Friday, April 19, 2019

Time to untangle the tangle.

It's Friday, soon I will hear the call to prayer from the Masjid Negeri or the State Mosque.I have made my pray to my Lord in my own way earlier before i sat to meditate and contemplate, then ,now writing a post on my Blog not knowing what to expect to come out from my subconscious and wakeful mind. Listening to the sound of flute from an American Indian, sounds like one is sitting somewhere in the Organ Pipe mountains in Southern most part of the Mainland  United States, on the boarder between the US and Mexico where the Organ Pipe Mountain rage ends in the Sonora  Desert of Southern Arizona: I was there and did that.  The sound of the wind that blows through the the organ like spires of vertical pillars of rocks stacked one upon another, sounded like the sound of this flute in my ears.I have an affinity whatever that means with the Spirit of the American Indians,like blood brothers just as i feel I have the connection with the Japanese Artists in history and today.

Life is about making a story, playing a role, reaching in and reaching out to find the truth to what is or not what it should be, is this 'Reality itself?' Is this the of Ultimate and complete, Consciousness  the realm of non-duality, the One with the Maker. Not so long as there is stil the witness, the observer- the mind. Mind has to cease to exist in any state or form from the state of consciousness of a soul. I use the word soul loosely to mean no further than that which, I am in the present state of  learning and understanding, who am I?What precious little time I have left, I hereby am sharing with you my reader whoever or wherever you are, that you may touch my heart with your consciousness to help me on my journey to the end. 

The Lord Krishna's flute was once asked by one of the Gopis, "What makes you so special, that the Lord touches you with his lips?" The flute replied, "Nothing special, I am but just a hollow reed through which I allow my Lord to blow his breath into the sound of eternal music." I am but an empty vessel into which I allow knowledge to pour into and be boiled to produce wisdom; I am only a Buddha's begging bowl seeking Right Understanding,Right Mindfulness and Right Consciousness of Being, who I am. In this present moment in space and time, writing this post, listening to an American Indian flute music... is this all there is to who I am? It is Friday and it is doubtful that i will go to the Friday Prayer and I have stopped going for qite a while now and yest it disqualifies me to be called a Muslim,  I acept this. As i mentioned earlier, I did my prayers in my own way earlier this morning and later in the morning. I have strong faith that my Lord is listening to me and; all I can say I just have this feeling deep inside of me that I am forgiven. I am more of a spiritual than a religious person, I am an Eclectic, I pick and choose the best of all choices between what i would consider worthy or unworthy of being accepted as the truth for me. 








Monday, April 15, 2019

You Are an Eclectic!!!

Eclecticism was a school of philosophy in Ancient Greece, or so I read one cold winter's day in the foothills of the the Rockies in a small potter's house about one kilometer down hill from Central City, Colorado. It was in the seventies and I was doing my college work which was primarily traveling all over the country and the world seeking knowledge I was a Street Artist; my studies was about how one lives the life of an artist on the street throughout one's ;ife. I called it "The Art of Living" (as an Artist). Along the way  I got myself deeply involved with my darker nature and committed many errors or as they say in plain language; I fucked up many times in just as many ways. You name it chances are I did fucked it up too, that is or was my  load to carry; karma sucks.

I woke up in the middle of the night with the ringing in my ears a voice shouting "You are and Eclectic!" It was the end of a dream of which I have not recollecction. What i remebered was sitting up and searching for my sketch pen and wrote on a small piece of paper the word EKLETIK and fell back to sleep,it was a cold winters night in the Rockies. The next morning i went downstairs to have my breakfeast with my host Mr. Angelo DeBenedetto an elderly Italian gentleman of about his seventies; you can Google him. I told Angelo of my dream and showed him the piece or paper i had written the word EKLEKTIK, Angelo  What does it mean? Angelo started explaining to me what it meant and as I was listening to him but not really hearing what he was saying my eyes were captured by the glow of colorful light around the small antique wood statue of Kuan Yin, The Goddess of Mercy, Kanon, Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Angelo was quiet and was looking at me strange like and went on to explain how he got the little wooden statuette, as though I had asked him about it.


eclectic
/ɪˈklɛktɪk/
adjective
  1. 1.
    deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.
    "universities offering an eclectic mix of courses"
    synonyms:wide-ranging, wide, broad, broad-ranging, broad-based, extensive, comprehensive, encyclopedic, general, universal, varied, diverse, diversified, catholic, liberal, cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, all-embracing, non-exclusive, inclusive, indiscriminate, many-sided, multifaceted, multifarious, heterogeneous, miscellaneous, assorted More
  2. 2.
    Philosophy
    denoting or belonging to a class of ancient philosophers who did not belong to or found any recognized school of thought but selected doctrines from various schools of thought.
noun
1.
a person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of source
 yes I was called an eclectic yelling at me in my dream loud enough to wake me up and write it down...in Later Angelo took me to meet his friends and fellow artist couple who were potters their house was located along the road in a small town called Black Hawk about a few kilometers downhill from Central City. I was treated as a special guest and offered to borrow a book on the Wisdom of the Ages, The Book of Secrets, a large hardcover book that said in the prologue only 87 copies were printed and i was holding one of them. In it among the colorful original paintings of ancient mysteries and their symbols, printed on rich glossy prints I saw Isis in all her Glory, I saw Krishna in all His Glory and I saw Zeus and Homer, Plato and Apollo, I saw many sects and symbols of man in history. I had the thick and heavy black book with me for a few days while I was staying at Angelo's Studio. I was introduced to Hermetic ism from the book and latter pursued its understanding, the teachings of Thoth- Trimester. My mind feasted upon all the images and symbols through the ages creating episodes and stories abut each, making sense out of nonsense; the Book was God sent.










