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#1676 - Tuesday, January 13, 2004 - Editor: Jerry  

This issue of the Highlights feature posts sent to NDS and other lists in the past two days.  

Toombaru NDS  

Oh..........I didn't invent God.

But if you didn't have one'd come up with something.

Once man sees himself as being real and separate...the idea of God is
not far behind.

If man is real...something
must have created him....and following logic...the creator has to be
greater then the created.

Man's natural (and justified) inferiority complex in not caused by
God.....It is the cause of God. that you know all this.....If you don't really like or
trust the God you have.....feel free to invent another.

  Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain't what they used to be
No, no
Where did all the blue sky go?
Poison is the wind that blows
From the north, east, south, and sea
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain't what they used to be
No, no
Oil wasted on the oceans and upon our seas
Fish full of mercury
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain't what they used to be
No, no
Radiation in the ground and in the sky
Animals and birds who live nearby are dying
Oh, mercy mercy me
Oh, things ain't what they used to be
What about this overcrowded land?
How much more abuse from man can you stand?
My sweet Lord
My sweet Lord
My sweet Lord

contributed by ben hassine NDS  

Vicki Woodyard NDS  

Pigeonhole Desk  

God wants to get rid of my old pigeonhole desk. Arghh....everything but
that, Lord. The desk is where I sit to manage my life. One slot is
crammed with prescriptions, another with notes from the doctor. You
know my husband has cancer and I have to spend a lot of time sorting it
all out. There are bills to pay and thank you notes to write. Spilling
out of one slot is things I have written about what it is like to live
with a spouse's incurable illness when your daughter died in the same
way. I cling to those pieces of paper. And He wants me to let Him carry
them to the dumpster. Oy.

I pick up pen and paper and hurriedly write Him a note. "Dear God, the
very idea. What will I say when You have taken all of my old
pigeonholes? It will all run together and I will be posting
prescriptions on the internet and thanking pharmacists for baking me
pumpkin pound cakes. Oh, God, don't take away the sorting that I like
to do."

I have not yet given HIm permission to carry the old desk away. I will
tell you why, but you probably won't understand. I have heard stories
about people who lived only by "I am." They hung their robe on that peg
and one day they found they didn't even need the "I am" or the peg.
After that they just disappeared. I am not quite ready to do that!

Who would go to the doctor with my husband? Who would cook cornbread
and pencil in doctor visits on the calendar? I am not asking God that,
for He would shoot that question down in a New York minute. I am asking
myself and that is why I am attached to the old pigeon-hole desk. It's
understandable. When someone like God offers to come in and strip you
down, it's a pretty scary idea. I am not quite there yet. I do see the
eventual necessity, though.

If some of you reading this get the urge to post a reply explaining how
wrong I am, don't waste your cursor. I already know.


And so....

My words come skating out to center ice.  The audience is expectant and my blades are sharp.  The costume is Vera Wang but the spirit is more singular than that.  I take the obligatory centering breath before I begin my short program.  And so...the music begins.

First the words are slow and the hands typing them are not sure what the blinking cursor precedes.  Ah, it is okay.  The performance is underway and the audience is with me.  I am performing a piece call "In the Center Lies Your Power."  It is a deceptive short program.  The audience thinks it is not of great technical merit, even though I am etching lines about cancer, loss and loneliness.   I write the words, "Nine-Headed Dragon River" and go on to add, "my life, too, has been about bones, death and resurrection."

I skate more powerfully as I go along.  I tap my cursor into the ice and write coolly and slowly about the Self not having bones or flesh.  This is the part of my program that calls for the skater to get out of the way.  If she doesn't know her program now, she never will.

As if to break the ice, I let the audience know by my words whirling and executing triple axels that I know they understand the physical pain of performing this short program. It takes everything I've got to pull it off.  Yet the end is only thirty seconds away and I have yet to convey the power of the center. I take a final leap and do a scratch spin into the Self-- blurring, it is called.  I stop on a dime, watching ice fly and spirits understand.

I leave the ice before seeing my marks come out.  I skip the "Kiss and Cry" and go back to my dressing room alone.  I am satisfied with the performance and that is all that counts.

Vicki Woodyard

  "I just want to thank God for saving me and my family", said the recent hurricane survivor.

