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Old 12-01-2004, 12:32 AM
Chris Cochrane
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Craig Cowing noted on an IBC (bonsai club) thread today:
Today I emailed the president of the local arts society
to see if they would be interested in my doing an exhibit
of viewing stones. She responded that she would, and
added...

"They are art from the soul. Creation and seeing images
in nature is what I call a close encounter with God, and
only a artist's eye knows that."

What I hear Dani saying is that art is not just the crafting
of an object, but having the eye to see art in natural forms.


I've assumed its okay to cross-post this to the very quiet viewing stone
list, Craig. From your article "Enclosed By Grace"
http://www.bonsai-wbff.org/enclosedbygrace.htm, you find ample opportunities
for seeing creation, spirit & allusion as well as art in natural forms. The
article expressed your son relating a bonsai to historical time (the USA's
War Between the States) as well as your relating bonsai to God's time. I
especially liked the William Paley analogy you referenced-- a found stone
suggesting its creator.

Potomac Viewing Stone Group is about to discuss non-traditional display at
its January 25th meeting. Discussion will not focus on ignorance of
tradition (which is common in bonsai & suiseki exhibitions), but displays of
naturally contoured stones intending to touch viewers from a perspective
separate from traditional suiseki, suseok & scholar's rock aesthetics.
What is it that distinguishes them? One example is Mas Nakajima stone
presentation (called "suiseki art in the New Age") on the GSBF website:
http://www.gsbf-bonsai.org/Golden_St...ts/suiseki.htm
.... another is the Zymoglyphic Museum:
http://www.zymoglyphic.org/orientalia/desert.html

A Japanese catalog distributed to special clients expresses modern suiseki
taste stretching tradition, and we see modern artists accommodating natural
stones in their compositions or replicating scholars rocks in materials such
as stainless steel. Individuals (even groups) referencing "suiseki" often
inner-twine personal preference with tradition as though they must be the
same. For the PVSG discussion focused on artistic stone display, I'd
appreciate hearing of display options clearly separated from tradition, and
perhaps other VSL members would, as well.

Having fun with the non-traditional display (as in the Zymoglyphic Museum
shoeboxes!) or looking for alternatives to traditional suiseki display that
strives for artistic profundity (Mas's display) is worth exploration. We
can choose to embrace them or set them aside, but looking with hope for
understanding reveals willingness to grow ourselves. Perhaps it confirms
appreciation of conventions that focus our attention & respect.

Best wishes,
Chris... C. Cochrane, , Richmond VA USA

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Old 12-01-2004, 05:32 PM
Craig Cowing
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Chris Cochrane wrote:

Craig Cowing noted on an IBC (bonsai club) thread today:
Today I emailed the president of the local arts society
to see if they would be interested in my doing an exhibit
of viewing stones. She responded that she would, and
added...

"They are art from the soul. Creation and seeing images
in nature is what I call a close encounter with God, and
only a artist's eye knows that."

What I hear Dani saying is that art is not just the crafting
of an object, but having the eye to see art in natural forms.


I've assumed its okay to cross-post this to the very quiet viewing stone
list, Craig.


Of course. I tried posting on the viewing stone list a while back and never knew
if it got to anyone.

From your article "Enclosed By Grace"
http://www.bonsai-wbff.org/enclosedbygrace.htm, you find ample opportunities
for seeing creation, spirit & allusion as well as art in natural forms. The
article expressed your son relating a bonsai to historical time (the USA's
War Between the States) as well as your relating bonsai to God's time. I
especially liked the William Paley analogy you referenced-- a found stone
suggesting its creator.


Paley's famous passage at the beginning of his book, "Natural Theology," about
finding a stone, which the finder assumes comes from nature, then finding a watch,
which suggests intentional design, is very famous. Right now I'm reading a book
by Richard Dawkins entitled "The Blind Watchmaker," (deriving his title from
Paley's watchmaker analogy) which argues that evolution does not necessarily
require intentional design--that with enough time (millions of years) living things
as they exist now could evolve through countless generations without any intent or
design. In other words, life as we know it is an accident. I can't accept that
myself, but of course others are entitled to their own views.

snip

Having fun with the non-traditional display (as in the Zymoglyphic Museum
shoeboxes!) or looking for alternatives to traditional suiseki display that
strives for artistic profundity (Mas's display) is worth exploration. We
can choose to embrace them or set them aside, but looking with hope for
understanding reveals willingness to grow ourselves. Perhaps it confirms
appreciation of conventions that focus our attention & respect.

