inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #76 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Fri 24 May 02 19:25
    
> #67 of 75: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Thu 23 May 
> ... When we came into the house, the grandmother sat on the floor 
> and arranged herself in a pose, as if for a photo.  Then the two
>brothers *and* Mr Lee (who was no relation of theirs) ceremoniously
> prostrated themselves before the grandmother.  Lee explained to 
> me, in his very limited English, that it was just "Korean custom."
> But I noted with interest that the two brothers and their mother
> were Christian.  I interpreted this to mean that perhaps some/many
> Korean Christians have retained or assimilated certain Neo-
>Confucianist practices together with Christianity. Is that correct?

Yes it is.  After 500 years of Neo-Confucianism as the official 
state & social ideology -- but it's not exactly a religion, so can't
just be wholesale-rejected in favor of a *new* religion (except the
most radical cults like Jehovahs Witness).  So many of the practices
like prostrations to parents/grandparents are just deeply ingrained
and not considerd religious-linked.  It's just "what we do" -- like
maybe shaking hands and opening a door for a lady is for us western
sorts.  Or better example, even tho i haven't been a Christian or 
even a theist all my life, i say things like "oh my GOD" and "God 
only knows" "Thank God!" and etc...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #77 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Fri 24 May 02 20:24
    <scribbled by mntnwolf Fri 24 May 02 20:26>
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #78 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Fri 24 May 02 20:29
    
> #69 of 76: Jim Fisher (fishjim) Thu 23 May

> With this in mind, is there any chance you can provide a quick
> overview of the geology of Korea's mountains?  

Well i'm no expert, but a whole lot of it is granite -- which is an
excellent material for construction and carving statues, it lasts
forever in all weather, a great natural blessing -- so, most every-
thing that remains in Korea from before 1600 is made of either 
granite or metal.

There's a little marble & jade, some soft coal, a bit of copper and
iron, some limestone (which has left a few beautiful stalagtite 
caves, and is used for cement), plenty of sand on the west coast.
No oil, sadly.

Look at the 3 photos on  http://www.san-shin.org/zen2.html
A whole lotta this upthrust naked granite around.  Really beautiful
-- the gigantic peak in that top photo looms right over northeastern
downtown Seoul -- and easy to see why people have always worshipped
these mountains, considered them manifesting spirits, etc.  They are
mighty-looking!

In general, Korea looks a whole lot like Vermont & New Hampshire, if
you've ever been there.  In 1990 or so a friend took me for a drive 
in the mountains of southern/central NH, and I kept exclaiming Hey,
this looks just like "home"...

BTW, the preceeding page there  http://www.san-shin.org/zen.html 
has a whole lot to do with some things we are discussing, and i'd 
reccommend that everybody give it a glance...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #79 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Fri 24 May 02 20:32
    
>...just curious if the mountainous terrain is primarily sedimentary
> or volcanic (I saw the mention in #26 of the great volcano in 
> North Korea, so am guessing this is was a main component of the 
> mountain-building forces), 

Only two volcanos on/near the whole Korean Peninsula -- and at the 
extreme north and south ends, bookending Korea in a neat "holy" way.
They're both quite extinct, both have lakes in their craters that 
are considered sacred {like Crater Lake in Oregon}.  

The 2700-meter White Head Mountain (there are light-color rocks & 
usually snow at its peak above the tree-line) on the border between
Korea & Manchuria is the highest peak in Korea.  Its crater-lake is
huge, ice-cold, has no fish and is amazingly deep -- like 500 meters
or more!  It is considered the holy "Father Mountain" of all Korea, 
and the "Grand White Range" runs south from it all along the East 
Coast of the peninsula.  

The Pyeongyang gov makes heavy use of it in their nationalist and 
leader-cult propaganda -- they even claim that current dictator Kim
Jong-il was born on it, when it's a matter of historical record that
he was born in southern Siberia (Russia).  Many Koreans now believe 
that National Founder-King Dan-gun was born there, tho this is quite
improbable (but they WANT it to be so).   Many North Koreans make 
pilgrimages there (or used to, when they weren't starving).   South
Koreans have been able to make pilgrimages there from the Chinese 
side (which is a Chinese National Park) for 9 years; the adventurous
do but it's expensive and a long trip, only "open" July-August every
year.  I've never done it yet, but someday...

As far as i know, there are no volcanos further east than this in NE
Asia; White Head is the isolated last outpost of the "Ring of Fire".