(from a small voice in the back row)

".......and would that be the same God that created the hurricane?"

contributed by toombaru NDS

Daily Dharma  

"Simplicity is important for happiness. Having few desires,
feeling satisfied with what you have is vital. Many are
making a great effort to control external things - like arms
control. But without being able to control inner things, how
can you control external arms? There is so much effort spent
on external matters, like space travel. But there is still
quite a big area of inner space left to explore. And it is
not so expensive!"
~The Fourteenth Dalai Lama

From the Book, "Kindness, Clarity and Insight," published by
Snow Lion.  

The Other Syntax  

Tom, Dick, and Harry think they have written the books that they sign
(or painted the pictures, composed the music, built the churches).
But they exaggerate. It was a pen that did it, or some other
implement. They held the pen? Yes, but the hand that held the pen was
an implement too, and the brain that controlled the hand. They were
intermediaries, instruments, just apparatus. Even the best apparatus
does not need a personal name like Tom, Dick, or Harry.

If the nameless builders of the Taj Mahal, of Chartres, of Rheims, of
a hundred cathedral symphonies, knew that - and avoided the solecism
of attributing to their own egos the works that were created through
their instrumentality - may not even a jotter-down of passing
metaphysical notions know it also?

If you should not understand this - give the book away before reading
it! But give it to a pilgrim on the Way. Why? Because it would have
helped the pilgrim who compiled it, if it had been given to him, and
that is why he compiled it, and why he presumes to offer it to other

But in case you should still wonder who is responsible for this book
I do not know how to do better than to inscribe the words


Fingers Pointing Towards the Moon
Wei Wu Wei

A Yellow Rose


I recently discovered this book:
The Sovereign All-Creating Mind the Motherly Buddha: A Translation of
Kun Byed Rgyal Po'I Mdo (Suny Series in Buddhist Studies by E. K.
Neumaier-Dargyay; ISBN: 0791408965 ;  1992.

Some of you may have read it since it was published over 10 years
ago. I haven't read it yet. Don't order it from Amazon they charge
extra to find it for you.  SnowLion online has it:

[SnowLion: A translation of the eighth-century Kun byed rgyal po'i
mdo that presents being as the center of existence and as accessible
in everyday experience. The fleeting existence is in its depth
nirvana, a state of complete integration. It addresses how to achieve
a world-view that integrates the phenomenological nature of existence
with the ground of being, and the interrelatedness of individual and
universe. When the world is seen to be beatific and intelligible, the
Motherly Buddha, will be experienced.]

Also available thru Namse-Bangdzo online [ product # 11480]:
[They offer no review] Neither of the Buddhist bookstores charge
extra, it is about $20.

Professor Eva Dargyay was the first to translate this ancient Tibetan
text, the "base and root... and final goal" of dzogchen.
I have the more recent translation 'Supreme Source' by Namkhai Norbu
which is one of my very favorite books.  His book lists Professor
Neumaier-Dargyay's earlier translation in his bibliography.

I believe Professor E. K. Neumaier-Dargyay may now be retired as she
is 66 or 67 years old.  For many years she was the East Asian Studies
Professor and Chair at University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta,

She has other publications:
The Rise of Esoteric Buddhism in Tibet by E. K. Neumaier-Dargyay;
Hc - 2nd rev. ed, Jan 1979;  ISBN: 0896840395

She has been included in collections of articles by Buddhist women.

I don't know how others feel about support of women Buddhists, women
translators, women scholars and Professors.  I guess I have some left
over attitude of my activism in womens rights of the 70's before I
became Buddhist.  But I feel a sense of solidarity to do my best to
support women who have struggled to offer their creative work to
benefit others.  That doesn't mean I always agree with each womans
view point but even if I don't agree I try to speak up for the woman
if they are being maligned by a man. Especially if their viewpoint
and complete work is arrogantly and maliciously dismissed by a self-
appointed man MASTER CRITIC of TRANSLATIONS by a one word male
analysis of "bullshit".  {Apologies, this is not my language, I'm
quoting. I not only object to it but most especially how it was
summarily applied.]

