Tag Archives: Moon

Review: Taoteching by Lao Tzu (translation by Red Pine)


Lao-tzu's TaotechingLao-tzu’s Taoteching by Lao Tzu

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This translation by Red Pine – Bill Porter – of the Tao Te Ching in 2009 is among the best available.
It is a revised version of the edition published in 1996.

Both versions start with:

The way that becomes a way
Is not the immortal Way

A footnote states that Tao originally meant “Moon”. This may well be the Moon as pointer to the All-encompassing One, wherein this Moon and pointer are fully encompassed as waves in the ocean.

Also highly recommended are the translations by:
– Ellen M. Chen – with different interpretations for several verses
– Jonathan Star – also including an interpretation per Chinese character

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Review: One Robe, One Bowl – The Zen Poetry of Ryokan, translated and introduced by John Stevens


One Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of RyokanOne Robe, One Bowl: The Zen Poetry of Ryokan by John Stevens

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This translation and introduction by John Stevens is highly recommended for its beauty. It is also a marvellous introduction to the way of living of the Japanese hermit-monk Ryokan

One example: after returning to his small hut – metaphor for clinging to his earthly ego? – Ryokan noticed that all was gone, he composed the haiku:

The thief left behind
the moon
At the window.

Another translation of this haiku:

The thief leaves behind,
the ever changeful Moon
at the firmament

Moon is often used to refer to Tao; it also indicates the firm belief of Ryokan.

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Final word in biography of Narrator


Narrator told me the story of his life told in several parts. In his narratives facts, fiction and faction are intertwined, as in everyday life the separation of the air and earth is artificial [1].

During the narration of the prelude to his life I understood that Narrator’s stories are focused on an universal truth that precedes and goes beyond our existence. This truth is based upon a rhythm wherefrom we originate. This rhythm is rolling through his life in various interwoven cycles.

The first cycle in his life story consists of the four incarnations that Narrator mentioned as interpretation for his life. These four incarnations in the life of the Narrator reminded me of the four seasons [2]. The second cycle in Narrator’s life is the rhythm of vanity, action and consequences [3]. The third cycle is the Northern cycle in which Narrator is incentive and spiritual charioteer for enlightenment and home coming of his American beloved. The fourth cycle is the rhythm of trust and betrayal in Narrator’s life together with Raven and Fox in the mirror world inhabited by the secret services of many countries [4]. And always the cycle of the Moon and the starry sky is the steadfast mate in Narrator’s life. I leave the search for the other cycles in the life of the Narrator to the reader.

It is an honour and a joy to be with Narrator and Carla Drift on the search of “Who are you”. On this Odyssey, Narrator is my beacon and spiritual charioteer, for example at my study Sanskrit – the language of the Gods in the world of men –, when studying Buddhist texts and when reading the works of Rumi.

[1] See also: Quammen, David, Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2012, p. 219 – 234. In this popular scientific book a study is made on the interaction and life game – sometimes with far fetching consequences – between higher and lower organisms. During this interaction and life game the division between earth and air is artificial; for example in the description of Q-fever that moved by the wind in Noord Brabant in the Netherlands.

spillover[2] See also: The film “Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring” directed by: Kim Ki-Duk. This film gives possibly an interpretation to the crimes by Narrator as child soldier in Africa. The youngster in the film committed several crimes as child in naivety, and as adolescent in a zest for life whereby he must endure the consequences during the rest of his life.

Spring[3] See also: The film “Why has Bodhi-Dharma left to the East?” by: Bae Yong-Kyun. This film provides insight into this cycle of vanity, action and consequences, perhaps because a boy inflicts – in an idle urge – a fatal wound to one bird of bird couple. In vain the boy tries to keep the bird alive. The living bird of the couple continues to haunt the boy and gives him a first insight in the fleeting nature of life and death, interconnectedness, passions, sin and fear.

why-did-bodhi-dharma-leave-for-the-east[4] See also: Le Carré, John,  The Quest for Karla. New York: Knopf, 1982; and see also: Deighton, Len, The Bernie Samson series. published between 1983 and 1996.

