Saturday, April 28, 2007
In Chinese culture, it is often said that if a man's nose produces a small flow of blood, this signifies that he is experiencing sexual desire. This concept can be seen in Chinese and Hong Kong films and in Japanese anime and manga. Male characters will often be shown with a nose bleed if they have just seen a nude or scantily-clad female, or if they have had an erotic thought or fantasy.
The "red thread of passion" is an expression used in Zen to describe the deep emotions that all human beings experience and deal with. Shakyamuni Buddha had to deal with them. All the ancestors had to deal with them. Why is it called a "red thread?" I don't know.
But passion can be defined as "intense feelings, such as grief, rage, love or eager desire." When that passion manifests itself in the lower two chakras, it is called "lust." When it is manifested in the fourth chakra, the heart, it is called "love." But in any event, the red thread runs through us all, it is part of our lives and who we are, and if Zen is to accommodate all of life, it must accommodate the red thread as well.
Human sex cells have 23 chromosomes, and the number 23 is auspicious. 23 is the number of people (16 females, 7 males) that Neo would have had to select in order to re-found Zion in The Matrix Trilogy. Michael Jordan's jersey number was 23. The number of letters in "George Herbert Walker Bush" and "William Jefferson Clinton" is 23. This is the 23rd-to-last posting in Water Dissolves Water.
Robert Anton Wilson, interviewed by David A Banton on April 23, 1988, said, "Well, 23 is a part of the cosmic code. It's connected with so many synchronicities and weird coincidences that it must mean something, I just haven't figured out yet what it means!. . . [April 23] is the anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, April 23, 1556 and his death, April 23, 1616. Also April 23, 1616, the same time Shakespeare died in England, Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, died in Spain. April 23, 1014 is when Brian Boru died, he was the first high king of Ireland to be a political as well as religious leader. He unified all Ireland and drove the Danes out, and on April 23, 1014 he was killed by one of the Danes after the battle of Clontarf, where he defeated the Danes for the final time, and liberated Ireland from foreign rule. August 23, 1170 is when the Normans came in, and Ireland has been under foreign rule again, in whole or in part, ever since. On Aug. 23, 1920 James Joyce was discussing coincidences with a friend in a Paris bar when he suddenly saw a giant black rat and fainted dead away. So that ties Joyce together with the invasion of Ireland, and Shakespeare, and Brian Boru. All of this is in (James Joyce's) Finnigan's Wake, by the way."
Shakespeare was born on an April 23 and died on an April 23. Two 23's equal 46. Many contend that Shakespeare wrote the Book of Psalms in the King James version of the Bible, and the 46th word of the 46th Psalm is "shake" and the 46th word from the end is "spear." Coincidence? Perhaps. Synchronicity? Could be.
But meaningful? Not to me, but you might have your own set of meanings that differ from mine.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
"I will miss the pictures very much."
The most frequent question I get in my email is, "Where do you get the pictures from?," to which I usually want to answer "The Internets, stupid," and then tell them not to leave their participles dangling.
And that's the problem with the Internets - the tendency to be glib, to be mean-spirited and arch when one's alone at one's keyboard. We forget that we're all caught up in the inescapable network of mutuality, and subject to cause and effect.
So meanwhile, back here in samsara, I wonder if I could get in trouble in these oh-so-sensitive times for posting the picture above. If it's any consolation, it's not the only picture of a kissing buffalo in the vast Shokai archives. There's also this:
So here I am, with only 25 days left to post until my self-imposed expiration date, one last chance to express the Buddhadharma to the world, or at least my understanding of the Buddhadharma, and what do I do?
Post silly pictures of kissing cows and bath-peeing bears.
Let the record show that WDW never took itself too seriously.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Sunday, I led the morning service at the Zen Center, and in the afternoon shopped for a new beard trimmer (my old one, purchased circa 1998, died last week), and used the leaf blower to clear my patio and driveway of catkins, flower petals and other springtime detritus. "Roadkill has its seasons, just like anything," Tom Waits once sang, "It's possums in the autumn and farm cats in the spring." It's the same for tree debris - its leaves in the autumn, twigs and stems in the winter, the aforementioned catkins, etc. in the spring, and whatever the thunderstorms can knock down in the summer. Not to mention the magnolias' surprise gifts in May and June.