     

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Lao Tzu.

 Am I going insane or am I just slip sliding into the sea of mediocrity at an old age,merely existing till my time is up, at least in this physical form. Am i fulfilling my aspirations, my wishes and desires after all these seventy years almost; or is it all merely an illusion ? Have I squandered my life to being just another entity among billions of entities eating, sleeping and shitting while I am paraded towards my final  resting ground like a heard of cattle headed for the slaughterhouse. Christopher Hitchens is dead and buried after adamantly maintained that there is no such a thing as God, while in Yemen hundreds of thousands have given up their lives in the name of the God they believe. I have my own Jihad to perform and it is in awakening to the Truth of Religion at least one that I feel most spiritually correct. I expect no miracles but surely would welcome any if it helps me to better understand but in essence I cannot declare if there is or there is no God, but my gut feeling says, there is. Gut feelings are the closest feeling one can have towards any unknown, not easily explainable phenomena in life. 

God or whatever you may address it by name,is like the Tao. "The Tao that can be easily explained is not the Tao." Perhaps it would take a little more than our ten percent capability of using our brain, in order to have a better insight into the Nature of the Divine. We have yet to tap into a drop in the ocean of consciousness of our own self understanding; God is the rest of the ocean. I realize that it would take more than human intelligence to crack the nut, it would take more than, having grat insights or consciousness awakenings,   in order that I might catch a glimpse of reality as it is, but I feel int in me that I am not as free a spirit as I think. I have no right to go claiming if there is there is not a God, the Divine is a very personal feeling one can have but cannot be shared. Sharing means you have to justify your feelings and no amount of justification can explain what one feels about God; it is only felt by me. Most religions I find worship the symbol, the Name, the Container, loosing sight of the content, the essence. We make perfect sense preaching but not in practice. 

For as long as my mind is on this subject let me say that the search for God or the Divinity is innate in our human nature as the sciences is more and more revealing that we are a form with a collective consciousness , we may have individual feelings but our thoughts are a part and parcel of the Whole of our species. Hence according to the teachings of the Buddha, ultimately there is no self or as in Islam one achieves 'Fana'... emptiness? Only when one does not exist is God or Allah truly One, not two. In essence it is my understanding that death is the ending of one's material thought of to be a self, I, me mine, this physical form these thoughts and memories these, visions and dreams. Death is the cleansing of the empty mirror that has been what i have come to accept to be me with all its ramifications of such an acceptance. Cleaning my lenses is my way of self purification or spiritual purification while still in this material or physical realm of existence. I am an entity, walking along this path along with my fellow man, I am a soul among souls, breathing in and out, we walk fully conscious of who or what or where we are at this juncture in our lives.

"A Man who justifies, does not convince, not even to himself!"
Lao Tzu.














Thursday, April 11, 2019

How to title a Painting?

I presented my friend Lee Khai a few pieces of my almost completed art works and he chose two out of six and advice me to stay with this style for my upcoming solo exhibition which will take place a the Gallery Seni Mutiara or better known as Su Khaw's Gallery, located on Armenian Stree or is it Aceh street? Lee has the eyes and sensitivity for the Fine Art and has been a prominent collector in the Georgetown area. He is also the Chairman of the Penang State Art Gallery; Lee knows Art better than artists themselves. It has been my privilege to have met and became very close to this man to call him my brother., his beautiful wife my sister; the one person I could share my feelings with those that runs deeper than normal. Anne has the gift of a Kind and compassionate listener, like Kuan Yin; my Kuan Yin. Then there was also my friend and fellow artist, Saparel Salleh, an excellent jungle landscape artist with a very keen eyes upon colors of the forest and flowing creeks and streams and exotic sunshine cascading through green fond and leaves larger than life; looking at his works you can tell he spends much of his time in the jungle. I have known him for many years now and this was the first time i ever got close to him; I almost put my fist through his jaw at one time in the past. 

Just before Shaparel walked into the house i was letting it off my chest of how i felt about this guy an d why to Anne and my daughter, I felt lighter immediately as I said hello to him and shook his hand. I seems like all that ranting I did was indeed a 'letting it out of my chest'. The rest of the night went through like a charm for everyone and we had a very relaxing conversation about all the mundane subjects that came to mind and we discussed my works. The dinner was something I haven't had in very long time called Oppo in Indonesian cooked by Lee's maid and her husband who prepared a Western Style stew and had a chocolate cake for desert baked by Anne and slices of ripe mangoes and Chiku fruits to wash the mouth with. All in all I can say that the saying, "Ask and Ye shall be given," is true. I had asked for his help and Lee has again answered me most graciously with dignity and class. This is why I call him my brother; Van Gogh had Theo, I have Lee Khai.

