Thursday, November 17, 2005
The Goal and the Ground
The clouds today were ferocious, terrifying. I am looking at the colors, the pail mint green sky fading to blue behind wisps of creamy pink and light grays next to, is that purple, I look down and see an old lady smiling beneath purple and gray striped hair, behind her creamy wheat fields, all the same colors as the sky, god the sky is ferocious, the clouds like a terrible rainbow blanket to smother my separateness, my torpid tale, phantasmagoric, smoke, diaphanous smoke, and clear, clear sky womb air stare right through it to the color,
Light transcends whatever it touches. It illuminates all, and yet is not attached or defined or confined to any object it illumines,
I, too, can be a light, an awareness lighting up whatever it touches, but leaping off and fully detached, free and fulfilling as the light,
And light cannot see itself; it can only see its reflection off of things. In the same way, I cannot see my clear light mind, my subject. I can only see more and more objects, passing passing, glowing, sparkling though me like light on water, like clouds of experiences, like inky black crows riding the winds of my thought,
That was Tuesday.
Wednesday, today, another grade school….I had to take a train to this one. The train station was bright and crisp in the morning sun. The town i visited had at its entrance a huge Shinto gate, which traditionally marks the entrance into a holy place.
one of my teachers had blue hair.
After that I went to saijo (neighboring city) to visit my friend who works at a sex shop. I found all sorts of crazy sex stuff there. Sexuality in Japan. Crazy shit.
You know Japan is the worlds leading consumer of pornography. It is totally acceptable here. I often see men looking at porn on the train. Right in the open. At every convenient store you can see old and young men looking at cartoon and real pornography for free (tachiyomi, standing reading). However, all porn must blure out the privates. And this is ridiculous, for they will fuzz out a penis so you can still see it but the details are a little fuzzy. Or they will black out the inside of the vagina, but you can still see the entire outside. It is law, my friend says. (As ridiculous as the one in America where some states make their strippers where clear stickers over their nipples. it’s all principles) But besides that, porno here is totally care free and outrageous. I saw videos featuring worms, octopuses, sea cucumbers, eels, snakes. Anyway, my friend is not into any of it. He just works there because the pay is good and it is close to his house. He insists that Japanese sexuality has remained a mystery to him his whole life.
Anyone visiting Japan will notice all the “snack bars,” and “love hotels.” I have heared that homosexuality in Japan is considered a hobby (and that many homosexual men are actually hyper-masculine, as apposed to the western stereotype of the “feminine homosexual".) Also, having mistresses and lovers while married is acceptable to some degree here, or so I have heard. a popular job for highschool girls is being dinner dates to old men. (the age of consent in japan is 14.)
I am reading a book right now that suggests possible reasons for this perverted sexuality. It reminds us that the Japanese creation myth involved two gods (actually, in the beginning there were no gods at all, but instead something resembling an egg. Out of this egg came seven generations of gods, including a brother and a sister called Izanagi and Izanami. These two gods had sex and out of Izanami came the Japanese islands as well as a large number of deities, and the god of fire actually burned her genitals, causing her horrible pain, and after she gave birth to the gods of clay, metal, and water from her vomit, feaces, and urine, she died and disappeared into another dimension. When her brother/husband came down to see her, the story goes that she begged him not to look at her burned body but he did anyway and called her ugly and she sent her sisters to kill him but he escaped and bathed in the a sacred river and this caused more gods to come out of his nostrils and the story gets better and better, filled with sex and scandals. (Interestingly, the Japanese Sun God is a female as well as the fire god and water god. The earth god is male. SO one point is that the Gods feel no guilt about sex. IT plays a central role in the gods’ life as it does for most humans. There is no question of sin in Shinto. In fact, the earth god had many lovers and the only time he ran into trouble was when he refused to go to bed with one of his lover's ugly sister. For this breech of good manners, all the Japanese emperors, his descendents, were doomed to be mortal. Anyway, no gods are punished for what the do (unlike adam and eve who were punished). It only got hellish when Izanagi saw his sister's polluted body and was repulsed. So maybe pollution and filth or death could be thought of as the "original sin." But there is no satan in Japan, so there is really no idea of sin. Maybe this is why Japanese people can get away with almost anything, with only the fear of being socially shamed or bringing disgrace to their ancestors.
so, back to my adventure, in saijo I visited a shrine and a temple. Both were clarifying. I walked beneath a storm that never fell. All it did was roll over me, terrifying in its beauty and power. (as you can tell by the pics, im sure.)
