A step, a stone, a path which progresses.
Then goes on to make an arbitrary list of objects, states and attitudes. (The lyrics can be found at http://www.france-jeunes.net/paroles-georges.moustaki-les.eaux.de.mars-2501.htm)
Occasionally I have experimented with this idea photographically, of photographing objects in an uncontaminated way as far as that is possible, neither with the aim nor intention of producing aesthetically pleasing images so much as attempting to grind down the meaning and eliminate extraneous threads of connotation and detonation. Of course it is a vain endeavour because as soon as you commit to any representation or act of communication you effectively lose control of the meanings which may be mined from the utterance. Meaning is in the mind of the beholder. But at least you might be able to park the signifier just a little way off the lawn of Barthes’ notional idea of a degree zero. Odd perhaps for a Buddhist to chase after the integrity of any object being itself a set a processes arising upon conditions in a particular conjuncture at a particular time.
Reading Nagapriya’s book Visions of Mahayana Buddhism, I was very much struck by a quotation where he humself quotes Zhenzie Qingliao quoted in turn by McRae (a bit like opening up Russian dolls!) in Seeing Through Zen: Encounter, Transformation, and Genealogy in Chinese Chan Buddhism,
Without taking a step, you should constantly sit in your room and just forget about the teachings. Be like dried wood, or a stone, or a wall, or a piece of tile, or a pebble.
This is very much in line with the ‘if you see the Buddha on the road, shoot him’ and points towards the fact that the teachings are not the Dharma, practice is: they merely point to the Dharma. Here, nonetheless I stretch out towards a certain purity or integrity in these objects in my mind’s eye much as in the same way as I envisage the segment of tomato in Robbe-Grillet’s description (see the first blog entry October 2009).