I am writing this as a fond memory of my life and times among these  good Christians and Muslims, my relationship towards others and they towards me, how we gain mutual respects and trusts as time passes if and when we try to accept our limitations and work towards reconciliation like true brothers in life and spirit: I am still learning. I have some twenty paintings to be ready for my show and I have only got two accepted! With friends like these who needs enemies? Ha! For a few hours the pain and suffering of humanity around the world seemed non existent...all an  illusion a fleeting cloud that comes and goes. Illusory as it is the hours spent chatting with Lee and wife and Shaparel and my daughter with an occasional join in by the Indonesian husband and wife was a positive state of illusion. It is a learning as well as healing process that I go through, humanity goes through in the evolution towards basic Right Understanding of Who am I? What is reality? How am I connected to The Whole? 

Tat Tvam Asi - I am that!













Monday, April 08, 2019

Take a cat nap-while they fix your plumbing.

Like a cat,one must learn to take a nap, like a bee one must nkow when to stop and smell the roses; resting is an art worth cultivating especially when one is getting into the seventies club. Find a place and lay down to sleep the physical body into total deep relaxation, letting it all sink into the ground or the void to sound more profound.Watch every muscles and sinews relax from the tightness of holding back tensions especially around the lower back and the shoulders and neck area. The death posture it is called in Hatha Yoga-
"Corpse Pose: The Death at the End of Your Practice. While the most widely used name for this pose is Savasana (Sava is the Sanskrit term for corpse and asana the Sanskrit term for posture), it's also known as Mritasana, or death posture " -Wikipedia.
 
This is the rest that animals like cats adapt to in the course of a day especially after a play or chasing for food, they rest, dogs do it, cows do it you name it they do it; resting. Taking time off to realign the physical body through breathing and letting the gravity do the rest. It is like going to sleep but no quite or even more so, bring the body to consciously shut down; in a blissfull state of  a lightness of being. All you are doing off course is simply resting you body and mind, but I find it by prolonging this practice with bar attention I wake up with more energy and vigor to take on the next action or chores. As an artist i find it most helpful being able to refresh, revitalize and recharge my energy but taking a short cap nap.





  

Saturday, April 06, 2019

To Mooji Baba - Namaste andThank You!

Why the need for something to happen,,why do i project an expectation into my future moments, why the wanting to escape this moment where I am at?This my second effort as my first effort was magically wiped out! But it is OK, I have nothing better to do at the moment other than go to bed, I  slept this afternoon. The voice and image of Mooji appeared in my consciousness asking these questions as I sat on the steps of the RECSAM Hall, in Gelugor, this is where one of my best friend's daughter will be getting married tomorrow; I was there just to hang out with the guys, giving some moral support to the father of the bride. 

We smoked a s few joints and drank a little Ketum, to celebrate the occasion among men. I got lost a few times driving home, I found myself not recognizing where I was and  It was quite a challenge to keep myself from pulling off the road to realign myself to where I was but icould not stop and nor could i slow down as I was on main three lane Green Lane Avenue heading towards Scotland Road, I was on track i realized.I watched my loosing its focus on the moment and drifting off ; falling asleep. I had to make an effort to bring my mind to concentrate on the driving. I was not afraid of loosing it, I enjoyed watching it, a part of me was experiencing some new feelings, new  emotions that is more deeper: I can observe my thinking mind! I can step aside  from the busy traffic that the mind is generating from within and without, I am the master of my thoughts and consiousness1! Oh! I forgot to buy the cat food! 

Being awakened can happen in a  split second and will last for a long as keep getting deeper into your practices and it may take more than pure meditation and concentration, at least not the likes of me; I think too much.I am addicted to thinking and my mind is ever ready to accommodate and nothing passes my mind in the day that does not become a subject, a topic a oint to ponder upon at the end of the day.   When you sit and meditate, if you meditate, all these things and happenings and the interaction between the material and corporeal dimensions comes to surface. The mind is kept busy by every single image and event that it has encountered in a single day, every single moment; it becomes a critical observer, analyzing, demanding answers and it turn into an intellectual mind and, scientific mind, it becomes s Spiritual mind, it becomes a Divine Mind; 
No Mind is Divine Mind, 
No Mind is Buddha's Mind, 
No Mind , NO Buddha.

Awakening is moment in time when one stops expecting something to happen next, there is no next! There is only the mere and now, this moment this time and space and all else are fleeting thoughts like clouds appearing and disappearing in and empty sky. Even a flash of lightning can be made to stretch a little longer if one wills it so, try it.So with a moment of awakening, one tries to make it last a little longer each and every time it arises. In the meantime," Eat when you are hungry and sleep when you are sleepy, sit and watch the grass grow!" Do nothing, expect nothing, even the hope to become nothing! If your balls itch, scratch them, don't feel embarrassed about doing  what comes natural and if you need to fart, please don't hold it back! Let it rip and enjoy that release of pressure in the stomach and chest area, nothing is worse than stale air trapped in the belly, it is like having bad or stale Chi floating around looking for the wrong places to get into. That is why after you have settled down to 'Sit' in meditation, the first breath you take is to exhale as forcefully as you can the bad air in you system out, empty the tummy of stale gasses especially when you just woke up after a long sleep. It would help if you take  a few moments to gently massage you belly, make time if you really care for your body put that alarm clock an hour earlier to wake you up. It's the hour you prepare your mind and body to face the day.

