Yoshizen's Blog

Tea Ceremony — 茶の湯、侘び助

In relation to the Sazanka post, I was looking around the Camellia flower items in the Wiki.    There are many funny stories about a mystical rare variety of the Camellia called Wabi-suke.  

You may vaguely know about Japanese Tea Ceremony — how it was refined and sophisticated etc and saw many photos of the Tea bowl, Tea room and its garden, though you may not having any idea, who actually taking part of those gatherings in the time of Samurai era.

—– In reality, if you imagine a kind of political, financial salon or a gentleman’s club = it must be the closest.  The Tea master, who host the ceremony, was THE power dealer pull the string.    The higher the reputation of the Tea master, the guest or friend is high in the position.  The Load of the country could meet the other lord in a completely isolated, safe environment such as a Tea hut in a temple.  (Anybody go into the room has to take off their sword and kneeling into the small room.)  Tea master arranged the meeting in certain intention.  So, an alliance deal could be made or needy War Lord could meet rich merchant and able to borrow lots of gold for a war operation etc etc.

Naturally, there was an ugly battle between the Tea masters, Who is the most prominent.   So, to have more valuable Tea bowl in “Wabi” became a harsh competition. = Who could offer the highest price for a bowl, kind of the battle. 

—– then, a new variety of Camellia, which doesn’t fully open its small flower was introduced into the cercle.  The flower got instant hype “This flower shows really held back humble shape.  This is THE flower to be seen in the supreme tea place”.  The particular flower was named “Wabi-suke”.  Imagine, if the Lord was greeted by a bunch of flower worth thousand of gold — guess, its effect. 

So, the shady battle to get hold the flower was fought among the Tea masters which involved even fraudulent flower growers who try to trick with sham branch with huge price.  (Think, the Black Tulip hype in the 18C Europe = when the big money involved, it creates crazy hype.) —— The trouble was that the “Wabi-suke” was not an established variety, (even worse, the definition was rather vague, such as “Smaller” and “Flower wouldn’t be fully open” kind = such flower could be just a result of a malnutrition or lack of water, and similar flower could be produced by temporary hybrid — but never repeated again and so on — etc !) —– So, even today, some says “I believe this is “Wabi-suke” but others sees not or “My one is Wabi-suke” but others doesn’t agree —– People could see every DNA of the “reputedly” or “claimed to be” Wabi-suke though, no-one is shure which one is true Wabi-suke.   It’s so funny.)   😀

(Now you must become aware, Tea Ceremony, Tea Masters are not necessary peaceful decent kind. — could have been a center of conspiracy.   In real histories, the association of War load (even Shogun) and the Tea master, Zen monk as an Adviser or Strategist was well-known.)    😀  

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Fancy Eat a Lamb ?

India complains over ‘offensive’ Australian lamb commercial

(There was a kind of diplomatic / cultural conflict.)

India has lodged an official complaint over an Australian advertisement that features the Hindu god Ganesha and other religious icons endorsing lamb.
In the TV commercial from industry group Meat and Livestock Australia, a number of religious figures — including Lord Ganesha, Jesus, Buddha and Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard — are seen sitting down together to a lamb-based meal and raising a glass to the meat.
The image of elephant-headed Lord Ganesha, who is widely considered to be vegetarian, was met with anger in Australia’s Indian community.
The Indian high commission (embassy) in Canberra said it had taken the issue up with the Australian government.
Lord Ganesha along with other religious figures is found to be ‘toasting lamb’, which the Indian community consider to be offensive and hurting their religious sentiments, the commission said in a statement Saturday.
The Indian consulate in Sydney has also made a direct appeal to Meat and Livestock Australia to withdraw the commercial, according to the statement.
The industry body said it was meeting community groups to respond to their concerns.
It said it had undertaken extensive research and consultation when producing the advertisement, which was intended to promote inclusivity and not intended to offend.

