VAST OCEAN/VAST HEAVEN

Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted December 21, 2017

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Yearly character

KIYOMIZUDERA SHRINE, KYOTO,  December 2017: a monk (with brush, ink and calligraphy paper) renders the Chinese Character "north".

Nicolas Trater, University of Sheffield:

Every December, Japan chooses a "Chinese character of the year" to summarize the dominant [news] stories of the last 12 months.

North Korea's nuclear machinations, it seems, are at the top of Japanese minds. 

This year's winner, chosen from the thousands of characters that make up the Japanese writing system ... is not only used in the spelling of the Japanese for "North Korea", but in the spelling of "Hokkaido", Japan's northern prefecture. That makes it doubly apt; after a North Korean missile flew over it, Hokkaido prefecture issued a four-page-what-to-do pamphlet entitled "When a missile flies over"....

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The long night;
I think about 
A thousand years afterwards.

--Shiki (1867-1902)

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"The fact of the instability of evil is the moral order of the world."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1937)

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W. S. Merwin (2012):

The great thing about a tree --and I am not talking about rows of Christmas trees, planted as though they were corn-- is that the moment a tree is in the ground, it makes a place, that's its place. The tree and the place are two words for the same thing, and will be as long as it's there. For the tree, the tree is the place, the place is the tree.

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Leaning against the tree,
Branches and leaves are few;
A night of stars.

-- Shiki (1867-1902)

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Beuys christmas tree

Joseph Beuys, THE NEEDLES OF A CHRISTMAS TREE, 1962. (Photo: Eva Beuys-Wurmbach.)

[ Note:

This 'festive' tree was interveniently positioned as a protracted (assymetrical) 'contrarian' presence --in the artist's Düsseldorf studio/living space.  

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

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Zen master Daio Kokushi (1232-1308):

Buddhas and Fathers cut to pieces --
The sword is ever kept sharpened.
The void gnashes its teeth.

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Karl Kraus text

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The long night;
The monkey thinks how
To catch the moon.

-- Shiki (1867-1902)

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Waterfall and rocks

" ... 'Distribution' (Japanese Garden)...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

The GESTALT is not a spatio-temporal individual, it is ready to integrate itself into a constellation that spans space and time --but it is not free in regard to space and time, it is aspatial, atemporal, it only escapes the time and space conceived as a series of events in themselves, it has a certain weight that doubtless forces it not in an objective site and in a point of objective time, but in a region, a domain, which it dominates, which it reigns, where it is everywhere present without one ever being able to say: it is here. It is transcendence.

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Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted November 26, 2017

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Kamo no Chomei (1212 CE):

The current of the flowing river does not cease, and yet the water is not the same water as before. The foam that floats on stagnant pools, now vanishing, now forming, never stays the same for long. So, too, it is with the people and dwellings of the world.

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"Human beings and the natural world are on a collision course."

-- Union of Concerned Scientists (1992)

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Noh Mask

Noh Mask: KOJO (OLD MAN), Japan, 15th century. Wood with pigments and hair. H. 7-1/2 in..(19.1 cm). W. 6 in. (15.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

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Autumn light Nitobe

Gary Lee-Nova, EARLY AUTUMN LIGHT II --26-10-2017, NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN. 

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Karl Kraus text

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A lonley crow
On leafless bough,
One autumn evening.

-- Basho (d. 1694 CE)

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"Beauty is everlasting and dust is for a time."

-- Marianne Moore (1944)

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Cracks in plaster

" ... 'Identification'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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Storage tanks

AN EMPLOYEE WALKS PAST STORAGE TANKS AT TSUNAMI-CRIPPLED FUKUSHIMA NO. 1 NUCLEAR POWER PLANT OF THE TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER CO. --OKUMA, FUKUSHIMA PREFECTURE --FEBRUARY 2017. (Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi.)

THE JAPAN TIMES, July 14, 2017:

Despite the objections of a number of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

"The decision has been made," Takashi Kawamara, Chairman of Tokyo Electric Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media.

Ocean discharges of diluted volumes of tritium-tainted water are a routine part of power plant operations. This is because it is a by-product of nuclear operations but cannot be filtered out of water.

As of July 6, about 770,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

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An evening breeze blows.
The water ripples 
Against the blue heron's legs.

-- Buson (d. 1784 CE)

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Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted October 31, 2017

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Calligraphy

Baiso Yamamoto, JADE BRANCHES, NETTLE TREE FLOWERS --ink on paper (album leaf), 1916. Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

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Water text

Joseph Kosuth, TITLED (ART AS IDEA AS IDEA) [WATER] --photostat, mounted on board, 1966.

Artist's commentary (1969):

I have subtitled all my work beginning with the first 'water' definition, ART AS ART AS IDEA.

[ ... ]

The dictionary works went from abstractions of particulars (like WATER) to abstractions of abstractions (like MEANING). I stopped the dictionary series in 1968. The [first] 'exhibition' I had of them was in Los Angeles [1968]. The show consisted of the word 'nothing' from a dozen different dictionaries.

Ad Reinhardt (1963):

The one thing to say about art is that it is one thing. Art is art-as-art and everything else is everything else. Art as art is nothing but art. Art is not what is not art.

-- Ad Reinhardt (1963)

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The stones at the bottom 
seem to be moving;
Clear water. 

-- Soseki (1867-1916)

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Lewis Nothing text

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"Don't follow the sentiments of the world."

-- Zen master Dogen (1200-1253)

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Winter light

WINTER LIGHT& HEAVY SNOW --NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN-- JANUARY 2004. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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The frog rises to the surface
By the strength
Of its non-attachment.

-- Joso (1662-1704)

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AFTER THE DRAGONFLIES

W.S. Merwin
(2016)

Dragonflies were as common as sunlight 
hovering in their own days 
backward forward and sideways 
as though they were memory 
now there are grown-ups hurrying 
who never saw one
and do not know what they 
are not seeing
the veins in the dragon fly's wings 
were made of light
the veins in the leaves knew them
and the flowing rivers 
the dragonflies came out of the color of water
knowing their own way 
when we appeared in their eyes
we were strangers 
they took their light with them when they went
there will be no one to remember us

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Entering autumn,
The painting of flowering plants
A daily task.

-- Shiki (1867-1902)

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Nicole L. Freiner (Bryant University), October 24, 2017:

Voters handed Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe a sweeping victory in the October 22 balloting for Japan's House of Representatives. 

The call for the election came in late September after [North] Korea had just fired another test missile, with its longest delivery system yet. Over the past months, North Korea had tested six missiles, with each test either falling into the Japan sea or passing over Japan to land in the Pacific. The latest missile flew over Japan's northernmost island of Hokaido before falling into the sea. Abe and his hawkish, conservative coalition have been attempting to rebuild Japan's military capabities and to scrap its WWII-era constitution. 

