2008.04.30 13:00 - Gardeners

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    That afternoon, I arrived at the tea house, and looked around for a few minutes, enjoying the good weather. I saw Drareg walking by and we greeted each other.

    Pema Pera: Hi Drareg
    Drareg Merlin: Hi
    Pema Pera: Greetings
    Drareg Merlin: are you the gardener?
    Pema Pera: haha, sort of
    Drareg Merlin: it is beautiful
    Pema Pera: I greet people here in the tea house
    Pema Pera: we are planning to create a whole forest
    Pema Pera: on the adjacent sim
    Pema Pera: just bought the land
    Drareg Merlin: cool
    Pema Pera: have you been here before?
    Drareg Merlin: no
    Drareg Merlin: can you show me around?
    Pema Pera: sure

    I did not want to stray far from the tea house, in case others would show up, but I could at least show the zazen place nearby while keeping an eye on the tea house.

    Pema Pera: here you see a place where people gather every evening
    Pema Pera: typically there will be six to ten or so people coming here around 6 pm
    Pema Pera: SL time
    Pema Pera: to sit for twenty minutes
    Pema Pera: some form of zen meditation, but could be any meditation really
    Pema Pera: The woman who leads the group, Dakini Rhode
    Pema Pera: is herself a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner
    Pema Pera: but with background in zen

    Storm joined us.

    Pema Pera: Hi Storm!
    Pema Pera: Meet Drareg
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Pema
    Pema Pera: Storm is a neighbor here
    Storm Nordwind: Greetings Drareg
    Storm Nordwind: Namaste
    Pema Pera: Drareg just walked by here
    Pema Pera: I’m showing him the area
    Storm Nordwind: A lot to see!
    Pema Pera: After that 20 minutes, people hang around to chat
    Pema Pera: Hi Mongo!

    Suddenly a cheerful crowd started to gather: Saron and Mongo both joined us as well.

    Pema Pera: Hi Saron!
    Mongo McGinnis: hello
    Pema Pera: Greetings Mongo, how are you?
    Saron Heron: Hi all
    Mongo McGinnis: namaste
    Storm Nordwind: Hi Mongo. Do I take it Mongo you also stay in Scotland in RL?
    Mongo McGinnis: nope usa
    Pema Pera: sorry, I didn’t have much time the other day, Mongo
    Drareg Merlin: Hello all
    Pema Pera: Saron, greetings!
    Saron Heron: :)
    Drareg Merlin: afk
    Pema Pera: Are you here often, Saron?
    Saron Heron: hi Astrophysicist
    Saron Heron: no just today
    Saron Heron: to test zazen
    Saron Heron: with my japanese friend
    Saron Heron: I am new with meditation lol
    Pema Pera: welcome!
    Pema Pera: we sit here every day
    Pema Pera: also with complete beginners
    Storm Nordwind: *zazen
    Pema Pera: so you are always welcome!
    Saron Heron: just fun
    Storm Nordwind: “Testing” zazen. How do you do that?
    Saron Heron: oh
    Saron Heron: ah
    Saron Heron: I dont know whats it procedures
    Saron Heron: just try the zazen ball and see how it works
    Pema Pera: Who is your Japanese friend?
    Saron Heron: ah
    Storm Nordwind: The zazen ball just sits you down
    Saron Heron: my Japanese it hard to answer your question
    Storm Nordwind: AFter that zazen happens inside you
    Saron Heron: she know a lot about Zen
    Pema Pera: friend in SL?
    Saron Heron: yeah

    Not surprisingly with the mingling going on, the chat text formed a bustling mix.

    Pema Pera: I speak Japanese, so if she has questions, let me know, and I’d be happy to talk with her
    Pema Pera: and yes, I am an astrophysicist ;>)
    Saron Heron: oh
    Saron Heron: great I am leaning Japanese
    Pema Pera: do you know that you can write in Japanese here too ? in SL texting?
    Saron Heron: lol
    Saron Heron: its easy
    Saron Heron: かんたんですよ

    Saron wrote “it is easy” in Japanese characters. I wanted to respond in kind, but suddenly realized I couldn’t: I had just gotten a new MacBook Pro and I had not yet sound my language settings on the new machine, so I was kana/kanji chancelled . . .

