images of the crossing over

수행의 모습


Button on the electrical panel at my home temple.

Just a recommendation, from one chronically unorganized individual to the anticipated mass of other unorganized individuals:

Do not ever wait to organize your photographs.

I’m cleaning up my old memory cards now: four different cameras with two different memory card formats over 12 months, and a total of seven memory cards and counting. I was almost on top of my game for a few weeks here and there toward the middle of last fall, but when I lost my official job as photographer I also lost my official photographer time and semi-exclusive computer in the lab. Goodbye, reviewing and downloading memory cards in a timely fashion.

Organization is a tertiary concern right now. First, getting all the photographs off the memory cards so I can re-format them and begin new projects is the primary concern; backing all those pictures up is the secondary concern. Organization? Right now I’m just glad I have them in chronological folders. I’d say I have roughly 1500 images at present that aren’t organized: that’s a mere fraction of the total, meaning that the vast majority of the pictures I’ve taken over the past seven years are, in fact, generally organized.

This is me trying to find the silver lining in potentially hours of work.

Two things sparked this push to overcome my own inertia. One, I need to be be able to use the memory cards I have, and they’re all half-full with old projects. Two, I’m trying to learn my first photo-editing software program, and the lesson being drilled into me from the beginning is organization is everything to successful work flow. So: I may not be able to much about the piles of photos lying on my drive, but I can make sure that the photos I drag into this program are organized. Sweet. But in order to do that, I naturally must first know what pictures are there, and chose which ones to pull into the program, and the only way to do that is to clear all my memory cards so I can work with their contents.

In case my mother and father are reading this, I just wanted to tell you something I know you’ve always wanted to hear me say: You were right. I should have just cleaned my room every day instead of letting things accumulate until the mess was too big to handle.

A question for those who like these sorts of things: is it unorganized or disorganized? As a matter of fact, I’m both, but in this case, unorganized was more precise than disorganized, which seems to imply I’ve actually made an effort to get things in order. Which, having not yet even attempted, I can’t say is strictly true.

And, as an aside, I hope to get a few recent photos up over the next couple of weeks. The summer has been busy–or, to quote two of the greatest Zen friends since Big Stick and Pickup, “The days are just packed!”


사경: faith, written

Sa-gyeong literally means “to copy (the) sutras,” and it’s a popular practice in Korea. Entire sutras might be copied–I’m working my way through the Surangama Sutra in Chinese right now–or thousands of shorter dharanis or mantras might be written out over and over. In either case, these days most people choose to use a book designed specifically for the purpose of sa-gyeong, where the characters or words (in the case of doing sa-gyeong in the Korean alphabet) are printed in a light gray, allowing the practitioner to trace over them in ink.  Some famous examples of sa-gyeong are the Japanese prince who copied out the Lotus Sutra in gold ink on indigo-blue paper, or a Chinese Zen Master who copied out the Hwa Eom Gyeong (I believe) in his own blood–I think that story is in Bill Porter’s Zen Baggage. This isn’t merely copying lines in detention: sa-gyeong is faith, written.

Here, Aran Sunim is copying out “the luminious mantra” (광명진언) while Beom Seo Sunim looks on.