Thursday, March 31, 2016

Your Own Self

"Whether you are going or staying
or sitting or lying down, 
the whole world is your own self. 
You must find out
whether the mountains, rivers,
grass, and forests 
exist in your own mind
or exist outside it. 
Analyze the ten thousand things, 
dissect them minutely, 
and when you take this to the limit 
you will come to the limitless, 
when you search into it you come
to the end of search, 
where thinking goes no further
and distinctions vanish. 
When you smash the citadel of doubt, 
then the Buddha is simply yourself." 

(c. 1213-1278)

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Nothing is as it Appears

"Know all things to be like this:
A mirage, a cloud castle,
A dream, an apparition,
Without essence, but with
qualities that can be seen.

Know all things to be like this:
As the moon in a bright sky
In some clear lake reflected,
Though to that lake
the moon has never moved.

Know all things to be like this:
As an echo that derives
From music, sounds, and weeping,
Yet in that echo is no melody.

Know all things to be like this:
As a magician makes illusions
Of horses, oxen,
carts and other things,
Nothing is as it appears." 

(2nd century CE)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Spiritual Wings


"... thus music brings into view the form of movement of celestial bodies, the pure form, freed from object and matter, as its very rhythm and harmony. Music is that art which has shed physicalness the most, by presenting pure movement as such, removed from any object, and by being carried by invisible, almost spiritual wings." 

F. W. J. Schelling (1775 - 1854)

Monday, March 28, 2016

Sometimes the Image is the Thing

“Abstraction is idea
without body.
The object photographed may
have nothing to do with
the subject though the
object may be subject.
The photograph may be an
objective document of pure subjectivity.
There are things in the world
that are unseen to the unaided.
There are seens that are not.
If all language is ultimately metaphor,
then don't talk to me of first principles.
It is wrong to assume that in a
photograph there must always have been
something - some thing.
Sometimes the image is the thing.” 

- Roger Newton (1960 - )

Monday, March 21, 2016


“If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. 'Interbeing' is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the prefix 'inter-' with the verb 'to be,' we have a new verb, inter-be. Without a cloud, we cannot have paper, so we can say that the cloud and the sheet of paper inter-are.

If we look into this sheet of paper even more deeply, we can see the sunshine in it. If the sunshine is not there, the forest cannot grow. In fact, nothing can grow. Even we cannot grow without sunshine. And so, we know that the sunshine is also in this sheet of paper. The paper and the sunshine inter-are. And if we continue to look, we can see the logger who cut the tree and brought it to the mill to be transformed into paper. And we see the wheat. We know the logger cannot exist without his daily bread, and therefore the wheat that became his bread is also in this sheet of paper. And the logger’s father and mother are in it too. When we look in this way, we see that without all of these things, this sheet of paper cannot exist.

Looking even more deeply, we can see we are in it too. This is not difficult to see, because when we look at a sheet of paper, the sheet of paper is part of our perception. Your mind is in here and mine is also. So we can say that everything is in here with this sheet of paper. You cannot point out one thing that is not here-time, space, the earth, the rain, the minerals in the soil, the sunshine, the cloud, the river, the heat. Everything co-exists with this sheet of paper. That is why I think the word inter-be should be in the dictionary. 'To be' is to inter-be. You cannot just be by yourself alone. You have to inter-be with every other thing. This sheet of paper is, because everything else is.

Suppose we try to return one of the elements to its source. Suppose we return the sunshine to the sun. Do you think that this sheet of paper will be possible? No, without sunshine nothing can be. And if we return the logger to his mother, then we have no sheet of paper either. The fact is that this sheet of paper is made up only of “non-paper elements.” And if we return these non-paper elements to their sources, then there can be no paper at all. Without “non-paper elements,” like mind, logger, sunshine and so on, there will be no paper. As thin as this sheet of paper is, it contains everything in the universe in it.” 
- Hanh Nhat Thich (1926 - )

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Ring of Brodgar, Stenness

"There, on a little hill near to the lake, in a tomb, was found the bones of a man, which indeed were connected together, in length fourteen feet as the author affirmed, and money was found under the head of the dead man; and indeed I viewed the tomb...There at the lake are stones high and broad, in height equal to a spear, and in an equal circle of half a mile."

