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#1550 - Wednesday, September 10, 2003

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  • Know Mystery
    KALACHAKRA Medium and Dimensions: Single strand Persian wool, gold thread, on 18 mesh canvas, 24 3/4 x 13 3/8 Continental stitch in all four directions
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 12, 2003

      Medium and Dimensions:
      Single strand Persian wool, gold thread,
      on 18 mesh canvas, 24 3/4 x 13 3/8"
      Continental stitch in all four directions
      Approximately 107,254 stitches, 1989-91 & '95

      FROM JAN HAAG's NOTES ON KALACHAKRA: "The central design in KALACHAKRA is an adaptation of The All Powerful Ten Symbol associated with the Kalachakra Initiation of Tibetan Buddhism. 

      In 1988 I attended H.E. Chogye Trichen Rimpoche's offering of the Initiation in Bodhnath, Nepal. It was also offered by the Dalai Lama in America in 1989. The Kalachakra is the highest initiation in Tibetan Buddhism. 

      Among other things, The All Powerful Ten Symbol relates to "good fortune," "world peace," and the "relationship of the microcosm to the macrocosm." It uses traditional Tibetan colors. These colors are also used as symbolic "colors of the world" in many other cultures.

      In Sanskrit, each syllable is a mantra. Tibetan writing was derived originally from Devanagari -- the script in which Sanskrit is usually written. The All Powerful Ten Symbol is written in Lentsa, a decorative script in which the syllables, so to speak, have come "half way back" from Tibetan to Sanskrit.

      After about sixteen months of intense work stitching this mantra, I noticed that each of the colored "ribbons" (verticals) IS its syllable: i.e, reading from the right, the blue is Sanskrit "ha" in Devanagari, (it can also be construed as "Ma"); the green, "ksa;" the reds, "ra;" the yellow, "la;" the white, "va;" and the blacks, "ya." Although each syllable is extremely elongated and stylized, its Sanskrit form is still clearly discernable. Each ribbon is a syllable and a mantra. In addition, the entire symbol is a mantra composed of seven letters and the three symbols of sun, moon and flame."  [Republished from janhaag.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]

      [Read more about THE KALACHAKRA at: http://janhaag.com/NP13Kala.html ]


      Jan Haag is an accomplished poet, textile artist, writer and painter. Additionally, Haag's background  includes acting, dancing and directing. As former Director of National Productions Programs for the American Film Institute, she administered the Independent Filmmaker Program, the Academy Internship Programs and founded AFI's Directing Workshop for Women.

      Her original needlepoints have been shown in solo exhibitions in California and most recently at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Her paintings have been sold in galleries, at art festivals and in museum shops. She's written some 2,300 poems, as well as novels, plays and film scripts. A major portion of her work is posted on her website: janhaag.com. Her volunteer work has ranged from teaching English to Thai monks in Auburn to micropaleontology help at the Burke Museum and, at present, help in the University of Washington's greenhouses.   [This brief biographical extract was excerpted from an online feature written by Dawn Gothro of Historical Seattle which originally appeared on the Historical Seattle website: http://www.cityofseattle.net/commnty/histsea/projects/artistprofiles.htm  ]

      Says Haag: "I seem to have an unending desire to turn the world into words. I am after the masterwork, like any artist/poet, but I am also after the truth of "fleeting life," that which happens each day. Spontaneity and Control are the essence of art, but not everything has to be a masterpiece, some minor poetry can inspire greatly. My steadiest passion is to find subjects, texts and teachers who look upon the world as a whole. I feel we must study, know, be interested in and love the whole world, the whole universe, all peoples, plants, rocks, creatures and spy out their interrelationships if we are to survive." [This quotation is excerpted from an online interview "Working on the Human Soul" by Paula Marie Bentley at http://www.sol-magazine.org/   in the Sol Spotlight, July 2002 Issue. See also http://pages.prodigy.net/sol.magazine/onweb.htm#jan02  for a review of Haag's website, janhaag.com: "By Jan Haag, Poetic Forms & More" by Craig Tigerman]

      For more information about Haag's background see:  http://janhaag.com/JHbio.html 

      The main link to Haag's Poetry is  http://janhaag.com/POpoetry.html

      The main link to Haag's Textile Art is: http://janhaag.com/NPtextileart.html 





      #1550 - Wednesday, September 10, 2003 - Editor: Joyce (Know_Mystery)

