Tag Archives: wind

The wind takes you along


Carla, Man and narrator have seen the sunrise. They are sitting in the car waiting for the harbour master to handle some formalities before they can start their sailing trip on the Wadden Sea.

“After your explanation of the word ” śūnyatā” – via the core of a cyclone – I understand far better the symbolism of the black ink paint circle that Japanese Zen masters calligraphy in one smooth motion brush stroke. What is the name of this painted circle?”, asks Carla.

Enso[1]

“The Japanese name for this circle is “ensō” and the circle symbolises a minimal simplicity – as the core of the cyclone in the metaphor for ” śūnyatā” –, perfect enlightenment, strength, elegance, the entire universe and emptiness as in the word ” śūnyatā” in Sanskrit. The spiritual practice of ensō-painting and Japanese calligraphy with the aim of self-realization is named “hitsuzendo” – or the way of the brush – in Japan. Thereby “ensō” illustrates the various forms of “wabi-sabi” [2] or the all-encompassing Japanese world view and aesthetics in the acceptance of transience and imperfection via:

• Fukinsei (asymmetry, irregularty),
• Kanso (simplicity),
• Koko (basic; weathered),
• Shizen (without pretense pretentie; natural),
• Yugen (subtly profound grace),
• Datsuzoku (freedom) and
• Seijaku (tranquility) [3].

This all-encompassing worldview of impermanence and imperfection – how much during maintenance there is strived for rest, purity and consistency – can be seen in Japanese gardens.

Japanse tuin[4]

Sailing in a small boat does a great appeal on the same all-encompassing worldview of transience and imperfection in combination with rest, purity and consistency in rough weather with high waves”, says Man.

“Just before we rang the bell at the front door of your friend’s house to pick up the keys to his car, you told us that it would be a basic car. In my view we have travelled very comfortably in a luxurious limousine. How does the Skoda Superb fit within the Japanese worldview of basal weathered and unpretentious? Ann outdated basal Renault 4 from swinging late 60’s – comfortably rocking on the road – would better fit into the worldview of “wabi-sabi”, or I am wrong?”, says Carla.

Renault 4[5]

“From your point of view, you are fully right. Everything is relative: even the size and luxury of my friend’s cars. Until his retirement he had worked for 40 years in large construction companies; the last 25 years as director of major construction companies, before he has started a smaller company for modular construction with me. In his world of board activities, success and prosperity must be shown – in order to survive – with possession of lavish homes and the latest models of cars from the absolute top class. After his retirement he has chosen on my recommendation a modest middle-class car in which his sons who have very long legs, can also sit well in the backseats. In the worldview of my friend a Skoda Superb Combi is a very simple car; after purchasing the car he was jokingly asked if he had to earn as taxi-driver after his retirement: of course they knew better. He now lives in a – by his standards – simple house that was designed and built by our latest company”, says Man.
Modulair huis

[6]

“Has your friend had several sports cars in his heydays?”, asks Carla.

“No, that does not suit him. This, he said when you’re young enough for a sports car, you don’t have the money for it; and if you do have the money for it, then you’re too old to sit well in it. Actually, he is a sober man, but in the world of construction money came naturally to him. With every construction project he had earned several millions within a few years earns millions: so after some 20 projects he was a very wealthy man. After the death of his wife he lived sober given his background; he was 60 years old at that time. Their marriage was childless; they had two adoptive sons and he has – to my knowledge – no interest in other women. Half a year after the death of his wife, he asked me to start our company on modular construction. At that time, we were both in need for a new purpose in life and with this company we have found it.

No, sports cars really do not interest him: that does not fit with his Jewish background. He gets satisfaction from helping others. My friend has financially helped many friends in his surroundings, and from the profits of each project, he had certainly give away 10% to charity [7]: at this point he is an old fashioned man”, says Man.

“Maybe the all-encompassing worldview of “wabi-sabi” together with peace, purity and consistency is also possible in great wealth”, says Carla.

“His later life he is in my eyes an example of it, with a good balance between the next ten characteristics for Jewish spiritual leadership:

1. Sacrifice
2. Involvement,
3. Inspiration
4. Servitude
5. Overview
6. Unselfishness
7. Respect for predecessors
8. Aversion of authority
9. Practise what she/he preaches
10. Leadership without structure

Within his world he fulfils a role model for others”, says Man

“How did sailing come into your life”, asks Narrator.

“As my friend had adapted his lifestyle continuously to the circumstances wherein he was placed, so the sailboats in my life have been adapted to the circumstances; I did not bother: it came by itself.