There is nothing after this, there is only this! 














 

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Read at your own peril.

So, just stop caring, however if you have to care, care to know about who you truly are. Take care of number one as they say in the US. You can take it to mean any which way you like for yourself but it simply means to mind your own 'self'. It is imperative that once you have understood of yourself, of who you are, all else is taken care of. Be;ieve it or not that is what i realized a few moment ago and I thought that it is well worth sharing, yes, ironic this is an act of caring in itself, but how else can i see myself other than through making it manifested in words as a thought , an idea that is worth to think about. I am so into caring about the well being of others, what they feel, what they suffer from, the fate of the world, humanity and not the mention the animals and the environment, it can be very taxing and vexing' so, stop caring(without) start caring (within).

How to remove from the influences and distractions that is manifesting every nano second of my physical existence? What with the Internet and You Tube and all the rest of the sources that is promoting these inexhaustible inputs? How do i create a pause? How do I even delete? How do i silence the mind? How do I become absolutely detached from what I am exposed to? It is said that meditation on 'Bare Attention', is one way towards liberating one's mind from being attached to the external phenomena, perhaps there is a way and all it takes is collecting your mind to an attention of just a single thought in this moment. In this very moment in time I stop and ask myself , who am I? and what is all these? I take a deep breath very slowly and hold it for a few seconds (eight or six counts) then i let it out slowly counting eight or six counts and hold it for another similar count and then I le it out...and I keep this on for as long as I am not forcefully distracted from the exercise, like there is an itch in my crotch or someone calls.

Eckhart Tole in one of his talks or perhaps his book, "The Power of Now', mentioned about creating a space of silence in between your thoughts or perhaps your breath and to find in this silence the connection to the whole  of your being-ness. Your original Buddha Nature, your 'Ruh ul kudus'. The longer your pause becomes the closer you get to become connected to your inner being, this is the essence of meditation on breathing is about. In doing Zazen or sitting meditation, one's attention is on the breathing of in and out, there is nothing in between but just silence. When a thought enters the consciousness, it is simply watched without any form of attachment -with bare attention. It is said in the Diamond Sutra of the Sixth Zen Patriach, Hui Neng that thoughts are like clouds in and empty sky, and Zen Master Dogen,, founder of the Soto Zen school was said to have said that thoughts are like clouds, you know not when they will appear or disappear. I know my thoughts are fleeting and yet any single thought can trigger a lengthy discussion if an when it catches my attention; which never fails to happen. The intention is to be aware and not be attached to these rising thoughts, become a witness with bare attention not supporting nor rejecting, no likes or dislikes. Watch how they came into being, how long they stayed and what makes them disappear.

This is one way I have found for myself the nature of caring for others and how to care for myself. How futile it seems all these while that I was thinking so much about the negativity that is burning around me at all levels and dimensions of my existence and not being able to find any meaningful answers. The question pops up in my mind every now and then, "Is this all there is to it?" "Is this," as Ed Brown, the Zen Teacher in San Francisco once I heard said. "The peak of Mystic Mountain?" As a Muslim, if I can even claim myself as one, I accept wholeheartedly that the All Mighty has His plan and His plan includes each and every dimensions of this existence and what we understood as the Universe. Having any lower perception about my life at this moment is same as regressing into the dark and ignorant state of my past. Caring about myself means to fully understand who I am in relationship to the rest of the 'WHOLE'. With this understanding I feel I might be able to find the Love and Peace I seek, the Forgiveness and Compassion that I hold towards all living creature, towards all of nature and towards even my enemies. 

At the age of seventy I still think like a child of seven.

"Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care."  Don't know who said this but it makes sense.










Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The lesson in New Zealand -Kiwi is not just a fruit.

The aftermath of the new Zealand shooting was counter to what was expected of the killer and those that condone his actions, it created martyrdom out of those who perished. It is to date another historical blemish in the hist ry of man and his faith, his beliefs and his virtues. One man can create such a havoc all in the name of hatred and ideologies and the res of the Nation if not the world is put on halt with a whole lot of spiritual reflections is thrown into the the already dark days of religions. For those who have lost their loved ones it will remain forever a scar that will forever remain as the most brutal times of their lives and for those who are still reeling from unanswered questions as to why or how and what has become of humanity, the incident is yet another addition. 

Through this act of wanton need to kill those that are of a different color of skin, faith or religion, through the need to fulfill a vision of supremacy and gain recognition in the eyes of like beings, many such similar murders and terrorists acts has become a part of our humanity. What had happened was supposed to have brought cheers and condemnation from the supporters of religious violence and those that abhor such acts. It is hoped and prayed for that his incident would hail in a more tolerant and genuine care from the rest of humanity for religious faith. It is only through patience and perseverance and an indomitable desire to end this cycle of terrorism that humanity must come together and say, "Enough is enough!" It is time for humanity to collectively shout it out that violence and terrorism was buried a long time ago in history as a means to problem solving We have migrated from the Dark Ages a few hundred years ago when we claimed ourselves having achieved an age of Renaissance.