      [Editor's Note: Today's issue of the NDHighlights features the poetry and textile art of Jan Haag. Presented here are the first 18 poems from Haag's luminous series of 101 poems INSPIRED BY NISARGARDATTA, interspersed with selections of her exquisite needlepoint art. More information on the INSPIRED BY NISARGARDATTA poems is available at janhaag.com/PONis.html . The vivid colors of Haag's textiles are shown to best advantage on her website at  http://janhaag.com/NPtextileart.html . Jan Haag may be contacted by email: jhaag@....edu
      All the poetry and artworks presented in this issue of the NDHighlights are the work of Jan Haag, republished with her permission from her website janhaag.com . All works along with related prose (except where noted) are under individual copyright  by Jan Haag and janhaag.com 2003, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. I am grateful for her generosity in sharing them...  joyce]


      by Jan Haag

      A selection from a Series of 101 Poems and 5 Entr'actes 

      All Chapter Titles (#01 through #101), quotations and page numbers are cited from: "I Am That, Talks with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, " recorded and translated by Maurice Frydman, edited by Sudhakar S. Dikshit, The Acorn Press, Durham, N.C., 1999

      Twenty years ago A.M. gave me a copy of I AM THAT, Sri Nisargadatta's satsangs. It continues to be one of the most important spiritual books to come into my life. It contains my favorite of all sentences in spiritual literature: "The silence after a lifetime of silence and the silence after a lifetime of talking is the same silence."
      Recently, while recommending it to someone, I thought to re-read it. I borrowed a copy from the public library. I still had trouble absorbing it. However, to slow my reading down -- having not long ago edited some books for another spiritual teacher -- I decided to go through it with the same thoroughness I would give to it if I were to edit it. Thus, I have read it at the rate of one chapter a day and, after each day's reading, I have written a poem -- the poem simply came after the reading. Therefore, in whatever way at whatever rate inspiration seeps through, these poems are "inspired" by Nisargadatta.
      I AM THAT turned out to be a popular book at the library. I was not able to renew it. It took some days to decide to buy and find a new copy (I've owned and given it away many times). Thus the poems are divided into sections of eighteen poems -- because it was at poem #18 that the book became due at the library.
      In addition, I have adopted that first enforced pause into the form of this series and have written Entre'acts between each 18 poem section -- poems about whatever ensorceled me at that moment.
      This particular series/ascesis/practice is one more step in the process of educating my soul. Nisargadatta speaks to the Western Soul perhaps more than other Eastern spiritual teachers I have read, because a lot of Westerners asked him a lot of Western question. I have not, so far, come across my favorite sentence again.


      Jan Haag
      Seattle, Washington
      June 15, 2002


       [Republished from janhaag.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED; http://janhaag.com/PONis.html ]



      I CHING


      Medium and Dimensions:
      Double strand Persian wool, gold thread,
       on 12 mesh canvas 14 x 14 1/4" 
      Continental stitch in all four directions, plus bargello in the border 
      Approximately 28,728 stitches, 1975-76

      FROM JAN HAAG'S NOTES ON I CHING: "The design for this pillow was inspired by a traditional layout of the I Ching. The pattern is composed of the sixty-four Kua from this ancient Chinese book of divination -- sometimes called the Book of Changes. Each Kua consists of broken and solid lines in sets of six.

      The pattern begins at the upper left with all broken lines and runs horizontally to the bottom right where all the lines are solid. To the ancient Chinese the Kua represented possibilities in life. The interpretation of these Kua, the sequences of changing lines, etc. often illuminated a course of action..."  [Republished from janhaag.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]

      [Read more about the I CHING needlepoint at: http://janhaag.com/NP01iching.html  ]




      #01 The Sense of 'I am'




      "... the timeless and spaceless possibility of all experience." Nisargadatta, p. 3*


      I don't feel ready to write this.
      I Am is the contemplation --
      like a luminous arrow created
      by the after image of staring
      out the window into the limitless
      blue with clouds which exist no more
      than my illusions, all body-attached.
      But the limitlessness, the blueness --
      ah even the blueness is an illusion
      Only the limitlessness,
      I Am.
      The caw of the crow falls into the void.
      Neti neti, I am neither this nor that.