As a boy at the beginning of elementary school, I was always playing with homemade model sailboats around a pond in the Beatrix park near our former home in the Rivierenbuurt in Amsterdam. At the other side of the pond I collected the boats again. In the vicinity of the village of my godparents in South Limburg were only small meandering rivulets; thus no possibility for sailing. After I had moved to Rotterdam I have started sailing with classmates, first on the Bergsche Plas in a small training boat and not much later on the Rottemeren in a Valk. At the end of grammar school we hiked during long weekends and vacations with sailing boat in South Holland.

Valk[8]

During my student years, I started sailing at sea around the North Sea coast on a 10-meter sailboat owned by father of my co-students. On this boat, I received my practical training to yachtsman. After my studies I have often sailed with friends who owned a seaworthy sailboat.

After our family had moved to Amsterdam and we had received a stable income from the trade in construction materials, I bought a seaworthy Norwegian 7.70 meter Nordic Folkboot [9]. Herewith I have spent many weekends and holidays with friends and acquaintances on the North Sea and the IJsselmeer. My wife and kids did not like the – in their eyes – Spartan existence on boat; they were often seasick.

Noorse Folkboot[10]

When my children were young I have sailed with them in an Optimist on lakes near Amsterdam; at the end of primary school the interest of my children changed and I have done away this boat to acquaintances with small children who wanted to learn sailing.
Optimist[11]

At the start of the walk to the grave of my mother [12] the Norwegian Folkboat disappeared from my life; a friendly couple had bought this practical boat from me with the plan to make half a world trip: they have sailed with this boat around a part of the world.
Between my divorce and my work for the modular construction material company there have been no sailboats in my life. The wind took me over land to many places [13].
During getting a foothold in the world again with modular construction, two new types of sailboats came into my life. First I bought a 4-meter Laser [14] sailboat, wherein I have gone boating for fun on many lakes in Europe: this Laser boat fitted on the roof of my station wagon. After my 70st birthday, I took leave of this boat: transporting and sail this boat had become too heavy for me.
Laser[15]

For the holidays, I bought after my retirement a new versions of a Folkboat: first a 6.63 meter long Drascombe Coaster with a small cabin. A few years later I have exchanged this boat for a Drascombe Drifter, a boat adapted by myself to modern standards and with just a little more comfort. Later today I will show you the adjustment I made. By a mizzenmast – a second sail on the back of the boat – both boats can be easy handled and kept on course by myself. Because of its shape and rigging the boat is pretty storm-proof”, says Man.
Drascombe Drifter[16]

“Is such a small boat seaworthy enough?”, asks Narrator.

“Also this is relative. With similar boats good crews did sail to the other side of the world. But I would not like to pass Cape Horn with my boat. For a full seaworthiness the boat is missing several components like a full railing. I have equipped my boat myself with air-tight chambers filled with foam, so the boat – even reversed – will always float. At high breaking waves hitting the boat sideways from behind, sailboats can easily turn over [17] ”, says Man.

“Fortunately the weather forecast for the next days in spring promises nice sailing weather with not too much wind”, says Carla.

“It is good to be always prepared to everything on a sailboat. In 1983, during Ascension it had promised to be a beautiful day for sailing in the Netherlands with a temperature of 14 degrees, moderate southerly wind, cloudy and in the afternoon a few tiny showers, but by mid-afternoon an unexpectedly brief heavy storm with gusts of local wind force 11 raged over The Netherlands [18]. That day two friends and I had planned having a long weekend sailing on my Norwegian Folkboat from Muiden via the IJsselmeer to the Wadden Sea.

Mid-afternoon we saw in the distance a pitch-black sky approaching. Very quickly we had lowered almost all sail and we prepared the boat for a heavy storm. Ten minutes later we were in a that very heavy storm that fortunately lasted less than half an hour. With good seamanship and a seaworthy boat all had ended well for us, but that afternoon several water sports enthusiast had not survived the storm. The rest of the day we had given help to heavily damaged boats. The rest of the weekend we had spent repairing the fortunately limited damage of my boat in the home marina”, says Man.

“Fortunately there are no tropical cyclones in the Wadden Sea. I once read that in the summer and early autumn – when the sea water is quite warm – waterspouts can occur under clouds”, says Carla.

“That’s true, I have seen these waterspouts [19] a few times seen in the Wadden Sea. Over land these whirlwinds usually loose power quickly, but at sea they can cause considerable damage to the sails and a sailboat with full sail can easily turn over”, says Man.
Waterhoos[20]

“Is there also rest in the core of a waterspout”, asks Narrator.

“I think the that the diameter of the eye of a waterspout is too small to experience this rest consciously. The eye of a tropical cyclone can have a diameter between 30 to 50 km [21]”, says Carla.