Best wishes,
Chris... C. Cochrane, , Richmond VA U


Well, this exhibit will be pretty traditional, I guess. I looked at Mas' displays
at the site you suggested, and I won't be doing anything like that. Stones on
stands, mostly, with a handout describing the style, source, and any other
pertinent info on each stone. I will probably avoid smaller items that can fit in
pockets depending on the length of the exhibit and how well it will be policed.
The stones will probably be on tables, with a couple of larger ones on pedestals.
My bigger stones, which weigh upwards of 50-60 pounds will be safe I assume! I
don't know how many stones I will use yet since I don't know the size of the space.

I also don't think I'll use accent plants unless the exhibit is only for a few days
so that I don't have to worry about watering them, although I could use succulents
if I wish.

For Andy Rutledge's benefit ;0} this is also a way of testing the water for a
possible bonsai exhibit down the road. I don't have enough trees in show condition
to do an exhibit myself, but I can put on a pretty good display of viewing stones
without stretching it. My thought was to test the water for what might be
considered art in this particular venue, and the president of the arts society
seems open to seeing something natural as art. So, eventually I might be able to
put together an exhibit of bonsai sponsored by an arts society! Being as close as
I am to New York City, and knowing that this particular arts society has
connections to the Big Apple, such an exhibit could provoke an interesting
response. I could possibly talk some of the members of the Yama Ki Bonsai Society,
of which I'm a member, to put a couple of trees in an exhibit here. It's worth
looking into.

Craig Cowing
NY
Zone 5b/6a Sunset 37

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Old 12-01-2004, 06:03 PM
Kitsune Miko
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

--- Craig Cowing wrote:
Chris Cochrane wrote:

Craig Cowing noted on an IBC (bonsai club) thread

today:
Today I emailed the president of the local arts

society
to see if they would be interested in my doing

an exhibit
of viewing stones. She responded that she

would, and
added...

"They are art from the soul. Creation and

seeing images
in nature is what I call a close encounter with

God, and
only a artist's eye knows that."

What I hear Dani saying is that art is not just

the crafting
of an object, but having the eye to see art in

natural forms.

I've assumed its okay to cross-post this to the

very quiet viewing stone
list, Craig.


Snipped part about whether stonse on stands are to be
considered art.

Andy Goldsworthy is a Scottish photographer wo gose
out, disrupts nature momentarily and photographs what
he has done (I really like the zen quality of his
work). He does work with stone. He does a bit more
than putting them on stands, but he is considered a
great artist. I think art is what your publicist
makes it, unfortunately.

So the art of Suiseki has many components; 1) the eye
to choose the stone, 2) the eye to make a compatable
stand, 3) and the poetry of placement for display.

To me this has multiple aspects of being art, even if
you pay someone else to collect the stone and make the
stand.

Kitsune Miko

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Old 12-01-2004, 06:33 PM
Peter
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}



-----Original Message-----
From: Internet Bonsai Club ] On Behalf Of
Kitsune Miko
Andy Goldsworthy is a Scottish photographer wo gose
out, disrupts nature momentarily and photographs what
he has done (I really like the zen quality of his
work

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Could you please define for me what you consider "zen quality" as used in
the above statement. Would you consider that the term also applies to bonsai
and suiseki? And if your answer is affirmative, could you define that for me
also.

Appreciate your answer in advance. Thank you.

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Old 12-01-2004, 07:25 PM
Craig Cowing
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Kitsune Miko wrote:

snip

Snipped part about whether stonse on stands are to be
considered art.

snip

So the art of Suiseki has many components; 1) the eye
to choose the stone, 2) the eye to make a compatable
stand, 3) and the poetry of placement for display.


Yes, with the addition of 2a: the skill to make the stand. Sometimes making a
daiza or seat is very easy if the bottom of the stone is cut or naturally very
flat. For a stone with an uneven bottom, it can be very difficult. When you add
in the factor of balance for a scholar's stone, then it can be a major production.

To me this has multiple aspects of being art, even if
you pay someone else to collect the stone and make the
stand.

Kitsune Miko


Most definitely.

Craig Cowing
NY
Zone 5b/6a Sunset 37

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Old 12-01-2004, 07:26 PM
Craig Cowing
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Kitsune Miko wrote:

snip

Snipped part about whether stonse on stands are to be
considered art.

snip

So the art of Suiseki has many components; 1) the eye
to choose the stone, 2) the eye to make a compatable
stand, 3) and the poetry of placement for display.