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#01



      #02 Obsession with the Body




      "... I am nothing but myself..." Nisargadatta, p.4


      I lie in my bed defining nothing
      but myself hearing the wind
      howling its emptiness round my
      eyrie. That is too much content,
      says Nisargadatta, too much, says the wind.
      The sky without the blue,
      the crow without the caw,
      the concept without the thought, the bemusement
      of the "real" --
      Let be!
      Climb on the comfort of warmth, high beyond
      the southern curve's shadow of the Cascades, declining.



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#02



      #03 The Living Present




      "Mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it." Nisargadatta, p.8


      That quote is the kind that turns
      my cynical mind to jelly.
      Yet, maybe I am not
      so far from it: Think of the tears
      that start at a cat's sudden death,
      or a mother's death, no
      matter how old, the mother
      or the daughter. The heart leaps across
      the rationalizing abyss,
      weeps for
      no reason, no discernible reason. All that lives
      must die, even reasonable Hamlet wept between soliloquies.



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#03












      Medium and Dimensions:
      Single strand Persian wool, double strand Appleton wool,
      gold, silver and silk thread, on 18 mesh canvas 
      Continental stitch in all four directions 
      Approximately 67,473 stitches, 424 stitches per square inch 
      17 x 12 1/4", 1991-92 & '95


      "Palimpsest was inspired by a gift from my niece, astronomer Suzanne Hawley. In 1988, she gave me a copy of the unique "South Galatic Pole" photograph by Tony Tyson, saying: "Why don't you make a needlepoint of this, Aunt Jan?"

      She knows I like to encode esoteric messages -- which only the Gods can read or, in this case, astronomers -- into my needlepoints. The "content" of the photograph thrilled me: Most of the silver/white spots seen here (in the blue) are not "our" stars. They are other galaxies as seen through a "hole" in our galaxy near the South Galatic Pole."   [Republished from janhaag.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]

      [Read more about the PALIMPSEST needlepoint at: http://janhaag.com/NP17sog.html  ]



























                                                #04 Real World is Beyond the Mind




      "The desirable is imagined and wanted and manifests..." Nisargadatta, p. 10


      "...you cannot find out why a thing
      is as it is." Nor
      can you stop your need,
      self-obstruction, satiety, greed; nor your joy, nor your
      laughter in inappropriate places. The funny bone's
      -- the humerus's medial epicondyle's -- tingling prevades
      the universe and is as real,
      more real, than the persistent radioactivity of
      Hiroshima even now.
      The ionospheric
      ions are permeable. "A thing is as it
      is, because the universe is as it is."



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#04


      #05 What is Born must Die



      "There is no simpler and easier way..." Nisargadatta, p. 13


      Incapable of knowing the truth, even if
      the spider-lady, inventor of alphabets,
      came up, nibbled the grain
      at the tip of your tongue, crawled into
      your throat, spun her web on your
      glottis, snapped your life with her black-widowish
      hunger. Even then, what is it
      this truth means? Will you look under rocks
      for rattlers? Snakes
      of coral?
      Truly, the choice is not simple, the way
      is not easy. And why should it be?



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#05


      #06 Meditation




      "Pure sattva (harmony) is perfect freedom from sloth and restlessness." Nisargadatta, p. 14


      James, growing up on Seattle's Sunnyside, once
      said: "I know no one
      with a richer inner life
      than you." I didn't know what he meant.
      I knew I was shy, withdrawn, self-conscious,
      consciously, continuously examining the contents of consciousness,
      my own and stymied by trying
      to discern the (even probable) consciousness of others.
      I toiled in perpetual
      semi-darkness like
      the Lescaux Cave painters. Nisargadatta says: bringing-to-consciousness is
      dissolution, a release of energy, is itself a meditation.



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#06



      Medium and Dimensions:
      Single strand Persian wool, gold thread,
      on 16 mesh canvas,17 1/4 x 17 1/2"
      Continental stitch in all four directions
      Approximately 77,280 stitches, 1987-88


      "Begun in Austin, Texas, this design was inspired by a Tibetan Kundalini diagram. "Kundalini" is a word Hindus and Buddhists use to describe a spiritual/meditation energy which rises up the spine.

      Scattered across its surface is the Sanskrit OM.