“To come back to the core. If we look on our life, have we personally fulfilled the ten characteristics of Jewish spiritual leadership?”, asks Narrator.

“I do not know if I have pursued spiritual leadership. But when I look at these characteristics without this pursuit, then I have seriously sinned against “respect for predecessors”; this comes forth from my character and my position as an outsider in society. I also might have offered a little more inspiration to others and shown a little more openness about my studies. In the past I considered this openness too dangerous, now I see better the relativity of danger and my personal life”, says Carla.

“I did my best, but usually I have not succeeded to give the all-encompassing worldview of “wabi-sabi” – with the acceptance of transience and imperfection – a worthy place in my life. Until middle age, I had tried to provide security for my family but at this point my intentions entirely failed: with this endeavour I have completely alienated my wife and children from me. Just like you, I am a sinner against the characteristics “respect for predecessors”: I try to do my best, but in my opinion it is not enough”, says Man.

“In my first three incarnations – first as Kṛṣṇa and child soldier, then as idol in Amsterdam, and afterwards as a player in the mirror palaces of secret services – I have sinned seriously against different (always other) characteristics. As Bhikṣu – or mendicant – in my last incarnation in this life, it just happened to live up to all these characteristics; it is no merit, in the absence of any endeavour these characteristic come naturally by itself into my life”, says Narrator

“There comes the harbour master. I have to settle several formalities with him and I will ask him for the last information on local currents and movements of shoals. I will also ask him for a cart to bring all our belongings to the boat”, says Man.

“Do you think we will be on time to sail by morning tide to the Wadden Sea?”, asks Narrator to Man.

“That will certainly happen, probably within half an hour we will leave the harbour on the motor sailing”, says Man.

Man goes to the office of the harbour master. Carla and Narrator bring all their luggage, and forage for a week with a cart to the boat and put it in the cabin. Several minutes later Man comes to the boat and together they store everything – according to instruction by Man – in the right place. Half an hour later they leave the marina on the motor sailing to the Wadden Sea.
[1] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ens%C5%8D
[2] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi
[3] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ens%C5%8D
[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi
[5] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renault_4
[6] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huf_Haus
[7] Source: Malachi 3:10 (book and prophet from the Tanakh (Hebrew bible; see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanakh). See also: http://www.nik.nl/2010/01/parsja-simchat-tora-wezot-haberacha/
[8] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valk_(boot)
[9] See: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folkboot and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordic_Folkboat
[10] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacht_(scheepstype)
[11] Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimist_(Bootsklasse)
[12] See: Drift, Carla, Man Leben: One Life – A Biography. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 53 – 54
[13] See: Drift, Carla, Man Leben: One Life – A Biography. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012, p. 50 – 111
[14] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_(dinghy)
[15] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laser_(dinghy)
[16] Source image: http://www.nauticaltrek.com/12395-drascombe-drifter-a-vendre
[17] See also: Bruce, Peter, Adlard Coles’ Zwaarweerzeilen. Haarlem: Uitgeverij Hollandia B.V., 2010, p. 26
[18] Source: http://www.kb.nl/dossiers/nederland-algemeen/zomerstorm-hemelvaartsdag-1983
[19] See also: Youtube film showing a waterspout near Ameland (The Netherlands): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhpwuC8udzc
[20] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterspout
[21] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tropical_cyclone

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Narrator – On foot through France


After I arrived in France through the Mont Blanc tunnel, I continued my journey by train to “Annemasse” just before the Swiss border near Geneva. Even in midsummer the Middle/High Alpine mountains north of Chamonix were not my world. Later in the snowy world at the beginning of winter I almost slipped to another world in a dream. In the icy stillness I felt completely at home within the enchanting white dream world. Carla Drift let me come back to life from this icy world.

[1]

My limited travel papers would not be good enough to cross the Swiss/French border twice. From “Annemasse” I walked along the Swiss border to “Les Rousses” to continue north via the GR 5. Luckily the trail north of “Les Rousses” was passable.

[2]

After the train trip no money was left. I had to get food one way or another. I did not have enough time to start working for my food, because I wanted to arrive in Amsterdam before the autumn.

On October 2, 1996, a former Bishop of Breda – Bishop Martinus Muskens – said in a VPRO television program that stealing (and eating) bread is lawful in case people are hungry and have no other way out to survive [3]. Herewith he forwarded the moral teachings of the Catholic Church in which life is more important than earthly possessions. Already in the Middle Ages this “food dilemma” was resolved by a monk who did not have to obey the abbot “in extreme necessity” by delivering food according to the command, but he should give food to a hungry person [4].

