Monday, July 31, 2006

painting the elephant's eye

One single day of rain in a long heat wave. Enough to get things wet.

Pinpointing little bits of paint in a surreal landscape seen through a central but objective eye.

So said the moment patterned by time water frozen still isn't ice.

Fibonacci children dance where and whenever the spiral tells them to.

Always possible to find a face in the formation of something in the direct vicinity, like inside each pulse there is a silent zen beat that keeps the rhythm in time to its own beat.

Stretched like the lines that lead down both sides of the dividing path between ethereal and tangible.

from Hindustan Times
MUMBAI, INDIA, July 31, 2006:
Lalbaug has no art galleries, but from June through September each year it becomes the headquarters for some excellent artists. These are skilled painters who temporarily leave their regular jobs in order to paint thousands of clay and plaster Ganeshas for Ganesha Chaturthi.

Those who can make Ganesha's eyes come alive are greatly prized, for this art is so exacting and delicate, it's not even called painting, rather it's likhayee - best translated as calligraphy.

This final step in the process has only a handful of painters who are assigned. Arun Naik and Raju Shinde are two of the chosen few. Naik, 43, has been painting Ganeshas for the last 24 years and says with pride, "Decorate Ganesha any way you want, but ultimately everybody looks into his eyes. They convey his emotion. That's why they have to radiate and glow."

Saturday, July 29, 2006

heavy stone

Things are more like they are now than they have ever been.
- President Gerald Ford

Perched like little warriors ready to do battle with the Differences.

Some tiny little strain of lily fights to overcome the shade.

Faces inside faces of flower alive with intense colour.

There are little alien worlds where people plot to produce illusion for pleasure.

As delicate as paper and as imperfect as seventeen is a prime number.

Familiar like the colour of lucidity is shaded in rose coloured glasses and penned in by thoughts of enclosure.

He wanted to know the picture I found in the hood of a truck. I showed him the way the image makes the picture say something else entirely.

Layers of lines indicating direction distorted by the perfection of circles that float through the air.

Right in the midst of a moment explaining how to enjoy water.

Underneath the obvious indications of plastic manifestation of a tree stands a shadow of subtle insinuation.

The Stone Mind

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"

One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind."

"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Hogen, "if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

binary duality

Live with cause and leave results to the great law of the universe. Pass each day in peaceful contemplation.

Peeled back in layers each day unfolds a different beautiful treasure.

It reminds me of a spaceship or some weird underwater creature in motion.

Snake heads poised to strike the lily always looks like prayer to me.

Optically illusory, somewhere on the line between the two aspects of the dualistic tendency to split the frame of reference into comparable divisions in spite of their contrary resistance to line and meaning, there is a point of balance to it all.

Overlayed shadows draw the eye away from the subject of focus that blends perfectly to an arranged background.

Angled sunlight reflects on a circle forming an overlay of the whole universe as the simplicity of on/off.

The attainment of enlightenment is nothing a person can brag about. Nobody can say, "I am enlightened" because the experience of enlightenment is precisely an egoless experience. The ego is extinguished and the pure Buddha Self is experienced. There is no "I" there who can claim to be enlightened. This is a most exhilarating and salutary experience. Anyone who suffers from any of the ego's ills should try one dose of enlightenment. The cure is permanent.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

when the twig snapped

Draw awareness inward, toward the center. When you are elsewhere, you are in one place. When you are the center, you are everyplace.

Like a child's toy the colours spin in the dappled sunlight.

I love the little curly-cue spirals. No doubt adhering to the Fibanacci principle of mathematical design

According to appearances this suspension of water in motion is like holding the rain long enough to absorb its wetness before letting it go back to the ground from whence it came.

beyond Maya

beads of water
suspended between
morning dew or rain
reflections of self
everywhere within

Sometimes I practice meditation in the moment. Stopping whatever thought is 'on' in the head, to absorb the scene in front of the eyes with as much objectivity as possible. Watching change in motion as each thing under the sun is interconnected and breathes as one.

I was sitting on a bench in the park, admiring the way the shade lessened the heat of the day, and how the glow of zen in each and every passing moment was like imprinting to a disappearing reel of film the absolute purity of being right here, right now in this moment.

And just when the space between everything became the dominant focus and a tremor of thrill, of power, ran through my control, my brain, then, as if to say, HA! The perfection of the moment was shattered by a crack, as a large branch fell out of a tree, thirty feet away.

A woman standing beneath the tree looked up in time to take a step to the side as the branch smashed into three pieces when it struck the ground, mere inches from where she stood. She slowly moved away from the tree.


