Photos and Words

A personal blog about thoughts | moods | photos by Arnaldo Pellini

Posts from the ‘lake’ category

Shoun and His Mother

Pyhäjärvi, Tampere 2022

A wonderful Zen story that I re-discovered this week thanks to a friend and which gave me confort. It is from an old little book I bought in 1989 in Cremona (Italy) which was published by the Italian publisher Adelphi: 101 Storie Zen (101 Zen Stories) by Nyogen Senzaki and Paul Reps.

Shoun and His Mother

Shoun became a teacher of Soto Zen. When he was still a student his father passed away, leaving him to care for his old mother.

Whenever Shoun went to a meditation hall he always took his mother with him. Since she accompanied him, when he visited monasteries he could not live with the monks. So he would build a little house and care for her there. He would copy sutras, Buddhist verses and in this manner receive a few coins for food.

When Shoun bought fish for his mother, the people would scoff at him, for a monk is not supposed to eat fish. But Shoun did not mind. His mother, however, was hurt to see others laugh at her son. Finally she told Shoun: “I think I will become a nun. I can be a vegetarian too.”

She did and they studied together. Shoun was fond of music and was a master of the harp, which his mother also played. On full-moon nights they used to play together.

One night a young lady passed by their house and heard music. Deeply touched, she invited Shoun to visit her the next evening and play. He accepted the invitation. A few days later he met the young lady on the street and thanked her for her hospitality. Others laughed at him. He had visited the home of a woman of the streets.

One day Shoun left a distant temple to deliver a lecture. A few months afterwards he returned home to find his mother dead. Friends had not known where to reach him, so the funeral was then in progress.

Shoun walked up and hit the coffin with his staff. “Mother, your son has returned,” he said. “I am glad to see you have returned son,” he answered for his mother.

“I”m glad too,” Shoun responded. Then he announced to the people about him: The funeral ceremony is over. You may bury the body.”

When Shoun was old he knew his end was approaching. He asked his disciples to gather around him in the morning telling them he was going to pass on at noon. Burning incense before the picture of his mother and his old teacher, he wrote a poem:

For sixty years I lived as best I could,
Making my way in this world.
Now the rain has ended, the clouds are clearing,
The blue sky has a full moon.

His disciples gathered about him, reciting a sutra, and Shoun passed on during the invocation.

Bench with a view

Bench with a view, Tampere 2022

There is this bench at the end of this line of trees. It stands there looking out at the frozen lake on the other side of the lake. Day. Night. Snow. Rain. It stands there and looks out. I look at it and think about the people who come here and sit on it. Looking at the landscape and are lost in their thoughts. Week after week. Month after month. Some of them are worrying. Others enjoy the fresh air while looking out for their dog. Some sit here every day. Some take a deep breath and try to focus on it, leaving everything else behind and trying to be in the moment for a few seconds.

Lake walk

Lake walk, Kontiola 2021

The lake is frozen now and a thick layer of snow stops the noises that the ice layers makes. Cracks, pangs, and bubbling sound between water and ice. The snow is like a blanket that puts everything on hold until the temperature starts to rise, the days will get longer, and spring will push to open the door of the winter.

Let’s look forward

Let’s look forward, Kontiola 2021

Read this quite from the head of NASA: ‘We are all citizens of planet hearth.‘

Let’s stop messing up with the planet. Let’s look forward.

Happy new year to all of you, wherever you are.

Past one pm

Pyhäjärvi, Kontiola 2021

It is just past one pm here in Kontiola. I am walking on the frozen Pyhäjärvi. The sun has started to go down and it will be dark by three pm. The temperature is about -20C and the cold seems to have stopped all the sounds and movements. Everything is still and quiet. I hear my crunchy footsteps on the frozen snow. Look up to the horizon and feel happy to be part of all this.

Reflections

Reflections, Ihamaniemi 2021

It was nice to go down to the shoreline the other night and look at the still water of the lake reflecting the sunset sky. There was no wind and the colour of the water almost matched the colour of the sky

Homeostasis

Lakeside in Pyylinsaari, Finland

There is a balance in these trees on the lakeside. They are in balance with the stones on the lake shore. The water in the lake. The birds that are migrating south.

The day after

We need bridges between people and communities

After watching the images from Washington and the storming of the Capitol, I do not know what to write.

What comes to my mind are the empty space, the frozen lake, the forest and nature I was in in the beginning of this week. Oblivious to the madness we are witnessing

On the bridge

On the bridge

I am not sure how many years ago exactly, but around years ago, someone decided that it was time for the old ferry to retire and to build this bridge instead. They brought and and gravel to the extend the road onto the lake and then started to build this bridge. When you walk across it you can still see the docking points of the small ferry. On the Eastern shore you can still see the old wooden house of the ferry pilot. A family had bought it and renovated and I saw the father and his three children jumping from the pier one late night last summer.

Now in winter the bridge stands upon the frozen water. The metal makes a sound now and then when the temperature lowers even further than today. It is -10C.

Footsteps

For many year I have been living in Southeast Asia. There were only two seasons then: wet season and dry season. Temperatures staying more or less the same.

I have been back with my family in Finland for more than three years now and I re-discovered the beauty if four seasons. My uncle used to ask me when I was living in Asia: don’t you miss the seasons? My answer was no, I did not. While living there I honestly did not miss them. I was living in Asia that meant usually two seasons, warm weather, the humidity of the tropics.

Now I am in Europe, in Finland. The summer is a bit short but I am back to the four seasons and how landscapes change four times a year.

This is what I was thinking, while walking in the footsteps of Katja on the frozen lake at out cottage.

Footsteps

First picture of the year

I travelled to Eastern Finland for the beginning of the year. The forest is quite, silent. There is no wind. The snow stays on the branches of the trees. I can hear a woodpecker hitting the bark up on a tree nearby. The lake is frozen and the ice is covered by a layer of soft snow. Everything is still.

Happy new year to all of you.

Red jacket
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