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#1574 ~ Friday, October 3, 2003 ~ Editor:  Gloria Lee  

In order to learn the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they may look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is so not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.

-Genjo Koan

From "Teachings of the Buddha," edited by Jack Kornfield, 1993. Reprinted by arrangement with Shambhala Publications, Boston,

Joe Riley ~ Panhala


The poem is not the world.
It isn't even the first page of the world.

But the poem wants to flower, like a flower.
It knows that much.

It wants to open itself,
like the door of a little temple,
so that you might step inside and be cooled and refreshed,
and less yourself than part of everything.


When loneliness comes stalking, go into the fields, consider
the orderliness of the world. Notice
something you have never noticed before,

like the tambourine sound of the snow-cricket
whose pale green body is no longer than your thumb.

Stare hard at the hummingbird, in the summer rain,
shaking the water-sparks from its wings.

Let grief be your sister, she will whether or no.
Rise up from the stump of sorrow, and be green also,
    like the diligent leaves.

A lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life.

Scatter your flowers over the graves, and walk away.
Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance.

In the glare of your mind, be modest.
And beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling.

Live with the beetle, and the wind.

This is the dark bread of the poem.
This is the dark and nourishing bread of the poem.

  ~ Mary Oliver ~    

Gill Eardley ~ Rumi to Hafiz  

I like to read different versions of the Tao Te Ching,
think it helps with understanding. This is Ursula Le
Guin's Translation of Chapter 10.   ...gill

10. Techniques

Can you keep your soul in its body,
hold fast to the one,
and so learn to be whole?
Can you center your energy,
be soft, tender,
and so learn to be a baby?

Can you keep the deep water still and clear,
so it reflects without blurring?
Can you love people and run things,
and do so by not doing?

Opening, closing the Gate of Heaven,
can you be like a bird with her nestlings?
Piercing bright through the cosmos,
can you know by not knowing?

To give birth, to nourish,
to bear and not to own,
to act and not lay claim,
to lead and not to rule:
this is mysterious power.

Most of the scholars think this chapter is about meditation,
its techniques and fulfillments. The language is profoundly
mystical, the images are charged, rich in implications.

The last verse turns up in nearly the same words in other
chapters; there are several such "refrains" throughout
the book, identical or similar lines repeated once or twice
or three times.

From: 'Tao Te Ching - A book about the way and the
power of the way'  

Ursula K. Le Guin

      Lee In Mashiko.   

See what I am up to here:  

1:56 pm - Coil and Throw  

I like using the coil and throw method on larger pots. It helps give some feeling to the form. Wheel work can be very symmetrical. The coil process breaks that up somewhat, as seen in old pottery thrown on low momentum kick and handwheels.

I threw the base from 5 kilos of clay last night. Finished coil and throw this morning. I used a total of 7kilos. I mix by ruff wedging a little under 1/3rd Shino clay (a white stoneware) and 2/3rds Shigaraki clay. Both clays are soft and are easy to ruff wedge together.

Before being trimmed the pot is about 14" tall.


For my first six months there, I wondered why these guys wasted
all this time checking glaze thickness by taking a test piece over to the
door or a light bulb, scratching the surface and eyeballing the thickness of
the scratched surface. Of course, before the "eyeball test", they
poured the glaze from the ladle time & time again, to judge the thickness of
the glaze by how it poured. I, for the life of me, didn't understand why
they didn't use the "technical" way I was taught: using a glaze hygrometer.
I didn't understand why they would want to trust their eye, when they could
take an exact metric measurement with a guage and "know by the numbers."
For nearly 6 months, I watched every single time my teacher or the Foreman
did the scratch test. For a long time, I couldn't tell one scratch from
another. But I watched every time, and I tried to guess what the Foreman's
assessment would be. Finally, after about 6 months, I found that I could
guess the thickness every time, before the Foreman announced the results.

It was Enlightenment! So often in modern culture, we are
taught "the easy way", a way using exact measurements, guages and computer
control. We are not given the chance to train our eye because we depend
upon our technical crutches. Because we don't train our eye, we loose the
ability to use it. In so many ways, we try to remove ourselves from the
tactility of the world, whether it be through central heating, air
conditioning, plastic, chrome and Formica or with instruments that get
between our selves and our direct experience.

After I developed "the eye", it dawned on me that depending on a
hygrometer to measure the thickness of a glaze on the pot is a very "iffy."
Why? Because the barometric pressure can effect the accuracy of the
hygrometer. The humidity can effect how damp your bisque is and that can,
in turn, effect how thick the glaze application is. Your bisque temp
might be a little off. That effects the porosity of the ware and glaze
application thickness. Also, just knowing the specific gravity of the
glaze will not make automatic adjustments for the thickness of the form and
the resultant thickness of the glaze application. The scratch test is
the single best measure of how thick the glaze application is. Of course,
you can use a micrometer to test the scratch, but you need not do that if
your eye is trained.
Thursday, October 2nd, 2003

11:00 pm - Shokunin And Deshi
Shokunin And Deshi.

I've tried to explain before. This story might help a little bit:

My friend and I visited the oldest pottery retail shop in Mashiko
together a few years back, before he moved back to Seattle. The shop is
called Mingei-ten. This was the first place where potters who were not
born in Mashiko, were able to show their work. This is a very unique
feature of pottery life in Mashiko. Many, if not most potters here, come
from somewhere else. Hamada paved the way for this. My friend Tatsuo is
Japanese-American, like myself, but he spent his summers in Japan, and so is
very fluent in Japanese.