If anyone has previously read any of her works or especially
the 'Motherly Buddha' one I'd be interested in your reaction. 
As long as you don't curse.  :)

Sarva mangalam,

Michael L.

Awareness Watching Awareness  

The change from the Direct Path Links Directory
to the Awareness Watching Awareness web site
was like going from a Novel with hundreds of pages
to a summary with only three pages.

In the Awareness watching awareness web site,
there is only one quote.
The rest is all new material.

The first page describes the discoveries
and the value of the discoveries:

The second page gives the precise core practice
instructions for the Awareness Watching Awareness
method of Instant, Immediate, Direct Abidance:

The third page gives clarifications
about the practice:

That is all there is for now.

The reasons for the big change
and why none of the old material was included
can be read here:

Take care,

with Love,

Michael L.

Ben Hassine

from Open to the Unknown -Dialogues in Delphi- , Jean Klein, page 93-94  

Let your mind be very clear that when you are looking for your real self, it is it which is looking for itself. That is why you can never find it --because it is the ultimate looker which looks for itself. In other words, you are fundamentally already what you are. Any movement you undertake is going away from it. You sit on this chair and you cannot find yourself by going somewhere else. So the inevitable question is: "How can I become aware of what I am?" But we cannot be aware of the "I am". We can only be aware of things. All that we are aware of is an object, but what we already are, our real nature, is not an object. It is consciousness, the light behind all objects. It is the ultimate perceiver in which the perceived appears and disappears. It is its own perceiving. So it can never be understood in terms of subject-object relationship. The perceiver can never be perceived, as the eye cannot see its seeing.  

All that is perceived, you are not. When you understand this, you are no longer concerned with what you are not, and there is a natural giving up of what you are not. All the energy that was eccentric, spent in achieving, becoming, grasping and so on, comes to a stop. And there is only stillness, silence, which is the original perception of the real self. It is your globality. In this globality, there is not a knower of the globality; otherwise, it could not be globality. We can only say, as in all the sacred sayings, it knows itself by itself.

a mary bianco contribution  


New year musing of a 'pottery poet'


As this is the first Ceramic Scene of 2004, I'd like to wish all readers a Happy and Healthy New Year!

A smorgasboard of ceramic delights awaits visitors to the annual Japan Ceramic Society exhibition at Wako, in Tokyo's Ginza district. The Theme is "sake vessels" and contributing artists this year include a number of living national treasures.

Before I introduce some wonderful exhibitions, though, I'd like to share a few musings from this "pottery poet" -- as a close friend likes to call me.

There is a delightful Japanese expression about the beauty and mystery of a clay jar: ko-chu-ten (jar-in-heaven). It's a reference to finding "heaven within the emptiness of a jar," yet within this "emptiness" can be found boundless energy and the stuff of life itself. On a metaphysical plane it's possible to experience a profound epiphany within the clay walls -- defined by empty space -- of a cup, say, while sitting quietly for a few moments each day sipping tea and "communing" with the cup (comprising the life-giving elements of fire, water, earth and air) and yourself (spirit-consciousness); an inward exploration.

As the late, great writer-oracle Joseph Campbell put it in his brilliant book "Myths To Live By": "Turn within, therefore, if you seek your model for the image of a god. Accordingly, it is the experience of this plane of consciousness that is rendered visible in the Oriental arts." In no art more so then pottery, I may add; and no place more so than Japan, with its rich associations of Zen and tea.

We all have the opportunity to enrich our lives with what we choose to live with and use each day. Think of all the plastic; the items made for profit alone; the useless things we buy and toss out without a care. How are we to make a better world? The answer: By developing ourselves in silent "connectiveness"; by raising our consciousness to a plane that sees everything as being connected; and by bringing wholesome items into our daily lives that nourish our bodies, our minds and, whenever possible, the environment.

Few places offer us a better opportunity to do so than Japan, with its handmade objects -- antique or not -- that "connect" natural materials and daily function. In Japan we are incredibly blessed: This country is a potters' paradise. So, for a shin'nen hofu (new year's resolution), make it a point to seek out a few "clay gems" that will guide you to a deeper appreciation of the preciousness of each passing-yet-infinite moment.