Kitano Gempo, abbot of Eihei temple, was ninety-two years old when he passed away in the year 1933. He endeavored his whole like not to be attached to anything. As a wandering mendicant when he was twenty he happened to meet a traveler who smoked tobacco. As they walked together down a mountain road, they stopped under a tree to rest. The traveler offered Kitano a smoke, which he accepted, as he was very hungry at the time.

"How pleasant this smoking is," he commented. The other gave him an extra pipe and tobacco and they parted.

Kitano felt: "Such pleasant things may disturb meditation. Before this goes too far, I will stop now." So he threw the smoking outfit away.

When he was twenty-three years old he studied I-King, the profoundest doctrine of the universe. It was winter at the time and he needed some heavy clothes. He wrote his teacher, who lived a hundred miles away, telling him of his need, and gave the letter to a traveler to deliver. Almost the whole winter passed and neither answer nor clothes arrived. So Kitano resorted to the prescience of I-King, which also teaches the art of divination, to determine whether or not his letter had miscarried. He found that this had been the case. A letter afterwards from his teacher made no mention of clothes.

"If I perform such accurate determinative work with I-King, I may neglect my meditation," felt Kitano. So he gave up this marvelous teaching and never resorted to its powers again.

When he was twenty-eight he studied Chinese calligraphy and poetry. He grew so skillful in these arts that his teacher praised him. Kitano mused: "If I don't stop now, I'll be a poet, not a Zen teacher." So he never wrote another poem.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

digging a deeper hole

I do believe it is possible to create, even without ever writing a word or painting a picture, by simply molding one's inner life. And that too is a deed.
- Etty Hillesum

Why this flower symbolizes world peace, I do not know but I can glean no stronger message than the unity a circle makes and vice versa.

I didn't think the little glisten at the center would show up.

Molded from the most intimate of places the shapes of things in flowers are reflections of ourselves.

Like little missiles ready to launch themselves from the strangely coloured spaceship.

Everything spins around an inner center point and spirals design outward.

Desperate to find evidence of alien life forms, the hard shell as folded wings and the abnormal markings identify this as one of the flying objects.

When the I behind the eye tries to find a way to define itself in terms that can be understood.

It was at the point in the circular revolution, when the time was right for the combination of elements and the suspension of object from ground to occur, that everything stopped in place.

Watch what happens when you try not to follow the line made by the lead character in the perfect role for expression of motion.

It has been one year since I bought this digital camera. The counter for images is at almost 9,500. My folder has around 2,200 images in it. I think that works out to something like six images a day. Wow, I'm having fun!

The Tunnel

Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo and there became the retainer of a high official. He fell in love with the official's wife and was discovered. In self-defense, he slew the official. Then he ran away with the wife.

Both of them later became thieves. But the woman was so greedy that Zenkai grew disgusted. Finally, leaving her, he journeyed far away to the province of Buzen, where he became a wandering mendicant.

To atone for his past, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed in his lifetime. Knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had caused the death and injury of many persons, he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain there.

Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his tunnel. When thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2,280 feet long, 20 feet high, and 30 feet wide.

Two years before the work was completed, the son of the official he had slain, who was a skillful swordsman, found Zenkai out and came to kill him in revenge.

"I will give you my life willingly," said Zenkai. "Only let me finish this work. On the day it is completed, then you may kill me."

So the son awaited the day. Several months passed and Zendai kept on digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to admire Zenkai's strong will and character.

At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it and travel in safety.

"Now cut off my head," said Zenkai. "My work is done."

"How can I cut off my own teacher's head?" asked the younger man with tears in his eyes.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

in the light of day

I quit therapy because my analyst was trying to help me behind my back.
- Richard Lewis

Remember all flowers are different even if they're the same kind when the light is different every moment of each day.

Purple Clematis, three stops underexposed to really bring out the rich purple. I always thought it was clamadis, guess not.

Horns heralding the arrival of the icon as carved porcelain doll.

It's almost impossible to photograph these without including the bees. They are all over this very strange plant.

Shaped by hands without fingers the evolution of the flower was based on chaos of colour colliding.

Isolation of a pattern made when shadows form impressions from the sun, the second the angle was right the glint caught the eye.

Placed as resistance in the stream to change the way the flow shapes itself as expression of the character of the interruption, the balance is defined by the line the direction makes.

Count dots in a black sky peopled with white stars and let the individual sound each piece makes be the visual noise of the static of the void where absolutely nothing becomes whatever it dreams itself to be.

Your Light May Go Out

A student of Tendai, a philosophical school of Buddhism, came to the Zen abode of Gasan as a pupil. When he was departing a few years later, Gasan warned him: "Studying the truth speculatively is useful as a way of collecting preaching material. But remember that unless you meditate constantly your light of truth may go out."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Garden of Jenn