In August, Abe's minister of defence submitted a historic budget request that violates a decades-old unwritten principle. The principle is for Japan's defense budget to never be larger than 1 percent of GDP. This principle was part of a commitment made after WWII to forever renounce military agression. 

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Gladiola picture

" ... 'Surface Sense'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted October 17, 2017

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Beuys Art Text

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They spoke no word.
The visitor, the host,
And the white chrysanthemum.

-- Oshima Ryota (d. 1787)

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Reflecting Pond

  ENCIRCLEMENT, 2017. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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 Yellow Leaves

" ... 'Descent'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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The sound of a waterfall 
Falling down into the sea;
The winter night is cold.

-- Suganuma Kyokusai (d. 1717)

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Invisible Embrace Bergson

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Snow in garden

WINTER LIGHT --NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, JANUARY 2005. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.) 

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Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted October 4, 2017

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Aldous Huxley (1956):

In a world where education is predominantly verbal, highly educated people find it all but impossible to pay serious attention to anything but words and notions. [ ... ] Even in this age of technology the verbal are honored. The non-verbal humanities, the arts of being directly aware of the given facts of our existence, are almost completely ignored.

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Spiders web

LATE SUMMER SPIDER WEB --NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, September 14, 2017. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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Don't worry, spiders,
I keep house
casually.

-- Issa (1763-1828)

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AN ENCAMPMENT AT MORNING

W. S. Merwin 
(1977)

A migrant tribe of spiders 
spread tents at dusk in the rye rubble
come day I see the color
of the planet under their white-bearded tents
where the spiders are bent
by shade fires in damp September 
to their live instruments 
and I see the color of the planet 
when their tents go from above it 
as I come that way in a breath of cloud 
learning my steps
among the tents rising invisibly like the shapes of snowflakes
we are words on a journey 
not the inscriptions of settled people

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Zen master Bankei (1622-1693):

Clear are the workings of cause and effect. 
You become deluded, but don't know
It's something that you've done to yourself.
That's what's called self-centredness.

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

In short, there is no essence, no idea, that does not adhere to a domain of history and of geography. Not that it is CONFINED there and inaccessible for others, but because, like that of nature, the space or time of culture is not surveyable from above, and because the communication from one constituted culture to another occurs through the wild region wherein they all have originated.

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Rosehip

" ... Generativity/Generality...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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Behind Ise Shrine,
Unseen, hidden by the fence,
Buddha enters nirvana.

-- Basho (1644-1694)

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Pine tree

PINE TREE --NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, September 14, 2017. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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"The religion of the future, I think, will evolve in the direction of the immanently transcendent rather than the transcendentally immanent."

-- Nishida Kitaro (1949)

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Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted September 10, 2017

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"A true absolute passivity gives rise to a true absolute dynamism."

-- Nishida Kitaro (1945)
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Nitobe garden 1965

NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, University of British Columbia, c. 1965.

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I sit here 
Making the coolness 
My dwelling place.

-- Basho (1644-1694)

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Moon on screen

" ... 'Place of Nothingness'...". (Photo: M  Cynog Evans.)

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When one experiences directly one's conscious state there is as yet neither subject nor object, and knowledge and its object are completely united. This is the purest form of experience.

-- Nishida Kitara (1945)

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Orlik Kyoto garden

Emil Orlik, TEMPLE GARDEN IN KYOTO, 1901. Colour woodblock print.


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Nishida Kitaro (1945):

Zen has nothing to do with mysticism, as many think. KENSHO, seeing one's nature, means to penetrate to the roots of one's own self. The self exists as the absolute's own self-negation. We exists as the many through the self-negation of the One. Therefore the self has a radically self-contradictory existence. The very process of self-realization, in which the self knows itself, is self-contradictory. Hence we always possess ourselves in something that transcends ourselves in our own self-negation. KENSHO means to penetrate to the bottomlessly contradictory existence of one's own self.

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Momoyama mizusashi

MIZUSASHI (WATER POT FOR TEA CEREMONY), Japan, Momoyama Period (1573-1615). Stoneware with drip iron glaze (Tanba ware). H. 9-1/4 in. (23.5 cm); W: 7-1/2 in. (19.1 cm); Diam. 7 1/2 in. (19.1 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Collection Record:

Made in the shape of a wooden bucket, this pot, used to bring water into the tea room, demanded finesse on the part of the user, who would draw water from it with a long-handled wooden ladle. Its manufacture required considerable skill in molding and firing. The splashed glaze enhances the rustic effect and reflects the potter's control of the effects of ash falling on the vessel in a wood-fired kiln.

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The cool breeze,
Crooked and meandering
It comes to me.

-- Issa (1772-1858)

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Tanyu monochrome

Kano Tan'yu, THE SIXTH PATRIARCH OF ZEN AT THE MOMENT OF ENLIGHTENMENT, 1635-45. Hanging scroll --ink on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Collection Record:

This is Kano Tan'yu's reiteration of a legendary painting of the early thirteenth century by the renowned Southern Song Chinese painter Liang Kai (now in the Tokyo National Museum). It illustrates a Zen parable regarding Hui-neng (638-713), the sixth patriarch of Zen (Ch'an in Chinese), who suddenly found enlightenment as he was about to split a bamboo branch for firewood. 

The painting bears an inscription by Takuan Soho (1573-1645), one of the most prominent Zen monks in Japan's history, referring to a single strike of a knife that vanquishes all thoughts. 

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Purple flower

" ... 'Private Interpretation'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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Nishida Kitaro (1945):

It is not the case that because our minds exist, the world exists. It is not that we merely see the world FROM THE SELF. The self is rather something seen FROM THIS HISTORICAL WORLD.

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Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted August 4, 2017

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Beckman painting

Max Beckmann, APOKALYPSE, 1941. Lithograph published by Bauerische Gresserei, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

"I search for a bridge from the given present to the invisible."

-- Max Beckmann (1938)

"The destruction of the physical universe is the clearing of our eyesight."

-- Northrop Frye (1947)

 

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All beings as individuals
Are appearances only, like illusions:
They are composites of 
Forever-changing constituents.
Our blind desires,
Which are neither within nor without
With their ensuing actions,
Delude us more and more. 

--Kukai (774-835)

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"The fall or scrapping of a cultural world puts us all into the same archetypal cesspool, engendering nostalgia for earlier conditions."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1988)

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Tea Bowl

Chôjirô, TEABOWL, Japan, ca. 1575. Clay covered with a dull black glaze (Raku ware). H. 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm); Diam. 3 3/4 in. (9.5 cm.). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. 

