Thursday, July 12, 2007

Spider Flower

A cleome spinosa expressing itself. Turns out that if you snip a flower for indoor viewing, two more develop in its place. Snip those and four more appear. 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 . . . A geometric progression. Looks like this may be an import from South America and an annual although the seeds readily come up each year making it a perennial to me since I don't have to keep planting it!

Seng-Ts'an died A.D. 606. He was a Chinese Zen Master, and the Third Founding Teacher of Zen. The following is about half of the original poem. It is found in Stephen Mitchell's The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry. Harper Perennial, 1989.


The Great Way isn't difficult
for those who are unattached to their preferences.
Let go of longing and aversion,
and everything will be perfectly clear.
When you cling to a hairbreadth of distinction,
heaven and earth are set apart.

If you want to realize the truth,
don't be for or against.
The struggle between good and evil
is the primal disease of the mind.
Not grasping the deeper meaning,
you just trouble your mind's serenity.

As vast as infinite space,
it is perfect and lacks nothing.
But because you select and reject,
you can't perceive its true nature.
Don't get entangled in the world;
don't lose yourself in emptiness.
Be at peace in the oneness of things,
and all errors will disappear by themselves.

If you don't live the Tao,
you fall into assertion or denial.
Asserting that the world is real,
you are blind to its deeper reality;
denying that the world is real,
you are blind to the selflessness of all things.
The more you think about these matters,
the farther you are from the truth.

Step aside from all thinking,
and there is nowhere you can't go.
Returning to the root, you find the meaning;
chasing appearances, you lose their source.
At the moment of profound insight,
you transcend both appearance and emptiness.
Don't keep searching for the truth;
just let go of your opinions.

For the mind in harmony with the Tao,
all selfishness disappears.
With not even a trace of self-doubt,
you can trust the universe completely.
All at once you are free,
with nothing left to hold on to.
All is empty, brilliant,
perfect in its own being.

In the world of things as they are,
there is no self, no non-self.
If you want to describe its essence,
the best you can say is "Not-two."
In this "Not-two" nothing is separate,
and nothing in the world is excluded.

The enlightened of all times and places
have entered into this truth.
In it there is no gain or loss;
one instant is ten thousand years.
There is no here, no there;
infinity is right before your eyes.

The tiny is as large as the vast
when objective boundaries have vanished;
the vast is as small as the tiny
when you don't have external limits.
Being is an aspect of non-being;
non-being is no different from being.
Until you understand this truth,
you won't see anything clearly.

One is all; all are one.
When you realize this,
what reason for holiness or wisdom?
The mind of absolute trust
is beyond all thought, all striving,
is perfectly at peace, for in it
there is no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow.

I didn't get the entire poem on my original post; apparently still haven't gotten it.
The man was prolific


  1. gorgeous shot, gorgeous flower!

  2. i haven't heard about it till i spotted your post! the color, it's stunning as your blog!

  3. I love cleome and have some myself in the garden though here they are not perennials. Beautiful photo Goatman.
    Loved the quote.

  4. The enlarged close-up of this flower takes my breath away. I want some in my garden. I hope they grow in the Chicago area.

  5. What a beautiful flower. I wonder what it smells like. Such a clear, crisp photograph. Makes me feel like I could almost reach out and touch it.

  6. That is he perfect flower to have! Self-replenishing! I always hesitate to bring cut flowers into the house because it creates a loss in the garden that I miss. Wonder if it would grow up here?

    Have never seen this quote but it does give one cause to ponder all it has to offer. Still pondering!

  7. Beautiful photo, Goatman...I have some Cleome in my garden, although it doesn't necessarily self-seed here. It seems to prefer warmer climes, although it's lovely as an annual, all the same.

    This blossom is an especially beautiful color.

  8. what a great flower. I need some of those : )

  9. Beautiful art in those flowers, and in the pic Goatman, interesting behaviour in that plant also.

    Thanks for the comments on my art blog, much appreciated, I am a slow worker in my later years, use to be fast as lightning, things change.

    Enjoy your blog greatly, always very interesting to see and read. I should get around more. Thanks to you, both here and for the visits, Goatman.

  10. Lovely flowers!

    I always got in trouble during math because I insist that 3 = 1 and 1 = 3. It makes sense to me.


  11. hi goatman

    thank for your comment at my post, appreciate it vey much.

    and a very pleasant surprise here to read the quote you posted which is exactly how I see "it". Infact I just came back form lunch with a friend discussing this matter but of course not with such beautiful expression as the quote.........unfortunately got a $45 parking ticket because have lost all sense of time (there is no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow) during the discussion

    Very interesting description with the cleome - beautiful photo and flower...geometric progression expresses within nature,,,,very intriging

  12. I'm going to try cleome. I have often wondered what it was whne I saw it--striking!

    if we could realize how connected we are we wouldn't need all of the man made constructs to worship and start wars least we can find little pockets of peace.

  13. Cycle, natural flowers involved in a web which repeats.

    cleome will probably not grow in the desert. But I will try


  14. I adore cleome's. I used to have them in my garden but they've seems I don't have your luck with the reseeding.
    Absolute Trust- lovely thought...achievable? who knows.
    Thought provoking quote.

  15. Re: your comment on just rappin--yeah we used to talk about everything and now it seems no one wants to talk about feelings--unless it is feelings of hatred for a boss or something like that. Al conversation is disrupted by cell phone tunes anyway, so how can we rap the way we used to? As a courtesy, I turn off my cellphone when with a friend chatting seriously, and some friends will do likewise. But others need the cell no matter what.

  16. hi goatman !!!

    it's great to see you again. i love the spider flower. i brought an envelope of seeds back from Georgia to Houston that my mom gave me. I scattered them around the sideyard garden....... they were so beautiful - coming back every year ..... eventually they began showing up in the front yard too!!

    then my umm 'spouse' hired lawn maintenance guys ..... now i have no more flowers in my garden ..... they managed to pull up all my 'weeds.' ... sigh.

    ok, i have an assignment for you: write a poem. i know you have it in you. i dare you.


  17. That flower is like the hydra I had starring in my Hydra Harvest rhyme... growing double the heads for each one chopped off.... but these come back a lot prettier it seems!

    I hope you take up RDG's challenge to write a poem - I suspect there's something unique just waiting to emerge....

  18. Mashallah ...burj dubai ...I only know about burj al ever Im four and half hours drive to Dubai ..

    This poem gives you glow in life and the colors of those flowers are amazig

  19. I'm impressed Mr. Goatman, lol, very beautiful.

  20. God! What a poem! This explains it all! Thanks!

  21. Gorgeous flower. Alas, I can only aspire to this state of Tao. -My flower just barely rooted, has yet to bloom. Thanks for this uplifting post.

  22. Below our birdfeeders the past couple years, including this year, we've had about 10 or 11 sunflowers take-off. This year we noticed that where one of them had broken off, several more had started to grow on the same stalk.

    As for the Tao, I agree with Princess Haiku - I can only aspire to this for now.

    Blessings to you and yours.

  23. I am a bit late in responding to this but the flower is stunning and the post too.

  24. That sutra is my favourite of all scriptures. I'm glad you published a bit of it. There are of course various translations . . .

  25. Beautiful flower! I am going to look for one. ":)

    Loved this post - I want to read the whole poem. I'll look for that too, thank you!!!