Wesak Festival, Full Moon of 26 April 2021

The Wesak Festival is one of the most important spiritual events of the solar year. This year of 2021, the full moon of Taurus occurs on 26 April. This is the time of the Wesak Festival. Please see the post below from May 2020. The links to the Lucis Trust are still working and updated for this year. Please let us join together in the meditation for the planet.

Okunomichi

NASA/Joel Kowsky

Editor’s Note

This year, the Wesak Festival which we first wrote about in 2016, takes place on May 5 – 9 this year of 2020.

The Wesak Festival at the time of the Taurus new moon is said to take place when the Buddha and the Christ meet in the mysterious Shambhala Valley in the Himalayas. A powerful energy combines Wisdom and Love to elevate human consciousness.

Wesak is especially important when the entire globe is engaged in a struggle with the Covid-19 pandemic. Let those of spiritual inclination join together in meditation with the intent to foster the coming of the new Light.

The Lucis Trust (lucis means light) is dedicated to the establishment of a new and better way of life for everyone in the world based on the fulfillment of the divine plan for humanity.

The Lucis Trust has posted their message for

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HAPPY NEW YEAR! WINTER SOLSTICE 2020

Map of Japan showing latitudes. The three main islands lies approximately 30 to 40 degrees north latitude. Image credit

FUYU ITARU HI:  WINTER SOLSTICE and THE SIX-SEASON SOLAR CALENDAR 

In the Wosite language of Jōmon Japan, the winter solstice was termed, fuyu itaru hi, the day that winter (fuyu) arrives. In modern Japan, this same meaning is pronounced tōji. Yet in haiku over the years, the older indigenous fuyu itaru hi frequently appears.

As we have shown in other articles, the Jōmon certainly had used a solar calendar of their own making. The solar-tracking megaliths of Kanayama are evidence of this. This is natural in an early civilization so attuned to the life-giving sun.

Hiyomi and Koyomi

The solar calendar is confirmed in the Wosite writings of the same period, circa 5,000 years ago. They name a brilliant man named Achihiko Omoikane as its creator, for which he received the title, Hi-yomi-no-miya, Master of the Solar Calendar. Until that time, calendars were called koyomi (ko-yomi), meaning to read the trees for the seasons. Even though Japan now uses the Gregorian solar calendar, the word for calendar is still koyomi!

Achihiko showed how to read the sun for more accurately knowing the seasons of the year. For practical reasons in a rural landscape without electricity or flashlight batteries, indigenous people relied on lunar phases to mark the days. However, the lunar calendar does not match well with the solar year; too many adjustments are needed. The people of Wosite times wanted to know the solar year which tells the seasons for practical purposes such as fishing, hunting, and agriculture. 

One might speculate that the earliest shrines in the form of standing megaliths or grove of sacred trees were oriented toward the east, and we have seen many cases of this. Later, perhaps, their astronomical knowledge enabled them to place shrines solsticially. 

Winter Solstice Sunrise

In the land of Japan, between 30 to 40 degrees north latitude, the winter solstice sun rises and sets 30 degrees south of the east-west line. In field trips to hundreds of old shrines, we have found a predominance of shrines facing either the sunrise or the sunset of winter solstice. This implies that ancient people knew how to determine these solstice directions. And they found it significant to orient their sacred places to honor the sun’s return to the north. 

One of the oldest shrines in Japan is the Asadori Jinja. Its origin is unknown. Yet, the local Shinto priest conducts a ceremony starting just before dawn on winter solstice morning. The villagers have assembled to greet the sun as it rises. At first light, they shout “ka-kee kō!” Thus the name of the shrine, Asa-dori, which means the Bird of Morning, the rooster. 

Solar Observations of the Kanayama Megaliths

On the Higashinoyama (Eastern Mountain) of Kanayama are a grouping of lying megaliths some 9 meters long. They point to the sun as it clears the terrain on the morning of the winter solstice. 

Moreover, observations can be made 60 days before and after this date. (Solar observations can be made more accurately when the sun is not near solstice). The earlier date gives advance notice of the day that winter solstice will arrive so that they could prepare their ceremony. As well, this is an important date in their solar calendar as we shall shortly explain.

