Saturday, June 29

50th Wedding Anniversary

To celebrate we spent the past few days at the RACV Country Club located at Healesville, only about 40 minutes from where we live and located in the picturesque region of the Yarra Valley.    
Whilst there we visited Marysville which was devastated by the Murrindindi Mill bushfire in 2009.
Around 90% of the town's buildings were destroyed and 45 people lost their lives.
There are many tourist attractions throughout the area, such as Bruno's Sculpture Garden, which was badly damaged in the 2009 fires but has since been restored. The pictures show the view from our room and just a few of Bruno's 150 amazing sculptures. Click on the images to enlarge.  

Monday, June 24

A June Mindful stroll

This paper, prompted by Karen Parham’s article in the June edition of ‘Philosophy Now’ talks about the meditations of Descartes (1596-1650) to ascertain any similarities in his approach compared to traditional Zen Buddhism.
At first glance one might conclude there are fundamental differences since western philosophy seeks to ask profound questions with responses usually guided by logic to form a narrative about such things as what is the meaning of life, the nature of the mind and what language is. Buddhism on the other hand draws its strength from inward meditative practices manifested in the eight fold parts to enlightenment. 
However, the author suggests there is a correlation in the approaches of both in what might be reasonably construed as their use of Koans.     
Koans used during meditative practices in Buddhism.    Koans are used during meditative practices and are paradoxical statements or parables or questions that need not have a logical answer. The idea is for the student to abandon any preconceived ideas and instead rely on intuitive responses from meditating about the question, paradox or parable to achieve an enlightened response. 
The Buddhist is schooled on the idea that one cannot solve the Koan, for its value is in the response and the enlightenment realized. The Buddhist might spend a lifetime finding appropriate responses, the determinate to enlightenment.   
Making a connection to Descartes Meditations 
Descartes is regarded by the author as the father of modern philosophy as he introduced the idea of the mind as in intuition to make sense of our existence. During his initial meditations he questioned whether or not his own thinking was real or could it be just dreaming. So he begins his work with what might be reasonably regarded as Zen Koan” – What can I know for certain?  The end answer to this question is what is famously quoted as ‘I think therefore I am’. 
What Parham argues is that in his treatise ‘Meditations on first Philosophy’ his approach has a correlation to the Buddhist practice. Although it must be noted Descartes use of the word meditative, is in the general sense to think deeply about something, he begins with what could be reasonably regarded as a Zen Koan.
For what Descartes tried to avoid is being deceived so that on page 12 he said ‘it is prudent never to trust completely those who have deceived us even once’. His approach in this work is to revert to an introspection exercise of reason. 
To reiterate what he sets out to do is to determine ‘what can I know for certain “– which is the equivalent of a Zen Koan.
According to Parham Descartes’ conclusion is an incomplete argument: an enthymeme. That is a deduction without the universal premise. His famous argument ‘I think therefore I am’ on page 17 is argued: 
All thinking things exist (universal premise) 
I am thinking (specific example) 
Therefore I exist (conclusion). 
So, philosophically one might class Descartes response - ‘I think therefore I am’ as his Koan since it is intuitive, but rather obviously is also limited conceptually in this way.
Parham also talks about how Descartes also assumes the natural light of reason about certain things can be taken as clear and distinct. He conclude that he exists and GOD, together with objects that he describes in terms of their geometric and other mathematical properties.  In a similar vein Zen Buddhism would claim the responses from meditating would also generate clear and distinct ideas. However the Zen Buddhist would not go on to say they must therefore be true as is the case with Descartes.  
Nevertheless one might be inclined to think of Descartes as an unintentional Buddhist in respect to his meditations. 
Reference - Meditating with Descartes- Karen Parkham.  West Meets East - June Edition of Philosophy Now.  

Monday, June 10

A Million Dreams (from The Greatest Showman) (SATB Choir) - Arranged by ...

Being the little Boy that I am I do the opening solo for the Open Door Choir to be joined by the more mature tenors and basses plus our great sops combined with the altos when we sing this number.   

Saturday, June 8


By DVA Theatre Company
Spin Me a Yarn of the Ocean, Spin me a Colourful Sky, Spin me
round and upside down and watch the birds go free.”
 - DVA Theatre Ensemble
Come join DVA Theatre, in collaboration with Sanctum Studios and Arcko Symphonic Ensemble, as we spin a yarn of ocean preservation, breaking free and the place of community in healing and self- discovery. In world’s imagined and real, mythical and wild, gentle and brave, lonely and lost and found, see the centre starfish heart returned to a crying ocean in a story of restoration, release and love.
Come sail your ships to the Concord School Theatre for an ocean full of performance, sound stories, puppetry, music, visual arts and projection art.
Approximate Running time: 2 hours
Directed by Nicla Byrnes, Michael Buxton
Performed by DVA Theatre Company Ensemble
Puppetry Artists: Lachlan Plain and Jasmine Powell
Music by Arcko Symphonic Ensemble; led by Tim Phillips
Original music: Nicla Byrnes and Simone French 
Singer: Siobhan Housden     Stage Manager: Hayley Fox
Photography Credit: Patti Green     Graphic Design Credit: Declan Scott
Concord School Bundoora July 13 & 14 at 2pm
411 Grimshaw Street, Bundoora
Tickets: $15 Full / $10 Concession