"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Trick-or-treat; or, Once When I Was a Hungry Ghost

Mark Rothko, No. 9 (Dark over light Earth/violet and yellow in Rose), 1954
Dear reader, I've been distracted by assignments for grad school, and I've missed posting even once a week this past week. More importantly, I've missed visiting all of you. I'll be visiting soon, I promise!
Today is BG's birthday. It's exciting to see him mature and grow.
Next week is Halloween and trick-or-treat, as well as Segaki.
I was very much looking forward to the Segaki liturgy at the sangha that I sometimes attend. I don't get to the sangha often, as it is far away. For many reasons, this year, it seemed especially important to send things up in smoke before the Jizo in the little sangha garden.
This year, the sangha's liturgy is on the same night and the same hours as our township's Trick-or-Treat night.
So, as we go door-to-door in our neighborhood, LG will be a pirate.
I will practice the realization that I've probably attached myself to the desire to go to the sangha because I want to do in an external, physical way what I've probably already done in an internal, quiet way. I need to practice the realization that sometimes we humans don't have to show off, to act out.
Trick or treat.
For me, they are most potent hand-in-hand.
Have a great week, dear reader. Be well. I'll see you soon.


Anita said...

First, birthday wishes for the BG - the best to him.

Segaki seems to be a interesting ritual - to formally sever ties with unpleasant stuff and put it behind...start anew...

bee said...

birthday wishes to BG. i love that painting.

neroli said...

Dear Anita and Bee, thank you for your good wishes to BG!
He had a wonderful day!

Dear Anita, at this sangha, it is really lovely and special to go out in the evening in the cool and the stars and place your offering into the fire.
Because of my line of work, children who your heart feels a part of are often not with you for as long as you'd like...it seems especially apt to think about letting go when the boddhisattva is Jizo...because he's such an advocate for children, he is dear to me.

Dear Bee, I'm glad you like this painting...I love Mark Rothko's work in this vein.
It speaks, so much.
I loved it when I lived in Washington, DC, and could visit the Rothkos in the National Gallery any time I could get there.
When BG was a toddler, I would take him to the East Wing of the National all the time. He used to love to see the great big Calder mobile that hung there...he still remembers that as one of his earliest memories.

captain corky said...

Happy Birthday to BG. Monday was my Birthday. It's been a great week for birthdays. ;)

Enjoy the rest of your week Neroli.

Pelicano said...

Perhaps you could find a way to do both? Perhaps you have an image of Jizo in paper before which you could perform this ritual of cleansing and request?

neroli said...

Dear Captain, Happy Birthday!
It's been an interesting week. I hope it's been for you as well!

Dear Pel, of course you are right. I have a Chenrezig (the Tibetan Buddhist manifestation of the Buddha of Compassion)that I fashioned from a Mr. Potato Head, with standard, Mr. Incredible, and Tinkerbell (the star wand is his crown) parts.
So I think I will make a Jizo for the occasion.
What better way to engineer a Jizo than from a child's toy?

Pelicano said...

Exactly... I'd love to see a photo of this sculpture! Post? Please?!!!

I'm now working on a little "flower" arrangement; years ago I found a very old, smashed typewriter next to a dumpster, and dismantled what remained. I used the keys to make a bouquet, and am now re-arranging them in a new container. I'll snap a pic to share when its done.

neroli said...

Dear Pel, I look forward to seeing it!
I only now have the difficulties worked out with my very old digital camera. I'll take a photo of the current Buddha and get it up before the weekend's over :)