The 1950-meter Halla-san extinct volcano forms Cheju Island, Korea's
biggest island, off the SW of the peninsula.  It's the highest peak 
in South Korea.  It's crater-lake is just a stagnant pond.  Cheju is
the "Hawaii of Korea", lotsa honeymoons, golf, conventions & fests.
I climbed Halla-san once, great scenery.  Locally very sacred of 
course, but less so nationally, except for that "bookend" effect.

>  whether there's any major faults in the country, etc.

No.  It's funny, that Korea is right next to the famous Pacific 
"Ring of Fire" but has no active volcanos or even any earthquakes 
above about 3 or 4 richter -- i've never "felt" one.  Japan just to
the south & east is famous for earthquakes, and just to the north
and west of Korea is the Tangshan area of China where, for example,
a great quake killed 200,000 people in 1976.  But Korea in between
-- nada.  Few typhoons (Japan) and no tornados (China), either. 
Many Koreans (and at least one American think that this reflects the
judgement of the spirits on the relative moral worth of nations  ;-)
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #80 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sat 25 May 02 03:32
    
> #38 of 79: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Tue 21 May '02
> ... I have long been an enthusiastic fan of Bateson's work, and I
> was intrigued by your references to him. Can you give more details
> on how you might feel San-shin relates to Bateson's concepts?

Well, i've been thinking about this, and I just can't figure out how
to answer this without typing a thousand lines.  Without some back-
ground, many people here wouldn't know what we were talking about.

So let's try this: could you, Mitsu, in your role as interviewer #1,
post a brief summary of Bateson's thought relating to religion, like
as explained by Mary Catherine Bateson in her _About Bateson_ essay,
and then I will bounce off off of that to say how I think it relates
to, informs my understanding of, Mountain-spirits.  OK?

Or, if you can post a web-URL that will give us enough background 
and conceptual material to work with, that'll be fine...  
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #81 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sat 25 May 02 04:39
    
> #75 of 80: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Fri 24 May '02 
> Direct Pointing Temple!  Quite a nice name.  

Yes. As I wrote for their brochure:
The name Jik-ji is composed of two Chinese characters that if
translated literally into English mean “pointing directly”.  This name
echoes the Zen-Buddhist teaching "by directly pointing to your human
mind, see your original nature and attain Buddhahood".  This refers to
the teachings of the Seon [Meditation] Sect that everyone can become a
Buddha (“awakened”) if through sincere practice they discover and
manifest the pure mind with which everyone is born (in other words,
their Buddha-nature), outside of any study of scriptures.  Another
story explaining this name is the legend that [the missionary-monk from
Manchuria] Master Ado, after establishing Dori-sa Temple near what is
now Gumi City, raised his hand and pointed directly west at a far-off
mountain saying “there is a good site for another temple”.

> Ah, the Tang Dynasty, the height of Chinese culture (in my Zen-
> biased opinion)!  

I quite agree.  The early Tang Dynasty (600-750) and the Northern Sung
(1000-1150) were the days of genius inspiration & creation, 
China at its best.  The Southern Sung (1150-1276) and the early Ming
(1350-1500) was when it all came together in splendid maturity.  In
museums, like the great one now in Shanghai, I love those periods 
the best.  Tang - Sung painting and pottery are both so superb, so 
much better than the decadent over-elaborated stuff that came after.
Those years 600-1250 are also when Korean religious genius and 
artisan-ship were at their very best...  
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #82 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sat 25 May 02 08:36
    <scribbled by mntnwolf Sat 25 May 02 08:39>
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #83 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sat 25 May 02 08:42
    
> #75 of 80: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Fri 24 May '02
> Do many Korean Zen temples accept foreign students?  

These days several do.  In the 1980's the first and only temple to 
do so was Song-gwang-sa in South Cholla Province, under the great 
Meditation Master Ku-san [Nine Mountains].  Then came Seung-sahn...

Just last fall, Korean Buddhism was ROCKED when a senior foreign
Zen-Buddhist monk -- a white guy who graduated from Harvard -- was 
appointed ABBOTT of a small temple in North Gyeongsang Province.  
Oh, the times they are a-changin'...   :-)

> I have recently read a book by the Zen Master Seung Sahn, and was
> quite impressed.  I know he has quite a few students in the West
> these days.