The manuscript for the biography of Narrator is available for download at:

http://www.omnia-amsterdam.int/site-page/manuscripts

Narrator – On foot through France 3


Via the GR 5 in France I walked from the Jura to the Vosges. This area was more populated and I found less easily a place to sleep. On a rainy evening at twilight I was only welcome when I paid for my overnight stay. My stories and my kindness were not enough. I had no more money and after a few kilometres walk I found a place to sleep in the open air. Covered in plastic I spent the night vigilant. The next morning I was clammy and benumbed. After an hour walk I was warm again.

In the Vosges there were sufficient opportunities to spent the night in the wild. It was beautiful weather. At night the moon and the starry sky gave me comfort. During the day I enjoyed the beautiful view. At a few places I could almost oversee my whole way from the snowy Alps.

[1]

During my walk on the mountain peaks of the Vosges I met new ghosts. A century ago this chain of peaks formed the border between Alsace in Germany and Lorraine in France. The road – Route des Crêtes – was built by the French army during the First World War [2]. The road is situated on the French side of the chain, so the road was less vulnerable for the German guns. The ghosts of the victims during these many wars between France and Germany accompanied me to the Luxembourg border. On this part they were my companions. I promised that my breath would be their breath as long as I lived just as my breath was already the breath of the villagers. Once I hoped to arrive home together with them all.

[3]

The path on the mountain peaks was congested; I got help and support of many people. In the valleys I felt less at home. By cover in the valleys I could not see the road; I felt trapped. I wanted to keep an eye on the road. Without sight on the heaven and earth, the ghosts of the villagers and of the fallen soldiers came before my eyes [4]. Only much later could I could unite heaven and earth; afterwards I had no more difficulty to fall asleep anywhere – even within walls and in valleys.

[5]

With a companion in the North of France I made a small detour to the Maginot line [6]. We saw the remnants at Michelsberg [7] and Hackenberg [8]. We were surprised how a society could feel safe and sheltered behind this dark burrows in the ground filled with terror for the society on the other side. With my eyes on the road, unity had many faces, and two had no duality. The Maginot line – as part of the many wars between France and Germany – fell beyond my comprehension.

[9]

At Schengen I illegally entered the other world of Luxembourg. Later the treaty for free movement of people in a part of Europe was agreed upon at this place. After such a huge detour with so much suffering and madness of everyday life, unity could finally be restored. It remains curious that a Treaty on paper is needed for a unit that is for my mother as natural as breathing, moving eyes, hands, and moving legs for walking; unity with many faces and two without duality.

[10]

Much later – on the 12th of October 2012 – the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the European Union, because the European Union and its predecessors had contributed to peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe for more than sixty years. So much effort for a contribution that is as natural as breathing.

In Luxembourg, I entered a fairy-tale troll country.


[1] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Col_du_Grand_Ballon.jpg

[2] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_des_Cr%C3%AAtes

[3] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rothenbachkopf_nord.jpg

[4] See also: Cleary, Thomas, Book of Serenity – One Hundred Zen Dialogues. Bosten: Shambhala, 1998 p. 70.

[5] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Vosges_val_munster.jpg

[6] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maginotlinie

[7] See also: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouvrage_du_Michelsberg

[8] See also: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ouvrage_du_Hackenberg

[9] Source image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ouvrage_du_Michelsberg

[10] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schengen_(Luxemburg)

Narrator – On foot through France 2


On my hike through France, I met many people. I stood out by my dark skin; there were no other Maasai/Indian walkers on our way. In the Jura, people were dismissive at first sight: I was strange, unknown and obscure. But almost all fellow walkers thawed by my smile and with a friendly greeting in the French language. The farmers were more suspicious. This is understandable because they had to defend their homes against a dark unknown stranger.

[1]

Eventually I met much hospitality on the road. With two fellow travellers I walked several days to the North. We saw several cairns as guardians along our path. At one cairn we decided to have our lunch. One of my companions wondered how many people had placed stones here. The other asked where the people were now. I replied: “In any case we are here”. Then we had to laugh. While I drank water, I was wondering where all the sages of the past remained. Suddenly I felt clearly that we were directly connected with the people who had piled stones here and with all sages from the past [2]. We lived our life directly in the footsteps of the others.