It is indeed sadly mystifying that man is bound and determined to repeat the past especially those ho very wealth and fame depends on the misery of others. The sales of armaments is today one of the largest if not the largest industry in the so called advanced countries. War is a lucrative business! Instead of focusing the advancement of technology to better the world today most technologies are catered towards updating weapons of mass destruction and precision  killings. Instead of creating a loving and caring young adults, we create zombie like soldiers whose only mission in life is to follow orders and to seek and destroy; it has become a worldwide game at who is best at killing. If all the money and human resources spent over war were to have been put into use over caring for the Planet humanity would have less desire for a heaven in the after life, heaven is already here. Ironically religious believe and faith would not be an issue in paradise for is sustainable and provided for, but this is not to be and so what is the solution to this dilemma that plagues humanity and not to mention this very Planet itself?




     

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Meditation on Awareness.

An eighty odd year old Chinese, Apek ran into my car hind side just as i crossed the curb going through a green light on Penang Road this morning on my way to sending my daughter to work, thank you that no serious damage was done and the old man was all smiles and apologetic. When I asked him why he started going when the light was still green he said he just couldn't see. I can understand his feelings and took his number to contact if he needs some assistance in paying for the damage on his motorcycle: yes shit happens! My daughter later as we drove away said that's what happens when you think negative thoughts and I was earlier while we passed a Colonial bungalow type government building I was told belonged to the UMNO people from way back when, I started off on why the building should become the site for The Penang Malays Art Gallery. and with this i dragged on all along Hutton lane about my poor relationship with uncle Rashid, yada, yada ...and as we drove the lights ...kaboom! Shit happens to the best of us for all our good intentions and purpose.

An 80 year old Apek, old Chinaman woke me up to the present reality ...and my daughter has a lesson in driving, like what do you do, never say you are sorry, never accuse the other party for any wrong doing, but first address the person, "Are you hurt!, the rest will take care of its own. Do not linger around too long as the crowd will grow and you are lost explaining to ten other guys wearing green vests with their walkie talkies blaring around you, you will end up feeling like a criminal and probably say to yourself,"Where is the trafic cop when I need him?" I have had a few serious auto mobile accidents that could have ended my life, the scars left behind ar w whole lot deeper than the physical trauma and I feel sorry for my old Chinaman friend and thankful at the same time for his gift  towards my spiritual growth ...shit happens! You just have to learn to live with it, expect when most unexpected, the unexpected... in short "Be Prepared", as the old Boys Scout Moto reads, be mindful, be awar. 

Astaghfirullah, Forgive me Lord for my transgressions of the past present and future, forgive this lost soul seeking his way home to You.
Alhamdullilah! Thank You Lord, for the Grace and Blessing you have been giving me,  sheltering me from harm and forgiving even the worst moments of my life; You were always there, this is why I am who I am,  my journey in this lifetime is almost over and I am most grateful and thankful for every moment in time and space that I have experienced it was all with Your Blessings; I am your  servant,  and in this moment in time, while it is raining heavily outside, which we most needed and prayed for, I thank you, Alhamdullilah! The sound of thunder heralds this moment as a witness, here I am before You, my Lord,; I am a lost soul, seeking onlly to return to my Maker and it is with hope that my sharing this moments with my readers, is my way of giving back what I have been blessed with or cursed as an ongoing lesson -Zen and the Art of Living, I used to call it at one time or another...Way of the Cheeseburger Buddha.

In the silence between you can hear the rain approaching from one direction like the sound of a train and the then it passes over and the sound into one complete whole it is like yet another thermostat and slowly it pitters away into another completes silence again...listen to the rythm of the falling rain like you miss it so
much and that you are thank ful for it being here. If  you are fully aware you start to see the rythm of the Universe, the ebbs and flows the push and pull; realm of the dual thinking mind. If  one can quiet the mind even for a single moment, you are on the way becoming an enlightened being. Easier said than done especially if you spend half your days watching and listening to You Tube, people like me has a whole lot of accumulated junk on my back and I simply have to delete as much as possible especially the old files that serves no purpose anymore I got to catch up to my housekeeping chore and clean up as much as I can, have a garage sale for unwanted dramas and dreams, so my practice has been to seek that silence in between and try to prolong it as much as I possibly can; it is called meditation on awareness..








Thursday, March 21, 2019

Alan Watts - Shooting an arrow into emptiness.

Alan Watts, the Roshi, the Hippie Zen Master who lived on a Houseboat anchored at the Sausalito slit, perhaps still there, The Embarcadero  or something like that. In the annals of the Western Zen . Allan Watts  is up there among the great teachers of religions and life. Very few can tie the knot of knowledge and wisdom between East and West better then Alan Watts among others. D.T. Suzuki and Sunryu Suzuki Roshi, all the rest of the great teachers that came after are merely walking in their footsteps, like the walking dead following a leader, a teaching a way that has suddenly appeared without thorough investigation as to the meaning behind the meaning and the truth that is being shared; all through the years since when I first stumbled upon one or two of his books, "The Way of Zen" and "This is It!," I was hooked I was then working as a librarian  at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay,sometime in 1970-80s. I also found Hokusai and his complete mangga, comic books. IN this one corner way in the back there was a reading corner and it was surrounded with the books by J.Krishnamurti, and Osho, and Huxley and books G.I.Guirdjief.and Ouspenske, Yoga texts and the Bhagavad Gita I found the Tao Te Ching and the Lessons from the "Shirt Wearer of the Tribe." 