Yup, he's the real deal.  Headquartered in Hwagye-sa Temple in north
-eastern Seoul for the past 20 years, he now has centers & disciples
all over Europe America Canada.   He has been very successful in 
modernizing the social model of Zen Buddhism to fit the late 20th-
Century West.  I have met several of his disciples who are quite 
sincerely devoted to him personally and to his teachings.  I have 
never met him, and now it looks like I may never have the chance --
he is said to be quite elderly and ailing.   When he moves on to 
nirvana, it is likely to be a major social/religious event here, 
like when National Patriarch Seong-cheol passed on in 1995.

> It occurs to me that there is a difference between state sponsored
>religion and religion that must live in the shadows of suppression.

Yeah, it makes a huge difference.  It's great when the government 
does support a spiritual movement -- but then it sucks.  
 
> When I visited Kyoto recently I went to many temples that are open
> to the public, and it was impressive to see them all, the great 
> structures, all of the tourists.  It was moving to think that for 
> a time the government (Tokugawas) actually supported Zen in a big
> way.  Later, though, it occurred to me that one drawback of this 
> is that Zen became something more like a career for many people, 
> something that parents passed on to children, rather than 
> something done out of conviction.  

Yes, that's the huge problem with Japanese Buddhism, than the major
reason why it was violently rejected in Korea after 1945. It's still
carried on here in the Taego Sect, where monks get married and pass
on "the job" and the temple properties to their sons, but that only
remains as about 5% of Korean Buddhism. The rest are celibate orders.

> It is both a blessing and a curse to have the sanction of the 
> government or the powers that be.  I wonder how you feel the lack
> of government support that both Buddhism and shamanism affected 
> them, for better and for worse?

Well, it cuts both ways -- when the government supports a religion,
you get the great grand monuments that last and are loved for 1000 
years or more, like the spectacular stone-carved cave-temple Buddhas
and cast-metal Buddhas of India China Korea Japan Cambodia Thailand
etc -- or the Christian treasures in Italy.  That's pretty cool...
But government support is corruptive, and leads into materialism, 
decadence and power-struggles.

But the government not supporting, and even government opposition, 
is purifying -- only those who are really sincere in serious about
these beliefs stay with it.  The Neo-Confucian Joseon-Dynasty 500 
years of oppression in Korea was GOOD for Buddhism, cleaning out 
the previous 800 years of comfort, politics & indulgence, and 
leading to the great Masters that appeared in the 20th Century.

So I think it goes in a yin-yang cycle, and both sides of the cycle
are necessary and healthy, in turn.  

For some photos and description of newly-rising local-government 
support of Mountain-worship here in Korea, look at:  
http://www.san-shin.org/seongmo2.html

http://www.san-shin.org/dongak1.html
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #84 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sat 25 May 02 08:47
    
Hey, 7 posts in a row by me!   Do i get a prize...?

BTW, if any of you who have read this book have written a review or
want to, go to Amazon.com or B&N and post your review there... it 
would help me out.  Trying to get some buzz going outside Korea, 
but don't know how (without a big ad budget, which isn't happenin').
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #85 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Sat 25 May 02 10:12
    
Wow!  Very impressive posting marathon there, David!
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #86 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sat 25 May 02 19:33
    
well, i think i got caught-up.  Even tho it's lovely weather here
this weekend, i'm spending it mostly indoors trying to get caught 
up with *everything* -- in a few day a close friend will be visiting
us for two weeks, and on Friday the World Cup opens here in Seoul 
-- things are gonna get cray-zee in my office and all around!  
Biggest event here since the 88 Olympics, or maybe since the K War.

But we'll keep this conversation going, right on thru.  Keep on with
your comments, ideas and questions...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #87 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Sat 25 May 02 23:55
    
Yes, since we're on opposite sides of the world (i.e., most of us posting
questions versus you in Korea) it is inevitable that the conversation will
have this "catching up" quality to it.

I will take you up on the Bateson thing when I have some time to think of
how to best summarize his work in a couple of paragraphs (an impossibility,
of course, but I'll try).

One of the nice things about the Internet, however, is that it is possible
to post links to his work for people who want to go into more depth.  That
still doesn't eliminate our responsibility, however, since many people won't
follow the link.

I noticed you mentioned a lot about other religions and their levels of
tolerance towards shamanism, but I wonder what level of tolerance the
shamans have for the other religions? I.e., are there "purist" shamans who
resent/dislike the Buddhist appropriation of shamanistic symbols and/or
practices?  Or do the shamans feel this is sensible and normal?
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #88 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sun 26 May 02 07:23
    
There are plenty of web-sites about Gregory My Guru, i'm delighted
to find; i hope i'll have the time to go thru some of them someday.
For example: 
http://www.lawrence.edu/dept/environmental_studies/bateson.html
But i don't yet know where anyone tackles the implications of his 
ideas for religion / God / gods...