    Pema Pera: hai sou desu — rats
    Pema Pera: yesterday I got a new Mac laptop
    Pema Pera: and I just realized I haven’t set up kana and kanji
    Pema Pera: oh well, later today ;>)
    Saron Heron: no
    Saron Heron: u can
    Drareg Merlin: cool, which one?
    Pema Pera: macbook pro with 1920×1200 resolution, cool indeed!
    Pema Pera: lots of real estate
    Storm Nordwind limps along fine with his Dell Ispiron

    At that moment I found the setting options which turned out to be really simple. So I could continue in kana.

    Pema Pera: はい、そうです!
    Pema Pera: that was not hard, to find my kana back ;>)
    Saron Heron: me?
    Pema Pera: in New York City
    Pema Pera: By the way, Drareg, do you want to see the tea house?
    Pema Pera: And Saron?
    Drareg Merlin: sure
    Pema Pera: And Mongo, of course feel free to join us
    Mongo McGinnis: ok
    Saron Heron: ok if u like to show
    Saron Heron: this dog avatar is cute
    Pema Pera: we get together here a few times each day, whoever likes to
    Pema Pera: haha, yes
    Pema Pera: sort of like a neighborhood cafe
    Pema Pera: soon four times a day
    Pema Pera: 1 am 7 am 1 pm 7 pm
    Pema Pera: for half an hour or whoever long people like too
    Saron Heron: why 1&7?
    Mongo McGinnis: Any gueses which koan i am working on?

    Mongo’s remark got lost in the heat of the exchange, but as a tiny dog avatar, well, perhaps the koan “does a dog have Buddha Nature”? We should ask him again some day soon!

    Pema Pera: There is a general theme, see http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Pema Pera: but often we just chat
    Pema Pera: about anything at all
    Pema Pera: thre reason to have four sessions
    Pema Pera: is that everyone lives in different time zones
    Drareg Merlin: I like this place
    Pema Pera: and some people only have access at home some only at work
    Pema Pera: thank you, Drareg
    Pema Pera: Dakini Rhode built this
    Pema Pera: recently
    Drareg Merlin: think i”ll make my house in RL look like this
    Pema Pera: haha, yes, good idea!
    Pema Pera: but more work than in SL . …
    Pema Pera: though the design work is similar
    Drareg Merlin: ok then, i’ll just live in SL
    Drareg Merlin: lol
    Pema Pera: hehe, simpler yes
    Drareg Merlin: what do you usually talk about
    Pema Pera: general topic: the nature of reality, but in a playful way, yet serious
    Saron Heron: oh
    Drareg Merlin: Ah, reality…..
    Pema Pera: lots of fun, yet also intense sometimes
    Saron Heron: why do u like Japanese culture?
    Pema Pera: oh, many reasons
    Drareg Merlin: SL sure coplicates that traditional notion
    Pema Pera: work and hobbies and just general esthetics
    Pema Pera: I like the game of go
    Drareg Merlin: never played it
    Pema Pera: I work with Japanese astronomers
    Pema Pera: I like haiku, all kind of things Japanese
    Drareg Merlin: wow, sounds like fun

    At that point Saron gave me a nice picture of a tree with cherry blossoms, followed by another picture of what looked like a field of tulips.

    Pema Pera: nice sakura!
    Saron Heron: do u know that flowers?
    Saron Heron: lol my photos
    Drareg Merlin: I’ve started looking for constellations in the night sky
    Pema Pera: and Dutch tulips?
    Pema Pera: the constellations unfortunately are not realistic . . .
    Drareg Merlin: yeah, i know
    Drareg Merlin: it’s just the way we see them from our dot in space
    Drareg Merlin: and yet they have an influence
    Drareg Merlin: pyramids of giza from the belt of orion
    Saron Heron: tulips from Japan
    Saron Heron: not Dutch lol
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Saron Heron: sorry to answer late
    Pema Pera: Since I am Dutch, I was wondering :>)
    Drareg Merlin: do you think aliens are real?
    Pema Pera: oh, I think there are aliens yes
    Pema Pera: since there are many planets, and some probably like Earth
    Pema Pera: but whether they have ever visited us is another question
    Mongo McGinnis: there have been many interesting documented cases by milltaries about UFOs abd USOs
    Drareg Merlin: when I read about the various pantheon of “Gods” from ancient times of cultures all over the earth,
    Drareg Merlin: I think,
    Drareg Merlin: Captain Kirk and the klingons, but some don’t observe the non-intervention treaty
    Mongo McGinnis: if they were intervening we would know about them instead of rumors
    Pema Pera: well, it is certainly very interesting to image what the options would be
    Pema Pera: science fiction is fascinating
    Pema Pera: but I haven’t seen anything really convincing yet
    Pema Pera: but who knows?
    Drareg Merlin: about aliens on earth, now?
    Pema Pera: Many people talk about aliens on earth now
    Pema Pera: but I am skeptical about all those reports
    Drareg Merlin: what if they intervened, thousands of years ago
    Drareg Merlin: when pyramids were being built all over the planet
    Pema Pera: well, that is of course possible in principle, but I have not seen any good evidence — many ways to think of many stories, but hard to prove
    Drareg Merlin: various groups dividing up the planet for mining rights
    Mongo McGinnis: got to go to my friends car broke down and needs a lift I will see later gassho
    Drareg Merlin: then realized that it was easier to manipulate from behind the scenes
    Pema Pera: fine, Mongo!
    Drareg Merlin: bye
    Pema Pera: Good luck with the car!
    Mongo McGinnis: thanks
    Pema Pera: but life on other planets is fascinating as a possibility
    Pema Pera: they may not want to come here
    Pema Pera: waiting for virtual worlds contact?
    Drareg Merlin: but you are right, no direct proof, in the public domain