The discovery I made in this little corner of the library had launched me out into the world traveling as an Art Student from one country to another for the next few semesters. The rewards may come late or never, but the feeling of knowing this to be true is already the beginning of the awakening of the spirit. My spirit took to its wings and spent the next three years in college just traveling where I felt like; it was called Directed Independent Studies, a pioneer program out of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. I was one of the few chosen to do the program from UWGB at the time. The idea was to help students make it out there and give them an extensive experience on being an Artist on the street. It was almost like a tradition when I return to the University from everyone of my trips, everyone I met at the counter windows and their cubicles, I got a 'Wlecome Back Sam!' where di you go this time? Along the corridors, "Hey Sammy! Welcome back man! Staying for long this time?" I touched many lives and they touched mine and most were out of Love and Compassion. Then shit happens too, so you win some and loose some as they say back in Wisconsin.

"The Way of Zen," was instrumental in my creating the name Cheeseburger Buddha, I was reading the book while eating a cheeseburger at Mc Donald's, while wearing the uniform of J&J Security in the sunny sunny winter's day on the East side of Green Bay. Outside the street was covered with snow, brilliant white piled up against the windows. A small voice whispered in my ear, "You are nothing but a Cheeseburger Buddha." This was in the late 70s and early eighties and I was offered a chance to go to college and I accepted and I walked away with a degree in Fine Arts after five years; I enjoyed school life so much that they said I was becoming a permanent student. I graduated with a cum laude, on a self designed program - The University Without Walls,,,my letter of proposal was entitled, "Art in Quest of the Universality. " I could have called it in Search of the One true Lord of Creation or something similar but it might have hit a religious wall, so I settled for this vague and naive vision. I hated education until I became a student at UWGB, Wisconsin. This was where I met Alan Watts through his works.











 

Tribute to Katagiri $RRoshi -Ho JO San.

I try not to hang around too long in one space or time or even energy, my mind will not allow it and I don't mind it; not even in a state of Samadhi or Satori, not that i have any worth mentioning of late. Change keeps the mind active and alive, renewal and rediscovering of one's inner possibilities and potentials are the things that keeps your spirit alive even if they are all fantasies, to have a challenge in life at every level of your existence, to stay the course and keep on trudging towards that is truth, is ultimate reality and this is who you are, life is truly not worth living. To die not knowing some concrete to the question about life, is life wasted. Life has no purpose, until you give it one. 

"What is you original intention, Shamsul, San?" Katagiri Roshi asked me one day while were having tea together at the San Francisco Zen Center. This was during a seen day Sesshin led by Katagiri Soshi. Before i could answer he continued. " Stick to your orginal mind." I bowed low to him and the meeting was over. 

Jikai Dainin Katagiri (片桐 大忍 Katagiri Dainin, January 19, 1928 – March 1, 1990), also known as Hojo-san Katagiri, was a Sōtō Zen roshi and the founding abbot of Minnesota Zen Meditation Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he served from 1972 until his death from cancer in 1990. Before becoming first abbot of the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center, Katagiri had worked at the Zenshuji Soto Zen Mission in Los Angeles and had also been of great service to Shunryu Suzuki at the San Francisco Zen Center, particularly from 1969 until Suzuki's death in 1971. Katagiri was important in helping bring Zen Buddhism from Japan to the United States during its formative years—especially to the American Midwest. He is also the credited author of several books compiled from his talks. 

Ho Jo San told me of his former life as a soldier and we swapped stories back an forth like how I grew up from a swamp where mud skippers make their homes beneath your floor...he enjoyed swapping wild stories about both our homes; he was a friend and a teacher .Only a Buddha knows a Buddha, said the Buddha. Two years has been my limit of stating in one place or one relationship, at a time and that ended when I married my late wife Nancy. Before the everything happened in a cycle of two years more or less so I noticed. I could not hold on to a life for more then two years or so it seemed. I may not know what my original mind or intention is but I know that I am here and now making this post entry, in this space and time, I must say I have enjoyed my ride so far despite all the bumps along the way; if anything I would I would have to say, it would still be to know who I truly am, to discover my own Buddha Nature.



 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Turning lead into gold.

And in the Name of the Most Giving and Merciful...Lord of Creation and Lord of the Here and Now...The Cherisher of Life, the Lord of Power that gives strength and energy for my very existence...astarghfilrula, ...Al Ghafur ur Rahim... the Ultimate Forgiver... in Him I put  my faith and unto Him I surrender my will...what keeps me alive and there is none but Allah hu Akhbar...All Praise be unto Him. Every breath I take and every step I make He is with me closer than my own jugular vein, for His Temple is within me, His breath is what keeps me alive and His Will is that which keeps me going in pursuit of a higher and clearer understanding of what this is al about. This life of almost seventy years that has slipped me by what have I learned? What do I know? How far or how near am I to the truth if there such an idea, again at the very least I hope to get to know me better and what are my potentials and how I can exit this life with my mead held high and not succumb to mediocrity.

