Sayings from Confucius

Monday, April 5, 2021

Liberty, good governance

“Your room’s not going to clean itself”. When we have privileges taken away when we are younger from parents showing us good governance, when we’re older and become successful, we learn to govern ourselves well or we either wind up in jail or the hospital. I’m thinking of Johnny Knoxville or any of the mafia leading lives of excess. 

Here in Canada we have to wear a helmet for riding a motorcycle, electric scooter in whatever province or territory. In Canada we have an entire government ministry devoted to getting the facts on climate affects by region and industry, water quality and fish and also vehicle safety; things like fatalities and injuries prevented by whatever the invention per vehicle, (helmets, airbags, a better designed steering wheel). These things also help the government to set standards for what must be the minimum requirements to have in a helmet. 
We Canadians like having our government study, prove and tell industry “this is the least you will do for people and no less”. 
Vampire prevention.
The proud preying upon a population prevented.

With an increasing number of people on wellfare or financial assistance instead of companies paying their workers more we have companies replacing their farm workers with robots instead. 
Anything to not pay more? In Canada our country assists. The American President FDR made sure a certain number of workers were hired to do a job. In some cities there is a required number of people to do repairs to the cities infrastructure. No less. The least the city will do but what of workers who don’t work for the city? Robots instead of better pay? Thousands, millions becoming unemployed replaced by a person with a tablet watching the data accumulated on the harvest.
The government doesn’t tell us how to run our businesses nor how to make cars but it does tell us the definition of a motorcycle helmet. It has told car manufacturers to improve airbags to prevent injuries earlier ones were casing. Good government, we in Canada believe in that. 
It tells companies how much to pay workers. 
Cities have rules for how many hired to do a job. Several working together. There must be at least 5 people hired and paid no less than X to _____. 
Companies need to be told too.  

Monasteries are self sufficient. They are different from companies employing thousands of people who ensure a thriving economy of businesses the employees support on their weekends and days off.
The Franciscans are devoted to service in farms and cities. Food and clothing for the poor. The least someone can do for those on welfare or worse.  

In Romania there was a man called Vlad of Romania who lived in Castle Bran who grew up into a man who put people on spikes along the road leading to his castle. 
Eventually the townspeople called in the priests and had him taken in so the story goes. Back then there were no police.

Around the same time in a monastery beside the Rhine River there was an Abbess named Hildegard von Bingen. She wrote books and songs. 
She also wrote letters to a wild partying Prince who was on a collision course with becoming inconsiderate to the farmers and tradespeople. She wrote to get him to see how he would be respected by the people for ensuring people lived well. 
An early form of vampire prevention. 
Good governance to ensure the economy grows instead of cheap fruit in our bread that is produced by 2 or 3 workers managing robots and machines.

We need these things even today. For our leaders to tell company owners so we and our neighbours may be employed with a wage we can live on. 
It’s the least the government can do. It’s the least company owners can do. 

The heroes of our day are the company owners who pay enough to go to football games and eat well. Money for us to be free to choose what to do with without influence.  
Paid with enough money to go to restaurants and pubs? That’s called building an economy. 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Psalm 119 and the Way of Tea

To end the winter well this Easter I thought of my time in Asia visiting different Zen and Seon Buddhist Temples in South Korea and Japan. I also thought of my time in a Catholic Monastery in the United States. I’ve been happily reminiscing about my inwardly formative times there. And, this being COVID-19 time with plenty of lockdown times, starts and stops I thought living monastically somewhat in schedule and structure would be fun to return to lifestyle wise. I’ve never been a full monk but enjoy the causal practice of striving to maintain a “drink when you are thirsty” type of generally once or twice a day or luxuriating in prayer more than twice a day on weekends. To make use of this time in building myself up spiritually, to be a better listener and better person. 
Thus, to get back into spiritual shape I have brought back an old monastic practice of mine. It is something I started doing back in my Bacchelors degree days when I was studying monasticism in the midst of a degree in Literature and more earnestly after spending some time in a monastery. It’s called Lectio which is prayerful reading and it often works best with the shortest of passages to deepen oneself spiritually and emotionally. I’ll describe the mechanics of it in more detail later. 
For today’s Lectio I found via the online daily monastic prayer site I use called Universalis. It’s the kind of several times daily prayer that the Roman Catholic Church uses for mostly priests, nuns, monks and those monastically inclined like myself.  I don’t pray quite so often but pray on occasion as a means of becoming edified or spiritually strengthened as one would a wall or a good pair of shoes. 
Today’s quote that struck me for Lectio was from Afternoon Prayer. None/Afternoon Prayer for March 27. It comes from Psalm 118/119. 118 is the Latin, 119 is from the New Revised Standard Version though most English Bibles would have it as 119.  I was struck by line 37. Lectio is reading but listening to yourself for something that speaks to you as useful in an area that needs improvement. Much like how Mike Holmes on the TV Home Repair show looks for areas in a house that are in need of improvement. As I say, don’t attack your bible but use it as building material. An edification can refer to a building. Edifying is being spiritually strengthened or improved like edifying music. Suffice to say, my heart quickened at line 37:
37Avérte óculos meos, ne vídeant vanitátem;*
  in via tua vivífica me.
Turn my eyes away from frivolous things:
  let me live by following your path.