(2017/09/12 14:22) – AFP-JIJI Press

It was an absolutely bizarre story, regardless whether any ground of complaint, even a shred of evidence whether any proven fact behind — or not.  Other than Ron Hubbard, no-one can proof even an existence of other figures like as what some of us are believing.  Not mention Hindu God, to believe the stories of those “religious figure” are just exists in the imagination of the people.  Think, to deny the story or alleged experience of UFO could make an insult to the person ?

Still, the “Real” trouble is, there are many attacks and killings of the person who is handling or eating Beef meat has been kept happening in India.

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All mighty Good

 It said to be 500 years since Martin Ruther cause a revolution in the history of Christianity.  In the time of authoritarian Catholic, Martin Ruther started to preach, to communicate with the God in the common language, not in Latin.  (Obviously, even all mighty God didn’t have a multi lingual capability then !)

In the 13th century when western Christian mission arrived to Japan, they found that the Japan was the most awkward place to preach. — Japanese asked to those missionaries “If your God was such all mighty, why he couldn’t come here by himself while speaking in Japanese ?”  Of course, those western monks couldn’t answer the question. = So, they failed to convert Japan into Christianity and failed to make it into a colony, so even now, the Christian population in Japan is only about 1%. (Though, I’m not sure this figure include Muni as a part of Christian population.)

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Yellow robe

While browsing the net, I found a very interesting suggestion which was saying that the reason why Buddhist monk wear the yellow robe.  It was that the early sangha of the Buddhists were literally the Bhikku (= beggar) who forsaken all the possessions, family, relations, everything and live on the generosity given by the people.  So, to stay in absolutely humble and show having no desire or Ego was their must.  

But, whether the person was really living in a mind of void is difficult to know.  And, it is difficult to see other’s state of the mind let alone to know the spiritual level of the person.   Of course, no one can tell that “I am in such advanced level” because it IS nothing but to expose how arrogant and silly the person is. 

Instead, the bhikku emulate each other while wearing the cloth picked up from a rubbish dump.   Those cloths were heavily soiled and even after washed and washed they were dirty yellowish brown (there wasn’t a vio washing powder then.   😀 ) — so, the bhikku were competing with others, by showing off “I’m more humble than you as I’m wearing more soiled cloth and this is the proof of my mind is completely free from any self-conscious Ego”—– ( It seemed this tradition was started by an ascetic Maha Kashyapa = thence he was always depicted wearing dark brown. — While  Lord Buddha himself, and Ananda etc were wearing white = donated new cloth)  —– So, to wear a dirty colored cloth became a symbol of the monk’s humbleness, selflessness and became the symbol to be a Buddhist — later on, when the monk became fulltime staff of the rich temple and even the cloth became a richly died with expensive turmeric, the yellow robe was kept as a tradition. (But further down east, like in China and in Japan, the lowest monk wear black which was a discarded ordinary cloth dipped into black ink (in its original form), not expensive turmeric yellow.   😀    Now, just buy a black Kimono would be cheaper than the cost of an ink for calligraphy.  =  The question IS who and why anybody want to pretend to be a monk ?     😀   —– If anybody want to follow the Buddhism, just DO it.  = It IS nothing to do with a posture or fashion. )

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Once before, I attended a Tibetan Buddhist’s gathering.  In a part of ritual, their followers altogether performed a complicated twist of finger sign, some could do very smooth, others couldn’t.  The one who could do better, demonstrated to others while explaining its move.   It was the moment of show-off = the moment the person feel that I’m better than others.  (To get its skill right, the person must spend quite a time practicing though, it might be only a chance he could get a respect in his whole life.  What’s wrong ? )   Even though its arrogant mind was completely opposite of the Buddhist’s teachings, still “Why not” it could be his start. 

A well-known Buddhists sect, ranking the followers according to how many the person managed to recruit new members, and going up in their hierarchy.  It is a very well designed Ponzi scheme to make money.  (Remember their huge headquarter !)   For some sect, Buddhism is just a pretext to recruit the members and suck up the money.  Exactly the same to the Nintendo selling Mario = Mario is a mean to sell.  Matter is the money which Mario would bring back.

