Posts Tagged ‘Zen’

Chia Tao and a New Year

January 8, 2015 8 comments

The New Year has started, and it has been almost exactly a month since RT last posted. By way of explanation, he will say only that various transitions and plottings are afoot and have taken him away from his regular obligations and projects. More will be revealed as some of this work begins to bear fruit (which is to say, in the next post or two). Our distracted blogger’s first contribution of 2015 is his version of a poem by Chan Buddhist monk Jia Dao (old spelling, Chia Tao), 779-843 AD. Highly regarded during his life, JD is not now as well known as the small group of most famous T’ang poets that includes Du Fu and Bai Juyi; on the basis of the following poem, RT thinks this might be a mistake. JD seems to have combined a deep respect for natural process with indications of the intensity of his experience as a monk, linking his internal and external lives in unforgettable images.

Evening; Watching the Snow Stop


Clutching my staff, I watch the storm lift; 

hills and clouds braid tight, dissolve in dusk.

Woodcutters disappear into their cabins

as a weary sun drops to its bed.


And later: wildfire flowers in distant grass.

Tattered mist trailing; boulders, pine.

Hushed, I climb the monastery road—

night strikes the mountain like a bell.

Chia Tao/Jia Dao

version by Eric Quinn

copyright 2015, The Rag Tree

Photo: Tetons from Signal Mountain (1941); author, Ansel Adams. National Archives. Public Domain.   *


October 5, 2013 7 comments


structure and tension, meaning and motion: we are balanced between absolute truth and pure fluency. poetry.    RT

RT’s Related Posts: 1) Deer Sanctuary (Wang Wei); 2) Bamboo and Morning Glories 

Chinese Character: Qi (or as RT is familiar with it, Chi), meaning “natural energy” or “life force.” Author: Kbarends. WikiCmns; Public Domain.




October 2, 2013 3 comments


how wonderful…  RT





RT’s Related Posts: 1) Kite Flying in Gujarat

Bamboos & Morning Glories

July 1, 2013 1 comment

File:Xian'e Changchun Album 09.jpg

something to help clear the mind… RT

RT’s Related Posts: 1) Deer Sanctuary (Wang Wei)


Image: Picture of Bamboos and Ivy Morning Glories (Xian’e Changchun Album; Q’ing Dynasty). WikiCmns; Public Domain.


Haiku #211

File:Jean-Etienne Liotard 09.jpg

restful thoughts…RT

(reposted from Old Broke Bones)


Haiku #211.


Painting: Still Life: Tea Set (1781-83). Jean-Etienne Liotard; Getty Center. WikiCmns; Public Domain.

Lily with the Bluebells

too sweet for words…enjoy!   RT

(reposted from cains captures)

Lily with the Bluebells.

Related RT Posts: 1) Window; 2) Hamish Mc Tat (who got lost and found all in one day).



homage to the great masters…  RT

(reposted from Nicepx)



Beauty and the Body

March 21, 2013 5 comments

File:Study of a Kneeling Nude Girl for The Entombment.jpg

We are physical beings. This fact is so difficult–reminding us of death as it does–that it has led entire societies to reject the world and our place in it. People suspect that much of our mind is also physical, rooted in the body, and therefore on death that part of our thought is lost. Does any part of our consciousness survive, or do we face oblivion?

Actually, it was a comment by fellow-blogger Simon H. Lilly that got RT to thinking about this.

If beauty is recognised, felt, experienced as right, then that suggests a deep brain nerve path, as you say. We tend to think of that sense of rightness as equivalent to a spiritual perspective of the ‘true’, whereas it may just be the familiarity and ease of recognition of well-worn neural pathways. Yikes. Beauty, Truth, Justice, Ethics, Morality, etc all just a learned pattern of synaptic fireworks….

No one, I think, really wants this to be the case; don’t most of us prefer the thought that beauty is an eruption of truth, a proof of something existing beyond ourselves? And what about morality?


RT likes to eat his cake and have it too. Maybe there is something in this metaphor that can help us with our dilemma. What we really want is the impossible: a mind that is undeniably physical, at least in part, but a mind which also doesn’t disappear at death. How can we accomplish this? By taking as our premise the impossible: the mind is rooted in the body, but doesn’t decay after we die. And how can that possibly be true? Because matter is not dumb clay sitting in a brick-mold.

In fact, the greatest minds among us have failed to understand the physical universe. Look at particle physics: just what is the smallest possible particle? How do the particles work together? And here is a fearsome question:

Will mathematics actually be able to lead us to a full understanding of the universe?


RT has been picking away at a possible answer: the problem is that we lack a unified understanding and experience of the world. Maybe we need to start creating a discipline that unifies poetry and mathematics. Wow! Now we’re really chewing away at the magic cake while it continues to stare at us from the table.

How do we do this? Mathematics students need to start writing poetry as undergraduates and continue the practice lifelong. Poetry students need to start studying mathematics and read and understand three or four equations a day.

Then we need to get them all into a classroom talking about how the brain works.


RT prefers coconut creme pie, himself…what about you?


ImageStudy of a Kneeling Nude Girl for The Entombment; Michelangelo (1500-1501). WikiCmns; Public Domain.


Chrysanthemum’s the word


remember this the next time you order some tea…RT

(reposted from Teasenz)


Chrysanthemum’s the word.

metal in high saturation

cool, modern, and beautiful…RT

(reposted from Stefanie Jasper Artist/Photographer)

metal in high saturation.