[5]

Fortunately, I had never seriously suffered hunger along the way. Very occasionally I had sinned by picking one or two pieces of fruit from a tree without the permission of the owner. I also had occasionally caught a fish or hunted a small animal – a noble act for the nobility and raunchy syrups for the ordinary man – and prepared on a small fire. With my background from a Maasai pastoralists tribe without borders and where all the land is for everyone, I could not see this use of the environment as theft; eventually the fruit, fish and small animals always spring from the world of everyone. Later in my life I started using the ethical [6] starting point that every manifestation has equal right of existence. But as a choice between two manifestations is inevitable, then a more complex manifestation – in this case, a creature that has a higher place in the hierarchy – deserves the preference [7].

Usually on my trip to Amsterdam I exchanged applicable stories of my ancestors for food or for a meal. Herein I followed the footsteps of my father.

In the European countries with material wealth and spiritual poverty, there is a great need for stories that provide interpretation. Politicians, managers, bankers, service providers in mental health, well-known film actors obtain an excellent income with their interpretations. In many cultures, these kind of exchanges are regarded as “wind trade” or vanity trade.

With the stories of my ancestors I could easily fill my stomach; I was never hungry on my way to Amsterdam. By exchanging stories against food, I actually lived of the wind – वात or vāta in Sanskrit – my father was my constant companion and guardian.

A roof over my head was not necessary in the summer; I slept in the open air under the stars. In bad weather I only needed an extra set of clothes and a plastic sheet.

So the first part of my hike along the GR 5 began in France.


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

[2] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Rousses

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

[4] Source: Dougherty, M.V. Moral Dilemmas in Medieval Thought – From Gratian to Aquinas. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011, p. 77

[5] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunger

[6] “The underlying meaning of Greek “ethos” was “personal disposition”. It ultimately came from the Indo-European word “swedh-“”” wherein we recognise the words “sva” and “dha” meaning in Sanskrit “self, Ego and human soul” and “to place, to give”.

Source: Ayto, John, Word Origins, The hidden History of English Words from A to Z. London: A &C Black, 2008 p. 199 and Source: electronic version of dictionary Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta.

[7] See also: Origo, Jan van, Who are you – a survey into our existence – 1. Amsterdam: Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher, 2012 p. 80 – 81

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

Today paperback edition of “Who are you – part 1” published


Today the paperback edition of “Who are you – part 1” is published at Omnia – Amsterdam Publisher.

Jan van Origo acknowledges his gratitude to everyone for their contribution to this book.

You are the greatest mystery

Click here → 978-90-818390-8-2_WhoareYou_1_content ← Click here

Click here → 978-90-818390-8-2_WhoareYou_1_cover ← Click here

Download the content (12 Mb) and cover (1 Mb). You may print the paperback by an “Espresso Book Machine”

The e-book “Who are you – part 1” is also available in Pdf-version under the following hyper-link:

High (300 dpi) quality e-book – 13 MB – in A5 format:

Click here → 9789081839099_Who_are_you_1 ← Click here

Printing (258 pages) for own use or for educative purposes is allowed.

A breath of the wind
In the rustling of the trees
Your voice is heard
.

The survey to “Who are you” is composed upon the bundled posts from March – September 2011.

Man Leben, Narrator and Carla Drift are the three main characters in this part of the Odyssey.

The Odyssey to “Who are you – survey into our existence” is a quest with many stages. The search for “Who are you” is about you and me and all that is in connection with us. Nothing is on beforehand excluded. Are you and I connected or are we separated? What makes you to the person who you are? Who are you before your birth and who will you be after your death? The answer to these questions is currently unknown, but nevertheless we raise these questions.

 The progress of this quest to “Who are you” can be read on the weblog of Jan van Origo: www.janvanorigo.com

The following two part of “Who are you” will include the chapters 5, 7 and 0 of this quest.

This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Photos, images, renderings and quotations in the text may be copyrighted by third parties.

Man Leben – on the way 3


Geschichte, mit denen man leben muβ

History, with which one must live.

You continue the brief report of your life with the arrival in Dachau after a pilgrimage of two months:

“In September 1983 I left the farm of my godmother in South Limburg. She had recommended me this pilgrimage in order to honour the wish of my aunt who had asked me after my 21st birthday to carry out the traditional Jewish remembrance of the dead for my parents, when I would be able to do so. My mother died in 1944 and was buried in Dachau. During All Souls’ Day on November 2, I hoped to visit the grave of my mother according to the Catholic habit in South Limburg.

