Monday, August 31, 2015

On Local Mass Murder

The Act of Killing, a unique documentary (IMBD

Links to other articles such as the Nation's It's Our Act of Killing Too from the film's Wikipedia page where we learn that the Indonesian release is named Jagal meaning butcher and the following two: 2012 Article in the Jakarta Post on the film which came out in 2013. 2014 Article in the Jakarta Post - focusing on US involvement (CIA giving a list of 5000 people to kill for instance). What Indonesians really think about The Act of Killing 

RIP

Oliver Sacks obit NYTimes "The poet laureate of medicine."

Wikipedia

Oliver Sacks dot com

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Most Cool Place to Stay

Lumbung Damuh after Padangbai before Candidasa going East in Bali, right on the water run by Tania and Lempot. She's Dutch extraction, born in Hong Kong, raised in Jakarta, school in Singapore, seems like she's a hip California back to the woodster, he's from this area, Buitan is the Banjar or neighborhood, Manggis is the village and district.  He's a mellow landscape gardener, long black hair. She's a goddess worshiper. Bamboo thatch-roofed bungalows in a wild jungly setting, funky, communal kitchen, kids, neat other patrons and visitors, sort of wild. Will ask Katrinka to write something. Their kids were delivered by Robin Lim featured yesterday. We're here for three days. - dc

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bothers me some

Illegal cock fight on the beach at the government resort. See rooster basket cages all over Bali. Not something I plan to learn about.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Vipassana Retreat Report

As mentioned earlier herein, late June I went on a ten day Vipassana retreat in Singaraja, the big city to the north of Bali in a Buddhist temple named Brahma Vihara Arama. It has a number of retreats a year with visiting teachers, solid financial backing so they only accept contributions - nothing required but one's presence and commitment. We were even told not to ask for a suggestion as to how much to give as a contribution to the teacher or temple for the retreat.
The temple is totally oriented toward meditation and practice in terms of philosophy but relies on visiting teachers and the one who came from South Africa to do the retreat I was in, Bhante Sujata, was Burmese. Bhante = monk. His lineage is centered in the West in Springfield, Ill., at the Satipattha Chanmyay Meditation Centre. He emphasized lower abdomen center of gravity in meditation just like Japanese do for everything almost so it was quite compatible with the zazen I'm used to.

The rules and practice were clearly stated. Follow the full schedule. No talk except to teacher or manager, a Chinese Indonesian woman who runs these - I think Indonesian Buddhists are very mainly Chinese. Do nothing but meditation all day - sitting, standing, walking, eating. Every other day discuss what's happening in your meditation with the bhante and don't bring up anything personal like your emotional problems, parents, relationships, etc. Don't notice others, whatever they do is none of your business, you're on your own - no one will be watching to see if you're doing it or not. This was reemphasized several times. I never experienced a group of people that long before with not one shred of conflict.

The meditation was to keep labeling everything to stop from following wandering thought. So an in breath was "rising" and an out breath was "falling" and a walking meditation step was "right, left, right, left" at first then after two days dividing up the steps into heel lifting then the whole foot then moving it forward then dropping it. So that was "lift, push, drop" (I think). As the mind wandered just go "wandering, wandering" or "planning, planning." And then return to the breath? No - don't return to anything - just identify what's happening - don't try to control it.

Up at 3:30 and bed at 9:30. Sitting and walking periods of roughly an hour each alternated. Lots of tourists were no problem and not to be thought of as a problem as nothing was to be considered interfering. There were signs for others not to enter the stupa (in the photo) which was the main place to meditate - plus the another hall and the dorms. People would not notice the signs and come in but they were always fairly quiet and were never asked to leave. Yogis, as we were called, could meditate anywhere including in little roofed stands overlooking the jungle ravine down to the river, so usually there were only a few of us in the stupa except for talks and chanting.