By careful observations over long periods of time, the Jōmon people knew the four-year leap-year cycle as well as the longer 128-year cycle. Theirs is an observational calendar, always true to the actual movement of the sun.

In the Wosite literature the winter solstice marked the beginning of the new year. Our own Gregorian calendar begins the new year on January 1, ten days after the winter solstice. Was this choice deliberate? The Solar calendar of the Jōmon was deliberately designed “from scratch,” so to speak.

Kanayama Solar Calendar with Six Seasons 

The Kanayama solar calendar is noteworthy for its six-part symmetry. Each season is approximately 60 days long. In this chart, we have placed winter solstice at the bottom, when the sun is lowest in the sky, furthest south. The calendar reads clockwise. Let’s approximate the year as having 360 days. Then the 60 days before winter solstice may be considered to begin the early winter season, and 60 days after winter solstice marks the end of late winter and the beginning of the 60-day spring season. Spring lasts, on this calendar, from 30 days before to 30 days after the vernal equinox. And so it goes for the rest of the year until the calendar and the sun cycle back around. In this chart from the Kanayama Research Center, the dates shown in red are actual dates when multiple solar observations are made at the megaliths.

On wall calendars in the U.S., the winter solstice date is labelled the “first day of winter.” In the U.K., this day is termed “midwinter day.” It’s interesting that the U.K. custom matches the six-season calendar.

Asanoha Sacred Symbol

The six-fold symmetry of the solar calendar is reminiscent of the sacred symbol of the asanoha motif. Asanoha represents the vigor of the asa hemp plant, sacred to the people. The asanoha pattern is often found in children’s clothing and dishes to wish good health and longevity. The asanoha pattern shown here on the left in woodwork is the Japanese version of the flower of life. The diagram on the right is a copy of the flower of life pattern in stone of the Temple of Abydos in Egypt. 

Hemp is known for being long used in making ropes for its strength and durability. While growing hemp was banned for a period of time in certain countries when it was thought to contain THC, the hallucinatory chemical in marijuana, the hemp plant is now making a comeback to legality and is serving for health and medicinal purposes, as it was meant to do. It is also a sustainable plant and is being more widely used in ecofriendly fabrics.

Astronomical Cross Quarters of Space

We find that the four dates which delineate the boundaries of the 120-day summer and winter seasons are known to astronomers as the cross-quarter dates. These dates do not divide the temporal year into four parts of 91 days each. Rather, they divide the times of the year when the sun’s path in the sky moves into another of the four zones. With the solstices marking the extreme borders, there are six calendar dates dividing the Jōmon calendar into six seasons. This is very interesting, since the ancient Vedic calendar of India has the same six seasons. However, the Vedic calendar is based on stellar observations and will gradually cease to match the solar year as the star patterns in the sky change due to a precessional cycle of around 26,000 years.

In this NASA chart , the zone occupied by the sun in the sky is bordered by the red arc for summer solstice and the green arc for winter solstice. It is divided into two parts by the path of the sun during the equinoxes, shown in blue. The cross-quarters are the further division of each half again into half, thus forming four quarters of the sun’s zone. By this, we mean the angles are divided into half. For example, for latitudes around 35 degrees the red and green arcs are separated by 60 degrees; the half-way angles are separated by 15 degrees. 

Summary

In conclusion, we have discussed the Jōmon indigenous solar calendar. We have pointed out some aspects of ancient calendars and how the sun is observed on certain days of the year, including the winter solstice. The winter solstice has served as the start of the new year in many indigenous cultures as well as in Japan. 

The return of the sun on the winter solstice is certainly a cause for celebration!

P.S. A related winter solstice post on Iwakage, the blog site of the Kanayama Megaliths is here.

