contemplating snow clouds —

whitened landscape, I am part

of the winter scene ~bckofford

cattails…Nikon D750 f/7.1 1/640s 85mm 100 ISO


You can learn about the pine only from the pine, or about the bamboo only from bamboo.  When you see an object, you must leave your subjective pre-occupation with yourself; otherwise you impose yourself on the object, and do not learn.  The object and yourself must become one, and from that feeling of oneness issues your poetry.  However well phrased it may be, if your feeling is not natural—if the object and our self are separate—then your poetry is not true poetry but merely your subjective counterfeit. ~ Basho

three day quote challenge: 3rd day

The faculty of voluntarily bringing back a wandering attention, over and over again, is the very root of judgment, character, and will. No one is [master of himself] if he have it not. An education which should improve this faculty would be the education par excellence. But it is easier to define this ideal than to give practical instruction for bringing it about.  ~ William James



The rules of this three-day quote challenge are to post a favourite quote every day for three days, and pass on the challenge to three other bloggers. You can do this at any time you like – even next year – and you can also say, “No thanks.”

While I’ve enjoyed being challenged by others, I find it difficult to invite one blogger over another, so if you would like to join in please accept this invitation to share your favorite quotes.  Thank you Amy at The World is a Book for extending an invitation.  It eases all those times in the playground when I was among the last to be chosen to be on a team.  _()_

an object of perception


The spring sunlight, flowers blooming, and green trees create a landscape that looks like embroidery. This is an object of perception and it’s a beautiful thing to focus on. …if we don’t consider the role of our mind, and just focus on what we see as the independent reality around us, there will be contradictions.

The Vietnamese poet Nguyen Du said, ‘When a person is sad, the scenery is never happy.’ How we are feeling determines how we see the world. Why are some people able to experience happiness when they look at the moon and see its beauty, while others see the same moon as sad or depressing? This question can’t be answered unless both the subject [person] and object [moon] are taken into account.

~Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Battles


vulgar songs fill the days…


Customs become diluted year after year.

Both the noble and the common decline.

The human mind grows fragile with time;

the ancestral way becomes fainter day by day.

Teachers can’t see past the name of their school;

students enable their teachers’ narrow-mindedness.

They are glued to each other,

unwilling to change.

Thornbushes grow around high halls,

fragrant flowers wither in the weeds.

Vulgar songs fill the days.

Who will expound the luminous teaching?

Ah, I, a humble one,

have encountered this era.

When a great house is about to crumble,

a stick cannot keep it from falling.

Unable to sleep on a clear night,

I toss in bed, …

~Ryokan, 1796-1816 (K Tanahashi, Sky Above, Great Wind)


awakening“Suppose I invite you to join me for a cup of tea. You receive your cup, taste the tea, and then drink a little more…

“Now suppose I ask you to describe the tea. You use your memory, your concepts, and your vocabulary to describe the sensations. …concepts and words describe your direct experience of the tea, they are not the experience itself. Indeed, in the direct experience of the tea, you do not make the distinction that you are the subject of the experience and that the tea is its object, you do not think that the tea is the best, or the worst…There is no concept or word that can frame this pure sensation resulting from experience. You can offer as many descriptions as you like, but only you have had a direct experience of the tea. …And you yourself, when you are describing the experience, are no longer in it.  In the experience you were one with the tea. There was no distinction between subject and object, no evaluation, and no discrimination. That pure sensation is an example of non-discriminative wisdom, which introduces us to the heart of reality.

“To reach truth is not to accumulate knowledge, but to awaken to the heart of reality. Reality reveals itself complete and whole at the moment of awakening. In the light of awakening, nothing is added and nothing is lost. …The moment of awakening may be marked by an outburst of laughter, but this is not the laughter of someone who has won the lottery or some kind of victory. It is the laughter of one who, after searching for something for a long time, suddenly finds it in the pocket of his coat.”

~Thich Nhat Hanh ( Zen Keys, pp.43-44)