"Frivolous things" struck me as how humour can be spiritually edifying, can bring us together, build us up morally and spiritually it can be inclusive. However frivolous humour is a different and less considerate one and can be destructive and hurtful causing us to “lose our brother” in the words of the Desert Fathers; the early Christian monks of Egypt. 

Frivolous things I say flippantly make me quickly wish I wasn’t so quick to speak and wish for a decent editor. Turning my eyes, to disregard and focus on the good; not editing my brother but trying to be positive in suggesting positive alternatives instead of merely saying Thou Shall Not / No / Don’t etc.
"Turn my eyes from the things I cannot change" as St.Ignatius says. A good answer to the flippant : "meh" and give little regard to. 

The second part of Lectio is for me to contemplate and apply these thoughts and words :
1) for what I have done or failed to do to feel compunction or grieve for my past less wise self. This grief is part of moving myself like a moving movie would be; inspiring. 
2) contemplating now, silence, slowness the moment of an absence of frivolity; a down to earth weighty earnestness and this is the meditation part of Lectio. 
3)Future focused I now apply line or verse 37.5. (Yes, Lectio, can be taken word by word or even a simple expression can be fruit for spiritual growth.

37.5 in the Latin confused me. I have a thing for finding opposites or antonyms for Gothic Necro cutlture. The opposite of dead or trying to paste up your face pale to look deathly sick or morbid. Vivifying : bringing life to.

Part of Lectio is sometimes looking up words. Vivifica. Hmmm. As its Latin I started by looking up different translations, I started by doing Psalm readings and comparing them.

37 Turn away my eyes that they may not behold vanity: quicken me in thy way.

I got from a parallel English Latin Psalter (on Psalm prayer book) from
Quicken me; to speed up.
I found some sources that listed Vivifica as a woman’s name from which Vivian and other names were derived from. 
Then I turned to one of my favorite tactics, studying parts of a word and its history using an etymological dictionary. Etymology is the history of words. It gives a sense of where words came from, how they evolved into the words and meanings we have now. Many words have a prefix and a suffix we might not be aware of. Often I’m not so aware and I _love_ history! So I looked up invigorate on and got this :

In + vigor+ate from the French Envigorer 1610  

So I looked up vigor : 1300s "Physical strength, energy in an activity" from Old French vigor "force, strength". Latin vigorem/vigor liveliness, activity, force.

What struck me here was the last line : from PIE root *weg- "to be strong, lively." 
Looking up Weg I got: 

Weg: Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to be strong, lively". and that it forms all or part of the words awake; bewitch; bivouac; invigilate; reveille; surveillance; vigil; vigilant; vigilante; vigor; waft; wait; wake (v.) "emerge or arise from sleep;" waken; watch; Wicca; wicked; witch.  

The hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by the Sanskrit vajah "force, strength," vajayati "drives on;" Latin vigil "watchful, awake," vigere "be lively, thrive," velox "fast lively," vegere "to enliven," vigor "liveliness activity;" Old English wacan "to become awake," German wachen "to be awake," Gothic wakan "to watch." 

After all this intellectual reading I contemplated. Part of Lectio is finding connections to what we already know, what is a part of ourselves and applying what we’ve just learned to ourselves. Bite sized pieces of knowledge because they are more easy to apply to ourselves. 

Vivifica mei : invigorate me, enliven me, life-force, strengthen me. The Latin coming from the French back to possibly Sanskrit Or Old English wacan to become awake and even part of the word bivouac.  

Bivouac reminded me of American author Henry David Thoreau writing of why he went into the woods to live, a quote mentioned in the movie “Dead Poets Society” with Robin Williams. In his work Thoreau writes of how we can, in living monastically we can learn and grow more and become more enlivened. He says ‘in inventing the bivouac’ Napoleon was able to conquer Europe. 
Bivouac was from the Italian and German meaning to stay up late and watch but to the French it meant leaving your pack and equipment behind in order to go forward or camp out elsewhere further forward, to be alert like a soldier in the early morning. When I was in a Buddhist Temple in Korea the monks had green tea or barley tea available for us just before morning meditation which was before breakfast to invigorate us enough to stay awake in our meditation. Like the second part of 119:37 or 119: 37.25 “In via tua vivifica me”: In your way enliven me.  