On my journey by foot I got to know the wind [1] and the moon [2] and I started to identify the wind and the moon with the “He” and “his” in the Kaddish prayer [3]. Hereby I could say this prayer every day – for a full year – for my father, mother, aunt and Godfather.

As wanderer, but a luxurious wanderer, I arrived in Dachau at the end of October 1983; my health was still excellent and my equipment comfortably. Also with the early nightfall at the end of the afternoon I learned to life by making a small fire in a small used tin.

A day later – on a stormy day – I visited the camp. The images and impressions of these camps are well known. Sources report that the administration in the camps at Dachau recorded the intake of 206.000 prisoners and 31,951 deaths mainly caused by malnutrition, exhaustion and diseases [4]. In comparison, on the war cemeteries in Omaha Beach in Normandy, France  and in Henri Chapelle in the Ardennes, Belgium, 7000 and 8000 soldiers were buried: bottomless grief.

During my visit to the camp I noticed what my aunt could not mention and wished not to mention. I also understood why she added to her wish so explicitly: “When you are able to do so”. Later, much later, I could put into words my feeling during the visit.

Inside and outside

Stilled and turned to stone

The Wind played Her song.

At the fall of dusk I left the camp. Outside I sang the aria from Cantata 82 “Ich habe genug” composed by Johann Sebastian Bach:

Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen,
Fallet sanft und selig zu!
Welt, ich bleibe nicht mehr hier,
Hab ich doch kein Teil an dir,
Das der Seele könnte taugen.
Hier muss ich das Elend bauen,
Aber dort, dort werd ich schauen
Süßen Friede, stille Ruh.

This Cantata was written by Johann Sebastian Bach for February 2nd or “Purificatio Mariae” [5] – the purification of Maria – 40 days after Christmas. Appropriate: I sang the cleaning of and for my mother, her memory be a blessing to our world and for the hereafter [6]. For me, these two worlds of Her have always been one and the same.

The next day I came back to see if my mother’s grave was well taken care for. I had a round pebble with me: this pebble I put on her grave.

[7]

Then I walked along the Catholic Chapel, the Christian Church of Reconciliation and the Jewish Memorial. For me, none of these rooms were inviting to enter.

[8]

[9]

[10]

[11]

In Ulm, I had seen the study model for the continuum that includes the entire universe in all its simplicity and limitation. Inside and outside change continuously. At the same time this reconciliation room gives shelter, and breathable includes everything from the universe in security and responsiveness. My mother, her memory be a blessing for here and for there.

[12]

On November 2 – All Souls Day – in the afternoon I visited my mother’s grave. The stone was gone. I could understand this, otherwise there might arise a mountain of stones. At her grave, I have said the prayer of Kaddish.

Near the fall of darkness I moved on. My feelings during this departure I read many years later in the Zen koan: “Each of you have Your own light. If you want to see, then it is not possible. The darkness is dark, dark. Now, what is your/Your light? …… The answer is: the room of the universe, the road.” [13]

Country walkers are not welcome in Dachau. I moved on. Winter began. It took 10 years before I visited the grave of my father in 1993. First I lived in monasteries for several years”, you say.

The following post is about your monastery years.


[1] See post “Man Leben – op weg” van 14 oktober 2011.

[2] See post “Man Leben – op weg 2” van 17 oktober 2011.

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

[4] Sources give different numbers. The numbers in this post come from: http://www.dachau.nl/het_kamp/historisch/index.html and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dachau_concentration_camp

[5] See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presentation_of_Jesus_at_the_Temple

[6] See also: Wieseltier, Leon, Kaddisj. Amsterdam: De Bezige Bij, 1999, p. 11

[7] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dachau-015.jpg

[8] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:KZ_Dachau_Todesangst-Christi-Kapelle.jpg

[9] Source image: Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:16JUN2005_Munich_054.jpg

[10] Source image: http://hu.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=F%C3%A1jl:2500_-_KZ_Dachau_-_Protestant_Monument.JPG&filetimestamp=20071012014216

[11] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:16JUN2005_Munich_064.jpg

[12] Model for the continuous design by Ulrich Burandt as study during the workshop of Tomas Maldonado at the Ulm School of Design. Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulm_School_of_Design

[13] Free rendering of Yunmen’s light – case 86 from the Hekiganroku. See also: Aitken, Robert, The Mind of Clover – Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics. New York: North Point Press, 2000⁸. pag. 62. Remark: According to the sources the answer to this koan is: “Storeroom/kitchenstorage, gate/gateway”. In this post “Storeroom” is rendered as “the room of the Universe” referring to “Deine Seele ist die ganze Welt” or “Your soul is the whole world” – see also: Hesse Herman, Siddhartha. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag: 1989 p. 10. In Sanskrit “Gate” means amongst others “going, and the locativus for the verb to go”.