> I wonder what level of tolerance the shamans have for the other 
> religions? 

I can't speak for them, in any universal way, but in theory it seems
impossible for them to be "intolerant", as they acknowlege infinite
gods & spirits inhabiting this world and the "spirit realm", incl 
all Buddhas & Daoist deities & etc.  I've never seen one make use 
of a Christian icon / spirit.  I wouldn't know what the collective
opinion of Korean Shamans is towards religions who say that what 
they do is "false" and "evil" -- beyond just "Stay outta my face!"
That'd be a good subject for somebody's MA thesis...

> I.e., are there "purist" shamans who resent/dislike the Buddhist 
> appropriation of shamanistic symbols and/or practices?  

I have never heard of such a thing.  It'd be kinda dumb, as Korean 
Shamans have appropriated so many Buddhist symbols / motifs.  

> Or do the shamans feel this is sensible and normal?

I suppose they do.  Religious cross-fertilization is their game,
so long as it conforms to their direct experience.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #89 of 234: Dave Waite (dwaite) Sun 26 May 02 10:47
    
Hello David,
I'm so sory that I'm coming to the part so late.  I have read a couple
of your books and have always enjoyed the way they were laid out and
the visuals are always first rate.  To be honest, I'm not sure if you
have mentioned this or not and it always struck me as an interesting
topic.  You have mentioned in your book some Chrisianity influences in
some of the temples and worships.  Would you care to elaborate some on
this topic?
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #90 of 234: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Sun 26 May 02 12:45
    
I have a question related to yet another anecdote regarding my Korean
friend.  His mother and aunt came here a few years ago for a visit, and
I gave them a tour of the SF Bay Area.  Lee's mother, who is some kind
of official at her local Buddhist temple in Masan, was wearing a
*huge*, gold swastika ring.  (You should've seen the strange looks
people were giving her when we went to lunch at a restaurant in Marin
County.)

Of course, many people don't realize that the swastika is an ancient
Indian symbol, and that even the word, swastika, is Sanskrit, not
German.  The Nazis adopted and inverted (perverted) the symbol for
their own purposes.  

Anyway, it suggests a link to India, whence came Buddhism itself
(though I thought it came to Korea by way of China, rather than
directly).  Also, I think the swastika predates Buddhism and is
something more Indian, per se, than Buddhist.  I didn't find a swastika
in any of the images in your book.  How common or uncommon is the
swastika in Korea?  Are there any other obvious Indian influences in
Korean imagery or Korean religious practices?  Is there any hint in
San-shin practices or imagery of something which might have been
imported from the Himalayas?
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #91 of 234: Linda Castellani (castle) Sun 26 May 02 16:13
    
E-mail from Lauren Deutsch:

Dear David ... I've enjoyed reading your book and considering the issue of place and spirit quite seriously.

Recently, I was reminded (I should have known, but haven't gotten that far), that when Koerans emigrated (no matter what the circumstance) to Japan, it is likely that shamans were among them. In particular, those who went to Fukui-ken (south of Kanazawa / Noto Peninsula and North of Kyoto) found that Hakusan (White Mountain) particularly appealing. Dogen Zenji, the founder of the Soto Lineage of Zen Buddhism, I was told by this senior practitioner, was so enamoured of this mountain that he placed Eiheiji, his famous monastery, so as to have a clear view of this mountain.

What have you learned about Sanshin in "exile" or "on the road" or "transplanted"?  I know that during the recent kut in Los Angeles on the 10th anniversary of the LA Riots, officiated by Kim Kumhwa Mansin, one of the shamans in the troupe was saying that the spirits had to be told where they were: they = shamans or they = spirits? I have a sense it was both ... they (shamans) had invited them (spirits) to show up in a predominantly Hispanic family public park.

Any thoughhts?

Lauren W. Deutsch
Director
Pacific Rim Arts
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #92 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sun 26 May 02 20:17
    
> #89 of 91: Dave Waite (dwaite) Sun 26 May '02 
> Hello David,
> I'm so sory that I'm coming to the part so late.

No prob;  glad you're here!

> I have read a couple of your books and have always enjoyed the 
> way they were laid out and the visuals are always first rate.  

Thanks!   we try...

> ... You have mentioned in your book some Chrisianity influences 
> in some of the temples and worships.  Would you care to elaborate
> some on this topic?