The ten days was like an eternity but not unpleasant at all. The place is so beautiful. We started off with walking meditation at 4am in the stupa garden under the stars and at night with the full moon. Bhante  advised against full or half lotus and urged not to move more than once in a period. I was much older than almost everyone and it seemed most were having a hard time but I think almost everyone else was inexperienced. It was demanding but I didn't fight it, didn't lie down or take any breaks except to put in eye drops (had just had laser surgery) and do quick laundry and use the toilet.

The day after I returned, Katrinka and I got married on the beach and two days after that went to Gili Air island for 11 days honeymoon without motorized vehicles or dogs. There I read, very slowly with a dictionary, in Indonesian, the entire pamphlet we'd received about the temple, the practice, and with the chants. It had English with it so that made it easy. The retired businessman Buddhist priest who married us had trained at the same temple.

I had not expected to find Buddhism I'm so comfortable with here. - dc


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

USD to IDR

The US dollar is now at a super high against the Indonesian rupiah. Today it is over 14,000 rupiah to a dollar. I can remember a year ago it getting down to 11, 500 to a dollar and in 2011 I see it almost hit 8,000. What this means is that now we pay 71+ cents to get 10,000 rupiah, which is like their dollar, whereas last year at this time it was closer to 85 cents. When you're on a tight budget (and spending money on the archiving etc) that makes a big difference.
I notice in my mind that I am happy when the dollar goes high and always hope it goes higher. Then a secondary thought arises realizing that that will be good for exports but if it gets too out of balance it will be bad for many people here and make it more likely for right wing generals etc to get elected. Next I am pleased that I have to go no further than my own mind to see the root cause of the major problems of the world. - dc

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kite Competition

There were about 700 kites Saturday and almost a thousand on Sunday. That's a good photo of one from the Internet. That's one type. There would be like twenty or more of them at a time. Each kite was built and flown by youth from a neighborhood from all over Bali. Elders advised and watched. Sometimes I counted twenty people on one "string." New kites in the air about every thirty minutes.
They were judged by artistry of movement and sound made by that bow in front. This type is like thirty feet or so long. Took a break from cuking Saturday and Nyoman driver and I went for a while then on Sunday, a no posting email etc day, Katrinka and I took the brick walk down the beach about an hour and a quarter to Mertasari Beach to watch for an hour. It was so great. Strong culture.  

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Canine Fact and Scat



Check out this interesting page on the Bali dog. It's super pro Bali dog and won me over somewhat. I do remember though, 23 years ago when here, being surrounded by a dozen or so of them snarling and barking at me as I walked through a village or on a dirt road in Ubud.
I can remember calling for help and having someone come out of a house and shoo them away. I would say to people that they bark but don't bite and would hear back, "Oh yes they do."

There are far fewer dogs around here now but back then there was no rabies which has changed everything. A lot of the dogs around here have collars. I know some that are homeless that stay in the same area on the sidewalks or the beach. The key to me to getting along with dogs and cats as well here is, as that article points out, don't pat them. They're not used to it and it can scare them.

Katrinka and I have noticed how little dog poop there is - at least where we've been - not like India. There are dogs here and there on the sidewalks, on the beach, in front of homes. Considering how poorly trash is controlled here it's interesting how well dog poop is. She suggested that maybe they eat it. We agreed that, though there are far fewer dogs visible in San Rafael in the neighborhood where we lived, that there was more dog poop there. - dc

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Southern Cross

This smallest of all the 88 constellations is a big deal in the lower half of the globe. It's on flags. There are other images could link to that show it better but this is what it actually looks like looking up in the sky from a remote place without city lights like Amed or Gili Air. It's those four stars a little to upper right of the center of the image that I think of also as the Bali kite.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August 17th - Indonesian independence day