Man Leben – on the way 2


Wie kan man leben?

How can one live?

You continue the brief summary of your life with the journey on foot from the chapel “Notre Dame du Haut” in Ronchamp, France to Ronchamp, Germany:

“In the end of September 1983 I visited the chapel “Notre Dame du Haut” in Ronchamp. My way would lead to Dachau where my mother died and where she was buried in 1944. My godmother had recommended me this pilgrimage to embed the death of my immediate family and the others in my life. I have started this journey on foot to honour the wish of my aunt; she had asked me just after my 21st birthday to carry out the traditional Jewish remembrance of the dead for my parents, when I would be able to do so.

In 1983 I was 49 years old; my life was ready for a change. In the course of the first part of the hike I started to identify the wind [1] and the moon with the “He” and “his” in the Kaddish prayer [2]. From then on, I have said this prayer every day for a year for my father, mother, aunt and godfather. With the second part of the journey I also wished to perform the Catholic grave worship as is customary in South Limburg. During the 2nd of November – on All Soul’s Day – I hoped to honour the grave of my mother with a visit.

My sense of luxury increased. How bad the weather was and how tired I was, I still owned a lot more than the pilgrims in the past. My backpack included a set of clean and dry clothes, my bivouac sack was of waterproof and breathable material and the sleeping bag was warm. My health was excellent. In short, my existence was more luxurious than in my “Jaguar-years”.

Via Belfort I walked to Mulhouse in France. In his early years my father loved race-car races. Against the wishes of my grandparents he followed the reports in the newspapers and he read books on this subject. In his boyhood he wanted to be a racing driver. As ode to the boyhood of my father, I visited the Schlumpf automobile museum in Mulhouse [3]. The museum came forth from the collecting mania of the brothers Schlumpf, who mainly converted their capital from the wool factory to an exceptional collection of classic cars. The French State, confiscated this collection for 1 French franc – as “object in the Middle”. The collection of Bugatti’s made a deep impression. Vanity of vanities [4], but a vanity of great beauty.

[5]

Near Freiburg I crossed the Rhine and the border with Germany. Not much further I left behind the area where so many wars were fought for. The wars in this area already began in Roman times. How could this continuation of greed, honour, anger, horror and bottomless grief be prevented? Later in a book [6] of Robert Aitken – in the chapter “Not Stealing” – I read good proposal.

First he cited Unto Tähtinen:

“There are two ways of avoiding war: one is to satisfy everyone’s desire, the other, to content oneself with the good. The former is not possible due to the limitations of the world and therefore there remains this second alternative of contentment “ [7]

He subsequently cited Mahatma Gandhi:

“In India we have many millions of people who have to be satisfied with only one meal a day. This meal consists of a chapati containing no fat and a pinch of salt. You and I have no right to anything until these millions of better fed and clothed. You and I ought to know better and adjust our wants, and even undergo voluntarily starvation in order that they may be nursed, fed and clothed.” [8]

The German language has a beautiful expression for this attitude: “In der Beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister” – “In the restraint the master shows himself”.  I continued my trip through the Schwarzwald – Germany. I visited Ulm, Germany, because the Hochschule für Gestaltung [9] – University for Design – was located there from 1953 to 1968.

[10]

This University has brought forth a number of designs and designers who strove for simplicity and restraints. For example, the TC 100 tableware designed by Nick Roericht.

[11]

The study model for the continuum from the workshop of Tomas Maldonado includes the universe in simplicity and limitation. Inside and outside exchange continuously. At the same time the form gives shelter and includes the universe breathable. Shelter and openness together: a reflection of my experience of the journey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[12]

On this tour the wind and the moon were my constant companions. My introduction to the wind, I have given in the previous post. As promised, now I show how I have got to know the moon.

The months of the year are important on the farm . The twelve months of a year may easily be counted with the thumb along the 12 phalanges of the four fingers. In the open air, at night, in a dimly illuminated environment I learned the new moon, the crescent moon, the full moon and the waning moon. On a clear night with full moon I could do almost everything, except reading outside: for reading there was just too little light. The moon also gave a beautiful image in the sky during the day.

By the “moon illusion”, the full moon near the horizon is awesome. This moon illusion I have also seen on my journey.

[13]

In a clear night with new moon lying outside in my sleeping bag, I seemed to be fully included in the universe. The distance between the universe and I faded: I was sucked into it.

