And he answered, "It is the hand of the spirit that is painting now."

The world moves through me like the sun through trees, the ocean tide high and low, my heart beating... bump bump, bump bump.

Unchangeable coming and going...

That is enough.

The mind lies and tells me I am moving away or towards perfection (ideal) I must remember neither are true, both are are constant. Neither are true both are constant bump bump, bump bump.

I see you pride.

I am trying to arrange objects/ideas until they don't seem arranged, until they feel like a stream bubbling in the woods or the wind in the leaves.

bump bump, bump bump

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.
— Wendell Berry

Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta: Discourse to Bharadvaja, the Farmer

Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Dakkhinagiri (monastery), in the brahmana village Ekanala, in Magadha. Now at that time, it being the sowing season, five hundred plows of the brahman Kasibharadvaja were put to use. Then in the forenoon the Blessed One having dressed himself, took bowl and (double) robe, and went to the place where brahman Kasibharadvaja's work was going on. It was the time of food distribution by the brahman, and the Blessed One drew near, and stood at one side. Bharadvaja seeing the Blessed One standing there for alms said to him:

"Recluse, I do plow, and do sow, and having plowed and sown I eat. You also, recluse should plow and sow; having plowed and sown you should eat."

"I, too, brahman, plow and sow; having plowed and sown, I eat."

"We do not see the Venerable Gotama's yoke, or plow, or plowshare, or goad or oxen. Nevertheless the Venerable Gotama says: 'I, too, brahman, plow and sow; having plowed and sown, I eat.'"

Thereupon the brahman addressed the Blessed One in a stanza:

1. "You profess to be a plowman, yet your plow we do not see; asked about your plow and the rest, tell us of them that we may know."

[The Buddha:]
2. "Faith is my seed, austerity the rain, wisdom my yoke and plow, modesty is the pole, mind the strap, mindfulness is my plowshare and goad.

3. "Controlled in speech and conduct, guarded in deed and speech, abstemious in food, I make truth my weed cutter; arahantship, my deliverance complete.

4. "Exertion, my team in yoke, draws me to Nibbana's security, and on it goes without stopping, wither gone one does not suffer.

5. "Thuswise is this plowing plowed which bears the fruit of Deathlessness; having plowed this plowing one is freed from every ill."

Then brahman Kasibharadvaja filling a golden bowl with milk-rice offered it to the Blessed One saying: "May the Venerable Gotama partake of this milk rice; a plowman, indeed, is Venerable Gotama who plows a plow for the fruit of Deathlessness (Nibbana)."

[The Buddha:]
6. "What I receive by reciting verses, O brahman, I should not eat. It is not the tradition of those who practice right livelihood. The Buddhas reject what is received by reciting verses. This, brahman, is the conduct (of the Buddhas) as long as Dhamma reigns.

7. "To those wholly consummate, taintless, and well-disciplined great sages, should thou offer other food and drink; sure field is that for merit-seeking men."

"To whom, then Venerable Gotama, shall I give this milk rice?"

"Brahman, in the world of Devas, Maras, and Brahmas or among the generation of recluses, brahmanas, deities, and humans, there is no one by whom this milk rice, if eaten, could be wholly digested except by the Tathagata (the Buddha), or the disciple of a Tathagata. Therefore, brahman, either cast this milk rice where there is no grass, or into water where there are no living creatures."

Thereupon the brahman flung that milk rice into water where there were no living creatures, and the milk rice thrown into the water smoked and steamed making the noise "cicchita, citicita," just like a plowshare heated during the day, when thrown into water, smokes, and steams making the noise "cicchita, citicita."

Then the brahman Kasibharadvaja, alarmed, with hair standing on end, approached, and fell with his head at the Blessed One's feet and said as follows.

"Most excellent, O Gotama, is thy teaching, most excellent. Just as a man would set upright what is overturned, reveal what is concealed, point out the way to one gone astray, bring an oil lamp into the darkness so that those with eyes could see objects, even so the Dhamma (doctrine) has been declared in many a manner by the Venerable Gotama. I take refuge in the Venerable Gotama (the Buddha), in the Dhamma and in the Sangha (the Order). I wish to receive the novice's ordination (pabbajja) and higher ordination (upasampada)."