Tatsuo asked the shop owner, who is also a potter and is known to
be a mentor for young potters in town, "What is the difference between the
Shokunin (Master Craftsman) and the Deshi (apprentice potter)? The owner
replied quickly, "The biggest difference is the amount of money they make.
A Shokunin's starting salary is over three times what the Deshi starts at."
(I was impressed, because he knew the exact amount I was paid as a Deshi.)
I also figured he said this for my benefit, because he knew I was a Deshi.

Then he paused. He got thoughtful and added, "The Shokunin's
gift, is that he can look at a form just one time, and quickly copy it.
He is the right hand of his master. "

He then paused again, then added, "But maybe, just maybe, the Deshi can
make something new."

he also said:

"And even when the Deshi becomes an independent potter, he will probably
never make as much as the Shokunin." It is a well know fact in Mashiko,
that the great majority of potters are dirt poor.

I was relieved to hear someone else say what I my self observed.
That the Shokunin, Master Craftsmen, who had forgotten more skills than I
will ever learn, may not have a creative knack. These two things are
independent variables. I've watched a Shokunin, Master Craftsman, one
who could make copy every form in his master's repertoire, have difficulty
putting his own decoration on a pot he threw for himself.

Can Control Get In The Way?

This is one aspect, that skill and creative expression are
independent variables. The other aspect is the idea about control.
It is good to have skills and apply them when necessary, but if we always
inflict control upon the creative process, and always demand that the
process be subdued by our conceptual parameters, we have less chance for
discovery, intuition, and innovation. Ask any body who fires a wood kiln.
They don't do it for control. They do it for the discoveries they make
because the process allows room for the Muse to have her say. Subdual of
the materials can only go so far.

Here in Japan, control and following set procedures, just for
procedure's sake, (it is called doing Kata) is more highly valued than it is
back home in the States. It may be due to Confucian values and the
Prussian model of the school systems, handed down from the Meiji Era. The
form here is very "classic." But that is a whole other essay. ;^)

Wednesday, October 1st, 2003  

Lee Love Copyright 2003

Gill Eardley ~ Allspirit Inspiration  

When I left home and faced the realities of the
world, I put my thoughts of God in cold storage
for awhile, because I couldn't reconcile what I
believed, deep inside, with what was going on
around me. But that early period, when God was
as real as the wind that blew from the sea
through the pine trees in the garden, left me
with inner peace, which, as I grew older,
swelled -- until, perforce, I had to open my
mind to God again.

~Jane Goodall    

Terry Murphy ~ Sufi Mystic  

This excerpt is from Chapter 28 of Meher Baba's classic work, "God to Man and Man to
God, the Discourses of Meher Baba," entitled, simply, "Love":
*The universe exists for the sake of Love*

    It is for the sake of Love that the universe sprang into existence, and
for the sake of Love that it is kept going. God descends into the realm of
illusion because the apparent duality of the Beloved and the Lover is
contributory to his conscious enjoyment of his own divinity. The
development of love is conditioned and sustained by the tension of duality.
God suffers the apparent differentiation into the multiplicity of souls for
the sake of the game of Love. They are his own forms, and in relation to
them he assumes the role of the Divine Lover and the Divine Beloved. As the
Beloved, he is the real and ultimate object of appreciation, and as the
Divine Lover, he is their Savior, drawing them back to himself. Although
the entire world of duality is but an illusion, it has come into being for
a significant purpose.

    Love is the reflection of God's unity in the world of duality. It
constitutes the entire significance of creation. If love were excluded from
life, all souls in the world would assume externality to each other, and
their only possible relations and contacts would be superficial and
mechanical. It is because of love that the contacts and relations between
individual souls become significant: and it is love which gives meaning to
every happening in the world of duality. But the love that gives meaning to
the world of duality is a standing challenge to it. As love gathers
strength, it generates creative restlessness and becomes the spiritual
dynamic that ultimately succeeds in restoring to consciousness the original
unity of being.

Gill Eardley ~ Rumi to Hafiz  

....Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as
we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst
all about it, parted from it by the filmiest of screens, there
lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We
may go through life without suspecting their existence; but
apply the requisite stimulus, and at a touch they are there in
all their completeness, definite types of mentality which
probably somewhere have their field of application and
adaptation. No account of the universe in its totality can be
final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite
disregarded. How to regard them is the question,- for they are
so discontinuous with ordinary consciousness.

~William James

Rumi to Hafiz    

I found this poem in an old scrapbook of mine.  It was written by the
Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, during the Vietnam War when he heard about the
bombing of Ben Tre city. 

The city of 300,000 was destroyed when guerillas
fired rounds of unsuccessful anti-aircraft fire and then left. 

He says his pain
was profound and he wrote this poem. It is still relevant for today.     
                             FOR WARMTH

                      I hold my face in my two hands
                      No I am not crying.
                      I hold my face in my two hands.
                      To keep my loneliness warm
                      two hands protecting
                      two hands nourishing
                      two hands preventing
                      my soul from leaving in anger. 

 ---Thich Nhat Hanh

Joe Riley ~ NDS    

Alan Watts Blues -- Van Morrison

Well I'm taking some time with my quiet friend
Well I'm takin' some time on my own.
Well I'm makin' some plans for my getaway
There'll be blue skies shining up above
When I'm cloud hidden
Cloud hidden
Whereabouts unknown

Well I've got to get out of the rat-race now
I'm tired of the ways of mice and men
And the empires all turning into rust again.
Out of everything nothing remains the same
That's why I'm cloud hidden
Cloud hidden
Whereabouts unknown

Sittin' up on the mountain-top in my solitude
Where the morning fog comes rollin' in
Just might do me some good.

Well I'm waiting in the clearing with my motor on
Well it's time to get back to the town again
Where the air is sweet and fresh in the countryside
Well it won't be long before I get back here again.

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