[3]

The next night I dreamed the dream that I regularly dreamed after the fire in the forest during the night where my fellow militia members and I had massacred a village. In this dream the flames came toward me together with the ghosts of the villagers. They started to engulf me. My skin was already blackened by the flames and I began to lose myself in the ghosts of the villagers.

[4]

At the moment they were threatening to devour me, I awoke; I was all sweaty and I breathed heavily. When I opened my eyes, I saw the Moon and the starry sky as reassurance. The night sky slowly brought me back to life as in the Maasai myth the god Engaï brought the Moon to life each night [5].

[6]

The night after the cairn, that dream proceeded in the same way, but the moment I woke up terrified, the sky was completely cloudy. The moon and the stars could not offer me any consolation. Everything was pitch dark and I heard only a quick loud painful breathing; my chest moved violently. Terrified I asked myself: “What breath is there? [7]”. First I thought that the breath of the ghosts of the villagers had come back to life inside me. Therefor I dared not stop panting because, I was afraid that my breath would be carried away with the spirits when they disappeared in the dark.

Slowly my breath calmed down and I came to rest. In the darkness I promised the dead villagers that from now on my breath was their breath. I promised that my breath – as long as I lived – would be a temporal home for them. Once I hoped to arrive home together with them. After this, the dream returned less often.

I was on my way to Amsterdam – my new home for the time being.


[1] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Maison_typique_du_Jura_2.jpg

[2] See also koan “Attendant Huo passes tea” in: Cleary, Thomas, Book of Serenity – One Hundred Zen Dialogues. Bosten: Shambhala, 1998 p. 60 – 62

[3] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steenmannetje

[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wildfire

[5] Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masa%C3%AF_(volk)

[6] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_sterrennacht

[7] This is the last question in the koan “Yunmen’s two sicknesses”. See: Cleary, Thomas, Book of Serenity – One Hundred Zen Dialogues. Bosten: Shambhala, 1998 p. 46 – 50. See also: Maezumi, Hakuyu Taizan, The hazy moon of enlightenment. Somersville: Wisdom Publications, 2007 p. 21 – 27

Narrator – Away from Rome


In Rome I had recovered the heaven on earth from my childhood. That autumn and winter I was totally absorbed in this city. However, the following spring I left this heaven on earth. Looking back on my life, it would have been better if I had stayed in Rome.

Much later in books I read an explanation for my departure: “When the light doesn’t  penetrate completely, there are two kinds of sickness. One sickness is when not everything is clear and there is still something in front of you to achieve. The second sickness is when you live in heaven and your clinging to heaven is not forgotten. Even completely in heaven, the question remains: “What breath is there?” – this too is sickness [1]”.

Although I was perfectly happy in Rome, I still suffered on both forms of sickness. I imagined myself in heaven, but my existence was still not clear. Also the command of my mother to start a new life in the city of Amsterdam was looming in my heart. And my craving for happiness subsisted in Rome. The healing of the sickness caused by the question “What breath is there?” began during our Odyssey “Who are you”.

[2]

In early spring, I gave substance to the command of my mother to start a new life in the city of Amsterdam where men may love men. I left my heaven on earth.

I started my foot trip from Rome to Amsterdam with a small backpack and some money for food. In Italy, I visited the cities of Siena [3] and Florence [4] where I enjoyed the museums and the beautiful buildings. In both cities, I stayed a short time with lovers; my exotic appearance wafted through these cities. After more than two months walking, I reached Northern Italy. Here I left behind the golden glow of my half year in Italy.

At my arrival in Aosta, the weather was inclement and the mountains were threatening in the distance. I could find no place to sleep. I watched the whole night under a cloudy sky with lots of rain.

[5]

The next day the weather brightened and I dried myself in the sun. I walked through the Aosta Valley via Courmayeur [6] to the entrance of the Mont Blanc tunnel. For the first time I saw a white snowy mountain range. I had never seen such a wonderful bright world. This enchanting world was the antitype of my origin and my existence until now.

[7]

By truck I was smuggled via the Mont Blanc tunnel to France; this caused no problems. I dared not to cross the border with my travel documents, because my visa was only valid for the Netherlands.

