October 10th, 2006


Murder the Buddha

Today I just wanted to pin up a picture of me and Hisae goofing around Berlin recently... in playgrounds, at the exhibition Revisiting Home at Kreuzberg's NGBK, in restaurants and cafes, and at home.

If you want something of more substance, my new Wired piece is The Golden Age of Gobbledygook and it's about machine translation, and how some of us like the way it's currently so unreliable.

If you need more to think about, how about this, discovered in an article about flower arranging in Kateigaho International magazine?

"To cut flowers is murder. Having been murdered, they live on in beauty."

That's flower arranger Toshiro Kawase speaking. "We have heard that remark from him more than once," says journalist Miwako Sato. "At first I was shocked by it, but presently I began to see that it hit its target like an arrow. In Zen Buddhism there is the expression "murder the Buddha". It goes like this: "Having murdered the Buddha and the teacher who conveys his teachings, you are for the first time in repose." When you are no longer preoccupied with the teachings, you have taken the first step toward enlightenment."

"This is not easy for the mind to grasp. But when true Buddha Enlightenment is achieved, new creativity emerges... Sen no Rukyo, the 16th century monk who had the greatest influence on the art of ceremonial tea, said: "Be a distinguished murderer." He cut all the flowers by the roadside, selecting just one for the tokonoma alcove in his tiny tearoom, and invited the shogun Toyotomi Hideyoshi to see it.

"Cutting makes for freedom," says Kawase about his state of mind when arranging flowers. "The flowers of Japan become real flowers only through the process of being arranged." And, presumably, murdered.