A.J. Sadler (2011):

There is a quaint story of the odd monk Ikkyu of Daitokuji and tea master Shuko. When Shuko went to study the Zen philosophy under him Ikkyu made tea for him, but when he took the bowl and was going to drink it, Ikkyu knocked it out of his hand with his iron Nyoi sceptre. This was too much for Shako, who started up from his seat, whereupon Ikkyu shouted out "Drink it up!" Shuko then saw the point and, quite equal to the occasion, retorted "Willows are green and flowers red." "Good," said Ikkyu, quite satisfied that the other understood. Which is, being interpreted, things must remain as they are, for the nature of phenonena cannot be changed any more than spilt tea can be drunk. 

"One time, shade the eyes and gaze afar at the road of heaven."

-- Zen master Ikkyu (1394-1481)

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"There is none who cannot become Buddha."

-- Zen master Ryogen (912-985)

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Postcard

On Kawara, I GOT UP, November 1, 1969. Postcard, from the I GOT UP series (1968-1979). 

Curatorial Overview, Guggenheim Museum (New York):

Kawara sent two postcards every day to friends, family members, and colleagues. On each postcard, he stamped the date, his name, his current address, and the phrase I GOT UP (always in English and capital letters) followed by the time he rose from bed. Tourist pictures were always used, and the text was aligned in a similar way each time. Only the language and format of the date, the address, and the postage stamp changed, according to where he was at the time.

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Shukkein Garden

Ginko Biloba tree at SHUKKEIN/SHRUNKEN SCENERY GARDEN, Hiroshima --photographed in 1945 (after the world's first atomic bomb had been dropped).

[ Note:

This formal Japanese garden (established in 1629 for the then feudal lord of Hiroshima) was first constructed by Vedo Seko, an eminent tea master.

Within this landscape precinct, awareness of HOW THE PAST PERISHES is linked to an enduring visualization of PRECIOUS LONGEVITY: the profound 'hereness' of an enduring 'arboreal event'. 

Following the atomic bombing of 6 August 1945, a Ginko Biloba tree (planted at SHRUNKEN SCENERY GARDEN some two hundred years earlier) survived despite being located 1370 metres from GROUND ZERO (the blast's hypocenter).

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]  

"One thing about which fish know exactly nothing is water, since they have no anti-environment which would enable them to perceive the element they live in."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1968) 

"When you thin branches you should observe the tree well and determine the front of it."

-- Zoen, author of SANSUI NARABINI NOGATA-ZU/THE PATTERN BOOK OF MOUNTAIN-RIVER AND FIELDS (1466 CE)

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GONE BACK TO FOREST

M.K. Morton

Not nullity, just artless doze. 
Any pose there might be something to disclose? 
Absent. Comfortable for an old scarecrow,
Scarcely ripe for purchase.

Whose woods these are I doubt banks know.
Rip van Winkle's heir not so distant a cousin
Minus twice removed.
Excessively mothballed, crumpled, fuzzy, faded muslin,

The dullness relieved by the trunks of sporadic birches,
Reluctant salt and pepper. Hardly a cut above blankness,
Barely a hint of mossy anklets.
This location's nudge on topographical maps arguable, unproved

Lapsed. A challenge here --although apt for it-- 
To envision, while the eye searches 
Less than a discreet crest emerges. Tone obsessively chromatic,
Little else asserts, even if you let your gaze slink.

Although nothing lurches,
And otherwise anti-acrobatic,
The dusky trees slur as if propped up at a bar waiiting for a drink,
A smidgin of once-and-furtive frisky.

Tadpoling in powdery whisky.
Could be the house speciality.
The last glimmer
Threatening dimmer.

The most helpful word these parts is "eventually".
Any straggle of stripe to be or not to be pattern weak,
Makes a poor excuse for streak. 
Not long since an over-time, non-the-wiser old owl last hooted.

He doesn't repeat because he lets you think
He knows he can recapture 
Prey filched from him by grander, under-exposed strains of birdcatcher,
Spycatcher, cuckoo-egg hatcher, nest thatcher, cabbage leaf patcher.

But don't insistently focus betting you'll catch his blink
Just where species recently abruptly re-routed scooted. 
Slightly lit abandoned perches, now back from nondescript brink, 
To motley-cleared sky, self-contained chiaro-obscure, flatly begin to shrink. 

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Desert star

DESERT STAR --'atomic age' porcelain dinnerware plate produced by Royal Doulton, England, from 1954 to 1964. 

"We live science fiction. The bomb is our environment."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1964)

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Zen master Dogen (1200-1253 CE):

"We do not know what words are" describes the existence, in words, of dragons.

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Opening

" ... 'Opening' [ 1 ] ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.) 

Marshall McLuhan (1969):

Each culture has a dominant sensory mode. For the Japanese it is the tactile MA, or interval. Touch is the space of the gap, not the connection.

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opening 2

" ... 'Opening' [ 2 ] ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.]

Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1960):

If at the centre and so to speak the kernel of BEING there is an infinite infinite, every partial being directly or indirectly presupposes it, and in return is really or eminently contained in it.

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Opening 3

" ... 'Opening' [ 3 ] ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

Gaston Bachelard (1957):

By the swiftness of its actions, the imagination separates us from reality; it faces the future. To the FUNCTION OF REALITY, wise in experience of the past ... should be added a FUNCTION OF UNREALITY, which is equally positive. If we cannot imagine, we cannot forsee. 

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Zen master Kukai (774-835):

A hand moves, and the fire's whirling takes different shapes. All things change when we do. The first word, "Ah," blossoms into all others. Each of them is true. 

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Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted June 26, 2017

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Nitobe October 2007

NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, October, 2009. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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"In the field of attention, a center without a margin is the formation for hypnosis, stasis and paralysis."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1960)

COMMENTARY

The crux of Inazo Nitobe's memorialization at Nitobe Memorial Garden (University of British Columbia)  is summarized by Nonaku Ikujiro (Professor Emeritus, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo), when, in 2014, he notes: "Although the author of BUSHIDO: THE SOUL OF JAPAN is known as a pacifist, he never opposed war completely and said that if you draw a sword, you have to win by all means."

Nitobe died in 1933; his namesake garden was opened in 1960. An agricultural economist and ardent  Quaker, he had no known association with the art of Japanese landscape gardening --and a persistent (University of British Columbia based) programme of lionization is singularly lifeless in its CROSS-CULTURAL/TRANSGENERATIONAL MYTHMAKING particulars. At UBC, a zealous aggrandizement of Nitobe's cultural significance has functioned to camouflage one crucial aspect of the matter-of-fact design details that unavoidably accompany the first aesthetically authentic Japanese garden in Canada.

