vividly awake we can hear the ash from the incense fall.
Each of the activities we are engaged in, when given our full attention, without any feeling of resentment or comparison, is an opportunity to experience something, to open our eyes more clearly. When we let go of our egocentric hold on things, we find that something wonderful is there, something that has always been there; we have never been without it.


a day late, a dollar short

They had a grand opening for the new playground in the park. The Kootenay Kilties made an appearance. Ryder loves the drum and was bobbing his head to the beat while covering his ears to keep out the bagpipe noise, quite humourous. I discovered upon thought, that I am 50% Scottish. Hmm, no wonder I feel the urge to drink whiskey and climb hills.

The tulips are out in Fairview although not many yet. I'm amazed at the tiny green lines in the center of the red flower. Some strange anomaly with the focus I presume.

The yellow one is a little clearer but still the breeze keeps them in motion and hard to isolate.

I don't usually pose the kids but I loved the blue wall so much I ordered them to sit there and told them what to do. It was a joke to be sure.
A good weekend, having the new playground will be great for the kids in the summer and we'll probably be there a lot.

So then today I went with Garry and Robin on the Millenium Trail. Kind of an obscure little trail that winds around behind the golf course and comes out at the top above everything. It's a rugged little hike but the scenery is awesome. I included Garry & Jenn's house (the gray one just above the red roofs) to give a little perspective to where they live. I on the other hand live way down low near the water and the orange bridge. It is definitely time to get some fresh batteries for the camera.

This red umbrella sitting in the sun is a very distinct orange. There is a colour shift that happens when the batteries are low.

I had hoped this close-up of the umbrella would be bright red but again the wicked colour shift.

The yellow flowers came out okay but a lot darker than the scene really was and again with the weird green lines.

Then there is Jenn, all decked out in her my name is Satan shirt and farm girl hat. Gardening always digging and pulling and poking and shoveling. Planting and nurturing a brilliant display of colour destined to fade to brown and gray after the heat of the sun weakens and all this work will have been for naught but the moments of being inside the growth of the garden, extension of intention to flower!

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Zen - thing itself

What one thinks or reads is always qualified by the preposition "of", or "about", and does not give us the thing itself. Not mere talk about water, nor the mere sight of a spring, but an actual mouthful of it gives the thirsty complete satisfaction.


thirst for colour

Jenn says three weeks difference in the season between her place and mine. In Fairview the tulips are starting to come up and in Rosemont only these tiny purple and pink and blue flowers. Much too small to get any kind of blast of colour it was necessary to find the yellow.

As promised the forsythia reigned today in the muted but appearing occasionally sunshine. I had to wait until it was time to go get Ryder and the light wasn't as strong. Along the creek there are lots of bushes growing wild. The tree wraps its arms up and around the bar meant to keep people from falling in. It provides a balancing colour and a point of focus within the random display of yellow bell flowers.

All her kids have the same eyes. Those oval shaped brown pools of beauty. Ryder loves my little digital camera. he's always looking for the pictures on the back though like most digitals have. This one is so cheap and so old that it has nothing. Just a button to push but with the unique feature of having a macro setting for the lens which provides many interesting close ups, especially of faces. He was staring and waiting for the flash to go off and I tried to get him to wrinkle his nose like his sister can do but he wasn't willing to co-operate.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Zen - Basho's poetry

There was once a great Japanese poet named Basho. He was a very bright young man, and as a serious Buddhist he had studied many sutras. He thought that he understood Buddhism. One day he paid a visit to Zen Master Takuan. They talked for a long time. The Master would say something and Basho would respond at length, quoting from the most profound and difficult sutras. Finally, the Master said, "You are a great Buddhist, a great man. You understand everything. But in all the time we have been talking, you have only used the words of the Buddha or of eminent teachers. I do not want to hear other people's words. I want to hear your own words, the words of your true self. Quickly now - give me one sentence of your own."

Basho was speechless . . . . Suddenly there was a sound in the monastery garden. Basho turned to the Master and said,

Still pond ...
a frog jumps in ...
The splash.

The Master laughed out loud and said, "Well now! These are the words of your true self!" Basho laughed too. He had attained enlightenment.



"It's not very often you see hands that big," I said. "Hands that small, you mean," he said. "Oh yeah,, hands that big!" This made me think. I see them as big because they are always growing, getting bigger. Others see them as small because they are, small, compared to...something bigger...hmm.. so, yeah, it's not often you see hands that big. It was the hat too, which drew my eye to the scene, purple bright colour in the sunshine and the perfect symbol of springtime, and hope, and innocence, in the hands of a young child. The mother was concerned of course, that I couldn't see her face, but I explained it wasn't really of concern to me, I was only going for the hands and the hat. She seemed to understand, but I got a quizzical look I've seen before, .. the strange eye that says, 'are you sure you are not just some trippy artist makin shit up?'.. hehee.