Brahman Kasibharadvaja duly received both the pabbajja and upasampada from the Blessed One. Not long after his upasampada the Venrable Bharadvaja dwelling alone and aloof, diligent, strenuous, and resolute, ere long, by his own insight, here and now, realized and attained the highest perfection (arahantship), the end of the Noble Life — for the sake of which men of good family go forth from home to live the homeless life. Birth is destroyed, lived is the noble life, done is what has to be done, there is no more of this state. The Venerable Bharadvaja became one of the arahants.

The American Cordillera

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The American Cordillera is a chain of mountain ranges that consists of an almost continuous sequence of mountain ranges that form the western "backbone" of North America, Central America, South America and Antarctica. It is also the backbone of the volcanic arc that forms the eastern half of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The New Eden

For a long time now we have understood ourselves as traveling toward some sort of industrial paradise, some new Eden conceived an constructed entirely by human ingenuity. And we have thought ourselves free to use and abuse nature in any way that might further this enterprise. Now we face overwhelming evidence that we are not smart enough to recover Eden by Assault, and that nature does not tolerate or excuse our abuses. If, in spite of the evidence against us, we are finding it hard to relinquish our old ambition, we are also seeing more clearly every day how that ambition has reduced and enslaved us. We see how everything, the whole world, is belittled by the idea that all creation is moving or ought to move toward an end that some body, some human body, has thought up. To be free of that end and that ambition would be a delightful and precious thing. Once free of it, we might again go about our work and our lives with a seriousness and pleasure denied to us when we merely submit to a fate already determined by gigantic politics, economics, and technology.

System Theory: The Black Box

The open system theory is the foundation of black box theory. Both have focus on input and output flows, representing exchanges with the surroundings.

The black box is an abstraction representing a class of concrete open system which can be viewed solely in terms of its stimuli inputs and output reactions:

The constitution and structure of the box are altogether irrelevant to the approach under consideration, which is purely external or phenomenological. In other words, only the behavior of the system will be accounted for.
— Bunge

The understanding of a black box is based on the "explanatory principle", the hypothesis of a causal relation between the input and the output, and:

input and output being believed to be distinct,
having observable (and relatable) inputs and outputs,
being black to the observer (non-openable).

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Arise in the Frosty Morning

Man’s life on this Earth–who has courage to face it? Yet there are the trees, against the dark sky, black bare trees, springing from the earth to flower, swaying in the wind, the low moan of the wind. Who could live without this grace? Is not one man by himself important and worth consideration? To me he is worth sacrificing the whole world for. The farmer returns to the soil he tended vanishing, becoming indistinguishable from that which he toiled. The sun rises and sets, it is day and night, it will go on like this for a long time. You get to think you are a part of it and your circumstances are related to the cosmos, but one day your little system will burn out and the day and night will rotate indifferently. Can this be?

To arise in the frosty morning at the point of daybreak while the sky lightens above the soaring trees; to eat this wholesome, sweet food, to use my body, hands and mind at the endless work I have to do; to sleep warm and snug; all this shared and enjoyed by my loving partner–what manner of a man originated this idea of a happier life beyond death.
— Harlan Hubbard

Regards To Albert Schweitzer

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Albert Schweitzer, OM was a French-German theologian, organist, writer, humanitarian, philosopher, and physician. A Lutheran, Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by historical-critical methodology current at this time, as well as the traditional Christian view. His contributions to the interpretation of Pauline Christianity concern the role of Paul's mysticism of “being in Christ” as primary and the doctrine of Justification by Faith as secondary.