During his fifteen-month role as supervisor of the Nitobe Memorial Garden construction process, the landscape architect Kannosuke Mori (Chiba University) had attentively mentored a key apprentice --Roy Tomomichi Sumi (1908-1997). A Japanese expatriate, Sumi arrived in Canada in 1925; he subsequently returned to Japan, becoming a student [Ikeda Institute, Tokyo] of both traditional landscape gardening and BONSAI. Upon returning to Canada in 1933, he commenced a five-decade career that would culminate in the realization of the Heina Teien Peace Garden at Nikkei International Memorial Center (New Denver, British Columbia). During WWII, he had been confined at the Roseberry Internment Camp --near New Denver, the site of his final garden project.

In 1959, Sumi became founding President of the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners Association; from 1960 to 1973, he functioned as chief gardener of the UBC Memorial Garden.

In 1987, Sumi's life work was honoured by Emperor Hirohito. Sumi's citation (signed by Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone) reminds us that the award is given to "people of Japanese descent living abroad" who have distinguished themselves by "promoting Japan".

Despite his clearly well-deserved reputation, Roy Sumi's name remains  conspicuously absent from any current University of British Columbia discussion concerning the highly significant Nitobe Memorial Garden  legacy.

-- CAUSA Research Curators

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NO END POINT

Muso Soseki (1275-1351)
Trans., W. S. Merwin

The whole world is clear and empty
     to the ten directions
              There is no end point 
And yet when we
     look carefully
               there is one after all
You fly out of this world 
     looking backward 
               riding the giant roc
into the hollow of a lotus thread 
     to live there where heaven and earth 
               were never divided

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Yoshitoshi Daruma Print

Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, THE ENLIGHTENMENT OF DARUMA [from the series ONE HUNDRED ASPECTS OF THE MOON], woodblock print, 1886.

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Dusk on the flower 
Of the white peony,
That embraces the moon.

-- Gyodai (1732-1792)

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Amida Nyorai statue

AMIDA NYORAI, Japan, ca. 1250. Wood with gold leaf. The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Museum Record: 

Amida Nyorai (Sanskrit: Amitabha Tathagata), the Buddha of Limitless Light, sits upon a lotus pedestal at the center of the altar. His hands form a mudra of meditation. His beneficial gaze, directed toward the devotee below, is  symbolic of his boundless compassion.

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In the stillness 
Between the arrival of the guests,
The peonies.

-- Buson (1716-1784)

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Fudo Myo-o statue

Kaikei (Japanese, active 1183-1223), FUDO-MYO-O, Japan, early 13th centuy.
Lacquered Japanese cypress, colour, gold, cut gold (kirikane) and inlaid crystal eyes. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York..

Museum Record:

Fudo-Myo-O (Sanskrit: Acala-vidyaraja), the chief of the Five Wisdom Kings (Godai Myo-O) is the wrathful avatar of Dainichi Buddha and the tenacious protector of Buddhist law. [...] He carries in his left hand a lasso to catch and bind demons (obstacles to awakening) and in his right hand a sword to decapitate them (cut through ignorance).

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FAST FORWARD

M. K. Morton

If the emperor's new garb walks the talk, 
Gives voice, who's the fibber
When crowds flock to gawk?

The ancient Romans had to wait until after death. 
But now that global storming rock 
And roll has, with added squawk,

Perfected squeak and gibber,
We don't even have to hold our breath.
Fearfully unsymmetrical oracle

Making minds snap, crackle,
The pop scene a culture unhinger.
Of not quite nullity great rooted impinger.

Headlines pandemonium variety,
Permanently vacant more than top story,
From nonentity saved by notoriety.

Of the gone roamin' glory,
And the greaseball grandeur,
What's left to disinter?

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White flower photo

" ... 'Non-Difference'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.) 

"Confronting the mind, focus of all clarity, with the world reduced to its intelligible schema, a consistent reflection dissipates every question concerning the relationship between them."

-- Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964)

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The garden is dark 
In the night, and quiet
The peony.

-- Shirao (1738-1791) 

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Mina Loy text

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"The immediate crisis of the modern world is this, and it may throw some light upon educational problems as well: we have driven our senses out of ourselves, by externalizing all of them by technology, creating a new global envelope of sense which demands perpetual nutrition or titillation; but we have no con-sensus."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1961)

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Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted May 31, 2017

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1.

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In the third month of spring
the fruit is full on the enlightenment tree;
One night the flower blooms
and the whole world is fragrant.

-- Zen master Dogen (1200-1253)


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Gottfried Leibniz (1710):

There are two famous labyrinths where our reason very often goes astray. One concerns the great question of the free  and the necessary, above all in the production and the origin of Evil. The other consists in the discussion of continuity, and of the individuals which appear to be elements thereof, and where the consideration of the infinite must enter in. 

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Photo of Dormitory

DORMITORY FOR JAPANESE-CANADIAN MEN INTERRED DURING WORLD WAR II --VANCOUVER, MAY 1942. (Photo: Leonard Frank.)

James H. Marsh, CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA, 2017:

Beginning in 1942, the Canadian government detained and dispossessed the vast majority of people of Japanese descent living in British Columbia. They were interned for the rest of the Second World War during which their businesses were sold by the government in order to pay for detention. 

Those who resisted their internment were sent to prisoner of war camps. 

[ Detainees were not allowed to return to the West Coast of British Columbia until 1 April 1949.]

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2.

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"When there is nowhere that you have determined to call your own, then no matter where you go you are always going home."

-- Zen master and garden designer Muso Soseki (1275-1351)

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Fishing boats photo

JAPANESE CANADIAN FISHING BOATS IMPOUNDED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA --AFTER CANADA'S DECLARATION OF WAR AGAINST JAPAN, December 1941. (Photo: Leonard Frank.)

Eric Adams (University of Alberta, Faculty of Law) and Jordan Stanger-Ross (University of Victoria, Department of History), VANCOUVER SUN, 27 March 2017:

On March 27, 1942, the Canadian government enacted Order-In-Council 2483, finalizing the internment of 21,460 Japanese Canadians and the seizure of nearly everything they owned. [...] It promised to return their property when the internment ended. That wasn't what happened. Instead, the government abandoned the promise, and sold everything.

James H. Howarth, THE CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA (2017):

Beginning in early 1942, the Canadian government detained and dispossessed the vast majority of people of Japanese descent living in British Columbia. They were interned for the rest of the Second World War, during which their businesses were sold by the governmrnt in order to pay for their detention. 

[ ... ] 

Those who resisted were sent to prisoner of war camps. 

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Elias Canetti text

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Waterfall photo

" ... 'Nothing Missing/Nothing Left Over'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

Conceived and constructed by the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners' Association,  NIKKEI GARDEN, located at the Nikkei National Museum & Cultural Centre, Burnaby, British Columbia [above], is a permanent testament to the lifework of landscape architect Kannosuke Mori --designer of NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN, University of British Columbia.