More fingers like drum sticks poised as if ready to strike a beat, to tap, to grab a pen, to push plastic keys in rapid succession, to relate stories spawned from a personal obsession for vocabulary and the way words interlock meaning and flow one after the other like grains of water turn stones into sand always washing always speaking with the same hand language, the same voice, the words of the true growth.

Lines around a center point imply motion though the scene is flat and two dimensional. A star shaped object crosses the marble sky from a vortex explosion of the artist's hands carving secrets into history.

Again the willow tree on the beach. All the yellow trees now are pushing their leaves out. Forsythia comes to mind, did someone mention that tree the other day. Photos tomorrow judging from the way the clouds play with my mind. On a quiet day the clear evening halfmoon soared by early, portending some degree of clarity by morning. It creeps closer all the time instead of farther away, about to peak in a mere two months.

FORSYTHIA:An early flowering deciduous shrub, on thin woody stems flowering in the spring before the leaves appear. Profuse flowers are bright golden yellow, bell shaped appearing in March and April. Now found almost anywhere, the Forsythia originated in China. First introduced into Europe in the early 1800's, there are seven species of Forsythia and 5 wild variants.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Zen - doing nothing

There's a story of three people who are watching a monk standing on top of a hill. After they watch him for a while, one of the three says,
"He must be a shepherd looking for a sheep he's lost."
The second person says,
"No, he's not looking around. I think he must be waiting for a friend."
And the third person says,
"He's probably a monk. I'll bet he's meditating."

They begin arguing over what this monk is doing, and eventually, to settle the squabble, they climb up the hill and approach him.
"Are you looking for a sheep?"
"No, I don't have any sheep to look for."
"Oh, then you must be waiting for a friend."
"No, I'm not waiting for anyone."
"Well, then you must be meditating."
"Well, no. I'm just standing here. I'm not doing anything at all."

Seeing Buddha-nature requires that we ... completely be each moment, so that whatever activity we are engaged in - whether we're looking for a lost sheep, or waiting for a friend, or meditating - we are standing right here, right now, doing nothing at all.


nothing doing

Above the head of the majestic elephant, the sinking sun disappears in a halo aura of shimmering colour. Empty of elements the simplest division of a frame can sometimes have the most information in it. Emulating the mountain as it sits, doing nothing.

Playing havoc with shadows the severely slanting sun beams bend perspective and cast impossible reflections on blank walls.

As if forbidden the vivid lines, like a cage, keep the intensity of the colour trapped behind. Balanced by the darkness in the background of shadows the intensity becomes contrast and nothing becomes something.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Zen - our face

Zen teaching is like a window. At first we look at it, and see only the dim reflection of our own face. But as we learn, and our vision becomes clear, the teaching becomes clear. Until at last it is perfectly transparent. We see through it. We see all things: our own face.


goddess of poetry

A day of rain followed by early morning sunshine lights up the snow covered back of the elephant and reminds those below of winter still up high, though spring seems to be everywhere low to the ground.

Waiting for Jenn and Robin to arrive I sit in the sunshine and watch the fluff ball of a cat circle around me. Ever wary of pain it cowers within reach as if a striking hand is what it always expects. Curiousity didn't kill this cat but it helped record the inquisitive face.

Aligned with the magnetic field surrounding the earth the shadow is expected to fall on the dial where the hour is kept. Hardly more accurate than looking in the sky although that takes some familiarity with the season and the effects of daylight saving time.

Without the precision of down the lens perspective, aligning lines is merely a guess but the colour still shines behind the lines perfectly set up or not.

Behind the close up view, she hovers like an angel descended with holy halo light beaming from her aura, the goddess of poetry lurks in the background, unsure of today's disguise.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Zen - moody

To use the self is to forget it. Anxiety turns into purposeful action. Brooding disappears, daydreaming disappears. All beings enrich the universe with uniquely varied creativity. Our experiences in practice, education, and realization function in synergy to give that enrichment its fullest possible blessing. It is the self forgotten that achieves this.


time zones out

Suspended above the flow of the creek, separated by empty space, the fruit of the branch extended, catches my eye in glistening rain.

Out and back again in concentric circles.

Time eats metal with rust and emotions remain locked inside a tired day of soft rainfall and forged dreams.