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#1574 ~ Friday, October 3, 2003

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  • Gloria Lee
    #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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 4, 2003
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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, www.shambhala.com.

      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 ~
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      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
      to listen, click this sucker: www.panhala.net/alan_watts_blues.wma
      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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