Mori's exalted work at UBC is famous, internationally. However, his leading role in creating the first traditional (culturally authentic) Japanese garden in Canada remains almost completely overshadowed, locally --as a consequence of the constantly adulatory attention that continues to be lavished on the storyline of a COLD WAR DEDICATEE ... Inazo Nitobe.]

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Garden photo

" ... 'Come and Gone' ...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.) 

Whereas Inazo Nitobe died twenty-seven years prior to the opening of the Memorial Garden that carries his well-publicised name at the University of British Columbia, Kannosuke Mori was generous in his support of the Japanese Canadians who had contributed their manual labour towards the 1960 realization of that emblematic design scheme. After completion of his UBC garden precinct, Mori stayed in Canada for one additional month so as to continue mentoring the founders of what became the Vancouver Japanese Gardeners' Association. The NIKKEI GARDEN [above] was completed forty years after the completion of the Association's radical, seldom acknowledged position in Nitobe Garden history.

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"Culture is activity of thought, and receptiveness to beauty and harmonious feeling."

-- Alfred North Whitehead (1929)

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Priestley text

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"Walk during a few moments very consciously in a certain direction; simultaneously, an infinite number of living creatures in the universe are moving in an infinite number of directions."

-- Stanley Brouwn (1969)

 

"Meditation in the midst of activity is a thousand times superior to meditation in stillness."

-- Zen master Hakuin (1686-1766)

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Zen master Daio Kokushi (1235-1309):

There is reality even prior to heaven and earth;
Indeed, it has no form, much less a name;
Eyes fail to see it;
It has no voice for ears to detect;
To call it Mind or Buddha violates its nature,
For it then becomes like a visionary flower in the air;
It is not Mind, nor Buddha;
Absolutely quiet, and yet illuminating in a mysterious way, 
It allows itself to be perceived only by the clear-eyed.

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Squares on floor

Carl Andre, THE VOID ENCLOSED BY THE SQUARE OF THREE, FOUR, AND FIVE, 1997. 50 units of hot rolled steel, each 1 x 50 x 50 cm.

"Forms don't hinder emptiness; emptiness is the tissue of form."

-- Zen master Hakuin (1686-1768)

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Ryo Sugiyama, Curator, Nitobe Memorial Garden, University of British Columbia (2015):

The pond in the middle of the garden is symbolic of the Pacific ocean ... the far side [farthest shore from the garden gate] is symbolic of Japan ... the closest to the entrance is Canada or North America. On the side representative of Japan, Japanese maple trees are planted; and on the Canadian side, Canadian maple trees.

BRIDGE 

by Fujiwara no Teika (1162-1241) 

As the floating bridge
Of my spring night dream breaks
A bank of clouds parts from the peak
In the dawn sky

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

Being is the "place" where the "modes of consciousness" are inscribed structurations of Being (a way of thinking oneself within a society is implied in its social structure), and where the structurations of Being are modes of consciousness. [...] The perception of the world is formed in the world, the test for truth takes place in Being. 

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BEYOND THE WORLD 

by Muso Soseki
(1275-1351)

This place of wild land 
   has no boundaries
      north south east or west
It is hard to see
   even the tree
      in the middle of it 
Turning your head 
   you can look beyond
      each direction 
For the first time
   you know that your eyes
      have been deceiving you 

[ Translated by W.S..Merwin ]  

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Pines photo

" ... 'NO END POINT'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

[ Note:

The NIKKEI GARDEN (Burnaby, British Columbia) was conceived and constructed to function, IN PERPETUITY, as a precinct without walls or fences. The generosity of this PERMANENTLY  DISCLOSED LANDSCAPE SCHEME conveys a subtle and constant reminder of the NOT-TO-BE-FORGOTTEN CONFINEMENT AND DEPRIVATION of Japanese Canadians (during and after WWII). ]

"In a word, the infinity which moves us is the sense of multiplicity in uniformity."

-- George Santayana (1955)

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"History is made only by those who oppose history (not by those who insert themselves into it, or even reshape it)."

-- Gilles Deleuze (1980)

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MOON MOUNTAIN

by Muso Soseki
(1275-1351)

The light of awakening 
          appears when it has been 
                    forgotten
HIgh and vast the  mountain 
          lifts forth 
                    the moon
I myself
          have climbed to 
                    the summit 
In the world outside of things 
          there is nothing
                    to get in the way

[ Translated by W.S.Merwin ]

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Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted April 30, 2017

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1.

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Powershovel

CANADA'S BIGGEST POWER SHOVEL LOADING AN ORE TRAIN WITH ASBESTOS AT THE JEFFRY MINE, JOHN MANVILLE CO. --ASBESTOS, QUEBEC, JUNE, 1944. (Photo: Harry Rowed, National Film Board of Canada.)



In 1959, a Nitobe Memorial Garden fundraising campaign was spearheaded in Japan by the President of the Nizawa Asbestos Cement Co. Ltd. (the leading importer of asbestos in that country). At the time, Canada was a world leader in the production and export of asbestos.

On 3 May, 1960, at the Nitobe Memorial Garden opening, University of British Columbia President Norman McKenzie was enthusiastic in his praise for Japanese benefactors; but more importantly, he acknowledged the accomplishment of landscape architect Kannosuke MorI (1894-1964). "The garden," he accurately observed, "is above all else his creation."

With uncompromising resolve, Mori established (on his own terms) an authentic "Japanese Garden in Canada" (rather than merely a "Canadian Japanese Garden") --and the traditional aesthetic core of his design scheme continues to present an original educative purpose without any connection to the steadfast Quaker Christianity of Nitobe Inazo (a highly westernized dedicatee with a frequently
publicized Samurai background).

"Let it be far from me to turn Quakerism into Oriental mysticism," Nitobe stated in a 1929 lecture at the University of Geneva. But the complex and tangible presence of a traditional Japanese garden reveals that speaker's remark to be a santimonious conceit --a statement empty of either meaning or effect in relation to Mori's pragmatic (non-mystical) 'Buddha-nature' construct.



CAUSA Curatorial Research Records:

i..

"[In 1942] Dr. Le Roy Upson [Saranac Laboratory, Saranac Lake, New York] accumulated 11 cases of human lung cancer derived from Quebec asbestos miners and millers."

-- Gerritt Witt Schepers; MD, SCD (American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 1999).

ii.

Julie Ireton, CBC News, Ottawa (15 December 2016):

By 2018, the federal government hopes to ban asbestos in Canada and change rules and regulations about the deadly material, which contaminates tens of thousands of homes and buildings across the country and kills thousands every year.