That was Wednesday. This morning I enjoyed reading the paper in the cold teacher’s room.
Bush and Koizumi kick it in Kyoto, and official saying “It’s very significant that President Bush visited Japan on the first leg of his Asia trip and that images of the two (him and Koizumi) looking at autumn foliage together were aired around the world.” The Japanese people love their autumn foliage. And for good reason! And that’s not an insult. It’s a profound compliment, if you ask me.
The First Lady visited an old house and learned how to write the kanji character for “eternity.” Interestingly, this character is the character for “water” with an extra tiny line on top. And, if that line is moved a little to the left, the character turns into “ice.” Interesting, ne?
Bush’s speech sounded patronizing and prideful as ever. He seemed to be praising Japan's success in not having a savage country but instead a country that values freedom.
As if he is the expert. He is a great object of patience and compassion. I hope my family still has his framed picture of him in a cowboy hat I gave them hanging in the living room. Lets take a moment and remember that God is the ground and the goal of existence, the Alpha and the omega. We came from god, as god, to become god. And therefore, why not rejoice in everything! It is all god!
Meanwhile, I was moved deeply when I saw the pictures of the Iraqi woman who turned herself in after the explosives strapped to her body refused to go off. For those of you who don’t know, she and her husband planned to bomb a hotel lobby in Jordan during a wedding in order to kill as many Innocent women and children as possible. Her husbands went off successfully. Hers did not. She left in shock, turned herself in. I would love to talk to this woman. Her pictures make her out to be a lovely woman. Honestly. I wonder what she was willing of dying and killing children for. It must have been righteous. DO I have respect for that kind of courage and commitment? I’m not sure.
A wonderful, WONDERFUL article about Poultry factory farming in relation to the flue problem. Did you know that the US National Chicken Council recommends a stocking density of 560 centimeters per bird, which is less than a sheet of typing paper? The cages for Egg hens are staked, making it impossible for any birds to move at all! The article points out that some of the grain that we feed the chickens (which humans could eat directly), is used to build bones and feathers and other body parts we cannot eat. So we get less food back then we put into the birds, and less protein, too, and disposing the concentrated chicken manure causes serious pollution to our rivers and ground water. Are we dumb or what?
Not to mention the animals are kept in cages roughly the size of their own bodies, unable to do anything natural, such as forming flocks, running around, or stretching out their wings. Are we sick to the bone or what? And, any disease that enters these high-density environments mutate into something horribly virulent, which then kill humans, causing more money and resources for research and prevention (let alone crying children and dead mothers). Factory farming spread because it seemed to be cheaper than the traditional, more human methods. But it was only cheaper because it passed the costs onto others. Such as the poor people that live downstream or downwind form one of the factories that can no longer enjoy clean air or clean water while living out their precious human incarnations on this small planet.
Gandhi was right.
Oh, and another article that was LOVELY; Sen. McCain urging us that “America must behave better than its foes, no matter how evil and despicable they are.” He is, of course, reacting to our habit of torturing prisoners in places such as Iraq, Cuba, and Afghanistan. Thankfully McCain (who, if you remember, was jailed and tortured for over 5 years in North Vietnam, gained the Senate approval, 90-9 vote, for a ban on the torture of prisoners in US custody. Yet, President Bush, who has never vetoed a single bill, threatens to veto this measure. How embarrassing and destructive to Americas image as a beacon of liberty and moral development. Creepy even. We have a president that says Americans don’t torture, yet is unwilling to set a policy that would forbid it.
In the words of McCain, who is echoing all the greatest saints and minds in human history, “the enemy we fight has no respect for human life or human rights. They don’t deserve our sympathy. But this isn’t about who they are. This is about who we are. These are the values that distinguish us from our enemies, and we can never, never allow our enemies to take those values away.”
We are a sick and twisted culture for supporting the torture of animals, though. I’m just gonna say it again because my heart asked me too. Why do we accept this kind of behavior!? Gandhi was right. The moral developement of a nation can be measured in how well they treat their animals.
After reading the newspaper, I poured myself some coffee and stepped out onto the school balcony, looked out at the distant blue mountains, lightly frosted with light gray tops, black crows crisscrossing above, tiny birds chirping in a tree close by. Ah, cold air and coffee, the sunshine I imagined entering my skull like a column of light, clearing out all my impurities, energizing my body and clarifying my mind. This visualization always works. I breathe in the sun, drink the light, hum, and then exhale.
Posted by David at 3:59 AM
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