In Chamonix just over the French border, the tops of the mountains looked like the teeth of a monster. This was not my world. With the train I left the Valley of Chamonix.

[8]

In France I followed the GR 5 hiking trail to the North.


[1] This is a shortened and very free rendering of the koan: “Yunmen’s two sicknesses”. See: Cleary, Thomas, Book of Serenity – One Hundred Zen Dialogues. Bosten: Shambhala, 1998 p. 46 – 50. See also: Maezumi, Hakuyu Taizan, The hazy moon of enlightenment. Somersville: Wisdom Publications, 2007 p. 21 – 27

[2] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rome_(stad)

[3] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siena

[4] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence

[5] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aosta

[6] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courmayeur

[7] Source image: Photo by Matthieu Riegler via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mont_Blanc_depuis_Valmorel.jpg

[8] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chamonix-Mont-Blanc

Narrator – away from home


Like my father, I travelled from my mother country to another continent to have a better life. I didn’t want to wander around Europe but I decided to live in Amsterdam – a city where men may love men. Finally this intention worked out exactly reversed.

Via the parents of Arjen – named Arjuna by me – I received documents and a visa for the Netherlands. I left my name Kṛṣṇa behind in Kenya. In this way I hoped to leave behind the dark pages in my life in which I lived with the hungry ghosts in hell. This was not successful: in my dreams and in my stories these pages returned for a long time.

[1]

In my passport I have listed as first name Narrator [2]; like my father I wished to have the role of storyteller in life’s story for the audience. As a tribute to my father, I provided the surname Nārāyana [3].

At the end of the school year I resigned as indwelling teacher at the school. I said goodbye to Arjen and his parents and I thanked them for all the help. One of the teachers at school introduced me to a driver who regularly travelled via Nakuru and Lodwar to Jūbā in South Sudan. The driver made contact with a colleague who drove to Khartoum – the capital of Sudan [4]. In Khartoum I could travel to Wadi Halfa, just before the border with Egypt.

My experience and instinct as a soldier were helpful at a roadblock. With yet another bend to go, the driver noticed a checkpoint in the distance just before a town. The driver could not justify my presence. In the bend I could slip out of the truck. Via a detour through the scrub I entered the town. There I met the driver again to continue our travel.

At Wadi Halfa I could start as indwelling servant on a tourist boat on Lake Victoria. This boat travelled to the North. At Abu Simbil I visited the Temple of Ramses II. Here I saw images of rulers from lost times who were venerated as idols in their hubris. On my trip along the Nile I noticed more forms of pride – as dust particles in the universe. At school I learned the first commandment according to the Catholic format from the sisters: “Thou shalt not worship idols, but worship only Me and above all love me”. This “Me” always remained for me the starry Night and the Moon. These images of idols were no match for the sight of the night sky at new moon.

[5]

In Egypt I travelled the Nile with different boats. On the way I saw several pyramids at a distance – for me pointers to the starry Night and the Moon.

[6]

I could pass the Nile delta by boat to Alexandria. In the library of Alexandria, I read all the stories of Scheherazade – the narrator of the stories from “Thousand and one Night”. Every night she came back to life like the Moon was brought to life by the God Engaï [7] in the Maasai myth.

From Alexandria I left Africa. As my father never returned to India, I never came back in Africa. My mother was not able to come to Amsterdam, because she could not leave her herd. I dared not to ask my father, because I was afraid that he would never go back to my mother: I could not inflict that on her.


[1] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hel_(mythologie)

[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrator

[3] Nārāyana means in Sanskrit: “”Son of the original man”. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[4] In Sanskrit “Su” means amongst others “supreme, good, excellent, beautiful, easy” and “Dān” means “to be, making straight.

[5] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aboe_Simbel

[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza

[7] According to a Maasai myth the God Engaï gives cattle to the people and he brings people to life after their death and each day he lets the Moon die. After a sin wherein an opponent was desired death, Engaï lets people die and each night he brought the Moon to life. Source:  http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masa%C3%AF_(volk)

Narrator – my origin


Unimaginably long ago I arose from the sound of falling rain in the blowing wind and the clattering of tumbling pebbles. With the rain the rhythm was created, by the wind my voice arose and with the tumbling pebbles the applause started. Stories emerged from the rhythm and the wind. Esteem started by the applause with the urge to seek the attention again and again.

