Month: December 2017

Happy Wu Wei, 2018

20171231_bridge mosaic

Out walking this afternoon, contemplating the bridge between this year and next, I spotted this image on the Mission Street bridge where it spans the 280 freeway…

Wu wei made me grab my phone and snap a shot…

Perfect to spot this scene on a bridge, this mosaic of worlds above and below, a pure white middle way between them, a bridge bordering both…

Always best to mind the middle, even in 2018…



DJT: Taoist Non-Confucian

Trump & Qin

A common complaint about Donald Trump is his brassy, raw demeanor:  his flip remarks and dismissive one-liners.

“He doesn’t act presidential,” some say.

That’s a very valid Confucian concern – the preference for clear and expected social roles.

Tweeting at 3am is not the expected behavior of a world leader.

Still, his unstoppable impetus, his surprising inner drive, illustrate the Taoist urge of wu wei — the authentic, the real, the very heart of a beating Tao.

Trump is simply more Taoist than Confucian.  Buddhists simply breathe.


Mercury Goes Direct

Mercury Retrograde

Thrice yearly, the planet Mercury goes retrograde.

From Earth, looking at Mercury’s celestial path, the small planet, reaching the far edge of its orbit, appears to stall momentarily, then turn backward as it passes behind the Sun.  

Of course, it’s not really going backward… It’s an illusion… 

What is real, though, is Mercury’s retrograde effect on Earth.  That’s when, here on our small planet, snafus erupt.  Technology gets twitchy.  Travel gets stalled.  If something can go wrong, it will. 

Then again, retrogrades are perfect times for reflection on the past — three consecutive weeks to review our efforts and relationships. 

Fortunately, Mercury turns direct today and remains so for the next three months.  Time to start something new!


Asian Vienna in San Francisco

IMG_20171214_125445491Went to see the Gustov Klimt exhibit at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor….  Loved this painting of Maria Munk, a painting Klimt had felt was unfinished….  Indeed, the top of the painting is far more rendered with texture and paint than the bottom, much of which seems to be simply charcoal on paper…  But what Klimt saw as imperfect, as incomplete, is, perhaps inadvertently, perfectly complete – an Austrian example of Japanese wabi sabi…. It’s perceived flaw, its unfinished effort, thematically scores its sad beauty, especially when one considers that the model, Maria Munk, had taken her life at age twenty-four…. Her own unfinished, incomplete life is tragically displayed by Klimt’s “unfinished” effort.


Wisdom of Confucius

Chinees Letters on Glass

Confucius lived during a time not unlike our own, around 500 BC, when the Zhou Dynasty, emerging from its peaceful and productive Spring and Autumn Period, entered its Warring States Period.

During that time, as Zhou authority waned, smaller states within its control began to re-position themselves, to exercise dominance over neighboring states.

Confucius, a mid-level bureaucrat, doing what he could to promote the peace, compiled and published volumes of historical poems and annals, preserving the knowledge and wisdom of earlier dynasties.

Eventually, his efforts helped unify the warring states, allowing the Chinese people to share a common ancient heritage — to create a new, more inclusive culture.


Dalai Lama Yo


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On October 5th, 1989, the Nobel Peace-Prize winner was announced —  his holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

That very night, I held a ticket to attend a lecture at UC Irvine, a lecture to be delivered by — his holiness, the Dalai Lama of Tibet.

During his talk, in response to an audience question, the Dalai Lama said something that struck me.

“If Dalai Lama mad at China,” the Dalai Lama said, “China feel no pain.  Only Dalai Lama feel pain.  Dalai Lama no eat.  Dalai Lama no sleep –“

Then, pausing momentarily to confer with his robed Tibetan translator, the Dalai Lama continued:   “Dalai Lama feel up tight.”