The urge to emulate others may be as hard to eliminate like an instinct to live.  To successfully emulate others will trigger the reword system in the brain by secluding dopamine etc. = this is the design how we can live happily.  Yet still, Hinayana try to suppress such pleasure while imposing hundred of Not.   That’s why history moved to Mahayana.   (Mahayana accept the nature = original design = of human being. — In other words, there may not be such a thing like a joke “Higher Spiritual Level”   😀 )

I used to know two guys wearing orangey yellow cloths.  The one was a guy used be Maharish camp in India and the other was said to be a Tibetan Buddhist.  Though, I never seen or noticed that they got any higher consciousness to live or spoke — still, it was, at least, very distinctive among the cloud.   But, I wasn’t convinced that it lead them to anywhere closer to higher awareness at all !  (only a thing sure was, all of us was thinking that they were silly = It’s mean, nobody respect you because you are wearing Yellow — world would see you only in your deed , not by the color.)    😀

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Japanese Pickles 漬物

pickles1-a09a7167Again here, there is a fundamental difference of the idea between east and west.  Western people think the pickles is in the vinegar though Japanese think pickles is the name only for western food pickled in the vinegar.  Because Japanese makes the vegetable preserve in totally different way and the taste completely different.  Japanese calls them Tsukemono /漬物  (Funny thing is there are certain food pickled in the vinegar exists in Japan though they were called Suzuke / 醋漬, not in the western name pickles.   😀 )  As in the winter, we can see the vegetable called “Hakusai”/ 白菜(Chinese calls Bak-choi / 白菜) Chinese Cabbage.  And it is the time for me to make a Hakusai-zuke (pickled (?) Chinese Cabbage) —– This must be the second simplest cooking after a grilled fish. (simply give a bite to a fruits may not be a cooking = just a way to eat.  = it is not in a count.   🙂 )  So, how to make Hakusai-zuke ? 

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(Put the leaves into a bucket in layers and cover them with a suitable size of a dish.)

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(And put a soup bawl kind to have a space = because the leaves will sink under the pressure, while the water is coming out and rise.  I cover whole bucket with a plastic bag and put a heavy weight from outside.  I used an electric transformer as a weight.)

Put it in a bucket with the sprinkle of salt and keep it under a pressure of a heavy weight 5~7 days.  (With a pressure, the air was pushed out, so the anaerobic fermentation takes place.)   That’s all. 

pickles4-a09a7180With the vegetable’s own enzyme and the common bacteria, it would be naturally fermented and change the taste.  How much the amount of salt is not very critical.  In Japan the salt content of the vegetable Tsuke-mono said to be dropped from 15% to less than 5% in the past 50 years or so = So, it can be one shake of salt for every few layers of leaves. (If you want a stronger taste, you can put a drop or two soy-source or chili kind when you eat.) And how heavy the weight should be = somewhat 2~3 Kg = fill the water to an empty milk bottle or a kind and use it. (I’ve been using an electric transformer.  🙂  ) 

(I’ve put the pickling bucket into the other room where no central heating and leave the bucket for 5~6 days.)  (Photo left) — It seems, the Tsukemono made in the Winter is the best.  (Low temperature might keep the bad bacteria out.)  When I was a keeper of a mountain shelter, we made 5 binful Blacken  (Warabi) Tsukemono in the early summer and the same amount of local vegetable (Nozawa-na / 野沢菜) in November to accompany the meal for the guests.  It was a mountain of tsukemono !