Monday, it was work and the usual Monday-night service at the Center, followed by the usual discussion group, followed by more talk with those who wanted to hang around and still chat some more after the discussion was officially "over."
And tonight, I have every excuse in the world: work, followed by the inevitable Beltline meeting (this time the monthly Advisory Board get-together). After the Board meeting, I decided to stop in at the Zen Center tonight just to sit rather than than lead the service (leave the driving to someone else), but somehow still found the effort to post something, anything, rather than let the blog lie idle.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
"Fellow students of the Way, be careful. Don't think that meditation comes first and then gives rise to wisdom or that wisdom comes first and gives rise to meditation or that meditation and wisdom are separate. For those who hold such views, the Dharma is dualistic: If the mouth speaks of goodness, but the mind doesn't think of goodness, meditation and wisdom aren't the same. But if goodness pervades both the mouth and the mind, if what is external and internal are alike, then mediation and wisdom are the same.
"The cultivation of self-awareness does not involve argument. People who argue about which comes first and which comes second only confuse themselves. Unless you put an end to right and wrong, you will give rise to self-existent dharmas, and you will never be free of the Four States."
- Hui Neng (638-713), from The Platform Sutra,
translated by the redoubtable Red Pine
Thursday, April 19, 2007
coming down on all four sides.
Its flow and saturation are measureless,
reaching to every area of the earth,
to the ravines and valleys of the mountains and streams,
to the remote and secluded places where grow
plants, bushes, medicinal herbs,
trees large and small,
a hundred grains, rice seedlings,
sugar cane, grape vines.
The rain moistens them all;
none fails to receive its full share.
- Lotus Sutra
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
Which is part of a problem - life has been busy, and keeping up this blog has become more of a chore than the pleasure it was at one point.
Next month will commemorate the third-year anniversary of Water Dissolves Water, and that seems as good a time as any to hang it up. Discontinue the blog. Stop posting.
Everything is impermanent, nothing lasts forever. And knowing that these words will be among my last to cyberspace brings me to a more immediate realization of the here and now, and compels me to me try and say something meaningful.
Other than "goodbye."
And now, as if to put icing on the cake of my decision, Blogger is not allowing me to upload pictures.
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Well, believe it or not, that's exactly what Gov. Richardson did this week. While Clinton and Obama and Edwards were safely in the USA continuing their stump speeches, photo ops and meet-and-greets, Gov. Bill Richardson went around the world, secured the remains of six American soldiers from the Korean War and pushed for action on the North's nuclear disarmament, then entered South Korea from the North in a rare border crossing.
While the current Administration remains stuck in its "Axis of Evil" mentality, Richardson spent four days in North Korea. "Hopefully, we've done our bit to relieve the tension between our two countries," Richardson said after crossing the border, referring to the U.S. and the North.
While in the North on a mission to recover the remains of the U.S. soldiers, his delegation met with officials to press Pyongyang to meet a Saturday deadline to shut down its sole operating nuclear reactor under a February agreement with the U.S. and other regional powers.
On Wednesday, Richardson's group drove two hours from the North Korean capital along virtually traffic-free roads, seeing farmers working fields with their hands and people walking along the highway. The remains of the soldiers were transported separately in small, black cases. They then walked across the North-South frontier at the truce village of Panmunjom, where the two Koreas stand face-to-face across the border that has divided the peninsula since the 1953 cease-fire.
Virtually everyone agrees that Bill Richardson is the most qualified candidate for President based on his resume, and his bold actions regarding drug policy last week simultaneously showed compassion and courage. Now, he's accomplished another timely diplomatic coup, yet the story remains buried in the newspapers behind a shock-jock's racist remarks and the paternity tests on a dead Playmate's daughter.
So come November 2008, who are you going to vote for - the candidate who bought the most media time, or the one who was actually out making this world a better and safer place?