    The converation then moved to our PaB exploration.

    Pema Pera: What we normally do here
    Pema Pera: is talk about a fun type of exploration we do
    Drareg Merlin: oh, ok
    Drareg Merlin: in SL?
    Pema Pera: in RL and SL
    Pema Pera: in RL we take an hour or a few hours each day
    Pema Pera: and spend 9 seconds once each quarter of an hour
    Pema Pera: perhaps one or two minutes each day
    Pema Pera: and do a very short kind of meditation
    Pema Pera: then we gather here to talk about that
    Pema Pera: as well as about whatever else we like
    Pema Pera: the idea is to look at our reality from different angles
    Pema Pera: if you stop four times an hour
    Pema Pera: to wonder whether the world is real
    Pema Pera: that is
    Pema Pera: whether the world is really what you think it is
    Pema Pera: interesting things happen . . .
    Pema Pera: . . . . and people report here about what happens to them
    Pema Pera: That’s it in a nut shell , see http://playasbeing.wordpress.com/
    Pema Pera: It is all very playful
    Drareg Merlin: recollect reality every 15 minutes
    Pema Pera: yup
    Drareg Merlin: wow
    Pema Pera: shoot holes in your conception of it
    Pema Pera: like that picture of the man sticking his head through the sky
    Pema Pera: ;>)
    Drareg Merlin: that certainly makes meditation an experiental exercise
    Drareg Merlin: what are some of the things people report?
    Pema Pera: a lot of different ideas and reactions
    Pema Pera: you can read many responses on that web site
    Drareg Merlin: ok
    Pema Pera: but in general the reaction is like
    Pema Pera: wow, quite a bit is happening in a short time and it really makes a differnce!
    Drareg Merlin: i already opened it up in another browser
    Pema Pera: there is a lot to read, far too much to take it all in I guess, but you can just browse and get an idea

    Saron was about to leave, and I had to go look after the ongoing land buying that I had gotten involved in, with help from Dakini and Storm.

    Saron Heron: hey all, I have to go back RL. It is nice to meet both of you and hear your discussion. Have a good time. Goodbye for now!
    Drareg Merlin: the web page titled “Virtual Laboratories and Virtual Worlds”
    Pema Pera: Thanks for stopping by Saron!
    Pema Pera: Nice to meet you.
    Drareg Merlin: bye Saron
    Drareg Merlin: what do you think is the possibility of full immersion VR like “Lawn Mower Man”
    Pema Pera: I don’t know that, was that a movie?
    Drareg Merlin: yes
    Pema Pera: full immersion, like a holodeck in Startrek will be quite a bit away into the future . . . .
    Pema Pera: but SL is already remarkably immersive.
    Pema Pera: well, I’m afraid I have to go too
    Pema Pera: Nice meeting you, Drareg!
    Drareg Merlin: ok me too
    Pema Pera: You are welcome to drop by whenever you like
    Drareg Merlin: see you again
    Pema Pera: see you!

    After that, Storm and I looked at some land that was up for sale in Paduk, two sims North of Rieul. I was tempted to buy the five 1k plots that were available there, even though one of them was only touching at a corner point to the others, and the whole group was not connected with the Magoja part that I owned. However, in the past I had had good luck in getting extra bits and pieces. Somehow, quite literately, things seemed to fall into place, like pieces of a puzzle. So I felt comfortable and confident, both, that this would be a good buy, given that the price was also quite reasonble.