Yes, with the addition of 2a: the skill to make the stand. Sometimes making a
daiza or seat is very easy if the bottom of the stone is cut or naturally very
flat. For a stone with an uneven bottom, it can be very difficult. When you add
in the factor of balance for a scholar's stone, then it can be a major production.

To me this has multiple aspects of being art, even if
you pay someone else to collect the stone and make the
stand.

Kitsune Miko


Most definitely.

Craig Cowing
NY
Zone 5b/6a Sunset 37

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Old 12-01-2004, 11:08 PM
Kitsune Miko
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Peter,

It is not easy to answer your question of what is Zen
to me, and how it applies to bonsai, but I will try.

To me one of the major concepts in the study of Zen is
the concept of “Beginners Mind” or the mind of a
child. In this state one looks at everything as if
they are seeing it for the first time, with no
preconceived notions. So if you look at a bonsai or
suiseki (viewing stones) and your breath is taken away
to the point that your mind clears of anything else in
the moment, of any preconceived notion, this then to
me has a Zen quality, peace and tranquility. When you
begin to think and distill what you are viewing from
past experience, you loose beginner’s mind, does it
follow a formula.

Strange, one develops beginners mind from past
experience. This is similar to playing scales on the
piano to give your fingers strength and agility to
play from your heart. It is like Montana and Rice
(the San Francisco 49ers football team quarter back
and receiver Super Bowl winners more than any other
team) working out in order to have the tools for
voiceless communication when it is time to interact
with pass (throw) and receive (catch). Each pass and
receive in football is a new experience, but not
everyone can make the pass or receive. If one is not
focused in the moment the football is thrown, one is
distracted from that pass at that moment. It also
takes practice to clear your mind so you can use a
fresh approach.

To work in bonsai or any other art from in the Zen
manner requires one to look at material or the plant
in front of you as if seeing it anew. What does the
here and now, in the moment, viewing tell you? Do you
still see the old plan or does a new plan present
itself from this open, fresh viewing? Again the
practice of knowing the material before hand allows
you to have vision in the moment. If you have a new
plant you know little about, I would suggest having
the practice to know the material better, at least for
a year before the intimacy of changing the plant into
a bonsai.

This to me, briefly, is how Zen applies to bonsai and
suiseki.

Kitsune Miko


Dear Kitsune Miko:

Could you please define for me what you consider
"zen quality" as used in
the above statement. Would you consider that the
term also applies to bonsai
and suiseki? And if your answer is affirmative,
could you define that for me
also.

Appreciate your answer in advance. Thank you.

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma


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Old 13-01-2004, 03:33 AM
Peter
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Thank you very much for your quick response on a very difficult subject.
Please accept my highest compliments as you are the first person in my
memory who was able to address this subject knowledgeably on this forum, and
I have been a member nearly since the IBC's original inception.

However, we may disagree on the application of an open, beginner's mind. I
will argue that the Zen quality, if any. resides in the
artist/creator/discoverer and perhaps even in the viewer, but not in the
object itself. The object, be a tree, stone, painting, tea cup, etc., just
serve as a bridge, a connection between two like minded persons.
My friend Lynn Boyd often reminds me that art is a social function, and like
a team sport it requires the cooperation of the participants and agreement
upon a common basis for appreciation.

If I have a "beginner's mind" and discover a stone that elicit an emotional
and artistic impulse in me where does the Zen quality resides? And if you
look at the same stone and you are unmoved by it what happened to that Zen
quality?

Our disagreement does not spoil my elation over the fact that you know what
you are writing about. I am in the process of reviewing a bonsai book that
is touting a subtitle that relates Zen to bonsai; its author has no clue
what Zen is and his use of the term "Zen quality" is arbitrary and
capricious at best. The book remind me of the saying "Give a kid a hammer
and the whole world will look like a series of nails!"

Thank you and Gassho!

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Old 13-01-2004, 04:02 AM
Kitsune Miko
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

--- Peter wrote:

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Thank you very much for your quick response on a
very difficult subject.
Please accept my highest compliments as you are the
first person in my
memory who was able to address this subject
knowledgeably on this forum, and
I have been a member nearly since the IBC's original
inception.

However, we may disagree on the application of an
open, beginner's mind. I
will argue that the Zen quality, if any. resides in
the
artist/creator/discoverer and perhaps even in the
viewer, but not in the
object itself. The object, be a tree, stone,
painting, tea cup, etc., just
serve as a bridge, a connection between two like
minded persons.