Went to the Bajra Sandhi last Saturday with driver Nyoman, the monument for the people's struggle in Denpasar at Puputan field. Its name comes from a hand bell Hindu priests use here which it resembles. It's got a great museum inside with lots of photos, many from 1906 when the Dutch were pressing in. Lots of photos of where we live, the beach here, and streets or maybe street. And on the 2nd floor of the monument, round and tapering in, there were still-life depictions of Bali's history from 3000 BC.
The main event was the slaughter of the Sanur and Ubud royalty and others who offered suicidal resistance to the Dutch soldiers way back. It was the day to celebrate their proclamation of freedom - the 70th because they declared independence as soon as the Japanese surrendered. Over a thousand Japanese soldiers stayed to join them in the fight against the Dutch who wanted their islands back.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Bali babies

Mary next door must be half a year old by now. Someone is always with her, holding her or carrying her in a sling, or walking around the grounds here in a stroller. I've never seen her touch the ground. Remember when I was here with Clay when he was a year old, that people often offered to hold him. We'd walk into a restaurant in Ubud - and there weren't many then - and one of the employees would take him from us while we dined. I heard then that the tradition here is not to let babies touch the ground till after they're one year old. I'll have to ask about that, see if it's something on their minds now. [Bali baby photo off web.] - dc

A Single

Met dearly departed Bob Johnston (see posts from yesterday and day before) through Chris Rand, Yvonne's son. Chris was friends with Bob's late son, Andy, and arranged for me to play Bob a tape of two songs I'd just recorded. He liked them the way they were but arranged to have them re-mixed by Tom Flye (who was working with Rick James) at the Record Plant in Sausalito. They're listed, at his suggestion, as the executive producers of Freeze Please/World Suicide put out during the Californians for a Nuclear Freeze campaign which I was working on. Here's a page for that single on my music site. Can read more about it there and listen to the songs. That's Kelly at nine and me. - dcA

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Bob Johnston and the IRS

Yesterday posted an RIP for Bob Johnston and said would write more today. My old Zenbook in the shop and getting a new one in order so not time for much, but here's something - the last paragraph (reproduced below) in a post about the IRS from May 21, 2013 called Cruel and Unusual Tax Collecting. Bob was having a heck of a time with the IRS early eighties so this was something to amuse him.-dc

Back in the early eighties I wrote and produced at home a song about the IRS dedicated to music producer Bob Johnston. It doesn't take the reserved tone of the above post. It's called, Pigfuckers.

Monday, August 17, 2015

RIP Bob Johnston

jungel birds and bugs

At the Vipassana retreat last June-July in Singaraja, I'd sometimes gaze down at the dense foliage - some really giant leaves - a neat jungle scene. One animal down there was dominant - the chicken. Chickens and roosters. They weren't wild. People lived around the temple They served a little meat and fish at the retreat and the only meat was chicken.

Now for bugs. In our apartment here in exotic, tropical Sanur, there's one little critter that is most common - the cockroach - big ones - in the US they're classified as American and the little ones as German. I catch them and put them out. Got three yesterday.    

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Unger is the Missing Link

Brian Unger sends this news from Missing Links Press including an announcement that his illustrated novel, San Sebastian, will be out soon. 

Q and A bout our wedding priest

Andrew Main wrote:

You write that the wedding was performed "by a Buddhist priest in the Theravada tradition." This is the first I've heard of a Theravada priesthood; so far as I knew, the Theravada community consists of monastics (bhikkhu, bhikkhuni – though there've been none of the latter for some centuries – and several junior versions of same – samanera, mae chi, etc.) and laypeople, but no priests as in Zen and other Mahayana schools.
This guy doesn't look like a bhikkhu – layman's hair and clothing, though the coat is the traditional saffron color. Is this a special Indonesian/Balian version of Theravada?