My entire life I tell stories about life and death, about wars, greed, courage and loyalty, about love, revenge, honour, glory and wrath, icy wrath that brought countless horrors.

Since I was saved by Carla Drift from a dream in which I almost slipped to another world, I tell stories for improving discussions and insights on the interfaces between philosophy, literature and religion. Thus, I hope to contribute to a better world, peace and happiness for everyone and everything. This is the summary of the biography of my life.

In this summary my first remembrance is missing in which I heard my father singing in a language from the country from where he had left to Africa. This song sounds so familiar as if I already knew it  from the beginning of time. My father has told me that this chant is called the īśāvāsya [1] upaniṣad or the Isha Upanishad [2] in his country of origin. When I was four years old, my father taught me the text while I sat beside him [3].

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते॥
ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः॥

Ôm, Purnamadah Purnamidam Purnat Purnamudachyate;
Purnasya Purnamadaya Purnameva Vashishyate.
Ôm shanti, shanti, shanti

Ôm, that is overall. This is overall. Overall comes from overall.

Take overall from overall and thus remains overall.

Ôm peace, peace, peace.

The chant of the  īśāvāsya upaniṣad can be listened via an annex to this post on the website of the publisher: http://www.omnia-amsterdam.com [4].

My father is dark as the night. He was born and raised in a poor southern part of India. At school he fluently learned Sanskrit: the language of the Gods in the world of women/men. All my grandparents and grand-grandparents spoke this language. As a young adult man my father travelled to Kenya in Africa to wander as storyteller and to have a better life. In this country he met my mother.

My mother is a proud woman from the Maasai nomads tribe. She does not know any borders; all the land is for everyone and the cattle needs food and care. She met my father as a young woman. He was starving and she took pity on him. Between them a love arose that transcends our existence. They go together through life; my father remains wandering as storyteller and my mother gives care and shelter when he is passing by. Here-from I came on Earth.

My first name is Kṛṣṇa [5] because I am dark as the night like my father with my black blue skin and because I was born during the dark period of the moon. My parents expressed the hope that I may awake every night again like the Moon and may not die like all other people [6]. Later in my life I changed my first name in Narrator, because I wish to belong to the mortals. My family name from my father’s side is Nārāyana. This means in the language of my ancestors: “Son of the original man”. [7]

[8]

Around my sixth year, my father brought me to school. There I learned to read and write. I never ceased reading. I read Gilgamesh, Iliad, Odyssey, Mahābhārata, Shakespeare in the last classes of school while the other students played warrior. Many of my stories stem from this time.

[9]

Until my 16th birth day I stayed at school. Then stark dark pages came into my life.


[1] Īśa means among others in Sanskrit “God in the heaven of the Gods”, “one with almightiness”. “Avāsya” means “putting down”. Hereby īśāvāsya can be understood as a description of God in the heaven of Gods. Source: electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[2] A literal translation of the Isha Upanishad in Dutch can be obtained via the following hyperlink: http://www.arsfloreat.nl/documents/Isa.pdf

[3] Upanishad literally means: “Sitting down near”. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upanishads

[4] The author doesn’t know the origin of this mp3 file. When the owner makes her-/himself known to the author, the post will be amended to the wishes of the right holders in this question.

[5] Kṛṣṇa means amongst others “black”, “black blue”, “the dark period of the moon cycle”. Source electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[6] According to a Maasai myth the God Engaï gives cattle to the people and he brings people to life after their death and each day he lets the Moon die. After a sin wherein an opponent was desired death, Engaï lets people die and each night he brought the Moon to life. Source:  http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masa%C3%AF_(volk)

[7] Source electronic version of the dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[8] A Maasai woman. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_people

[9] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasa%C3%AF

Man Leben – interview 4


The previous interview was about love in your life. In this post I continue with some questions about the last surprise in your life.

“In the last part of your life you are involved in Oriental wisdom. In the description of your life you refer indirectly to a form of enlightenment. Aren’t you enlightened? “, I ask.