Yeah, but the stone and or tree can be considered
sentient objects that think the viewer has r does not
have Zen quality.

We could also get int attachement/non attachement, but
perhaps another time.


My friend Lynn Boyd often reminds me that art is a
social function, and like
a team sport it requires the cooperation of the
participants and agreement
upon a common basis for appreciation.


I agree but also delight in the self pleasuring
aspects of the doing.

If I have a "beginner's mind" and discover a stone
that elicit an emotional
and artistic impulse in me where does the Zen
quality resides? And if you
look at the same stone and you are unmoved by it
what happened to that Zen
quality?


Detachment

Thank you,

Kitsune Miko

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Old 13-01-2004, 04:03 PM
Craig Cowing
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Peter wrote:

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Thank you very much for your quick response on a very difficult subject.
Please accept my highest compliments as you are the first person in my
memory who was able to address this subject knowledgeably on this forum, and
I have been a member nearly since the IBC's original inception.


I thought it was an excellent post, and a wonderful description of the interaction
between the object (stone/tree) and subject (us).

However, we may disagree on the application of an open, beginner's mind. I
will argue that the Zen quality, if any. resides in the
artist/creator/discoverer and perhaps even in the viewer, but not in the
object itself. The object, be a tree, stone, painting, tea cup, etc., just
serve as a bridge, a connection between two like minded persons.
snip

If I have a "beginner's mind" and discover a stone that elicit an emotional
and artistic impulse in me where does the Zen quality resides? And if you
look at the same stone and you are unmoved by it what happened to that Zen
quality?

snip

Thank you and Gassho!

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma


Peter:
Although I don't necessarily see the need to use the term "zen", especially because
it is SO overused in the media to label an indescribable quality, especially in the
elation supposedly experienced while driving expensive cars, could we say that the
"zen" quality be in the interaction between the subject (person) and stone or tree,
and thus not residing in either one? This might fit in with Lynn's idea of art as
a social function--something is not art simply because it has certain qualities,
but becomes art when it interacts with a viewer. Did I get that right?

This particular topic interests me greatly, and I'm glad to see the discussion
continuing out of the quote I posted on the list a few days ago. As a Christian, I
could say that somehow the divine is involved in that interaction between subject
and object--such as the image of the creation singing it's Creator's praise.

I have experienced this connection many times inworking on a tree, or making a
daiza for a stone. I have stones that I collected three or more years ago, and
they are very good stones, but they haven't spoken to me yet and so I haven't
worked on a daiza. Then, one day I look over the stones sitting outside on their
benches, and one visually leaps out at me. That is the stone I have to work on
that day. Same is true with a tree.

Thanks very much for continuing this conversation. This is the time to talk about
such things, while our trees (at least in some parts of the world) are sleeping and
the stones are awake!

Craig Cowing
NY
Zone 5b/6a Sunset 37

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Old 13-01-2004, 05:05 PM
Kitsune Miko
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

--- Craig Cowing wrote:
Peter wrote:

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Thank you very much for your quick response on a

very difficult subject.
Please accept my highest compliments as you are

the first person in my
memory who was able to address this subject

knowledgeably on this forum,


Snip

However, we may disagree on the application of an

open, beginner's mind. I
will argue that the Zen quality, if any. resides

in the
artist/creator/discoverer and perhaps even in the

viewer, but not in the
object itself. The object, be a tree, stone,

painting, tea cup, etc., just
serve as a bridge, a connection between two like

minded persons.
snip

If I have a "beginner's mind" and discover a stone

that elicit an emotional
and artistic impulse in me where does the Zen

quality resides? And if you
look at the same stone and you are unmoved by it

what happened to that Zen
quality?

snip

Thank you and Gassho!

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma


Peter:
Although I don't necessarily see the need to use the
term "zen", especially because
it is SO overused in the media to label an
indescribable quality, especially in the
elation supposedly experienced while driving
expensive cars, could we say that the
"zen" quality be in the interaction between the
subject (person) and stone or tree,
and thus not residing in either one? This might fit
in with Lynn's idea of art as
a social function--something is not art simply
because it has certain qualities,
but becomes art when it interacts with a viewer.
Did I get that right?

Some times language proves inadequate or should we say
the writer proves inadequate to the task of expressing
a concept so primal that it defies description. I say
primal because of the suspension of higher intellect
when in this zen zone (for lack of a better term) To
me it is as if struck dumb in the moment awed by an
act or an object beyond believing.

I think Craig describes this concept well in his
posessing a collected stone, but seeing it as if for
the first time at a later date.