- Jo Ben (c.16th Century)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Simplicities of Natural Laws

“The simplicities of natural laws 
arise through the complexities
of the language we use 
for their expression.” 


Friday, March 18, 2016

Matter is But a Shadow

“...the supreme quality of beauty being 
a light from some other world is the idea ... 

... that the matter is but a shadow, 
the reality of which it is but the symbol..” 

(1882 - 1941)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Becoming Never Ends in Being

“All mortals, being in the process of coming-to-be
and passing away, appear as phantoms 
and uncertain apparitions of themselves.

No one can step twice into the same stream, 
nor touch a living object twice in the same condition.

In swift and repeated change, 
things disperse and gather again; 
not in temporal succession, 
but in substance only they come together 
and flow away, approach and depart.

So it is that becoming never ends in being.” 

(c. 540 - c. 480 BCE) 

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Faculty Superior to Reason

“You ask, how can we know the Infinite?
I answer, not by reason.

It is the office of reason 
to distinguish and define. 
The infinite, therefore, cannot be 
ranked among its objects. 

You can only apprehend the
 infinite by a faculty superior to reason,
by entering into a state in which 
you are your finite self no longer,
in which the divine essence 
is communicated to you. 

This is ecstasy. 
It is the liberation of your mind 
from its finite consciousness. 

Like can only apprehend like; 
when you thus cease to be finite,
you become one with the infinite.

In the reduction of your 
soul to its simplest self,
its divine essence, 
you realize this union -  this identity.” 

(1878 - 1947)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pondering Reality

“Perhaps the world was actually different
from the one I had begun to perceive.
Every man who had ever lived became a
contributor to the evolution of the earth,
since his observations were a part of its growth.
The world was thus a place entirely constructed
from thought, ever changing, constantly
renewing itself through the process of
mankind’s pondering its reality for themselves.”

James Cowan (1942 - )

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Photographer's Relationship to the World

“It is the mystery and splendor 
of photography that the
essence of the art has little to do 
with photography itself. 

The making of the picture 
is simple and quick.

The hard part is everything else:
the whole of the photographer's 
relationship to the world.” 

Chief Curator of the Dept. of Photography
Museum of Modern Art, New York
(commenting on Henri Cartier-Bresson in

Sunday, March 13, 2016

What is Order?

“What is order? 

We know that everything in
the world around us is governed
by an immense orderliness. 

We experience order
every time we take a walk.
The grass, the sky,
the leaves on the trees,
the flowing water in the river,
the windows in the houses along the street,
all of it is immensely orderly. 

It is this order which makes
us gasp when we take our walk.
It is the changing
arrangement of the sky,
the clouds, the flowers, leaves,
the faces round about
us, the order, the dazzling
geometrical coherence, together
with its meaning in our minds. 

But this geometry which means
so much, which makes us feel
the presence of order so clearly,
we do not have a language for it.”   

(1936 - )

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Poetry, Prophecy, and Religion

“The greatest thing a human soul 
ever does in this world is
see something and tell what 
he saw in a plain way.

Hundreds of people can talk 
for one who can think.
But thousands can think for
 one who can see.

To see is poetry, prophecy, 
and religion, all in one.” 

(1819 – 1900)

Friday, March 11, 2016

Direct Experience

“To the vast majority of people 
a photograph is an
image of something within 
their direct experience:
a more-or-less factual reality.

It is difficult for them 
to realize that the
photograph can be the source 
of experience, as well as the
reflection of spiritual awareness 
of the world and of self.” 

(1902 - 1984)

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Complete Consciousness

"Complete consciousness is present
to us at all times, every moment, 
but we reject it in order to 
maintain our prejudices, our ideas. 
But sooner or later we will 
relinquish our ideas in favor of response... 
Life is consciousness of life itself."