The course of the moon – in addition to the rhythm of the sun – must  have been crucial and ungraspable for people living outdoors. Probably the word Tao – literally meaning “road or life” – came from the word moon [14]. In Sanskrit one of the words for moon is “candra”, where the “c” is pronounced like the word “chair” and the “a” as “America”.  “Candra” means in Sanskrit “moon, shining like gold, the number one/whole, pleasant or lovely phenomenon” [15].  The word is composed of “can” meaning “to delight in, to satisfy with” and “drâ” meaning “to run freely”. The consistent of “dra” and “va – for wind” or “drava” means “to run, flow, stream, essence”. The set of “Candra” may be understood as “the course of things, the course of the moon, the essence of the whole”.

In the Zen literature the moon occurs frequently. The word for Zen is derived from “dhyâna” [16] meaning in Sanskrit “meditation, thought, far-reaching and abstract meditation”. This word is composed of “dhî” meaning “wisdom, intelligence, intention, knowledge, meditation, prayer” and “yâna” [17] meaning “path, journey, going, moving and vessel”. Zen Buddhism originated in China by a merger of Mahâyâna Buddhism and Taoism.

By encountering the moon on my pilgrimage, I noticed how much the Chinese word “Chan” – or Zen in Japanese – matches in meaning and sound the “can” in “candra”. If this resemblance is not accidental, than Zen may also be seen as “the revolving Moon”. This thought gave me comfort and confidence on the road to Dachau”, you say.

The following post is about your visit to Dachau.


[1] See post “Man Leben – on teh way” from 14th Oktober 2011.

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

[3] See: http://citedelautomobile.com/en/home

[4] See: Book of Ecclesiastes

[5] See: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugatti

[6] Source: Aitken, Robert, The Mind of Clover – Essays in Zen Buddhist Ethics. New York: North Point Press, 2000⁸. Pag. 31

[7] Source: Tähtinen, Unto, Non-Violence as an Ethical Principle. Turku, Turun Yliopisto, 1964. pag. 136.

[8] Cited in: Tähtinen, Unto, Non-Violence as an Ethical Principle. Turku, Turun Yliopisto, 1964. pag. 128.

[9] See also: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hochschule_f%C3%BCr_Gestaltung_Ulm en de Engelse pagina: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulm_School_of_Design

[10] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulm_School_of_Design

[11] From the TC 100 designed by Nick Roericht. Source image: http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hochschule_f%C3%BCr_Gestaltung_Ulm

[12] Model for the continuous study of the workshop of Tomas Maldonado. Source image:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulm_School_of_Design

[13] Moon illusion above the Parthenon in Athens. Source image: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110320.html

[14] Source: Porter, Bill, Road to Heaven – Encounters with Chinese Hermits. Berkeley: Counterpoint, 1993, p. 35.

[15] Source: elektronische versie van het woordenboek Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[16] Source amongst others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen

[17] Remark: this word is also part of the consistent “Mahâyâna”.

Man Leben – on the way


Mit dem Tod der andern muss man leben [1]

With the dead of others, one must live

You continue with your two months’ hike:

“At the end of the summer I abandoned my existence as a farmer. Now my godmother lived in an apartment and the farm was transferred to the new owner for renovation to a holiday farm. The hike would go by the chapel Notre Dame du Haut in Ronchamp, France to Dachau, Germany. In Dachau my mother died in 1944 probably due to a disease and exhaustion during the other regime in Germany.

With my backpack filled with another set of clothes, a sleeping bag, a bivouac bag and a small stove I left for this luxurious hike. I also had the necessary payment cards and my health was excellent. I crossed the border with Belgium at “De Plank”. After a few miles I passed the war cemetery Henri Chapelle where about 8000 soldiers were buried [2] [3] who died during the Ardennes offensive.

[4]

My hike would lead me along many war cemeteries, because I walked along the French – German language border to Ronchamp. On the first part of my trip I stayed mostly on the French-speaking side, as in South Limburg I had also lived just on the French – oriented side. On many parts I followed the GR 5 unless the detour was – in my opinion – not on my route.

For two months I was tramp, but a luxury tramp. Until recently my rhythm was determined by my work in Amsterdam and by my living on the farm. Now, the weather, the road and the environment cared for the rhythm. Several hundred years ago the landscape was in a similar way densely populated with travellers [5].

As solitary hiker I was never alone. Almost always the wind was my companion and at night in an open sky the moon and the stars were my company. Claim with others was simple. Almost everyone was interested in the tour. The basic questions: “Who are you? Where do you come from? Where do you go? “, are simple and at on a basic level quickly answered. But for the answer to “Who are you?” in the full width, you and I will look for on our Odyssey. After this proposal round we will depart on our Odyssey again.