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Hokura Shrine 保久良神社(ホクラジンジャ)and Katakamuna

Image

Katakamuna in Rokkosan

In about the year 1950, the Katakamuna scroll was seen in the mountains of Rokkō (六甲山 Rokkōsan) of Hyogo prefecture by Narasaki Kogetsu. During his engineering work on Kincho-san mountain in the Rokkosan range, Narasaki met a hunter named Hiratōji whose father he said was the “Guji of Katakamuna Shrine”. Hiratoji showed him the makimono scroll, the shintai (sacred object) of the shrine. The Katakamuna Shrine has never been found. However, there is a Hokura Shrine that some associate with Katakamuna.

What we call Katakamuna is connected with the Ashiya tribe, an ancient culture that was known to Taoists in Manchuria, according to Narasaki.

Look at the above map of the Rokko mountains with Ashiya to the southeast and Nishinomiya to the northeast. At Nishinomiya is the Hirota Jinja of Kanasaki Kami who raised Wakahime and is one of the enshrined kami, along with Amaterasu. Wakahime and Mukatsuhime, principal consort of the male Amateru/Amaterasu lived in the Rokko area during Wosite times. The Rokko mountains were originally named Mukoyama after Mukatsuhime. For more about Wakahime and Mukatsuhime, please see WoshiteWorld.

See our other posts on Rokkosan and on Katakamuna by using the Search box.

Reporting on MysterySpot blog

http://mysteryspot.org/report/hokura/hokura.htm

The MysterySpot blog reports on their visit to Hokura Shrine. After showing photos of the many megaliths on the shrine grounds, they propose that the megaliths are arranged in a spiral connected in some way to Katakamuna. This is our interpretation of the final sections of the above blog.

In 1949 or 1950, at Kinchozan, where the Hokura Shrine is located, 楢崎皐月 Narasaki Satsuki (aka Narasaki Kōgetsu) is shown a document called Katakamuna by an old man named Hiratōji at Katakamuna Shrine. The Katakamuna literature is written in iconographic characters consisting of geometric circles and straight lines arranged in spirals. 

Earlier, when Narasaki was stationed in Manchuria (in 1941 or so), he had heard from the priest Lu You San, about the 八鏡化美津文字(ハッキョウカミツモジ) (Hakkyo Kamitsu-moji) of the アシア(Ashia) tribe. So, later when he saw the Katakamuna documents, he thought it might be the characters of Katakamuna and succeeded in translating the documents.

By deciphering, Narasaki found that this Katakamuna document is a science book that describes the view of the universe by ancient people who built a high degree of civilization expressed in the form of poetry. Based on this, Narasaki is developing a unique discipline called 相似象学sōji zō-gaku “similarity pattern science”

It has astonishing contents such as atomic transmutation, principle of positive and negative superposition, uncertainty principle, limit saturation law, landscape engineering, medical method, farming method.

Excerpt from “Nihon no butsurigaku yokō”  Japanese Physics Proceedings by Narasaki Kōgetsu on MysterySpot blog:

Ama is a latent state in which the amount of space-time is degenerate, and it is the original state of Ma before the manifestation and activation of matter and life quality, to be correct, the latent state behind the objective. And it is infinite outside the universe. According to the intuition of the ancients, the universe that we have in concept is a finite universe (Takatama), and there are several universes (Takatama) in the unlimited Ama. In addition, infinite Ama is also an integrated latent state of differential infinite quantity Ame, and there are various latent pattern energy protectors (Nushi) who occupy the unlimited limit of Ama. This is called Ame-no-Minakanushi, and it is said that Ame-no-Minakanushi exists in the unlimited differential quantity.

For those who are interested in another ancient writing system, please visit WoshiteWorld.

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Japan-Insights

Iwami kagura, an exciting dance performed by Shinto priests in Shimane prefecture, on the coast of the Japan Sea. Image from Japan-Insights.

Okunomichi would like to introduce our readers to Japan-Insights, an English-language portal site that provides wider experts’ experiences on Japanese culture to the world. There are many articles in a variety of fields. Here are just a few of them.

Kagura: Theater of Tradition Amid Innovation, by Dieter Georg Adlamaier-Herbst, Germany

Traveling through the westernmost coastal region of Japan’s main island, the author, an internationally recognized expert in digital communication and branding, studies the old Japanese theater style Kagura. The Iwami Kagura of Shimane is especially popular.