Well, so far there's no visible relationship/exchange between Korean
Mountain-worship and Christianity, tho i keep watching and expecting
for it to pop up.  

Due to their modern rivalry, tho, Korean Buddhism has adopted some 
reforms to catch up with the Christians,  better-late-than-never. 
The most important is increased "community services" helping common
people with their real-life problems instead of *only* offering 
spiritual teachings.  This includes Day-care-centers/ kindergartens,
hospitals/ hospices, senior homes & teen centers & college-campus 
groups, and places where housewives (and unemployed men) can get
daytime education, counseling and healthy hobbies.

There are also striking changes adopted from Christians in the form
of Buddhist worship -- texts chanted in Korean characters instead of
classical Chinese, for example.  The most amazing thing, that came
up after 1990, is Buddhist *Choirs* -- 10-20 laywomen with identical
Korean dresses, singing what sound like Christian hymms but with 
Buddhist-oriented words.  Koreans love to sing more than most, so 
this was a natural development.  Still, it's weird to see it at a 
solemn Zen temple...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #93 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sun 26 May 02 20:50
    
> #90 of 92: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Sun 26 May 
> Lee's mother ... was wearing a *huge*, gold swastika ring.  (You 
> should've seen the strange looks people were giving her when we 
> went to lunch at a restaurant in Marin County.)

Ha!  i bet...   :-)

> Of course, many people don't realize that the swastika is an 
> ancient Indian symbol, 

Yeah, many still don't.  I thought it was originated by Zoraster 
in Persia around 600 BCE...?  Then adopted in India, becoming 
"Buddhist" by the time of Emperor Ashoka...?

> The Nazis adopted and inverted (perverted) the symbol for their 
> own purposes.  

Yeah, that was tragic for World Buddhism.

> Anyway, it suggests a link to India, whence came Buddhism itself
> (though I thought it came to Korea by way of China, rather than
> directly).  

quite so.  

> Also, I think the swastika predates Buddhism and is something more
> Indian, per se, than Buddhist.  

Well, it was very much "Buddhist" as those teachings moved across
the Silk Road into Chinese territory 0-500 CE.  When Buddhism came
to Korea from China 300-600 CE, the swastika was exclusively the 
symbol of Buddhism, i know that much for sure.  It has never meant
anything else in East Asia.

> I didn't find a swastika in any of the images in your book.  

It has no association with San-shin, and i have never seen one 
incorperated in a San-shin icon.

> How common or uncommon is the swastika in Korea?  

Very common, all over.  There are, hmmmm, 10,000 Buddhist temples,
shamanic shrines and fortune-teller's houses in South Korea, and 
just about ALL of them have a swastika on the sign(s) that point to
them.  See it driving down 'most any road, urban or rural.  Some 
of them have little flags with red swastikas (and nothing else) 
decorating the front of the building, so that people know it's such
a kind of place.  Some temples have them designed into their building
-facades, or in their metal fences, as a repeated decoration.

{many shaman/fortune-teller's shrines are little mock "Buddhist" 
temples, sometimes quite elaborite; sometimes the shamans shave 
their heads and wear monk's robes; in fact there's no clear border
between "legit" Buddhism and Shamanism here, but a vast grey area;
i've struggled with drawing artificial lines, for my research}.

Swastikas are common in Buddhist paintings & statues (often on the
Buddha's chest) and on temple banners.  On every tourist map & road-
map, the locations of temples and hermitages are indicated by little
red swastikas.  All this freaks out some new-in-Korea westerners --
Americans giggle, Jews get quiet & cautious, Germans & French loudly
object.  Until somebody explains to them...

> Are there any other obvious Indian influences in Korean imagery 
> or Korean religious practices?  

Hindu gods transformed into Buddhism-protecting spirits in the big
"Assembly of the Spirits" paintings, as in my book & website.  But
that's all.

> Is there any hint in San-shin practices or imagery of something 
> which might have been imported from the Himalayas?

A few Tantric demons in those same guardian-paintings...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #94 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Sun 26 May 02 21:10
    
> #91 of 93:  E-mail from Lauren Deutsch:

Hello Lauren!  nice to see you here...

>... those who went to Fukui-ken (south of Kanazawa / Noto Peninsula
> and North of Kyoto) found Hakusan (White Mountain) particularly 
> appealing. Dogen Zenji, the founder of the Soto Lineage of Zen 
> Buddhism, I was told by this senior practitioner, was so enamoured
> of this mountain that he placed Eiheiji, his famous monastery, so
> as to have a clear view of this mountain.