      In the fall of 1987, I walked down California's Salinas Valley from Carmel to Cambria. While resting under trees and in the gardens of the San Antonio Mission, I stitched the outside borders of this needlepoint, as described in my story, MISSION WALK, published in "Travelers' Tales, A Woman's World." http://janhaag.com/TRmiss.html

      The center section was completed in Korea (1987) during the three months winter meditation (Kyol Che) at Su Dok Sa, a Buddhist monastery near Seoul. Su Dok Sa, the oldest temple of which was originally founded in the ninth century, is on a mountain which it shares with thirteen other nunneries and monasteries."  [Republished from janhaag.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]

      [Read more about the ASIAN DIARY #1, KUNDALINI needlepoint at: http://janhaag.com/NP10asia.html  ]





                                                                   #07 The Mind




      "...in my world nothing ever goes wrong." Nisargadatta, p. 18


      Nisargadatta and I have Total Trust.
      He always, me intermittently. When
      the poltergiests stop playing, when
      Peter's First Principle vacations, from time to time.
      I trust that my memory will come
      back as I stand in the middle
      of my life with my hands
      full of shit, diamonds, and doodads wondering where
      I meant to put
      them. Memory
      has always returned before, no doubt it will
      again and I'd like my hands free to be.



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#07


      #08 The Self Stands Beyond Mind




      "...keep quietly alert, enquiring into the real nature of yourself." Nisargadatta, p. 22


      Just myself and the floating snowflakes,
      the crackles of heat and melt,
      steadily studying confusion, listening quietly
      to the silence, tapping in a picture here
      and there, mirroring my mind in the computer's
      mirror which mirrors the trees, the light,
      the massive vertical beam, the light
      cross of the window's sash, the blank white
      light of the day,
      the white
      of the walls, the blankness of being, rise
      and fall of breath, everything leads to undisturbed contemplation.



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#08







                                                         #09 Responses of Memory




      "I have eaten up the world and I need not think of it any more." Nisargadatta, p. 24


      So let digestion begin. I wonder
      what Nisargadatta means by that? Jaded,
      like me? With everything? Done
      it all? Has he consumed enough to simply
      gestate until eternity comes to meet him face
      to face? Once eaten, the world is
      forgotten. Digested, it is inevitably absorbed,
      yet contributes, just as inevitably, to internal noruishment
      and external activity, an
      aid to, the life
      blood of the body. I, God, pump red
      blood; man's karma must watch itself in God's mirror.



      Republished from janhaag.com, http://janhaag.com/PONis.html#09








                                   ASIAN DIARY #2


      Medium and Dimensions:
      Single strand Persian wool on 16 mesh canvas,
      14 5/8 x 16 1/8" 
      Continental stitch in all four directions 
      Approximately 60,372 stitches, 1988-89


      "I started the second Asian Diary while flying from Seoul to Hong Kong in March, 1988. When I left Korea, I had only two colors of yarn in any quantity: maroon and orange. One cannot buy Persian wool in East Asia, so I had no choice but to use those colors. I thought I would be traveling for a long time, and it had not yet occured to me to mix various kinds of yarns and threads.

      The outermost, small, light and dark blue diamond border was put in on the plane from Seoul and in Hong Kong. Then I floated a few OMs along the top and along the bottom. The blue border patterns at top and bottom, under the OMs, were inspired by the beamed ceiling in the Chinese house in which I stayed in Macau with a friend, Ken Ingerson, a Ba'hai and cellist, the only Caucasion member of the Maucau Symphony Orchestra. He, his cello and I zipped around on his motorcycle along the semi-colonial, semi-Chinese, fabulously overgrown, multi-gardened streets and roads.

      I had celebrated Buddha's birthday in Korea, but the Chinese have a slightly different calendar, so I celebrated it again in Macau -- an amazing old, more or less, Portugese city, which was about to revert to the Chinese after Hong Kong. Then, from Hong Kong, I flew to Thailand and put in more of the border stitches at Ban Chiang, where pottery -- perhaps some of the oldest on earth -- has been found. I had first seen Ban Chiang pottery at the Burke Museum at the University of Washington and could not shake the strong attraction I immediately felt for it."  [Republished from janhaag.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED]

      [Read more about the ASIAN DIARY #2 needlepoint at: http://janhaag.com/NP11asian-2.html ]







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