Kyoto: Walking One Step at a Time

91tBYwzKLjL._SL1500_“Mountains walking is just like humans walking. Do not doubt mountains walking even though it does not look like human walking.” ­­– Dogen, Jan. 19, 1200, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

Where else better to take a thoughtful walk than in Kyoto, home to so many worthies who have graced its streets and paths. Ted Taylor and Michael Lambe have put together a paean to walking through Japan’s most intimate city, savouring the ancient temples and today’s artful graffiti. The anthology, Deep Kyoto Walks,  includes Pico Iyer and others, and this is one of those books that takes you to where you didn’t know you wanted to go. Sixteen writers who know Kyoto pay tribute to life in the city of “Purple Hills and Crystal Streams,” offering a testament to the art of contemplative city walking.

I had to acknowledge that I had to come to Japan in order to see that a 7-Eleven here was just as Japanese — as foreign — as any meditation hall, and no less full of wonder…” – Pico Iyer, Into the Tumult

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Frank X. Tolbert 2: His Art

My friend Frank X. Tolbert has always been one of my  heroes, and I’ve missed him a lot in recent years. He lives in Houston. His father was a famous journalist with the Dallas Morning News. Frank is one of those people who nourishes your soul when you’re around him, and he doesn’t have any clue what he’s giving to you. Frank and I shared a friendship with a man who was a hero to both of us: Roxy Gordon, a writer, poet, and another one of those people who give you things without knowing it.

Here’s a few samples of Frank’s work. See his Facebook website here for a taste of X’s style. See more of his art here.

Frank X. Tolbert, standing on the right, with one of his large paintings in the background.

Frank X. Tolbert, standing on the left, with one of his large paintings in the background.

Frank, on the right, with an artist friend

Frank, on the right, with an artist friend

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A painting of Roxy Gordon by Georgia Stafford.

A painting of Roxy Gordon by Georgia Stafford.

Go here to see a sample of some of Roxy Gordon’s poems and writing and check him out on Amazon for some CDs of his poetry-songs. Note the death mask in the right corner.


Wash Away Sins: Songkran

Songkran: A festival celebrating the traditional Thai New Year, held in April, and marked by the throwing and sprinkling of water on young and old. Festive banners marking the months of the Chinese Zodiac, a scheme and systematic plan of future action, that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year cycle.  IPhone photograph

Songkran: A festival celebrating the traditional Thai New Year, held in April, and marked by the throwing and sprinkling of water on young and old. Festive banners marking the Chinese Zodiac, a scheme and systematic plan of future action that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes based on a 12-year cycle.
IPhone photograph


The Mekong: Two For One

Photograph by Roy Hamric  The Mekong River near Chiang Khong. Laos is on the far shore.

The Mekong River near Chiang Khong. Laos is on the far shore. Photograph by Roy Hamric


Joshu’s Dog in East Texas

empty_circle_&_dog copy         Photograph copyright Roy Hamric

     Does a dog have Buddha nature?
This is a matter of life and death.
If you say yes or no,
You lose your mind and body!

  – Mumon


Sight Seeing

Monday, 5:55 p.m., February 24, 2014

Monday, 5:55 p.m., February 24, 2014; IPhone photograph

Ash-sprinkled head,

soil-smeared face.

– From A Zen Forest, Sayings of the Masters


Blue in Kathmandu

Katmandu, Thursday, February 20, 2014; photograph by Brigitte Lueke; IPhone

Kathmandu, Thursday, February 20, 2014; photograph by Brigitte Lueke; IPhone


Why Bodhidharma Came to China

The Setting Sun, copyright Robert Crosby

The Setting Sun, copyright Robert Crosby

I’ll explain in detail

 why Bodhidharma

came to China:

Listen to the evening

bell’s sound. Watch

the setting sun.

– From A Zen Forest: Zen

Sayings.


Sight Seeing

Photograph copyright Robert Crosby

Photograph copyright Robert Crosby

A landscape photograph has an immediacy I never find in a landscape painting. It can sing closer to the heart. This one, by my good friend Robert Crosby, has two sensations: an intimation of despair and a ray of hope. But the blue is the real message. Deep blue dominates all colours for me, even red. It’s such a rich, soothing color – peace. Here it speaks volumes between the foreground and the background. Line and color and inanimate objects and forms, such a mysterious language.


Sight Seeing

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After weeks of cold nights and mild days, the air was dry this morning. The sun is warming the land. The light is bright, crisp, but it still holds a yellow tint as it rises into the dark blue sky. It can’t be Spring, but it feels like it. The neighborhood farmers wade calf-deep in the rice paddies. The separation dikes are rebuilt, water is draining into the square, sere paddies, some still showing the stubs of rice stalks burnt black after the last harvest. The light on the still water casts silver streaks across the surface. The yellow legs of white egrets, for a moment, hang back straight as they rise airborne, their wings moving slowly, wand-like over the Earth.

A tribute from the natural world. Last night, Katy the Cat caught a large mouse. Some remains, a head, hind legs and a few entrails, were left uneaten. She placed them near the water bowl in my office.

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