DC answered:

Yes - he has a family and was a businessman. I think I commented somewhere in one of these Wedding label posts about him being a priest. It seems to be just something here in Bali. This isn't like Thailand - loose in a different way. We call the Theravada monks, Bhante and he's a pendeta which covers from ministers to Hindu priests. The Hindu priests get married etc. I've seen Muslims here put out offerings which is to spirits which sure isn't a Muslim thing to do. Hinduism here is voodoo. Culture is strong. It's all beyond me. I don't try to understand it. In a prior post 've got a link to his temple which is only six years old or so - on the site of a Hindu temple I think. He told me that the banjar, neighborhood governing body, supports his temple but clearly so do some wealthy Indonesians (I surmise). The one where I did the retreat has had a lot of money both for buildings and supporting vipassana retreats. I met a man representing the foundation that supports it and he was from Java - they are of Chinese descent but the teachers are from Burma and Thailand. I was pleased to find this here, am not a fan of most Chinese Buddhist temples in terms of anything other than sightseeing.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dinner

Eating half a kilo of shrimp bought at the Sindhu Pasar, morning market (in photo). Shrimp not so large - (about three bucks US). Used to get the woman to clean them which she'll do for no added cost but we've learned - from Malay Lai Mun - that the flavor is better if cooked before cleaned. So mainly now we clean them while we eat using newspaper between our plates to put the shells etc on. Katrinka steamed them in filtered water (we filter our own - don't buy it which the Indonesians I know also do), steamed with lemon grass and basil.
That with a brown-red rice mix and veggies sauteed with dill, shallots, and garlic - bok choy, tomato, and what she calls interesting mushrooms that she gets at the market. We go out much less these days and eat at cheap local places in shacks more when we do, but the best food is what she makes - usually while I read to her. Put the shrimp cleanings out in the field. Apologies to strict vegetarians. - dc


Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Glimpse of Bali

Mention an article in the Bali Advertiser here now and then. It's really excellent - know that sounds funny with a name like that. But the Sanur Weekly is good too. Just wanted to feature one article, the one on page 40 titled Water Source Choking on Plastic. It's by far the most important item in the issue. But their website only gives the option of viewing the whole thing and didn't want to go to the trouble of extricating it. So here's a link to the whole issue.
It's a PDF that you can read in your browser. Also note that prosecutors are appealing the one year sentence for two guys who were caught smoking pot on the beach and had a joint. They want the full four years. Welcome to paradise.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Soen Nakagawa brush painting

I have to sell this treasure from my meditation room inorder to send to my daughter to an out-of-state university.
N.J. Pierotti - a long time cukester 

See it larger on this page for it on Etsy.

Thank You and OK!

Since plugged Zen Is Right Here Yesterday, thought would plug this book today - published 21 years ago as a Penguin book, now Shambhala.

Thank You and OK cuke page

Labor Practices

The tradition here is for people to work everyday and take off when there's a ceremony and there are a lot of ceremonies. But still it seems to me they get taken advantage of. Blind Londoner Philip next door has Nyoman who's with him all day everyday. Philip's wife Rini has a helper named Ilu who's with her and her baby, Mary, all the time. She's living there.
They don't seem to have days off and I bet they get paid a shocking little.  Ilu came back with Rini recently from the village where they come from. Ilu had never been to the big city, Denpasar - and Sanur is on the edge of Denpasar - and this is not a big island - four hours to get anywhere. I don't think it occurs to anyone including Ilu that maybe she should see something, some sights - the beach a block away. Think I'll bring it up with Philip and Nyoman (whom Philip calls Neuman) while they're at the pool drinking beer - or maybe while they're at the porch drinking beer. [That image is from a local nanny service website]- dc

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Art, Music, Photography

from Annabel Laura

whom I was talking with at Annapurna this morning

in Sanur

late after a rare breakfast out. Most cool. - dc 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Hiroshima Day

Nuclear war is still far too possible - on a much vaster scale than the US nuclear bombing of Japan.

