Friday, 30 November 2012

BoSt Galleries- Impressions Path 2

BoSt Galleries- Impressions Path 2

Zen Story:
The Sound of One Hand

“The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protege named Toyo who was only twelve years old. Toyo saw the older disciples visit the master's room each morning and evening to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they were given koans to stop their mind from wandering.
Toyo wished to do sanzen also.
"Wait a while," said Mokurai. "You are too young."
But the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.
In the evening little Toyo went at the proper time to the threshold of Mokurai's sanzen room. He struck the gong to announce his presence, bowed three times outside the door, and went to sit before the master in respectful silence.
"You can hear the sound of two hands when they clap together," said Mokurai. "Now show me the sound of one hand."
Toyo bowed and went to his room to consider this problem. From his window he could hear the music of the geishas. "Ah, I have it!" he proclaimed.

The next evening, when his teacher asked him to illustrate the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.
"No, no," said Mokurai. "That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You've not got it at all."

Thinking that such music might interrupt his meditation, Toyo moved his bedding to a quiet place. He meditated again. "What can the sound of one hand be?" He happened to hear some water dripping. "I have it," imagined Toyo.
When he next appeared before his teacher, Toyo imitated dripping water.
"What is that?" asked Mokurai. "That is the sound of dripping water, but not the sound of one hand. Try again."

In vain Toyo meditated to hear the sound of one hand. He heard the sighing of the wind. But the sound was rejected.

He heard the cry of an owl. This also was refused.

The sound of one hand was not the locusts.

For more than ten times Toyo visited Mokurai with different sounds. All were wrong. For almost a year he pondered what the sound of one hand might be.
At last little Toyo entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. "I could collect no more," he explained later, "so I reached the soundless sound."
Toyo had realized the sound of one hand.”

The End.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

BoSt Art Galleries Path 1

BoSt Galleries: Impressions Path 1

Zen Story: Nothing Exists

“Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. Finally he called upon Dokuon of Shokoku.
Desiring to show his attainment, he said: ‘The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no realization, no delusion, no sage, and no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received.’
Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.
"If nothing exists," inquired Dokuon, ‘where did this anger come from?’” 

The End

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

More Visions of Chrysanthemum (Mums)

More Visions of Chrysanthemums (Mums)

Chrysanthemums are truly a glorious flower offering countless visual delights. It was a hard choice but here are a few more of my favorites:

A Lovely Poem:

Autumn chrysanthemums have beautiful color
Autumn chrysanthemums have beautiful color,
With dew in my clothes I pluck their flowers.
I float this thing in wine to forget my sorrow,
To leave far behind my thoughts of the world.
Alone, I pour myself a goblet of wine;
When the cup is empty, the pot pours for itself.
As the sun sets, all activities cease;
Homing birds, they hurry to the woods singing.
Haughtily, I whistle below the eastern balcony --
I've found again the meaning of life.

by T'ao Ch'ien, Buddhist Taoist, 4th Century
(365 - 427) Timeline, English version by Wu-chi Liu

The End.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

BoSt Galleries- Ode to the Chrysanthemum 2012

BoSt Galleries- Ode to the Chrysanthemum 2012

Here’s another lovely poem. The sentiment well describes this spectacular flower.

The rose is called the queen of flowers,
          Surrounded by her sisters fair,
          A lovely throng of beauties rare, Chrysanthemum.

The rose is called the queen of flowers,
          Surrounded by her sisters fair,
          A lovely throng of beauties rare,
She holds her court 'mid summer bowers,
          'Neath smiling skies of sunny blue,
          Gayly they bloom the summer through
Brightening all the golden hours.

But when the autumn days have come
          Then blooms our sweet Chrysanthemum.   
As we watch the summer days depart
          And the painted leaves in silence fall,
          And the vines are dead upon the wall;
A dreamy sadness fills each heart,
          Our garden seems a dreary place,
          No brilliant flowers its borders grace,
Save in a sheltered nook apart,
          Where gay beneath the autumn sun
          Blooms our own Chrysanthemum.