Of course, there could be many variation which you can have a fun such as to put a hot chili sauce or the other vegetables etc.  Chinese people makes it with a lots of salt and they can be kept many years as really a preserved vegetable, called Tou-chai / 冬菜 and it must be the origin which came to Japan with Zen Buddhist.  (Yet, on the historical record,  Japanese has been making pickled vegetables 1000 years ago and there are hundreds of different style of Tskemono there.  Still, the basic idea is the same = use the effect of the natural bacteria’s fermentation to create distinctive flavor to the vegetable. (Though, may not necessary to make a good preserve because, it got only few days for the best eat and after it, it became to “Over pickled” taste became too sour, the color too brownish etc. — Yet, my guess is, when people found that the old natural fermentation become sour = why not use the vinegar from the beginning for the sake of consistency and the longer shelf life of the product. — this might be the start of the Pickles in vineger. )

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(After 5~7 days, when the Hakusai-zuke was ready to eat, I shredded it and put into a jar while mixing with additional Chinese hot chilli sauce.  Since the pickled Hakusai is conveniently in a jar, it is easy to serve onto the rice.)  M m m,  Yummy !

For Japanese, the Tsuke-mono is a way of cooking —– to make it for long preserve, there are many different way such as pickled in a salty miso or use Sake etc.  The amazing difference in the western pickles is, that their taste was designed = what type of vinegar, what is the additional ingredient such as Junipers, dill seeds etc. and it almost symbolizes the fundamental difference between Judea Christianity and the Buddhism.  The one try to make the taste by their own idea, and the other see what the nature can make and follows it.  (It must be a very interesting point there, why the west didn’t start anaerobic fermentation of the vegetable, while having such as the wine making alongside.)    I haven’t tasted it though, there said to be the Zen Tsuke-mono made in the temple which is in the original Chinese style (much salty) — but to make it more acceptable mild taste, a Zen master, Takuan / 沢庵 said to have invented the use of rice bran with salt = it became the “Takuan Zuke” = which made his name as big as Ikkyu / 一休 on the history !  Since then, in most of the case, the tsukemono mean pickled in the salty rice bran — but it is so awkward to keep and smelly = it is the house wives’ nightmare.

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(Yet the matter of fermentation is a combination of the bacteria = So, with a help of modern chemistry, the convenient short-cut was invented !

—–> Now people can make Tsuke-mono conveniently in a glass jar.  —  magic bullet was given to me from the friends though I haven’t tested it yet = if you like to try, it called “Nuka-yorokobi” from a Japanese food shop.)   Good luck and enjoy a taste.   😀

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Lost in Translation

There are quite few Japanese words notoriously difficult to translate into western language. 

Such as  Itadaki-masu (いただきます), Okage-sama (おかげさま), Mottai-nai(もったいない)、and abave all  Wabi, Sabi. (わび) (さび)

Why those words were difficult to translate, was because of that the one’s fundamental conscious to exists were completely different in the west.   Some said that because of the difference between the Christianity and the Buddhism.  But, to my eyes, the cause was much deeper = because of the fundamental difference, the westerner invented God, but the people in the east IS living under the Heaven since the beginning of the time. (so that, even Buddhism adapted the Dharma / Rule of the Universe)  And in the Shinto, (of which Japanese unconsciously follows) naturally follow the Rule of Nature which is almost the same to Dharma though sublimated much deeper down to the almost chemical level.  (That’s why Japanese doesn’t touch other’s possession and wash or clean the hand almost obsessively = so that, they were reluctant to shake hand, let alone kissing others, because they were prohibited to touch filth by the Shinto. —– hence, wearing surgical mask to avoid to breath other’s germ. = some of them even don’t eat a rice ball made by others hand.) 

In the same time, since the Japanese has the deep awareness that they “were Made to exists” by the Heaven, Rules, Dharma what so ever called, when they start to eat, they have to say Itadaki-masu = I gratefully receive this given food and thanks to the food (material itself) who gave their lives to me as well = Japanese are well aware that they are killing the Potato, Beans etc boiled alive.  Likewise, the word Okage-sama meant the thanks not only to the person who gave a kindness to him but also grateful to the Heaven who arrange the meeting. = This is the word to express absolute humbleness. = conscious toward the “Given Life” and thanks to its fate.  And the word Mottai-nai meant “Feel shame to waste the precious resources which has been given to us“.