I have no formal practice in the area we call Zen, but
I do have a practice. That is working on my trees or
appreciating a moment, being able to suspend anything
else when so struck.

The last strong Zen moment I had (outside of working
on trees) was walking down a street with pistachio
trees covered with yellow leaves. It was a mild sunny
day and the leaves, in falling, spun to the ground
like snowflakes (see I could say yellow snow, but that
would distract) softly falling.

Objects have a zen quality in the moment as
interpreted by the viewer. To me it is an
interaction. Not a thing or a place.

Kitsune Miko

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Old 13-01-2004, 08:02 PM
Lynn Boyd
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

From: Kitsune Miko

. . . . . could we say that the
"zen" quality be in the interaction between the
subject (person) and stone or tree,
and thus not residing in either one? This might fit
in with Lynn's idea of art as
a social function--something is not art simply
because it has certain qualities,
but becomes art when it interacts with a viewer.
Did I get that right?

--------

Kitsune (still Sandy to me

I have to look at it this way based on my training -

There is no actual "act" shared by the object and viewer. The viewer
projects upon the object the meaning or feeling that his/her life and
experience has provided. The quality then of Zen would be something that
is residing in the viewer. Just exactly what the viewer sees as the
characteristic of the object that could evoke the response can't be
identified individually. In the stone the form alone does it, as nature
produced it. In a bonsai the style, the kind of tree? We vary.

The social part of art is the fact that in an art's acceptance by a group
of people, as in the IBC where we all love our trees, there is a social
agreement in how we are affected or how we respond to these objects. For
an art form to develop there must be some social acceptance that permits
the establishment of conventions, objectives - or it would never get to be
known as an art form.
The interesting part is that we find universal responses - we find that a
majority or many people have a very similar response to certain
characteristics. When this happens the "group" has an art form that they
"live with" and it then evolves as this social group or community itself
evolves.
I know sp-f-f-t about Zen, but so many times have been told I am a Zen
person. Uh, what dat? is my response I finally decided it is because
I have similar responses to art, events or whatever these people who do
know what Zen is have and therefore they think I am like them.
There just are similar expressive projections from individual responses to
art forms, and we find a binding among us for that - and then we fight
like cats trying to keep the conventions and objectives to our own
individual liking.
Ain't we humans a case?! )
In a nutshell, Kitsone, it is our human similiarity of responses that makes
something art. One person may use the word because of a personal response,
but art is really something that is involved in the critical and selective
response of a group or community. Also it is a set-up for defining the
conventions and objectives, etc. That's cool, cause then we have these art
groups for company.

Lynn (without my breakfast so don't take me too seriously)

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Old 19-01-2004, 06:46 PM
Peter
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Your last remarks were great. (Even if I may disagree.)

I will try to remember it the next time I chant the "Bodhisattva wow." When
I get to the line "However innumerable sentient beings are, I wow to save
them!" I will visualize all my bonsai and suiseki. :-) Heck, I will
visualize all the bonsai and suiseki in the universe. Even the bad ones not
having Zen quality. :-)

Gassho!

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Old 19-01-2004, 06:50 PM
Peter
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Your last remarks were great. (Even if I may disagree.)

I will try to remember it the next time I chant the "Bodhisattva wow." When
I get to the line "However innumerable sentient beings are, I wow to save
them!" I will visualize all my bonsai and suiseki. :-) Heck, I will
visualize all the bonsai and suiseki in the universe. Even the bad ones not
having Zen quality. :-)

Gassho!

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma

************************************************** ******************************
++++Sponsored, in part, by Mark Zimmerman++++
************************************************** ******************************
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Old 19-01-2004, 06:55 PM
Peter
 
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Default [IBC] Non-traditional forms {WAS: [IBC] good quote (non-bonsai, but related)}

Dear Kitsune Miko:

Your last remarks were great. (Even if I may disagree.)

I will try to remember it the next time I chant the "Bodhisattva wow." When
I get to the line "However innumerable sentient beings are, I wow to save
them!" I will visualize all my bonsai and suiseki. :-) Heck, I will
visualize all the bonsai and suiseki in the universe. Even the bad ones not
having Zen quality. :-)

Gassho!

Peter Aradi
Tulsa, Oklahoma

************************************************** ******************************
++++Sponsored, in part, by Mark Zimmerman++++
************************************************** ******************************
-- The IBC HOME PAGE & FAQ: http://www.internetbonsaiclub.org/ --

+++++ Questions? Help? e-mail +++++


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