“Everything is enlightened. Nothing, not even the tiniest particle is excluded. Everything in all its natural forms is perfectly enlightened”, you say.

“Also all greed, all crimes, all murders, all illusions, all nonsense and vanity?”, I ask.

“Enlightenment is as natural as inhaling and exhaling whereby inhaling and exhaling are manifestations of enlightenment. We have experienced a glimpse of the complete enlightenment on our Odyssey when we have arrived on the peninsula at the end of the afternoon at the stage “Two – night at the beginning of the spring” [1] after a long day walking. The following morning at six o’clock we have seen the sunrise in the East at the beginning of spring. That afternoon we have washed ourselves in the water at the peninsula, we dried ourselves and put on clean clothes and then we have gathered wood for a small fire in an old tin. This is free rendering of the summary of the Diamond Sutra that directly reflects enlightenment [2]. The real summary is “evam” [3] – the first word of this sutra in Sanskrit – or in English “thus”. Every action, every word and every breath is completely enlightenment. The photo of the sunflowers in the header of this weblog “Who are you” is quite  appropriate. Every sunflower seed on this picture includes the entire universe perfectly and completely”, you say.

“Where do arise all crimes, all murders, all delusions, all greed, all nonsense and vanity?”, I ask.

“In stage One in the post on pantheism, we have encountered “Indra’s net” [4] as metaphor for the entire universe. Indra’s net [5] is in the Huayan school of Buddhism [6] a metaphor for everything, for enlightenment and also for illusions and delusions. If a glass pearl in the net represents an illusion or a delusion, this illusion or delusion is reflected by all other glass pearls in the net. If a glass pearl is enlightened, the enlightenment is reflected in all other pearls. Or if we translate this metaphor to our daily lives, if greed and crime are in our lives, then this affects everything and everyone; and if a person or thing is enlightened, then this enlightenment reflects on everything and everyone in the universe. Or practical, if we stick to possession, or sin against the ten commandments, then these actions affect the entire universe; and if we carefully share possession and perform appropriate action and non-action, then this is reflected in everything and everyone. Hence the Buddhist encouragement – work hard and show compassion with everything and everyone; exclude nothing and nobody”, you say.

[7]

“I can follow the reasoning. I will reconsider this metaphor. On our Odyssey we will encounter sufficient challenges. Many books on Buddhism describe the experience of enlightenment. Have you personally experienced enlightenment?”, I ask.

“You mean the experience to be included in everything and everyone in all its manifestations. I don’t know how, but if I look back then this has always been my basic attitude, also if I was blinded by love, anger or sadness. I can describe it clearer since I have read in a book that for an enlightened mind there is no difference between the finger pointing at the Moon and the Moon. In the same way there is no difference between the waves and the ocean [8]. Before, I have often mentioned as example in meditation meetings that the finger pointing to the moon may not be confused with the moon. After I have read this passage, it is suddenly clear that the manifestations “the finger”, “the Moon” and “the thoughts about these” are mutual perfectly connected. Everything and everyone are natural manifestations of this”, you say.

“For me, your description of “the fate of humans determines that we may sit between changing fires and ashes” and “the blossom growing from dust to dust” is pretty distressing and painful. Maybe the description of my life will clarify this beauty and distress. Do you try to live as a Buddha or as a Bodhisattva as described in the Avatamsaka sutra [9]“, I ask.

[10]

“I am not a Saint. I look forward to the description of your life and of Narrator and then the continuation of our Odyssey”, you say.

“May I bundle the posts about your life together with an introduction and a conclusion in a biography?”, I ask.

“If it will be published after my death”, you say.

In the following post I tell about the beginning of my life


[1] See post: “Two – Night at the beginning of spring” of 25 April 2011

[2] See: Red Pine (Bill Porter), The Diamond Sutra. New York: Counterpoint, 2001 p. 39.

[3] See: Lopez – The Heart Sutra explained. 1990 p 34; “The commentary Vajrapâņi has high praise for the word Evam (thus), the word with which sūtras begin. Those four letters are the source of the 84.000 doctrines taught by the Buddha and are the basis of all marvels.”