The words of one of my teachers form the past once said,

“From the age of 6 I had a mania for drawing the shapes of things. When I was 50 I had published a universe of designs. But all I have done before the the age of 70 is not worth bothering with. At 75 I'll have learned something of the pattern of nature, of animals, of plants, of trees, birds, fish and insects. When I am 80 you will see real progress. At 90 I shall have cut my way deeply into the mystery of life itself. At 100, I shall be a marvelous artist. At 110, everything I create; a dot, a line, will jump to life as never before. To all of you who are going to live as long as I do, I promise to keep my word. I am writing this in my old age. I used to call myself Hokusai, but today I sign my self 'The Old Man Mad About Drawing.”
Hokusai Katsushika  


One of my favorite quotes that I keep referring to every now and then to remind me that being seventy is just the beginning, life begins at seventy they say...who they? Never mind don't need to know. Katsushika Hokusai died in poverty, perhaps just as Van Gogh had. The other man whose life as an artist that most influence me was my grandfather,  a Singhalese Artist from Sri Lanka who came to Penang to do the murals on the walls and ceiling of the Mahindrama Buddhist Temple, it is still all there for tourists to enjoy. This is the same temple that I grew up as a Buddhist for at least a few childhood years of my life. I was converted to Islam at the age of 12 in the East Coast State of Terengganu. For the next twelve years I lived with my parents and siblings, it was my nightmare as well as a blessing  as I was introduced to being a Muslim and embraced Islam. Hence, I have many rivers to cross, as the song said...and I don't know where to begin ...I'm praying for time...

My life could have been a whole lot worse had I given in to what was expected of me from my family relatives and friend and yes most meant well; I had chosen to break away from that which had threatened to bind me into submission without question. I have made it my practice to make as much sense as I could of what had been, what is and what will be. I strongly believe that my efforts are for a reason not just for myself but all those who stumble upon this Blog and take their time to read with and open mind and a true yearning for knowledge if not wisdom; turning lead into gold.















Monday, March 18, 2019

Minding the mind.= Again.

After years of self observations and inner engineering done, I have come to the conclusion that it was all in understanding of the workings of the human mind as I used to refer to it as Humind. For a long time perhaps still I have used humind @yahoo.com and my first Solo Exhibition upon returning to Georgetown was titled HUMIND and it was sponsored by the Muzeum Gallery Tuanku Fauziah at USM. The venue was at the AMRO-Bank on Beach Street; it was the best show I had in Penang thanks to my friend and Mentor, Hasnul Jamal Saidon who was then the Director of the Gallery,(MGTF). This is how my mind works if /when i write, not all the time but more now than ever before; my mind is an enigma. The laws of probabilities, the laws of possibillities, causalities and  karma itself is of no consequence  where my mind is concern, it simply is obnoxious. 

I am not my mind, my mind is my tool, my instrument my gauge among other things for my existence on this plane, as a human being, a member of the human species, the Homosappien; my mind is that which creates and destroys and preserving of life at the same time, my Matrix. My mind is not me, I am the master of my thoughts and consciousness, it is my birth right to be who or what I choose to be. I do not need a permission to be who I am, I place no man above or below me in status but i reserve my freedom to choose as i see fit in being who I am as non negotiable. Rich or poor wise or a fool, brave or a coward, I am who I am, pain pleasure is just the opposite side of a coin, living and dying is part and parcel of my evolution towards a higher more challenging plane and more exciting less violent and boring; I deserve better for myself.  I have to Love myself better and allow for the ability to be free from taking myself  for granted; I am no ordinary man, my mind is not ordinary mind. I may not be a neuro surgeon or a rocket scientist, a quantum physicist or a mathematician, but I have caught into glimpses of realities that are beyond all these, some calls it transcendent realities. 

The Buddha would have said, "All is as it should be." ...it is all perfect and complete, each moment in time and space is meant to be just so no how you may feel that you have deviated from the original plan, you are part of the original plan. You are to play your role as best you can no matter how tedious and insignificant a life you live or vibrant and full of flavor kind, A carpenter finds satisfaction and joy in carpentering, while a banker loves his easy chair and Mercedes, an artist paints his heart out and the Buddha teaches the Dharma to the world; we all play our part to perfection.
Stop the whining and groaning about the terrible things in life and how unfair it all seems,just enjoy your moment from time to time feel that what you do and who you are matters; you are the Universe, a wise Hindu once said, claim your right and privilege as such, no recourse, no questions asked. No need to keep punishing myself cause someone else says that I am wrong or that I am on the wrong path.

To know the mind it takes more than the mind, it takes the silencing of the mind, it takes what it takes to bring the mind to a standstill where no thoughts whatsoever passes through the consciousness; it takes some form of meditation, some form of practice, like carpentering, fishing or counting other people's money; to get to know the workings of my mind i have experimented throughout my life, I have put to the test of what worse a man can commit and what best he can do to serve humanity or become a good if not perfect man. I am a student of Jedu Krishnamurti's thoughts and ideas about the human mind, it was he who declared that " You are the Universe!"