(1912 - 2004)

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Creating Distinctions

“In the sky, there is
no distinction of east and west;
people create distinctions
out of their own minds
and then believe them to be true.” 

(563-483 B.C.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Music of the Eyes

"Perhaps art is just taking out
what you don't like
and putting in what you do.
There is no such thing 
as Abstraction. 
It is extraction, 
gravitation toward a 
certain direction... 
It is nearer to music, 
not the music of the ears, 
just the music of the eyes."

(1880 - 1946)

Monday, March 07, 2016

Perspectives and Realities

"What prohibits me from treating my perception as an intellectual act is that an intellectual act would grasp the object either as possible or as necessary. But in perception it is 'real'; it is given as the infinite sum of an indefinite series of perspectival views in each of which the object is given but in none of which is it given exhaustively."

(1908 - 1961)

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Edge of the Sea

"The shore is an ancient world, for as long as there has been an earth and sea there has been this place of the meeting of land and water. Yet it is a world that keeps alive the senses of continuing creation and of the relentless drive of life. Each time that I enter it, I gain some new awareness of its beauty and its deeper meanings, sensing that intricate fabric of life by which one creature is linked with another, and each with its surroundings...

There is a common thread that links these scenes and memories–the spectacle of life in all its varied manifestation as it appeared, evolved and sometimes died out. Underlying the beauty if the spectacle there is meaning and significance. It is the elusiveness of that meaning that haunts us, that sends us again and again into the natural world where the key to this riddle is hidden.

It sends us back to the edge of the sea, where the drama of life played its first scene on earth and perhaps even its prelude; where the forces of evolution are at work today, as they have been since the appearance of what we know as life, and where the spectacle of living creatures faced by the cosmic realities of their world is crystal clear." 

- Rachel Carson (1907 - 1964)

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Feeling of Wonder

"This oceanic feeling of wonder
is the common source of 
religious mysticism,
of pure science and
art for art's sake." 

- Arthur Koestler (1905 - 1983)

Friday, March 04, 2016

Goethian Wholeness

"In following Goethe's approach to scientific knowledge, one finds that the wholeness of the phenomenon is intensive. The experience is one of entering into a dimension that is the phenomenon, not behind or beyond it, but which is not visible at first. It is perceived through the mind, when the mind functions as an organ of perception instead of the medium of logical thought. Whereas mathematical science begins by transforming the contents of sensory perception into quantitative values and establishing a relationship between them, Goethe looked for a relationship between the perceptual elements that left the contents of perception unchanged. He tried to see these elements themselves holistically instead of replacing them by a relationship analytically. Ernst Cassirer said, 'the mathematical formula strives to make the phenomena calculable, that of Goethe to make them visible."

- Henri Bortoft (1938 - 2012)

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Deep Infinity

“Deep, deep infinity! 


O dream away from the 
tensions of daily living; 
to sail over a calm sea at 
the prow of a ship,
toward a horizon that always recedes;
to stare at the passing waves and listen to
their monotonous soft murmur;
to dream away into unconsciousness ..."

- M.C. Escher (1898-1972)

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Hidden Meaning

"Everything in the world has
a hidden meaning. . . .
Men, animals, trees, stars,
they are all hieroglyphics.
When you see them you
do not understand them.
You think they are really men,
animals, trees, stars.
It is only years later
that you understand."

(1883 - 1957)

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

Mystical Perception

"It is to a practical mysticism that [] are invited: to a training of ... latent faculties, a bracing and brightening of ... languid consciousness, an emancipation from the fetters of appearance, a turning of ... attention to new levels of the world. Thus ... become aware of the universe which the spiritual artist is always trying to disclose to the race. This amount of mystical perception—this 'ordinary contemplation,' as the specialists call it—is possible to all men: without it, they are not wholly conscious, nor wholly alive. It is a natural human activity, no more involving the great powers and sublime experiences of the mystical saints and philosophers than the ordinary enjoyment of music involves the special creative powers of the great musician."

- Evelyn Underhill (1875 - 1941)