Interesting; thanks!

> What have you learned about Sanshin in "exile" or "on the road"
>  or "transplanted"?  

Not a lot, i'm afraid -- i haven't been able to afford to travel 
internationally for that purpose... need a grant! :-)   Out of all 
the Korean temples now overseas (there must be hundreds!) i have 
only visited *one*, Daewon-sa in Honolulu.  The San-shin from it
is in my book -- totally unique because no tiger appears in it! 
Everything else was the same as in Korea...

[btw, if any of you ever visit a Korean Buddhist temple in America
Canada Europe China etc, sending me a photo or two of their San-shin
shrine would be MUCH appreciated...]


> I know that during the recent kut in Los Angeles on the 10th 
> anniversary of the LA Riots, officiated by Kim Kumhwa Mansin, 

Wish i could've seen that.  She's the best.

> one of the shamans in the troupe was saying that the spirits had 
> to be told where they were: they = shamans or they = spirits?  I 
>have a sense it was both...they (shamans) had invited them (spirits)
> to show up in a predominantly Hispanic family public park.

Well, i bet the Korean spirits appreciated all the ghost/aromas of 
hot chili peppers floating around there   :-)

However, the spirits (not the shamans) being told where they were --
that's standard at every such ritual, nothing uncommon about that 
being done in L.A..   Every Shamanic ceremony or even prayer recited
in front of an icon has, near the beginning, a recitation of the 
address of the shrine, and if it's different, the address of the 
supplicant.  Done exacty, as if a letter were being addressed.  I
dunno exactly, but it's as if it's assumed that when the spirits are
summoned from the "netherworld", they're a bit dis-oriented, need to
be told....  You wouldn' think this would have to be done for the
San-shin, as it's mountain is RIGHT THERE and doesn't move... but it
is done.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #95 of 234: (fom) Sun 26 May 02 22:50
    
I read a book once (wouldn't it be nice if I could remember the name or 
author) that said the swastika predated Buddhism by hundreds or thousands 
of years, and was a symbol used in an ancient shamanic hindu divination 
ceremony as a shorthand for nine dots in three rows of three. This book 
had illustrations of modern-day hindu priests? shamans? performing 
divinations with nine dots drawn in the sand or dirt, connected with the 
two zigzag lines that form the swastika.

The distinctive thing about the nazi swastika is that it's aligned 
diagonally. All the ancient ones I have seen (not just Indian and Asian 
but Native American too) are aligned on the square, not the diagonal.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #96 of 234: David A. Mason (mntnwolf) Mon 27 May 02 00:52
    
Interesting, thanks.  Never knew that about Hindu divination usage.

Yes, the Nazis put their's up on an angle, and also reversed the 
direction of the arms, so it's distinctively different.

I've heard it explained as an equal-armed cross in motion, symbol-
izing the endless cycles of yin-yang-sortta change.

Certainly, Buddhism's earliest and most universal symbol in South 
Asia was the wheel -- Sakyamuni "turned the wheel of Dharma" with 
his teachings.  Then as Buddhism moved across into China, the 
swastika came to symbolize the wheel --- blending in the yin-yang-
cycle idea above from Han Chinese thought.  That's what i seem to
remember repeatedly reading...
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #97 of 234: (fom) Mon 27 May 02 01:19
    
I seem to recall that according to this same book, the arms go both ways 
in the ancient ones. Usually clockwise, but counterclockwise often enough 
that it's an accepted variant.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #98 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Mon 27 May 02 02:28
    
Actually the usual Buddhist version is counterclockwise, although it is
sometimes found in the other orientation, some Buddhists feel the clockwise
(Nazi) orientation is an inauspicious one (i.e., even before the Nazis used
it).  For some reason Hitler preferred the clockwise orientation, however,
which is a small blessing, I suppose, though it still destroyed the symbol
since it is occasionally used the other way as well.
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #99 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Mon 27 May 02 02:30
    
(Interestingly, the original design presented to Hitler had the arms
pointing counterclockwise, as the designer knew the Buddhists felt that was
an auspicious direction, but Hitler insisted on reversing it.)
  
inkwell.vue.150 : David Mason: Spirit of the Mountains
permalink #100 of 234: Pseud Impaired (mitsu) Mon 27 May 02 02:32
    
(I should add: the arms pointing counterclockwise is often referred to as
the "clockwise" direction since this implies a clockwise rotation --- with
the arms trailing behind, as it were.)
  

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