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Thoughts About Our Next Pilgrimage, and an Artistic Dream is Becoming a Reality - Painting The 500 Enlightened Arahats

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Thoughts About Our Next Pilgrimage, and an Artistic Dream is Becoming a Reality - Painting The 500 Enlightened Arahats

We all have a multitude of dreams and ambitions.
Some of them are worthy of our efforts, and others need to stay on a shelf, like a yeasty dough that needs to rise and mature.

I have wanted to paint the 500 Enlightened Arahats, the students of the Buddha, for over fifteen years.

Because this project will take me five to seven years to complete, and will require many thousands of hours and thousands of dollars, I have put it on an imaginary shelf, hoping that one day I would have more clarity about how to approach it.

Now, I have turned to my long-held artistic dream that I placed on that shelf, completely out of sight, and I have asked myself if it is a dream that is worth all the effort required to embody and live it, or if it is a dream that needs to float away into the ether, to live on only in my imagination....

“Make me real...” it whispered back at me.....
“Mak…

Sharing a short story that helps explain the beautiful truth of reincarnation

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I would like to share this short story.
It was written and won the short story award in 2009, so my apologies for those who already read it.

The Egg
By: Andy Weir

You were on your way home when you died.
It was a car accident.
Nothing particularly remarkable, but fatal nonetheless.
You left behind a wife and two children.
It was a painless death.
The Emergency Medical Technicians tried their best to save you, but to no avail.
Your body was so utterly shattered you were better off, trust me.
And that’s when you met me.

“What… what happened?” You asked. “Where am I?”
“You died,” I said, matter-of-factly.
No point in mincing words.
“There was a… a truck and it was skidding…”
“Yup,” I said.
“I… I died?”
“Yup. But don’t feel bad about it. Everyone dies,” I said.

You looked around.
There was nothingness.
Just you and I.
“What is this place?” You asked. “Is this the afterlife?”
“More or less,” I said.
“Are you God?” You asked.
“Yup,” I replied. “I’m God.”

“My kids… my wife,” you said.
“What…

Money Miracle... The true story of how money manifested out of thin air

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Money Miracle... The true story of how money manifested out of thin air

I would like to tell you an amazing true story, of how money had manifested out of thin air.
It is hard to believe, even for me, nearly two years after it occurred.

The Bible is full of stories of miracles.
Permanent Healing of sick people, resurrection of the dead, and “Mana” that had manifested from the air for the Jewish people while they wandered in the desert.
While they imagined themselves on the verge of starvation, each person ate the mana and declared that it tasted like the food they craved most.

There are lots of stories of miracles in the Hindu and Buddhist religions which include masters manifesting to help and offer guidance out of thin air, and materialization of things, even whole houses, out of nowhere.

But few miracles like these are reported as happening in our “modern time” or do they?....

I find myself unable to explain HOW it all happened, although I do know WHY it happened.

I was not brave …

The Painting Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden, The importance of travels for an artist, and reflections on the art of Ike No Taiga

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The Painting Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden, The Importance of travels for an artist, and reflections on the art of
Ike No Taiga

Over a thousand years ago in China, there was an artistic movement of “Literati painters.”
These were well-read artists who worked mostly with brush and ink on rice or mulberry paper.
They were more philosophers and visionaries than craftsmen or technicians.

Intentionally, their focus was not to produce pretty or accurate paintings with correct representations of people and nature, but to evoke new feelings and perspectives on life.

They wished to free the human mind from earthly bondage and to uplift the human spirit from the daily grind.
They wanted to show others the unseen world, as seen through their inner eyes.

Much like the European Impressionist painters who conveyed nature through light and feeling, these Chinese literati painters wished to show the hidden, spiritual aspect of the Natural world.

Their ideal was that one could never become a gre…

Afterthoughts about walking the Nakasendō, and Seeing Butoh in Kyoto

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Afterthoughts about walking the Nakasendō, and Seeing Butoh in Kyoto

Almost two weeks have passed since we finished walking the Nakasendo.
It feels like a lot longer time has passed since then.

The first thing we did after finishing our long walk was to settle into our comfortable apartment hotel in Kyoto.
We rented it for only two weeks, and every morning we attend JALS, the Japanese language school in the center of Kyoto.

The breakfast food I craved most while walking the Nakasendō was a simple bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit, nuts and raisins.
We have had oatmeal every morning since we arrived in Kyoto.
I have also enjoyed making our own food, which mostly means making a bowl of salad with a baked sweet potato or some other cooked vegetables.

This simple food agrees with me now.
We also drink almost every day a glass of fresh grapefruit juice, which is in season now in Japan.

Kyoto is truly a great place.
Even though it is a big city, it is composed of many small neighborhoods.