Asbestos, a known carcinogen, has been condemned by the World Health Organization and is banned in some 50 countries around the world.

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Samurai photo

Kukasabe Kimbei, SAMURAI IN ARMOUR. Photograph (albumen print), 1880-1890.



"A samurai was essentially a man of action."

-- Inazo Nitobe, BUSHIDO: THE SOUL OF JAPAN (1900).



James Murdoch, A HISTORY OF JAPAN (1903):

The average Japanese Samurai was not avaricious by nature but he was often vain and far too fond of display, and far too eager for distinction. This led him.into an expensive and ostentatious style of living; and the consequence was that, in spite of all the fine-spun, high-sounding theories of Bushido, money came to be of supreme importance to him. He often became not so very scrupulous as to the means and methods of acquiring it, and, worse than that, he was forced to be a hypocrite, with sounding phrases about honour on his lips and worship of Mammon in his heart of hearts.



Hugh Llewellyn Keenleyside and A.F. Thomas, HISTORY OF JAPANESE EDUCATION (1937):

It is probable that the average samurai was not as disinterested in financial matters as has sometimes been argued, particularly in such exaggerated panagyrics as the popular "Bushido" of the late Dr. Inazo Nitobe.

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Island Project print
Robert Smithson, ISLAND PROJECT --pencil on paper, 1970.



"The memory of what is not may be better than the amnesia of what is."

-- Robert Smithson (1969)



Inazo Nitobe; BUSHIDO: THE SOUL OF JAPAN (1900):

Bu-shi-do means literally Military-Knight-Ways --the ways which fighting nobles should observe in their daily life as well as in their vocation ... the "Precepts of Knighthood," the noblesse oblige of the warrior class.



Taira Shigesuke (1639-1730), BUSHIDO FOR BEGINNERS:

In accord with Japanese custom there have been many who have mastered the art of composing poetry. So even if you are a warrior of minor rank, it is desirable to take an interest in poetry and be able to compose the occasional verse.

[...]

As for the tea ceremony ... the idea is to disdain the materialustic world and just enjoy pure, free naturalness. Thus it seems that this can be a help in mellowing the way of the warrior.



Oleg Benesch, INVENTING THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI (2014):

An examination of source materials and later scholarship relating to samurai morality does not reveal the existence of a single, broadly accepted, bushi specific ethical system in pre-modern Japanese history.

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2.
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Monk and prawn


Yogetsu (fl. late 15th century), KENSU (Hsien-tzu). Hanging scroll, ink on paper.

Inscription by Yü Ch'eng-hsien:

     Zen believers say the origin [of all  
     things]  is emptiness.
     An enlightened one like you --is
     there another?
     Cold or hot, just one robe is
     enough.
     Every day, carrying nets, you
     accompany fishermen.



Ann Yonemura, Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Smithsonisn Institution), Washington:

The earliest account of this Chinese monk occurs in the RECORD OF THE TRANSMISSION OF THE LAMP (1004 CE). Hsien-tzü is said to have had no fixed residence or possessions. He spent his days along riverbanks gathering shrimp and clams to eat, and slept among the paper offerings at the White Horse Shrine of Eastern Mountain. Because of his habit of eating shellfish, he came to be known as Hsien-Tzu (Kensu) or "Clam."

The apparently paradoxical theme of a monk catching shrimp [a practice usually forbidden for devout Buddhists] became popular in Ch'an paintng from the Sung period on, because it illuminated the concept that the enlightened mind realizes that all phenomena and distinctions are illusory, including the distinction between observing or defying the Buddhist discipline of not killing any living thing.
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"The Buddha-nature of time and season, cause and conditions, is perfectly complete in past and future, and in each moment."

-- Zen master Dogen (1251)

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Basho (1644-1694):

From time to time
The clouds give rest
To the moon beholders
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Cloud and tree

" ... 'Real Form'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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"The sound of running water is Buddha's great speech."

-- Zen master Dogen (1200-1253)

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Shūsui Kotoko (1900):

When bacteria enter a person's bloodstream, so that person's health is gradually undermined.

It is the same with money as with bacteria. Since money has unlimited power in the world, the ways of the world are bound to be increasingly debased. Step by step, morality is bound to be ruined and human nature faced with corruption. In the end, society is driven to destruction.
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"WHERE AM I? and WHAT TIME IS IT? --such is the inexhaustible question turning from us to the world...."

-- Paul Claudel (1951)

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Tesshu monochrome

Tesshu Tokusai (d. 1366), ORCHIDS, BAMBOO, BRIARS, AND ROCKS. Hanging scroll --ink on paper. Mid-fourteenth century. The Metropolitan Museum, New York.

Inscription:

     Thousands of miles now
     from the River Chu.
     My thoughts multiply --
     I wonder, could there be anything
     As redolent as the solitary orchid?



Collection Record:

In medieval Japan, ink paintings that combined orchids with briars, bamboo, and rocks were most commonly associated with the Yuan-dynasy Chinese painter Xuechuang Puming (active mid-14th century), whom Tesshu Tokusai --a Zen monk and accomplished poet and painter-- may have encountered during his extended trip to China in the 1330s. After his return to Japan, Tokusai introduced the genre to Zen monks.

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Painted cylinder

Piero Manzoni, LINEA DI LUNGHEZZA INFINITA (LINE OF INFINITE LENGTH) --ink, paper, and wooden cylinder-- 1960.

[Note:

Because this cylinder is solid, it does not 'contain' a LINE OF INFINITE LENGTH; but its entire presence functions (alternatively) to 'dislose' a vitalizing   OBJECT OF THOUGHT.

-- CAUSA Research Curators ]

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"Karmic consciousness is boundless, without roots."

-- Dogen (1251)

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Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted April 10, 2017

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1.

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Monochrome landscape

RIVER LANDSCAPE, by Tensho Shubun (d. 1463). Ink on paper, Honolulu Museum of Art.

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McLuhan Text

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Julip and cherry photo

" ... 'Countergradient'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)


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2.

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MAP PIECE

Draw a map to get lost.

1964  spring



Yoko Ono
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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1964):

Being is the "place" where the "modes of consciousness" are inscribed as structurations of Being (a way of thinking oneself within a society implied in its social structure), and where the structurations of Being are modes of consciousness. [...] The perception of the world is formed in the world, the test for truth takes place in Being.

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Cherry blossoms schoolyard

SPRING --SCHOOLYARD IN APRIL-- VANCOUVER, 2005. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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Great Kamo Priestess Senshi (d. 1035 CE),
daughter of Murakami, Emperor of Japan:


With a voice as vast as an ocean that sounds all sounds,
Producing numberless wondrous words,
I shall sing, through all kalpas to come,
In praise of the ocean of merit in the kalpas of the Buddhist heart.