See Red Pine (Bill Porter) – The Diamond Sutra. 2001 p 41-42; “Commentaries have written volumes on the profundity of evam (thus). Does it mean “like so”, or does it mean “just so”? And what is the difference? Is this sutra the finger that points to the moon, or is it the moon itself?”

See: Holstein, Alexander- Pointing at the Moon. 1993 p 49; in the enlightened mind of a Zen master, probably, there is no distinction what the ordinary mind calls “to point at” and “the moon”. To the enlightened mind, the relation between the two is similar to the relation of an ocean to its waves.

[4] See post: “One – Pantheism – Indra’s net” of 8 April 2011

[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra’s_net

[6] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huayan_school

[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indra’s_net

[8] Source: Holstein, Alexander. Pointing at the Moon. Rutland: Charles E. Tuttle Company, 1993, p. 49

[9] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avatamsaka_Sutra

[10] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi

Man Leben – simplicity


Nun weiß man, leben ist einfach

Now one knows, life is easy

Next  to this Odyssey, I have known three big surprises in the last part of my life. The first surprise is working in a design office to introduce a modular industrial way of building.

The second surprise is an unexpected love with my female companion for two years. Turning my head, we came in each other’s lives, bottomless deep. Then we went along, familiar. In the beginning of my study Sanskrit I encountered the “dual” – or dualis [1] in Latin – within the conjugations. First I thought it is a remnant of an ancient manner of counting: one, two and many. After I had translated several times the dual wrongly as plural – especially in body parts of people –, it became obvious that the dual may express a coherence of two parts. The two years with my female companion were also dual – showing at once as a singular and a unity. In line with the old zen master from the previous message: “If there would be no sentient people, then there would be no hand without another hand, no eye without another eye to see, no leg without another leg to walk, nor an ear without another ear to hear. Everything would be empty and deep, deep. There would be no loss and no gain.[2]  Until this unexpected love, I have seen the duplicate as a separation in my life. Now I see it also as a unity and a simplicity. One eye shapes the other eye, one leg shapes the other leg, one hand shapes the other hand, man and woman shape each other in unity and simplicity – not in singular and not in plural. Her big death left me unexpectedly empty as the moon [3].

I once read, that people wish to leave our lives with birth, constant change and death [4]; they want to exist in an everlasting heaven or in a state of constant bliss [5]. The fate of people states that we may sit between changing fires and ashes. I have grieved over the loss of my beloved companion.

The third surprise is the simplicity and solitude within interconnectedness, which is followed after Her big death. This death is not only a rupture or a fracture. It is also a continuum of change; we are returned in the flow of changing fires and ashes.

[6]

And the ashes rise in the tree trunks to the beginning of buttons [7]:

Buds on these trees.

If the blossom burst open

then I know no doubt

[8]

With the third surprise of simplicity and solitude, I started our Odyssey and I continue her”, you say.

“At the stages one, two and three on our Odyssey, I got to know you. Your life is richer than I have ever imagined. May I ask you a few questions before I introduce myself with a brief description of my life?”, I ask.

“That is good”, you say.

The following post will start with the questions about your life.


[1] See also: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualis en http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_(grammatical_number)

[2] Free and adapted rendering of: Wick, Gerry Shishin, The Book of Equanimity – Illuminating Classic Zen Koans. Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications, 2005 p. 170

[3] The words “widower” and “widow” are derived from the Indo – European word “widhewo” or in Sanskrit “vidhu”. Source: Ayto, John. Word Origins – the hidden Histories of English Words from A to Z. London: A & C Black, 2005  p. 547. In Sanskrit the word “vidhu” means: “alleen, solitaire en maan”.

[4] E.g.: the Aria: “Ich freue mich auf meinen Tod” in Cantate 82 by Johann Sebastian Bach.

[5] See also the sentences on zen master Tozan in: Wick, Gerry Shishin, The Book of Equanimity – Illuminating Classic Zen Koans. Somerville MA: Wisdom Publications, 2005 p. 176

[6] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vuur

[7] See also the post: “One – Blossom” from 2nd April 2011.

[8] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Double-flowered_Cherry_Blossoms.jpg