Ah! she is not a "Summer Friend,"
          She stays when all the rest have flown,
          And left us flowerless and alone;
No singing birds, or blooms to lend
          Their brightness to the autumn haze,
          'Tis she who cheers the dreary days;
'Tis joy to know so sweet a friend;
          No fairer flower blooms 'neath the sun
          Than autumn's queen Chrysanthemum.
__Hattie L. Knapp.
Poets and Poetry of Kansas
Edited by Thomas W. Herringshaw
(Chicago: American Publishers' Association. 1894)

The End.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Chrysanthemums (Mums) in the year 2012

The Chrysanthemum is the flower of November. Because it blooms in the cold autumn air and foretells the coming of winter it has come to symbolize the virtue to withstand all adversities.
The name Chrysanthemum is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthos (flower). Genus Chrsanthemum is from the family of Asteraceae .  There are approximately thirty species of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae which is native to Asia and NE Europe.

We all love chrysanthemums, especially since the present day chrysanthemums are so magnificent, far showier than their ancestral wild cousins.  The flower occurs in various forms: they can be pompous, decorative, daisy-like, or buttons.

Chrysanthemums are generally of two basic groups: The Garden Hardy variety and the Exhibition variety.
The Garden hardy mum are new perennials and as the name suggests, are a sturdy bunch, capable of being wintered over in the ground in most Northern latitudes.  They are capable of producing an abundance of small blooms with the least assistance and are able to withstand adverse weather conditions such as wind and rain. .
The Exhibition varieties, though spectacular, are considered to be frail and need a lot of painstaking care. However the resulting disbudded blooms and spray forms such as Fans, Hanging Baskets, Topiary, Bonsai, Thousand Bloom and Cascades, to name a few,  make the effort all worthwhile.

Aside from decorating our homes and gardens, chrysanthemum flowers have a culinary function.   The chrysanthemum leaves are often boiled or steamed and served as a side dish of greens in Chinese cuisine.  Sometimes the petals of chrysanthemum are mixed with thick snake meat to augment a soup’s aroma.  The white and yellow flowers of the species C. morifolium are boiled to make tea, known as the “chrysanthemum tea” in many parts of Asia.  The chrysanthemum tea is accredited with many medicinal usages including aiding one’s recovery from influenza.  In Korea, Gukhawaju is a rice wine flavoured with chrysanthemum flowers.

Did you know that the Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum cinerariaefolium) can be used as a natural source of insecticide? The pulverized flowers contain the active ingredient pyrethrins, found in the seed cases, once these are extracted, they can then be sold in the form of an oleoresin.  Applied in the form of a powder or as a suspension in oil or water, the Pyrethrins attack the nervous system of all types of insects and also serve to inhibit the female mosquitoes from biting.  In lesser dosage, they can be an effective insect repellent.  Keep in mind though that they are harmful to fish, but less toxic to mammals and birds than many synthetic insecticides, except in consumer airborne backyard applications. They are considered to be safest insecticides for use around food and being biodegradable when exposed to light, they are also considered to be an eco-friendly product. Finally, Chrysanthemum plants are known to reduce indoor air pollution.

Throughout the ages, many poems and stories have been created about the highly regarded Chrysanthemum.  Here's "The Last Chrysanthemum" by Thomas Hardy:

“Why should this flower delay so long 
To show its tremulous plumes?
Now is the time of plaintive robin-song,
When flowers are in their tombs.

Through the slow summer, when the sun
Called to each frond and whorl
That all he could for flowers was being done,
Why did it not uncurl?

It must have felt that fervid call
Although it took no heed,
Waking but now, when leaves like corpses fall,
And saps all retrocede.

Too late its beauty, lonely thing,
The season's shine is spent,
Nothing remains for it but shivering
In tempests turbulent.

Had it a reason for delay,
Dreaming in witlessness
That for a bloom so delicately gay
Winter would stay its stress?

- I talk as if the thing were born
With sense to work its mind;
Yet it is but one mask of many worn
By the Great Face behind.”

The End.