    However, since I was not yet completely convinced, I very much valued Storm’s opinion. We talked about the Bondage Disco Club in a nice looking church strategically placed between my Magoja property and the for-sale Paduk lots. I did not see the presence of that club as a problem. Here is part of our conversation, from that point on.

    Storm Nordwind: And then you still have the Bondage Disco club in the church
    Pema Pera: well, choed practice
    Storm Nordwind: true true
    Pema Pera: Tibetan
    Pema Pera: ;>)
    Pema Pera: a bit of real samsara
    Pema Pera: to remind us to get OUT of bondage ;>)
    Storm Nordwind: haha!
    Pema Pera: I guess 5000 sq m is a nice catch for the day ;>)
    Pema Pera: shall I?
    Pema Pera: ready to fire
    Storm Nordwind: Under these circumstances I would consult diviniation if it were me
    Pema Pera: well sure happy to oracle
    Pema Pera: how and where?
    Storm Nordwind: In RL i would use either Morgan Tarot or Kuan Yin oracle.
    Storm Nordwind: Of course the latter is next to my zendo
    Pema Pera: Kuan Yin!!
    Storm Nordwind: yes indeed
    Pema Pera: our overlap ;>)
    Storm Nordwind: So I would consult the oracle in SL about SL business, in RL about RL business
    Pema Pera: fine
    Storm Nordwind: But entirely your call.
    Storm Nordwind: You may feel strong enogh about these plot anyway
    Pema Pera: fine with me!
    Storm Nordwind: You want to consult the oracle about whether to consult the oracle? ;)
    Pema Pera: and think of the merit of having practitioners using retreat centers here
    Pema Pera: for many days and years!!
    Storm Nordwind: true true
    Storm Nordwind: No arguing with that
    Pema Pera: how about this
    Pema Pera: I can ask the oracle how to use the land if I buy it?
    Storm Nordwind: sure
    Storm Nordwind: Join me at the oracle
    Pema Pera: I’ll follow!

    We arrived at the Quan Yin oracle that Storm had built.

    Storm Nordwind: your questions anyway
    Pema Pera: yes
    Storm Nordwind: Have you used this before?
    Pema Pera: no
    Storm Nordwind: You may wish to touch for a notecard first
    Pema Pera: still slooooowly rezzzzzing
    Storm Nordwind: The look is based on Asakusa
    Pema Pera: have you been there?
    Storm Nordwind: (apart from the Chien Tung in the middle)
    Storm Nordwind: yes
    Storm Nordwind: last year
    Pema Pera: beautiful statue of old woman in a corner . . . . .
    Storm Nordwind: This from my own photo
    Pema Pera: ah!
    Pema Pera: so I’ll follow the note card yes?
    Storm Nordwind: There is a fabulous Buddha with a foot extended in the garden that I want a big photo of but 300 pixels is all I get on the web
    Storm Nordwind: yes. the instructiosn of the notecard are all you need
    Pema Pera: so you flew to Japan?
    Storm Nordwind: yes
    Pema Pera: for >300 pixels?

    I consulted the oracle can got the following poem:

    The sound of bees flying among the flowers gathering nectar.
    They work hard while they can, while the year turns.
    Work brings reward and prepares for new times.

    We were both pleased to read this inspiring message.

    Pema Pera: sounds like gardening for a forest to me . . .. ;>)
    Storm Nordwind: yes I am reading off my master copy in RL
    Storm Nordwind: yes it does
    Storm Nordwind: preparation for later things!
    Pema Pera: exactly!!!
    Pema Pera: perfect
    Pema Pera: off I go
    Storm Nordwind: Then the universe is providing
    Storm Nordwind: yes!
    Pema Pera: yes
    Storm Nordwind: I will leave you to it as I need to go to RL
    Pema Pera: off to go shopping for Quan Yin ;>)

    I flew back to Paduk and bought the 5k sq.m. plots. I looked at the area around it, and sent some IMs to the owners to see whether perhaps I could by a couple more lots, smaller ones, to guarantee contiguity — and thus to enable us to creates paths that would connect all of the forest area we were planning to create.

    Then, after a break, I returned to Paduk and met my main neighbor there, Jim Leavenworth, who turned out to be both very pleasant and helpful. He got me up to speed with life in Paduk, and showed me some of his properties there, and what he did with them. Later he would give me advice about land auctions and other important aspects of dealing with real estate in SL.

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