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Just letting it all hang out...

It is not easy to simply overlook at the fact that all over the world humanity is falling apart at the seams albeit due to religious animosity, national and territorial rights or economic squeeze, among others that is plaguing us, not to mention how nature is taking a toll on top of it all. One has to be completely blind, deaf and dumb to be impervious to what is happening to us despite all our so called achievements in the fields of the sciences and technology. It is sad and more so when we see that there is little or no chance of upsetting the balance of the negative state of affairs into a more positive one when all one sees is fuel being added to an already raging flames of hatred and discontentment.It is as though there is end to violence and decadence, chaos and discord among nations as well as neighbors. We are living in denial of these foreboding events of our times.

The killing of Muslims while they were at the mosque praying the Friday prayer in Christchurch, New Zealand and followed by the attack on Muslims in India where over 600 homes were destroyed are but the latest among the tragedies that is playing itself out as part of our human history, which will go down as the dark days for mankind. The spread of chaos and discontentment among nations and religious is denominations is rife as everyone is up in arms to claim their rights and privileges  often at the expense of others who are seen as the cause of their problems, there is no compromising nor tolerance as each claim for  rights and superiority. As I have often said human lives is valued at the cost of a bullet and everyone is out to defend their cause albeit, democracy or religion, a system or simply an idea. It seems we are at our worse with the advent of the Internet that should by right bring us closer together towards understanding and working closer together in settling any and all our disputes like civilized people.

I feel deeply disturbed by so much suffering that is being wrought by man against man and as an artist i find it hard to create what it is that i want to share with those who view my works. I had always wanted to express what is serene and peaceful, such that when viewed my works could evoke cool comfort to the soul, an expression that can calm the human mind and spirit rather than evoke more disturbing and torturous feelings of animosity and pain. I feel like I am in the dark night of my soul looking for answers and wondering what can I do as an artist to help heal those around me. I feel like I am loosing my own sanity thinking so much of what has become of this planet I am leaving behind in the not too distant future; what legacy can I leave behind me for my children and theirs.

As it is, it is the children who are out on the streets carrying placards, decrying the state of the Planet as the climate change becomes more and more a reality. It is their voice that is loudest from all around the Globe demanding that their parents become more serious over what is happening around us. What is happening to those of us who are still alive after all these years having lived and benefited from what the planet had to offer us. Why are we leaving it up to the children to do our battle for us in cleaning up after the mess we leave behind?  At my age i wish I have the time and strength yet to do my little bit for the sake of at the very least in cleaning up the garbage that is being washed ashore along some coastal areas as i have done before while living on the East Coast of the Malay Peninsular. Most of our garbage will end up in the sea and washed up by the tides especially during the monsoon season along the South China Sea. At the end of the monsoon one finds heaps of garbage washed ashore from God knows where and it was the best time to do some house cleaning there. This is where school children should be put to task in collecting these trash as it would wake them up to the reality of an environmental consciousness.

to be contd.




  







 








 



 






   

 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wedding in Islam should be moderate.

One of my cousins had a wedding held for his daughter and it was held at a "Wedding Center" at InCity Shopping Complex. was it? Anyway there were five weddings happening at The lifts were kept busy and on one of my trips going up to the third floor A gentleman all dressed like and Ustaz walked in and started fiddling with the buttons. He never even casted an eye at me and so I said when the doors shut," The Prophet of Allah said that even a simple smile is a gift. Assalamualaikum .He looked at me and took my hands into his and by then the lift stopped and we both walked out. Later at the "Angkat Nikah" ceremony where the bride and bridegroom tie their knots, I noticed that the Ustaz in the elevator was also the Khadi. After the ceremony as he was walking away I stopped him and apologized, he smiled we meet again! he said.. 

I once listened to a rant from a Malay Ustaz Imam on You Tube all about all these fanfare and dowries stuff is against Islam, Nothing written in the Quran or Hadith, all these big feasts and having fun is not Islamic. This guy was spitting brimstone and fire about it. Wow! I thought to myself there goes Salleh's Catering business, my cousin will suffer another mild stroke, if the Malays were to all in all makes it a Fatwa that no more extravagant weddings are to be held...hmm. I think weddings and funerals are two of the most quality times that Muslims should celebrate other than the Major events like the Ramadan ; they bring the community together whether to celebrate or commemorate. I love going to weddings especially Malay weddings, not only because of the food, but also to be gawking at lovely ladies in their best dress.  Perhaps herein lies the problem as to why big weddings should be declared, Haram!

It would be a sad day indeed if it comes to pass that the Religious Department issues a fatwa that limits weddings to the bare essentials like the days of the Prophet (PBUH) and the predominantly  Desert Bedouin. It would mean allot of jobs being put out of business, I once asked my friend Ah Huat, the Auto Air condition Mechanic, why do the Chinese burn paper money for their ancestors. He said although it is really meaningless and a waste, it helps to keep allot of people employed. Anyway no wedding can match that of the former Prime Minister's daughter to a Kazakhstan man, I never found out what status he had but the wedding was very extravagant all around. Perhaps another reason why Islam would prohibit big weddings.