Infectious diseases in premodern Japan, by Robert Campbell

Robert Campbell, Director General of the National Institute of Japanese Literature and a dedicated supporter of Japan-Insights, tells some heartbreaking, yet encouraging stories about infectious diseases in pre-modern Japan. Although these accounts seem to come from a very different time, we can sympathise with the protagonists presented – their concern to care for others and their trust in the solidarity communities can afford. This is a 22-minute video.

Spectacular Buildings: Sendai’s Legacy of Architecture and Art, by Anton Schweizer, Germany

The city which is now Sendai was founded by Date Masamune, warlord and patronoo f the arts. Zuihoden, whose under-roof we see is Date’s mausoleum. It can be visited year-round, except for December 31 and January 1. This essay introduces Date through the city’s monuments from the viewpoint of an art historian

Under the roof of Zuihoden, Miyagi Prefectural Government

From the home page of Japan-Insights, you can click the icons to link to the Japan-Insights blog, Facebook, or Twitter. There are new articles posted on the blog.

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TAO TE CHING for Our Times

Tao Te Ching by Addiss and Lombardo, Shambhala, 2007

At this time of chaos, the world is in special need of the wisdom of Lao-tzu, as written in the Tao Te Ching. The photo is the cover of the book, Tao Te Ching, translated by Stephen Addiss and Stanley Lombardo, Shambhala, 2007.

This one of many fine translations and interpretations of the Tao Te Ching. What makes it different is its terseness. We favor brevity and simplicity, leaving it to the reader to add all the particles and grammatical care to form proper sentences. We are especially fond of this presentation by two highly qualified translators who chose to “let the text speak for itself” rather than explaining what Lao-tzu meant.

Perhaps the best way to benefit from this book is to first read other books and secondly to develop understanding through contemplative practice. Then the beauty of the simple text becomes apparent. And the power of the wisdom more striking. Let’s focus on the advice proffered in the final lines from selected verses.

Verse 81

Heaven’s Tao benefits and does not harm. The Sage’s Tao acts and does not contend.

Verse 79

Heaven’s Tao has no favorites but endures in good people.

Verse 67

Heaven aids and protects through compassion.

Verse 46

Knowing that enough is enough is always enough.

Verse 42

A violent man does not die a natural death.

Verse 41

Tao hides, no name. Yet Tao alone gets things done.

Verse 40

All things originate from being. Being originates from non-being.

Verse 37

No desire is serenity, and the world settles of itself.

Verse 25

Humans follow earth, earth follows heaven, heaven follows Tao. Tao follows its own nature.

Verse 14

Live in the ancient Tao, master the existing present, understand the source of all things. This is called the record of Tao.

Verse 13

Love the world as your self: The world can be your trust.

Verse 8

Only do not contend, and you will not go wrong.

Verse 5

Longwinded speech is exhausting. Better to stay centered.

Verse 3

[The Sage] Practices non-action and the natural order is not disrupted.

Verse 2

When no credit is taken, accomplishment endures.

Verse 1

[Tao] The gateway to all mystery.

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Sidpa Gyalmo, Great Mother Protector

The world is now struggling with devastating problems of sickness, natural disasters, and human violence. The  བོན Bön deity Sidpa Gyalmo is being invoked in the midst of this pandemoneum because of her fiercely protective and healing energies. Sidpa Gyalmo is one of the three emanations of the Great Mother of the Universe. Sidpa Gyalmo [Tibetan srid pa’i rgyal mo] is transcribed into roman letters in different ways, for example Sipé Gyalmo.

In the Bön religion Sidpa Gyalmo, the Queen of the World, is the fierce aspect of the Great Mother; Sherab Chamma is the Loving Mother of Wisdom and Compassion. Sidpa Gyalmo is depicted in a dark blue color, surrounded by flames of power. She is both healer and protector in addition to remover of obstacles to enlightenment. Sidpa Gyalmo is the wrathful aspect, Sherab Chamma is the peaceful aspect, and Yeshe Walmo has both aspects of the Great Mother.

Many Bön teachers and practice groups are accessible on the Internet. They can be found by searching on the key words “Bon religion.” One such group is Bon Shen Ling.