Beyond thinking, beyond speaking,
these depths are still greater,
and neither my word nor my heart can plum them.

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Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted March 9, 2017

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1.

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Wyndham Lewis text

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Reading in Bamboo grove

Detail of poetry-painting scroll ['shigajiku']: READING IN A BAMBOO GROVE, attributed to Tensho Shuban, 1446. Light colour on paper, with calligraphy (preface and poems) added later. Tokyo National.Museum. National Treasure, Japan.

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Wyndham Lewis (1950):

How to effect a recognition of an irreconcilable human dichotomy of the civilisable and the uncivilisable; proceeding upon that recognition to classify people accordingly, confining the unteachable residue to a situation in which they had not the power to obstruct, is not at all easy. But it makes it very much easier the moment you reflect that these unteachables have no desire to be taught: and, what is more, are quite content as they are. It is in fact through pretending that they are longing to be taught, to improve themselves, to enjoy civilized advantages, that we have arrived at the present confusing situation.

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2.
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"Clarify and harmonize your life without losing the Single Eye which sees the context or the two eyes which recognize the details."

-- Zen master Dogen (1200-1253)

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Riverscape photo

" ... 'In Reverse'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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THREE THOUSAND WORLDS

The Three Thousand Worlds
that step forward
with the lighf snow,
and the light snow that falls
in those Three Thousand Worlds.

■ Taigu Ryokan (1758-1851)


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Murray Morton  aka M.K.Morton
      
                WHOSE REALITY'S ON FIRST?


Achievement the greater the more it's group-mindlessly
Fiercely athletic, spectacularly spectatorly,
Landfill crouches devotedly gratifyingly craterly.
Telegenically cosmetic,
Unsceptically hectic,

Globe-trotters warming equatorially
Tunelessly, timelessly, tirelessly
Chatter economo-centric.
Manipulatoringly
Manipu-la.

Meltdown the most rivetting of phenomena,
Now that genius is a term incorrectly elitist to employ,
We have more admiration for what can destroy.
The synthetic engorges incorrigibly magnetic;
These days even the best fake's spurned as too authentic.

The penalty for not being in the van of progress strict:
If too old sport, anything older than a generation a derelict,
Into your lifestyle they'll seal you before they evict.
(Scaring crows takes only old clothes on a grainy slapstick
Out-take.) White-outed when consumption brisk developers project,

But free like them everything except development itself to defile
You struggle to secure statistic
Status. Scandal-dependent we are; star endorsements the spookiest
Talismans nestling in our billboard-illuminated reassurances
Guaranteeing charter-rites shopping contrivances.

Continental rims' oil-spill-touched lips, globally overly sun-kissed,
Mutter the lullaby alibi of denial
That, although equipped with all the latest appliances,
And pretty reliable ripened stipends,
An inhabited  planet could still be an archipelago of desert islands.

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"In the electric age the visual properties of space and time and experience have become entirely negative, the acknowledged source of many disturbances of reality."

-- Marshall McLuhan (1968)

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Late Winter Light

LATE WINTER LIGHT --27th February, 2017. (Photo: Gary Lee-Nova.)

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Caldwell Text

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The plum tree dwindling (with age) contains
less of the spring,
But the garden is wider, and holds
more of the moon.

■  Anonymous Ch'an/Zen text --from the phrase anthology ZENRIN-KUSHU (compiled 1688)

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Calligraphy of geese
against the sky --
the moon seals it.

■  Yosa Buson (d. 1784)

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BUDDHA IN GLORY

by Rainer Maria Rilke, 1905

Centre of all centres, core of cores,
almond self-enclosed, and growing sweet --
all this universe, to the furthest stars
all beyond them, is your flesh, your fruit.

Now, you feel how nothing clings to you;
your vast shell reaches into endless space,
and there the rich, thick fluids rise and flow.
llluminated in your infinite peace,

a billion stars go spinning through the night,
blazing high above your head.
But in you is the presence that
will be, when all the stars are dead.

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 Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted February 6, 2017
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1.

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Statement from the Science and Security Board, BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS (Chicago):



To: Leaders and citizens of the world
Re: It is 30 seconds closer to midnight

For the last two years, the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock stayed at three minutes before the hour, the closest it had been to midnight since the early 1980s. In its two most recent annual announcements on the clock, the Science and Security Board warned: "The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon." In 2017, we find the danger to be even greater, the need for action more urgent. It is two and a half minutes to midnight, the clock is ticking, global danger looms. Wise public officials should act immediaty, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, we citizens must step forward and lead the way.

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Yugen photo

" ... YUGEN ['DIM']...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)



Although actualized immediately, the inconceivable may not be apparent. Its appearance is beyond your knowledge."

-- Ch'an/Zen master Dogen (1200-1253 CE)

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Kunisada Ukiyoe print

Utagawa Kunisada, LANDSCAPE IN THE MIST, mid-19th century. Polychrome woodblock print --ink  and colour on paper. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Museum Collection Record:

One of a series of eleven prints on the theme of atmospheric phenomena such as mist and rain, this picture demonstrates how Kunisada had freed himself from the constraints of the conventional genre of illustrations of "famous places".

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2.
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Lafcadio Hearn (1892):

No effort to create an impossible or purely ideal landscape is made in the Japanese garden. Its artistic purpose is to copy faithfully the attractions of a veritable landscape, and to convey the real impression that a real landscape communicates. It is therefore at once a picture and a poem; perhaps even more a poem than a picture.

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If I feel I cannot live anywhere,
I just will not --
In this thatched cottage
of a fleeting world.

--Saigyo (1118-1190 CE)

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  TO TRAVEL IGNORANTLY IS A BETTER THING
                           THAN TO SCAN OLD BROCHURES


                                                  i

What is all this claptrap??
Whaddya mean the road not taken?
You had that chance
Now not worth a second glance.
Only road worth regretting is one you never saw on any map

You ever opened; because the choices we make opaquen;
Keep egg-trapped, sheltering obscurity lots more pathways than we follow.
Out an invisibly-inked atlas featuring the, because unsurmised, undiscovered
Check. A shadowy land where foot you have never--never mind set--hovered.
For on roads you've travelled you never encountered any dingle-covert fork

So occluded; or deemed life a magnum of that sequestered order uncork
Could. Beyond realms the most fertile imagination you can coax will allow,
A distant shore that offers up to you no beach.
Stretch of country outside the ambit of your most ambitious mental reach:
Landscape across which species exotic only to you dart

While, circling who knows how far above,
They trust for advice about spring a late returning red-wing swallow.
Don't expect if you chase down a relevant tourbook, it'll the least lambent
Show much lamp lit out for those territories. (Whoever makes the transit
Can't count on there locating as guide a seasoned old scout,

Old sport.) Should you put your hands on such a secluding, fugitive chart
Dotted exclusively with villages you never heard of,
It would tip every dip in the road a sleepy hollow.
Definitely--a regular parallel-world gambit--
Signposts blank-side facing out.