=== It’s easy to see the point, that the fate of the rice glowing society was governed by the sun and rain = nature, not by a strong hunting, fighting individual. (The western God was conceived as an ancient Hero ascended to the heaven (A legend became myth, then to a religion) = therefore speak same language, and negotiable with a bribe = how humanistic !    😀 )

In contrast to the east, the western’s Ego justify his existence “As a rightful owner of my life”  and have a right to kill and eat, because they were made to be eaten. = thus feel no sorry to a butchered chicken.  Such fundamental difference between arrogant Ego and passive Humbleness couldn’t have the same kind of sentiment, the psych which is the base of each word. = therefore no compatible word could exist.   No wonder a trouble in translation.

I’ll explain the words Wabi and Sabi on the next post with sample photos. 

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Mindfulness yet again ? ? ?

Many years, I’ve been having incongruity toward the use of the word, so-called Mindfulness. — With a kind of hunch (There seems to be a big mistake ! ), I refer back to the Agama scripture how they wrote about the definition of Selfless. —– It seems there is no direct description of No-self in the Agama, but only the indirect explanation, which was as an answer to a question “Is there permanent Self (Atoman) exists ?”   It was only in a metaphor of the impermanence of a soil (or cow dung). (= Even such simple existence of soil couldn’t be permanent, how the mind or Self could exists permanent.)

Of course the No-self was not the primary phenomenon but only a consequence of No-permanence, and No-permanence was because of the constant activity of the Karma. Understanding of the Karma was Lord Buddha’s most fundamental philosophy, and from here, such as Four Noble Truth were deduced.   Therefore, it may not too strange to have less significance of the No-self in the Agama scripture.   Or, it could be the deliberately placed emphasis to negate the Self.  Since you can’t talk about a thing which is not exists. Why Self is not exists, because it was a deluded product of the mind.  And the mind is only a momentary reflection of the Karma.  So that, to put emphasis on the mind (of awareness / memory) in the Mindfulness practice IS not Buddhism.  In deed, the Theravada sect who promoted the idea of Mindfulness was based on the idea of Sathi, which was the idea in the Vedic meditation.   Of course Vedic stands on the idea of Atoman = Perpetual mind / Self = so that, become aware of the mind = mindfulness IS their practice.   It is not a Buddhism but nothing but a Hindu practice.  This IS a typical mix-up or a misunderstanding of the Buddhism by the Theravada sect.

Whether clinging the mind could bring any good to the mental health of the person, in comparison to the empty-minded Buddhists.  It was too apparent in the social phenomena in a Hindu country, in contrast to a country where people even don’t remember that they were the Buddhist = Japan.   A country where the notorious brutal gang rape cases were kept happening, or the country where the safest place to travel.       The question IS where their Ethos and the Morality came from.

It was the observation made by Lord Buddha 2500 years ago.   Clinging the idea and such mind is nothing but a delusion since the idea of “such mind could exists” itself IS the delusion.   And let all the five senses free = not to stick to any perception will make us to emancipate any notion or image, hence able to see the Dharma. (All those notion, images which were the products of thinking, has been masking the Dharma.)

It IS the biggest irony, as long as you are thinking or seeing something, you can not see the truth. When you abandon to see, you start to see the Dharma. — The most funny irony IS, to abandon to see, stop thinking to see IS exact opposite of the so-called mindfulness practice. So, those so-called mindfulness practice is creating yet another delusion and the obsession.

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Thinking process

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Sorry, it’s about that bellows again.  — behind the apparent shape and its function, that Sony Tilt attachment has many hidden structures and the stories, such as the bottom of A7R camera, additional plate was screwed. Because the device’s constant adjustment = rotation, the plate protect the camera bottom scratched.  And the hard alumium plate has anodized hard surface, which would prevent the two aluminium parts stack together.

You may not able to guess how the bag bellows was made and attached to the mount of both side.  Imagine, if the leather bag was made separately, how you can attach it to the mount (Body side was a camera body cap and the lens side was the back of the front panel with Canon EF mount attached.)  = In order to have the precise position of the mount, a length of black leather was first glued to each mount ring.  Then the leather was folded to the position and stitched together to make a closed bag.  (Because the tilt movement is only one side, the bag was made wedged shape.)

