Sketchbook notes from the drifting spaces

Limitless – Kusen collaboration


John Fraser’s Kusen No. 240

“A teacher and his student were standing by the shore. In the distance was a boat. The teacher said to the student ‘forgetting about your mind for the moment, point to the boat’. The student pointed to the boat. The teacher then said ‘forgetting about the boat for the moment, point to your mind’. The student pointed to the boat again”

In dualism, we imagine the mind comes first, occupying an unspecified space, within which the world then appears. But truly, mind and world are the same illumination. But it is not the great illumination.

Dogen said that when we see water, fish see shimmering palaces. Demons see blood. Gods see strings of pearls. But the eyes seeing ‘water’ are without limit, and so the powers of expression of ‘water’ are without limit. This is the great illumination. Likewise, ‘mountains’. Likewise, ‘thinking’.



More zen articles at Kusen & Notes from John


Portrait of Tokyo Ren Master


Many visitors to the friendly Ren Bar in east Tokyo made calligraphy and artworks to express their wishes for the new year… here is my fast ink portrait of the famous master!


Reworking Dogen’s white mountain poem from Sanshodoei

From the Sanshodoei poems, I have been working on the English translations with John Fraser –

我庵は 
こしのしらやま 
冬ごもり 
凍もゆきも 
くもかかりけり

waga iho wa
koshi no shirayama
fuyugomori
kouri mo yuki mo
kumo kakari keri

my hut
in the white mountain of Koshi
enclosed in winter’s
ice and snow
wrapped in cloud

Eihei Dogen


moon cloud – secluded within snow

snowy-photo

moon cloud softly emerging
breathing
plumes of blue snow dust
swirling around
our scratched out rooftop


Waves breaking through light – Kusen collaboration

Waves


John Fraser’s Kusen No. 231

Master Dogen’s poem ‘Zazen Practice’:

The moon mirrored
By a mind free
Of all distractions;
Even the waves, breaking,
Are reflecting its light

We have a primitive idea what a symbol is. Usually, we think it’s like a code. So, in this case, ‘Moon’ will mean ‘Enlightenment’, or ‘Buddha Mind’, something like that. But a symbol is like a real person: it has infinite expression.

In his commentary on the Heart Sutra, Dogen said that “the bodhisattva of compassion, practicing zazen with the whole body, sees the five skandas are empty, and relieves all suffering”

So, we can see that one face of the symbol of the moon is Avalokitesvara, whose ‘whole body’ is the whole Universe, whose hands are the moonlight, whose eyes are the space above and the ground below, both holding the mind waves, enabling each wave to break, not through stillness but

through light

Zazen Practice:

at peace
within the heart
the clear moon
even the smashing waves
reflecting light

(translation by Blair Shogen)



More zen articles at Kusen & Notes from John


Discovered in my sketchbook poetry notes

fragile
manoeuvring

through pale ochre land
gaping dark blue fissure
within the sky a light hole

self transparent
roaming path hill spontaneously
becoming deer hare
blown by atlantic gusts
everything is shimmering

temporal


Twin Peaks Fire Walk With Me – Contemplating the inward and outward journeys of the self




In Buddhism we awake to the dream and realise we are still within the dream – helping us be much more aware and open. In transcendental meditation effortless concentration is practiced, moving deeper into new levels of consciousness.

The world of Twin Peaks, from the pilot to the Missing Pieces of Fire Walk With Me, explore many things. These include the journey of selves and the parting of the self into wider dimensions. There is a clear sense of the vast mystery – beyond notions of good and evil.

The spectrum of actions of the town’s residents and visitors range from extremely selfish – Ben and Catherine’s entertaining subterfuge for example – to genuinely caring – even Harry and Albert are looking out for each other after a rocky start to their relationship. The red room’s characters too seem to encompass contrasting aspects of a being’s possible ways of behaving towards others. Trust – deception accompany wholeness – fragmentation.

Bob and Mike complement each other in this way. Even Dale’s pure innocence is balanced by Bob’s intervention into his body and mind. If there is no such thing as a fixed essence or unchanging soul – these character transformations seen particularly within Leland Palmer, magnificently portrayed by Ray Wise, and Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle ‘Kale’ MacLachlan) are not unnatural perhaps but part of the wider planetary and worldly magic Mark Frost and David Lynch delve into.

Open heart-mind

Near the end of the second series Dale is seen coming out of meditation. He is sitting cross legged on a cushion in his room at the Great Northern, before beginning his regular dictation to Diane. Lynch is a practitioner of transcendental meditation. TM – carefree absorption aided by a mantra personal to the individual, which through regular practice connects to higher levels of consciousness and states that blissfully drop the immediate noise of the self.

It can be visually and multi sense stimulating, taking a self into a different place. We see Dale is vulnerable, but with an increasingly open heart-mind is gradually connecting to the mystery of the woods and the the owls.

Fire darkly or brightly

Dale Cooper deflects any symbol of heroic yogic meditator though or fearless FBI agent. He reveals his uncertainties and his fragility. The ‘good’ Dale and the blackness of the Black Lodge are smeared together, will the fire burn darkly or brightly through him?

Missing Pieces offered glimpses of future and past moments, with a humane and soft exploration of the relationships and states of the various characters of the intertwined Twin Peaks extended family. It balances the earlier film. The emerald green owl glyph ring circles on.. the broken heart necklace a reminder of throbbing hearts.

Other David Lynch related posts
“Tokyo Art Exhibitions – MOT and David Lynch at LAFORET” and other notes. →


Awakening flooding through us – Kusen Collaboration with John Fraser




John’s Kusen 169

In these days, it often feels as if we are living in a dream. But whose dream?

Awakening is one of the three meanings of Satori, Enlightenment.

So what is Awakening?

It isn’t waking up into a different world. It isn’t, asleep, imagining that the world is flat, and waking up, realising that it’s round. We have to get out of our fixation on truth and falsity. It is entirely useless.

It is just letting the ceaseless expression of life, flooding through us from moment to moment, be.

We awaken from the small dreams of ‘Me’: self and world, truth and falsity, hate and fear, clinging and so on.

But awaken into which dream?



More zen articles at Kusen & Notes from John


Bring me your mind – Kusen Collaboration with John Fraser

C-print for Kusen 168 (www.blairthomson.com)


John’s Kusen 168

Eko said to Bodhidharma, “my mind is not at peace, please pacify it”

Bodhidharma said, “bring me your mind and I will pacify it”

After a while Eko said, “I have looked everywhere for my mind and I cannot find it”

Bodhidharma said, “There! I have pacified it”

In Eko’s question, we might easily pass over the most important word, ‘My’ : ‘My mind’, but if we don’t pass over it, if we see the fiction of ‘my’ mind, ‘my’ experience, what is there to pacify?

We should be grateful for everything in the flood of experience, because it is that, and that alone, which clarifies the great matter.


More zen articles at Kusen & Notes from John


Small sketchbook drawings Ardfern – perception/intuition


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