One way to start off, in terms of developing an "eye," at least, is to visit Wako in Ginza, Jan. 17-28 (closed Sunday). There you will be able to see some of Japan's finest clay creations in the Japan Ceramic Society's annual award-winners exhibition: 160 works by 76 artists will be on display.

The exhibition celebrates winners of the JCS's prestigious award, especially its creme-de-la-creme gold award. The award was first handed out in 1954, to three potters: current living national treasure Uichi Shimizu, for iron-glazed wares; the late avant-garde potter Junkichi Kumakura; and the Seto potter Mineo Okabe, who actually turned down the award.

Showing this year we find a number of living national treasures, quite a few prefectural intangible cultural properties, and many potters of notable lineage, including Kichizaemon Raku XV. The works themselves span everything from tableware to objets d'art, in dozens of varied traditions.

Those whose curiosity was piqued by last month's column will have the chance to see a breast-shape piece from the "Maria" series of Hagi's newly crowned Kyusetsu Miwa XII. More spectacular, though, are neriage marbleware platters from Ito Sekisui V. His molded red flower petals burst off the forms with uncanny reality and clearly show why this Sado Island potter was given the lofty designation of living national treasure.

I wish I could say that for all LNTs, as I find some of their work more than a little predictable. If you see me at the exhibition and want me to name names, just ask. Some of these LNTs don't even touch "their" work anymore, but have their apprentices and craftsman make the works. (That said, this isn't necessarily underhanded, as the practice does date back centuries to the great Kyoto potters of the Edo Period.)

From Kyoto, this exhibition gathers dark, mystical works by Yo Akiyama; vessels incised with nature motifs by Masayuki Imai; colorful swirling patterns, full of life, by Mutsuo Yanagihara; and icy-blue porcelain sake vessels by Shin Fujihira.

Actually, sake vessels are the theme of this year's JCS show, and some rare treasures will be on display. These include guinomi (sake cups) and tokkuri (sake flasks) by Bizen's Toyo Kaneshige and Kei Fujiwara, and the work of famous names such as Rosanjin, Kazuo Yagi and Sozan Kaneshige. Incidentally, the latter may be legendary in the potting world, but only Yagi ever won a JCS award -- perhaps because the other two were already seen as talented beyond all further acclamation.

In addition, antique wares by past masters will be on display, such as a Karatsu guinomi dating from the Momyama Period (1573-1615).

Also showing -- and for sale -- are shuki (sake vessels). Be sure to search out pieces by Bizen's Shuroku Harada and Ryuichi Kakurezaki; Kyoto's Kazuo Takiguchi; the flawless celadon of Shinobu Kawase and Sueharu Fukami; and the soothing amber-glazed cups of Chozaemon Ohi X. There will be many others on display for purchase. Congratulations to the JCS on a fine exhibition that also marks its 50th anniversary this year!

Other exhibitions of note to get you started on your ceramic resolution include two shuki exhibitions in Tokyo. One is at the small Ginza gallery Manyodo (Ginza 7-3-13, [03] 3571-5337; closed Sunday), Jan. 15-Feb. 13. Also in Ginza, at Kuroda Toen (Ginza 7-8-6, [03] 3571-3223; closed Monday) is the elegant Raku tea-bowl world of Tomojiro Naoki, Jan. 17-23.

One of Japan's finest contemporary ceramic galleries is Kuroda Toen ([03] 3499-3225) located on Meiji-dori, a short walk from JR Shibuya Station, on the first floor of the Metro Plaza (Shibuya 1-16-14). Their dai-shuki exhibition runs until Jan. 21.

In the lobby of the Hotel New Otani is Kandori, which hosts an exhibition of shuki and yunomi (tea cups) until Jan. 18.

And finally, a double bill. The "Bear of Echizen," Kuroemon Kumano (kuma means "bear"), is exhibiting at Nihonbashi Takashimaya's sixth-floor gallery, Jan. 14-20. Kumano is a powerful potter with a sharp Zen mind. He creates bold expressive forms in a style all his own, which has been dubbed Kuma-Shino. At the same venue, on the eighth floor, is a special presentation of ancient Chinese sansai ("three-color") ware, showing until Jan. 26. (Admission 800 yen.)

Robert Yellin's Web page can be viewed at

The Japan Times: Jan. 14, 2004
(C) All rights reserved

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Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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