Latri Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche is the teacher of Yeru Bon Center. Rinpoche leads a practice group on Tuesday nights. During August 2020, they are doing the Sidpa Gyalmo Coronavirus practice over Zoom. Everyone is invited to join in. To learn the Sidpa Gyalmo practice, click here. Nyima Dakpa Rinpoche teaches a simple practice and why we do it. Scroll down that same page and watch the video. We summarize the Sidpa Gyalmo practice. The mantra and the dedication are given below. You can recite the mantra as you go about your day.

  1. Sit and calm yourself. Set your pure intention for the benefit of all sentient beings, especially those victims of the virus and other catastrophes. Generate warm-heartedness and genuine compassion.
  2. Imagine Sidpa Gyalmo in front of your head. She is dark blue. Her wisdom aura is flaming with powerful energy. In her right hand she holds a sword of wisdom, in her left a vase of healing essence. Imagine that you yourself are Sidpa Gyalmo.
  3. Recite Sidpa Gyalmo’s mantra for you and everyone, one or two rounds of the mala. As you recite, radiate the flames as thousands of manifestations of Sidpa Gyalmo. The flames burn illness and its causes, disasters and their causes, violence and its causes. Send this energy to everyone everywhere. Imagine all beings being healed and protected by this energy.
  4. Follow by meditation.
  5. Make supplication to Sidpa Gyalmo. Ask for her blessing in protecting all sentient beings and removing obstacles to liberation. In return make a sincere offering from your heart.
  6. Make a dedication to share the merit of your practice with all sentient beings.

*

SIDPA GYALMO MANTRA

om abhiya nakpo é sö soha

*

DEDICATION

go sum dak pa’i ge wa kang gyi pa

kham sum sem chen nam gyi don du ngo

du sum sak pa’i le drip kun jyang ne

ku sum dzok pa’i sang gye nyur thop shok

Translation:

All pure virtue done through the three doors (body, speech and mind),

I dedicate for the welfare of sentient beings throughout the three realms (desire, form and formlessness).

Having purified all obstructive actions of the three poisons (greed, hatred and attachment),

May we swiftly achieve complete Buddhahood of the three bodies.

*

This practice is effective in many ways. Sidpa Gyalmo answers every call with her powerful energies, for she is everywhere. Our own inner capacity strengthens. We become more calm and gain confidence in the face of these disastrous situations.

At this time of chaos in the world, all are welcome to invoke the dynamic power of Sidpa Gyalmo. Her energy gives us not only healing and protection, but we ourselves transform and overcome obstacles to greater awareness. In her triple emanations, Sidpa Gyalmo – Yeshe Walmo – Sherab Chamma, Great Mother protects not only us sentient beings but the Bön teachings as well. She leads us to join her in her enlightened state.

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Chaos of Creation

Source, by Rowena Pattee Kryder

As we saw in the previous post, chaos can be good news. Let’s consider chaos a bit further. Creation myths around the world begin with a form of chaos: darkness, clouds, mud,… In the book by Rowena Pattee Kryder, Source: Visionary Interpretations of Global Creation Myths, is a Preface by Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. Dr. Krippner writes:

“I see myths as time-honored stories, social narratives, or personal constructs that address existential or spiritual human issues.”

“Creation myths often state a dilemma, but human beings must embark on their own journey to resolve the paradox of existence.”

“Dr. Kryder’s reminder that beyond the diversity of existence there is unity, wholeness with the Source of it all, is a gift. These ancient creation myths can provide metaphors still worthy of incorporation into the personal myths that are hammered out each day on the anvil of people’s lives.”

Dr. Kryder, in her last chapter, relates creation myths to cosmogenesis of modern physics. In particular, she addresses the super-implicate, implicate, and explicate orders in the theory of quantum physicist David Bohm. She concludes:

“In general, the creation myths imply that we have the wholeness within us. We are the wholeness — one with the Source. We need only release attachment to our limited identities, forms, images and dramas. Then we realize what is always true: We are one with Creation and one with Source at once, by simply being who we are — and aware of who we are.”