When we make (design) something, there are two different approach.     One is to imagine the final piece in the brain first. And cut the material in each size and shape then assemble altogether.   And the other is, bring the major material to the place and find the size and shape etc on the spot while giving many considerations.  So that the making process is step by step.

(Sound somewhat out of context, you may think though)  The Buddhist’s approach is the later.  Lord Buddha loathe to rely on the imagination, hence he didn’t teach notions, even not rely on the words.  Because  he taught the Karma = everything exists and moves following the Karma.   The sign or agent of the Karma are on front of us and they are keep changing moment to moment.  Perceive all those Karma and intuitively follow them will be the least troublesome life we can have. (Intuitive mean, without having “thinking” self = Selfless = be in the Void = with Dharma)    This is the reason why we have to deal with the things on front of us.  If not on there, its mean, it exists in the thinking or imagination.   So, to make a thing on the spot, while finding the precise dimension and the requirement is the right approach to do.   (It’s not against the nuclear scientists designing particle collider — we may not able to see the particles or tela gauss magnetic force by our eyes still, they are there. = Scientists intuitively count its effect in.) —– In this world, there is no ideal remedy or solution (which was a product of imagination or fantasy) but only practical measure applied on the spot, moment to moment. (You might have seen or remember that all the so-called  “ology / ism” has been bankrupted leaving immeasurable destruction behind ! )

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Fill the sink-hole in one week

A sink-hole ( 30m x 25 m x 15 m deep) appeared in the center of Hakata city in Japan has been filled just in a week. Here is a video footage of whole process condensed to the even shorter 140 second. (Compiled from the NHK 24 hours live camera image)   They are a record of the ordinary ground work = nothing fancy, no drop of the soil from a helicopter kind but just a filling work, connecting life line etc. in a gapless efficient works.  Hence it was done in the shortest possible time (save a little delay due to the bad weather) of which the foreign media described that if it was in their country, it could have taken a month, even a year or more.    Though it involved ten or more specialist company, each work wouldn’t take long hours to do = in other words, well organised continuous work (= without waiting, arguing kind of time waster) work could be done and has been done. —– On this episode, the most crucial point in the Japanese psyche is, that they can make themselves Ego-less at once.  This is the core of the Japanese Ethos, originated from the Zen Buddhism, Mushin (Mind of No-mind). With this deeply sublimated Ethos = Collective Unconsciousness, all the construction company, expert in each trade come together work together, disregard the competing company’s interest etc. The company’s interest, individual interest were copletely over ridden by the sense of “Duty”to serve the community. 

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Ox’cart and the Fate

I found a Buddhist story in a Japanese website, a collection of small episode which was said to be told by Lord Buddha = “There was an ox’cart carrying heavy goods. The ox, who draw the cart everyday fed up the work, got an idea, if there was no cart there couldn’t be any work.

So, on a bend of the road, ox sped-up and the last moment,he sway and made the cart smashed onto a rock.   As the cart was smashed broken, no more work on that day.  Then few days later, the owner brought a new cart made by heavy iron. So that, the ox had to draw even heavier lord”— in this episode

Lord Buddha taught that if anybody does silly things, it would boomerang back onto the next life. —– interesting story though,I don’t think this story was genuine at all even if it was in the Mahayana scripture.

—— The reason was

1) Lord Buddha wouldn’t have said “Next Life” since his stance was Anatoman (No- Atoman = No perpetual soul/self) therefore there couldn’t be Next Life.

2) I don’t believe that there could be a cart made-up by iron exists which was affordable to a man of ox’cart in India, 2500 years ago.

3) Of cause, ox isn’t such clever. (Sorry, Mr Ox.   😀 ) This story must be a fake by a script-writer of much much later period when the idea of Hindu = Atoman and their belief of Reincarnation was mixed up into Buddhism. Obviously, as the Buddhist’s Sanga (follower’s community) had

NO CAST system, the idea of Reincarnation was not existed there.

How do you think ?

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