Defusing the nuclear threat.


cuke page for Species Threat #1 - Nuclear War 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Snake on the beach

An ular poleng, a banded krait, a sacred snake here because it's black and white stripes, more like silver grey and black. Here's a page on it. It was about four feet long, slithering along with a bunch of us locals and bule (local word for not them) watching. It's poisonous though few deaths reported. Some dogs checked it out. One kept a distance and the other's owner held it back. It went into the sea water and swam off. Wasn't too pleased to see that as that's where I'd just been, but that's not its usual haunt. It was sort of herded there. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

More on Montior Lizards and Cobras

Zen buddy Fil Lewit in Thailand has sent some excellent advice and info on monitor lizards and cobras. Check it out below and then some links.

I went noodling around in cuke.com until I found “Saunters,” where all my questions were answered in your long blog, of which I read every word. Fascinating stuff, for a guy, me, now living in Bangkok!



I’ve lived in the tropics for almost 40 years: when living at Railei for 25 years, our back line was the national park jungle’s line, with a small klong running down from the jungle, so we had lots of Clouded Monitor Lizards, ranging from babies a foot long up to full-grown adults of about 5 feet long and chunky and unafraid. They are not afraid of humans when full grown. The pic of the little kid cuddling a big Monitor gave me the willies, and here’s why: although Monitors are not “poisonous" as such, this lizard’s mouth flora and bacteria are completely inimical to human health, and if you piss one off and it does bite you say on the arm, you’ve got a few hours to get to a doc. Your arm will swell up and hurt like Hell, and you will almost immediately get blood poisoning and will either lose the arm to amputation or just die.

Therefore I would like to discourage you from calling Monitors “harmless,” or letting them stay in your home (they like to get into kitchens). It is true that the only Monitor to attack a human without provocation is the Komodo Dragon, but both Clouded Monitors and Water Monitors can be, and often are, deadly to humans because of their weird mouth bacteria.

The second point of issue: Of course cobras, all of them from tiny to huge, should be avoided, but they are not usually dangerous, as they dislike humans and will go the other way. The Indians call cobras “the good snake” as they rarely bother humans but eat great quantities of rats. I’ve seen a number of them, including a 7-footer black spitting cobra, very much alive, in the wild. It ran, or do I say slithered quickly away? The two dangerous ones: 1) the little ones, who can crawl under your pillow and bite you fatally on the neck when your head hits the pillow and disturbs them (this is why we kept our separate bungalow bedroom screened with the door shut all the time; and  2) A King Cobra (10 -15 feet long) in the wilderness wild is territorial, and will attack a human entering its territory with little provocation, though when out of its territory is harmless and will slither on its way. Outside of those two examples one has little to nothing to fear from cobras.

Fil Lewitt book page on Amazon which doesn't yet have his new book, Clockwork Cherries: Haiku to Sonnets with Color Drawings 2011-2012 Paperback

Fil on cuke.com

Monday, August 3, 2015

Last Eye Drop

A few days ago had my last eye drop. Been taking them since late June, since when I first went to the Indera hospital here. After that last drop got curious and looked up on the Internet average cost for lazer surgery in the USA to correct a detached retina.
The site I went to reported five to ten thousand dollars for everything. I had three visits to that hospital, saw two doctors and assorted nurses and assistants, got various tests, and was told on the last visit by the eye surgeon that it's good now. Total cost to me about two hundred dollars. Now I saved some here because Indera doesn't usually deal with foreigners, has no international section, and I had to use a good deal of Indonesian - though if I hadn't they would have figured it out. Landlord David said he gets better service and lower costs by not going to the places that specialize in foreigners - he'd broken an arm recently. But the cost in those places would also have been way way below America's insane gouging. Will let you know if my eyeball falls out. - dc

Saturday, August 1, 2015

School's back

School break is over. There's a middle school just over the wall near us. Sound of lots of kids. A new man on the loudspeakers. I miss the former one who had a kinder voice. Occasional band music like a high school marching band where I come from. A woman signing a schmaltzy song like something from Lawrence Welk. The man again going on and on. Last year there was a lot of this for about a week, then just for a while some mornings starting early, maybe going on for hours on a Saturday. There's a lot of variety in it but not the best there is offered here. This is Bali.