Monday… Time is flying past. There is a cold mist over Portland. I have been painting flowers on the bathroom wall (pics when done perhaps).
The season deepens. The darkness has settled over everything. Time seems short, dreams seem deep. The sun is fleeting, if at all. Here comes the time of the crossroads, the Solstice. Soon.
On The Menu:
William Blake Quotes
Nagarjuna: Mulamadhyamaka Karika
Art: Virginia Frances Sterrett
Biography: Virginia Frances Sterrett
Happy Birthday William!
William Blake Quotes:
Energy is an eternal delight, and he who desires, but acts not, breeds pestilence.
Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
Every harlot was a virgin once.
Excessive sorrow laughs. Excessive joy weeps.
Exuberance is beauty.
For everything that lives is holy, life delights in life.
Fun I love, but too much fun is of all things the most loathsome. Mirth is better than fun, and happiness is better than mirth.
Great things are done when men and mountains meet.
Compassion is a mind that savors only
Mercy and love for all sentient beings….
Nagarjuna: Mulamadhyamaka Karika
Indeed, Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence for, if it were, there would wrongly follow the characteristics of old age and death. For, such an existence cannot be without those characteristics.
If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, it would be of the created realm. For, no ordinary existence of the uncreated realm ever exists anywhere at all.
If Nirvana is strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, no ordinary existence that is non-appropriating ever exists.
If Nirvana is not strictly in the nature of ordinary existence, how could what is in the nature of non-existence be Nirvana? Where there is no existence, equally so, there can be no non-existence.
If Nirvana is in the nature of non-existence, why is it non-appropriating? For, indeed, a non-appropriating non-existence does not prevail.
The status of the birth-death cycle is due to existential grasping [of the skandhas] and relational condition [of the being]. That which is non-grasping and non-relational is taught as Nirvana.
The Teacher has taught the abandonment of the concepts of being and non-being. Therefore, Nirvana is properly neither [in the realm of] existence nor non-existence.
If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, then liberation will also be both. But that is not proper.
If Nirvana is [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence, it will not be non-appropriating. For, both realms are always in the process of appropriating.
How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Nirvana is of the uncreated realm while existence and non-existence are of the created realm.
How could Nirvana be [in the realm of] both existence and non-existence? Both cannot be together in one place just as the situation is with light and darkness.
The proposition that Nirvana is neither existence nor non-existence could only be valid if and when the realms of existence and non-existence are established.
If indeed Nirvana is asserted to be neither existence nor non-existence, then by what means are the assertions to be known?
It cannot be said that the Blessed One exists after nirodha (release from worldly desires). Nor can it be said that He does not exist after nirodha, or both, or neither.
It cannot be said that the Blessed One even exists in the present living process. Nor can it be said that He does not exist in the present living process, or both, or neither.
Samsara (the empirical life-death cycle) is nothing essentially different from Nirvana. Nirvana is nothing essentially different from Samsara.
The limits of Nirvana are the limits of Samsara. Between the two, also, there is not the slightest difference whatsoever.
The various views concerning the status of life after nirodha, the limits of the world, the concept of permanence, etc., are all based on [such concepts as] Nirvana, posterior and anterior states of existence.
Since all factors of existence are in the nature of Emptiness (sunya), why assert the finite, the infinite, both finite and Infinite, and neither finite nor infinite?
Why assert the identity, difference, permanence, impermanence, both permanence and impermanence, or neither permanence nor impermanence?
All acquisitions [i.e., grasping] as well as play of concepts [i.e., symbolic representation] are basically in the nature of cessation and quiescence. Any factor of experience with regards to anyone at any place was never taught by the Buddha.
I have no body apart
From parts which form it.
I know no parts
Apart from a “body.”
A body with no parts
Would be unformed,
A part of my body apart from my body
Would be absurd.
Were the body here or not,
It would need no parts.
Partless bodies are pointless.
Do not get stuck in the “body.”
I cannot say,
“My body is like its parts.”
I cannot say,
“It’s something else.”
Drives, minds, things
Are like this body
In every way.
Conflict with emptiness
Is no conflict;
Objections to emptiness,
If something has an essence–
How can it ever change
Into anything else?
A thing doesn’t change into something else–
Youth does not age,
Age does not age.
If something changed into something else–
Milk would be butter
Or butter would not be milk.
Were there a trace of something,
There would be a trace of emptiness.
Were there no trace of anything,
There would be no trace of emptiness.
Buddhas say emptiness
Is relinquishing opinions.
Believers in emptiness
No trace of space
Is there before
The absence of obstruction
Which describes it.
With no obstruction,
How can there be
Absence of obstruction?
Who distinguishes between them?
Space is not obstruction
Or an absence of it,
Nor is it a description
Or something to describe.
Fluidity and heat,
Energy and gravity
Are just like space.
In seeing things
To be or not to be
Fools fail to see
A world at ease.
Virginia Frances Sterrett (1900-1931) was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1900. She was an introverted child who preferred the world of imagination and drawing to social interaction with other children at school. When her father died, her family moved to Missouri to live near relatives. While she was living in the heartland, she won several awards at the Kansas State Fair (c. 1913), an event that encouraged her to focus even more on drawing.
In 1915, Virginia and her family returned to Chicago. She started high school with the intention to study art but soon migrated to the Art Institute of Chicago, where she was admitted on a complete scholarship. Virginia left the Institute little more than a year later, when her mother became ill. Virginia became the sole support of her family, working in art advertising agencies around Chicago.
It was not long before her own health began to fail; she was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Her first commission came in 1919. She was commissioned by Penn Publishing Company to illustrate the Comptesse de Ségur’s Old French Fairy Tales. She was 19 and received $500 for the eight watercolors and 16 pen and ink drawings, with a supplemental $250 for a colored drawing for the cover and ink drawings for the end papers and boards. This was quickly followed by another commission for Tanglewood Tales from the same publisher, Penn Publishing Company.
In 1923, the family moved to the warmer climate of southern California, making their home in Altadena, nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel mountains just north of Pasadena. There was a slight improvement in her health, but it didn’t last and she entered Compton Sanitorium. Her health was now curtailing her work and she could only draw for a short time eat day. She started a new series of illustrations for Arabian Nights but the declining state of her health, it took three years to complete. The Arabian Nights, her last published works, are considered her masterpiece.
Between 1929 and 1930, Virginia’s health improved slightly and she was able to move home with her family. She exhibited locally at the Little Gallery in Monrovia, California; and entered competitions at the Los Angeles County Fair and the California State Fair.
In 1930, Virginia began work on her last commission, a series of illustration for Myths and Legends. This commission was never completed; her health took a turn for the worse and she died on June 8, 1931. She was 30 years old.
“Virtues are acquired through endeavor,
Which rests wholly upon yourself.
So, to praise others for their virtues
can but encourage one’s own efforts.” – Nagarjuna