37Avérte óculos meos, ne vídeant vanitátem;*
  in via tua vivífica me.
Turn my eyes away from frivolous things:
  let me live by following your path.

 Like following a path to a bivouac : a camp with no tents or equipment, where monks keep vigil. A monastic park in a way. We can do that for even a weekend to a temple or a monastery. Path like the Chinese word do for Daoist, a way a way of the ninja, samurai or in China Korea or Japan a way of tea.
In solitary meditation in via/ in your path/ vivifica me / enliven me that I may not grow drowsy but instead alert like the Gothic word wakan to watch. To not regard vain or frivolous things but be more down to earth. To live by meeting others over tea, away frivolous things ! We will be earnest and speak frankly with each other.  Chado the way of tea. 
Later I’ll post some of my writings on different ways of staying alert during meditation without the use of caffeine, that require internal work only from the Manual of Meditation I’ve been working on.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Zen Christian : Opening the Seal on The Shoyeido Calendar of 2021

Recently I acquired one of my favorite calendars from one of the oldest incense stores in Kyoto. They produce the zen scroll calendars in Japan with each month’s scroll written in brush stroke by each a different temple monks selected from around Japan. This is the year of the metal ox according to Chinese astrology and the calendar’s cover page is a charcoal drawing of a man riding an ox while calmly playing the flute. 
This makes me think of how, in the lead up to the feast of Christmas Joseph must have felt finding Mary suddenly pregnant. Joseph was free to choose among many options then, yet, decided to stay and help out and see where things would lead.
The world, fate or, really all things external to us are the ox. Sometimes heavy issues can be like lead heavy metal and Joseph riding atop it all gracefully like playing a flute in the midst of it all. Bad ass heavy metal quiet toughness with a more gentle style of music while all around, a crowded city with no accommodations for the influx of people all trying to find a place, people sleeping wherever they can and in the midst of it all a newborn crying and opening his eyes for the first time.
Music to calm a storm. “The ox and lamb kept time”.

The Shoyeido calendar always contains an extra month; the December of the previous year. This months’ scroll tells us that truth is not in vain. It is what sets us free from captivity; a means of finding an off ramp to get out of the ring circus should we, as many do, find ourselves trapped up riding the beast like an ox.  It can also be a means of intimacy, asking another person for help when faced with a great challenge. And Joseph was there even when he found out from someone else something went on with Mary and someone else.
They must’ve communicated quite well after each other’s different finding out the news of a child “to be born”.

眞実: Truly Genuine
Zhen Shi
不虚 Not in vain
Bu Shui

Later I’ll interpret the writing on the left column on the scroll. It contains a sort of  Lord of the Rings reference that is shown in one of the movies.
Until then be well and keep warm this winter season of Dec.2020.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

As the leaves consider changing colours soon

 In waiting for a new apartment I wrote a few pensive poems noticing the tree leaves growing darker in preparation for the autumn display. I found a new apartment and job so things are going quite well indeed.

black rusting coal train

old grain seed farmer sows out

between tracks grass grows

sweater warm thick socks

green leaves shiver convoy of clouds

evening beef broth tea on

"Hot day yesterday"

sun droops between clouds

lime to em'rald trees

rain on dark green trees

lines on faded jeans

mid-July hints at fall colours

It seems I'm quite fascinated by the idea of a stopped lead heavy steam engine and its contrast with the slow growing gentleness of nature; an idea I will explore further with regards to Steampunk style.

I plan on incorporating food into my haiku more as well.

Friday, September 20, 2019

ATAT and Us All

Untitled as yet. Posted on my FB earlier too. See under : 
Giant ATAT
blazing away at a gnat sized Luke.
Force the battery away?
The problem was the giant anger in the driver
wait till spent,
the ATAT was set at rest.
Jedi, they wait
like us all
in the rain
beneath the mighty. --MWT. fin 11:40pm 2019-09-20.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Back in the 1980s David McCann, now a professor of linguistics at Harvard University began his studies into the Korean Sijo poetic form.  While similar to a haiku, a sijo poem is slightly more complicated. In his article found here on JSTOR, he outlines the structure in full.

The Structure of the Korean Sijo by David R.McCann

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Latest Calligraphy Designs

Here are my latest designs. One is a clay stamp. I can make custom Chinese chatacter stamps for any name English or otherwise.