Especially I got to know the wind and the moon on this hike. In the following post I will give an introduction on the moon. I noticed that the wind was always present; it was my constant friend. Just as water is the last thing that a fish will discover, I discovered the wind on this hike with the always moving air that was my constant company.

Later during my study of Sanskrit I learned two words for wind that show my experiences.

The first word for wind in Sanskrit is “marut” [6] meaning “wind, air, breath, children of the air or ocean, living in the North, and golden wind”. This word is composed of “ma” [7] meaning “mine or of mine” and “ruta” meaning  “sound, loud, shout, roar, hum of bees, whistling of birds”. This word is very special for me, because Ruth is my mother’s first name. She is named after the book of Ruth from the Old Testament. The name Ruth means in Sanskrit “of a man” and the statement made by Ruth in the book Ruth “where you go, I will go” is used in the Jewish, Catholic and Christian wedding service [8]. As during all my life, my mother accompanied me on this hike.

The second word for wind in Sanskrit is “va” meaning “wind, ocean, water, stream”, and the verb root vâ meaning “to blow, to give by blowing/breathing”. Derivatives of these words are “vada” meaning “to speak, giving wind/air” and “vâta” meaning “wind god”. The words “vada” and “vâta” sound like the word “Vater”  [9] or father in German. With the ubiquitous wind, my father went with me on this hike – such as during my entire life.

The ubiquitous wind – named “marut” and “vâta”, but in reality nameless and name of all – made it possible for me to say the text of Kaddish. In the course of the hike the wind took the place of the Biblical father figure whom until then I had identified with “he” and “him” in the text of Kaddish. The biblical father figure from the pastoral world – to whose image men might be created – had always caused difficulties for me, but the wind was inevitable and fleeting present. The wind became the “he” and “his” in the text of the Jewish remembrance of the dead. On the way to Ronchamp, I started reciting this text for my parents, for my aunt and for my godfather.

May his great name exalted and sanctified

in the world he has created according to his will.

May his Kingdom be recognised in your life and in your days

and in the life of the whole house of Israel,

soon and near future.

 Now say: Amen

May his great name be blessed now and forever.

 Blessed, praised, celebrated, and high and exalted always honoured,

Glorified hailed be the name of the Holy,

 blessed be he,

high above each blessing, every song,

 praise and comfort said on earth.

Now say: Amen

 

May there come many peace from heaven and life!

 Over us and all over Israel.

Now say:  Amen

 

He who makes peace in his high spheres,

 will also make peace for us and for Israel

Now say: Amen [10]

Via the Ardennes, Luxemburg, Northern France, the Vosges with Route de Crête, I arrived in Ronchamp. There I visited Notre Dame du Haute designed by the architect Le Corbusier. In my “Jaguar years” we had in our house a chair designed by him in 1928.

[11]

Now in other circumstances, I walked uphill to the chapel.

[12]

[13]

In the chapel the light was wonderful and colourful. In one of the towers I looked up. As in so many churches what a beautiful light from above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[14]

In Ronchamp I wrote the poem:

Wind takes you along

Volatile and fatal

From Hades realm.

Heaven nor earth

May exist without you

Ascent in the void.

The following post is about the journey from Ronchamp to Dachau”, you say.


[1] Part from: http://www.meinpoesiealbum.de/abschied.htm

[2] See also the post  “Remembrance of the fallen” from 16 Augustus 2011 and the posts about “A War like no other” from Augustus and September 2011.

[3] Source image: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri-Chapelle_American_Cemetery_and_Memorial

[4] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Henri_Chapelle-memorial.jpg

[5] See also: Robb, Graham, The discovery of France. London: Picador, 2007

[6] See: elektronische versie van het woordenboek Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[7] “Mama, Mâ and ma” is the genitivus of “aham” meaning “I”. Source: elektronische versie van het woordenboek Monier-Williams – MWDDS V1.5 Beta

[8] Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Ruth

[9] In the German word “Vater” the Indo-European words “va” and “tr” may be recognised that mean  in Sanskrit “wind, ocean, water, stream” and “cross or pass”.

[10] Source: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddisj

[11] Source image: http://uk.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A4%D0%B0%D0%B9%D0%BB: Ngv_design,_le_corbusier_%26_charlotte_perriand,_LC-4_chaise_longue,_1928.JPG

[12] Source image: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Ronchamp_Notre_Dame_du_Haut_ext%C3%A9rieur_1.jpg

[13] Source image: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ronchamp1.jpg

[14] Source image: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roncamp_inside.JPG