Chaos can indeed be good news. Chaos can lead to oneness with each other and with Source.

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“Chaos is good news!”

Snapshot from a computer simulation of the formation of large-scale structures in the Universe, showing a patch of 100 million light-years and the resulting coherent motions of galaxies flowing towards the highest mass concentration in the centre. The snapshot refers to an epoch about 10 billion years back in time. The colour scale represents the mass density, with the highest density regions painted in red and the lowest in black. The tiny yellow lines describe the intensity and direction of the galaxy’s velocities. Like compass needles, they map the infall pattern and measure the rate of growth of the central structure. This depends on the subtle balance between dark matter, dark energy and the expansion of the Universe. Astronomers can measure this effect using large survey of galaxies at different epochs in time, as shown by the new research.

The world is in a difficult time. We can even say it is a time of chaos. How can chaos be good news?

We came across these words from Tibetan master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche:

“Chaos should be regarded as very good news.”

This sentence appears in his book, The Myth of Freedom and the Way of Meditation. Here is the context.

“The Lion’s Roar is the fearless proclamation that any state of mind, including the emotions, is a workable situation, a reminder in the practice of meditation. We realize the chaotic situations must not be rejected. Nor must we regard them as regressive, as a return to confusion. We must respect whatever happens to our state of mind. Chaos should be regarded as very good news…. Whatever occurs in the samsaric mind is regarded as the path, everything is workable. It is a fearless proclamation — the lion’s roar.”

The following is a commentary on Trungpa Rinpoche’s quote in the book by Patricia Donegan, Haiku Mind: 108 Poems to Cultivate Awareness and Open Your Heart. She writes:

“It doesn’t always feel that way, but the chaos is a moment or time of lack of control and of surprise, in which anything is possible, beyond our judgment of good or bad. In Tibet it is believed that the enlightened Buddha energies manifest in either peaceful or wrathful forms, depending on what is called for, to protect and awaken us. The reason why it is ‘good news’ is because the nonfixed, chaotic state of things creates an open field in which new things can emerge and grow.”

Let us be fearless and use this opportunity to create a better world for all.

***

Martian Photos from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars sand dunes by NASA

“The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured these sand ripples and the large dune (at center) on Feb. 9, 2009. Color has been added to make textures easier to see. This area is in Proctor Crater at 47.8 degrees south latitude and 30.7 degrees east longitude.”

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was launched 15 years ago. NASA has released some fabulous photos taken by High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). Here are two of them.

EarthSky has posted an article about the HiRISE photos here.

Mars avalanche by NASA


“The High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (Hi-RISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this avalanche plunging down a 1,640-foot-tall (500-meter-tall) cliff on May 29, 2019. The image also reveals layers at Mars’ north pole during spring. As temperatures increase and vaporize ice, the destabilized ice blocks break loose and kick up dust.”

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Selected Senryu

Senryū (川柳, literally ‘river willow’) is a Japanese form of short poetry similar to haiku in construction: three lines with 17 syllables [5-7-5]. Senryū tend to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature, and senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are more serious. [Adapted from en.wikipedia.org]

Senryu Poems of the People, by J.C. Brown, Tuttle, 1990

Selected Poems

Notes: A hyphen – indicates a long vowel; hold it an extra count. Double consonants sometimes hold for two counts.

~~~

ne ni hosomu

inochi shinjita

eda no saki

— Sho-ichi

“The tip of the branch believes in the hidden life of the root.”

~~~

samazama no

na o motsu hanabi

mina kemuri

— Keisen

“Fireworks, variously named, are all just smoke.”

~~~

hana saite

itemo zasso-

hiki nukare

— Ko-bo-

“Bloom though they may, weeds are pulled up.”

~~~

nusutto neko

ana no aku hodo

mite nigeru

— Kaishinji

“The thieving cat stares hard, then runs away.”

~~~

massugu ni

yuki ni cho-cho-

hima ga ari

— Kaho-

“A butterly that goes straight has free time.”

~~~

doko e yuku

kumo ka to mireba

kieru kumo

— Gokason

Looking at clouds, “Wondering where they’re going, the clouds disappear.”

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