Just as the wave cannot exist for itself, but is ever a part of the heaving surface of the ocean, so must I never live my life for itself, but always in the experience which is going on around me.
— Albert Schweitzer

W. S. and Ida Bell Justice Porter

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I think old habits like old dogs die slow
I think of my voyage
What I want to gain
What I am willing to loose
Sun setting
Wind blowing
I take a picture
Couples together
No room to argue
Was it “I love you”
Or the whipping wind
In the charms of my earrings

Avalokiteśvara

... Avalokiteśvara vowing never to rest until he had freed all sentient beings from saṃsāra. Despite strenuous effort, he realizes that still many unhappy beings were yet to be saved. After struggling to comprehend the needs of so many, his head splits into eleven pieces. Amitābha, seeing his plight, gives him eleven heads with which to hear the cries of the suffering. Upon hearing these cries and comprehending them, Avalokiteśvara attempts to reach out to all those who needed aid, but found that his two arms shattered into pieces. Once more, Amitābha comes to his aid and invests him with a thousand arms with which to aid the suffering multitudes.

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Three Years, Three Months and Three Days

An exhibition of new mixed media paintings by local artist Jason Mann will open Tuesday April 26th at The Box Heart Gallery in Pittsburgh, Penn. with a public reception on Saturday April 30th, from 5 to 8 p.m. Box Heart Gallery, located at 4523 Liberty Avenue, has represented V. Mann for the past three years and recently featured his work in the Edward Zwick film Love and Other Drugs. This solo exhibition will be Mann’s first since the release of the film.

The title of the show, Three Years, Three Months, and Three Days, references the duration of the traditional Eastern spiritual retreat, and is the culmination of the work created since returning to the artist’s old family farm. Using as a studio the upstairs room that once belonged to Mann’s great-great-grandmother, Ida Bell Justice Porter, wife of W. S. Porter, Three Years, Three Months and Three Days started to materialize after much contemplation.

“I took everything out of the room and painted the walls and ceiling white,” said Mann.  “It is very quiet there, and the early morning light from the rising sun pours through the windows, illuminating the room like crystal.

“That light is wonderful to work in. I wondered, as I stare out the window at the crows, what is this day, what is this life, where am I going and where have I been? And that is when Three Years, Three Months and Three Days started to come together.”

“These new pieces are full of vibrant color and strong imagery, peaceful yet sharp, as I peer down a long line, searching for the end or the beginning but neither is in sight. The paintings are landscapes for the viewer to enter and explore, decoding the meanings behind combinations of clippings and colors, challenging them to understand the associations of the juxtaposed elements and phrases,” he said.  “I am motivated by the challenge of defining areas of vast space, and the struggle to express my most inner thoughts and ideas to the viewer.”

Along with Mann’s mixed media paintings will appear the prose of his wife, local musician Sarah E. Mann. The show marks their first collaboration of this type.

“Sarah has kept journals that spanned our entire Kentucky adventure, and we realized they perfectly narrated the paintings, her words complete the pictures in a way I would never have thought of,” he said. 

The Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
— Charles Bukowski
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Tobacco, a short film

The fruit have rotted on the vine, in fact the vines have rotted on the ground, no more clinging, crawling forth from dark sacred places; abolished by sanctity, mortally wounded by technology. Is there no love for creation? It is written to "remain in the vine" and that "we are the branches"; every branch that does not bear fruit is cut while those that do are pruned to become more fruitful, but pruned by who or what. Toothy grins of politicians; the guard-ener has become careless; his actions no doubt clouded by corn syrup and aspartame, how many years will the garden survive full of weeds. Can hand held electronic devises and social media teach our children what it is to be a community and exist, fully conscious of the natural order of the earth; as if you could kill time without injuring eternity.

The loss of local cultures is, in part, a practical loss and an economic one. For one thing, such a culture contains, and conveys to succeeding generations, the history of the use of the place and the knowledge of how the place may be lived in and used. For another, the pattern of reminding implies affection for the place and respect for it, and so, finally, the local culture will carry the knowledge of how the place may be well and lovingly used, and also the implicit command to use it only well and lovingly. The only true and effective “operator’s manual for spaceship earth” is not a book that any human will ever write; it is hundreds of thousands of local cultures.
— Wendell Berry