Even maybe where you assumed a metropolis a hamlet.
Parkland once a glade now a thicket. Depths mistaken for a shallow,
The bulk of the region--truth to tell, lying fallow--
Hints chiaroscure is the better part of treasure on an asteroid-pirate
Half-map. Atomic thread theory thin eyelet or quasi-quasar coral-reef islet?


                                                  ii

To get hold of the appropriate off-all-the-orthodox-maps gazetteer
Catapult the alternative-universe travel agencies a shout.
And give destiny a shove.
Enfin! On infinite furlough,

Possessed of no substantial recognizable here;
Odds on on its stubbornly shady existence no one would bet;
This unsuspected locale, elusively moot and variably moat,
Strewn with mittens purporting to be classed as a lost glove

Gives rise to what would make even extreme doubt
Look certain. Although radar-panels malleable as dough,
Contour-survey pre-crumpled,
Grounds clutter-free, regardless camp-fire branches petrified unless wet.

Tent pegs so glossy they're slippery; matches excitedly fumbled;
Bridle path, sundial and stile tilted like not quite requited love.
But, now whatever faint light greener, it's perpetually tumbled
Supple from the end of that periscope-unfamiliar dock.

Where--any interval resembling some sort of while
So far missing from your file--
Swooping thicker than gulls, unhatched memories flock.
(Chrono-tabulated by a not-yet-delivered--was it ever in stock?--

Unreliably neutral Swiss cuckoo-clock,
On canvas, at the school of the unknown surrealist, daubed in coy profile.)
If somehow you down had managed plop close by that random tick-tock,
At last fortunate enough to start off along this to-you-anonymous,

Strictly, if possibly sadly, autonomous
Passed-up turning,
You would (as well as that remarkable route's topography be learning)
How even an intangible map properly to fold be discerning.

When it comes, navigating hooded-lanterning,
To cajoling hospitality-industries into out-Jules-Verning,
How much metaphysical twisting and turning
Does it take to be transdimensionally sojourning?



M. K. Morton

2017

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Shrike on branch

Miyamato Mushashi (1584-1645), SHRIKE SCREECHING ON A DEAD BRANCH. Shimato Museum of Fine Arts, Kumamoto, Japan.



"Consider yourself lightly, consider the world deeply."

-- Miyamato Mushashi (1645

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 Nitobe Memorial Garden

Recto/Verso: Vast Ocean/Vast Heaven

Posted January 9, 2017
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1.

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Ch'an/Zen master Dogen (1233):

Though there are many features in the dusty world and the world beyond conditions, you see and understand only what your eye of practice can reach. In order to learn from the nature of the myriad things, you must know that although they look round or square, the other features of oceans and mountains are infinite in variety; whole worlds are there. It is not only around you, but also directly beneath your feet, or in a drop of water.

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Kokutana Dish


DEEP DISH / KOKUTANA WARE, Japan. Edo period (Genroku era), 1688-1703.

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Monet Pont Japonais

Claude Monet, LE PONT JAPONAIS, 1918-1919. Oil on csnvas. Musée Marmottan, Paris.

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2.

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Maurice Merleau-Ponty (1960):

My body IN the visible. This does not simply mean: it is a particle of the visible, there there is the visible and here (as variant of there) is my body. This does not take place on a plane of which it would be only an inlay, it is really surrounded, circumvented. This means it sees itself, it is visible  --but it sees itself seeing, my look which finds it THERE knows that it is here, at its own side. Thus the body STANDS before the world and the world upright before it, and between them there is a relation that is one of embrace. And between these two vertical beings, there is not a frontier, but a contact surface.

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Monet Pont Japonais II

Claude Monet, LE PONT JAPONAIS, 1918-1924. Oil on Canvas. Musée Marmottan, Paris.

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"From the standpoint of pure experience, there is no such thing as an object divorced from a subject."

-- Kitaro Nishida (1911)

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On Kawara Something

On Kawara, SOMETHING, NOTHING, EVERYTHING, 1963. Lettraset on paper.

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Max Horkheimer (1947):

The more ideas have become automatic, instrumentalized, the less does anybody see in them thoughts with a meaning of their own. They are considered things, machines. Language has been reduced to just another tool in the gigantic apparatus of production in modern society.

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Inazo Nitobe (1905):

Though war clouds hang heavy upon our horizon, we will believe that the wings of the angel of peace can dispose them. The history of the world confirms the prophecy that "the meek shall inherit the earth."



FRIENDS JOURNAL, Philadelphia (2011):

Inazo Nitobe (1862-1933) became a Christian while a college student [Sapporo Agricultural College] and later a Friend [Quaker]. ... Most notably, he was the leader of the Japanese delegation to the League of Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1919, and when he arrived there he was promptly appointed under-secretary of the League. ... He is the only known Quaker whose picture is on his country's currency [5000 yen Note --issued Nov. 1, 1984.]



"All political and social institutions, all matters of human relationship, are dependent upon the means by which mind may react upon mind and life upon life, that is to say upon the intensity, rapidity, and reach of mental communication."

H..G. Wells (1919)

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Japan Student Protest

TOKYO, JUNE 3, 1960. (Photo: Hamaya Hiroshi.)



Justin Jesty (2012):

In May and June of 1960 Japan was rocked by some of the largest protests in its history. They errupted over the passage of a revised security treaty between Japan and the United States, titled the Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and security. [...] Hundreds of thousands of people came into the streets day after day, ten million signed petitions against the treaty, thousands were injured and one person was killed.

[...]

Since 1951, when it was first signed, the security treaty had been harshly criticized by those who saw it as exposing Japan to unnecessary dangers in the cold war while undermining the principles of peace and democracy.

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Nitobe Garden Construction

SITE CONSTRUCTION (NITOBE MEMORIAL GARDEN), UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA, 1959. [Photo: CAUSA Archives.]

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THE PRESENT

W. S..Merwin (2016)

As they were leaving the garden
one of the angels bent down to them and whispered

I am to give you this
as you are leaving the garden

I do not know what it is
or what it is for
what you will do with it

you will not be able to keep it
but you will not be able

to keep anything
yet both reached at once

for the present
and when their hands met

they laughed

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One All photo

" ... 'One-All'...". (Photo: M. Cynog Evans.)

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"If there is progress in art it is because art can live only by creating new percepts and affects as so many detours, returns, dividing lines, changes of levels and scale."

-- Gilles Deleuze + Félix Guattari

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