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September 11, 2011

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See Autumn Moon in Mongolia.

Hey Don,

Loved your post!! I added a link in my post (see purple text above)... Guess what? It's been pouring rain all day. Typhoon, I gather. What are the odds we will be seeing the moon this year? Hope you are having clearer skies in Mongolia....

Oh, and I was glad to know that, like me, you also prefer the next moon. But why not try it like the Emperor Daigo and moon-viewing when it's only 3/4 full? Cheers.

oh thank you for reminding me, i had this thought of moon cakes and missing autumn in guangzhou … 中秋節快乐!

Alas, no Typhoon here but a heavy cloud cover & prediction of rain. Well, I did get a nice photo of the gibbous moon which, as you know, is really my favorite.

Still one can always hope for a dry wind…

Persian Prince Pirooz of Kyoto sends this beautiful Moon Song, by Urb Brothers of Estonia

This one is my favorite photo of the moon in New York!

On the train yesterday, the man next to me was reading the paper and on the front page was a large photo of the full moon over Tokyo tower. I tried to find something similar online but alas-- this was the best I could do...

*Although a central focus of tea ceremony and Japanese aesthetics in general, the ethical (spiritual) aspect of beauty is not a Japanese predeliction alone, as it is found probably in most cultures around the world. From Plato to Indian aesthetics (probably almost all cultures and civilizations have embraced it?) This, for example, is from an essay about Alchi (about the unforgettable murals that I keep writing about; My friend conrad might just say that the idea is not all that different from what Plato said):

In the Indian philosophy of aesthetics, it is believed that the ecstasy we experience on seeing something truly beautiful, whether it be in nature or in art, is akin to Brahmananda itself, which is the final bliss of salvation. The moment of the experience of beauty is one of the highest states, in which man senses his kinship with the whole of creation: a state in which the soul shakes off its material attachments and feels the bliss of unity with the divine. Thus, the ecstatic response to beauty was seen as a glimpse of the realisation of truth itself. This philosophy was most fully developed in Kashmir. In the 10th century, around the time of Rinchen Zangpo's visit to the valley, the great aesthetician-philosopher of India, Abhinavgupta, lived in Kashmir. In that period, Shaivism and Vajrayana Buddhism in Kashmir were deeply permeated by the philosophy of aesthetics. The surviving art of the trans-Himalayan monasteries brings us some of the most sublime manifestations of this philosophic outlook.

A debate over which full moon is best! I love cultures that can transcend the mundane and move to the aesthetic!

I always used to miss something during zhongqiujie. This time seems to be different. Or meaby it's just the English weather and the wind effectively sweeping thoughts out of my head.

Love your blog. I was always obsessed with the silk road, even as a kid I planned to steal a car, go south, pass the turkish border and simply keep on driving...

I love watching the moon. Always have. The real thing, in photographs and, especially, in paintings. Until reading your post I didn't know the fairly stark differences in moon-watching here versus Japan and China. I always liked the werewolf movies, but I never felt anything sinister from the real moon. And Autumn nights do make for the best watching. On chilly nights the moon's color glows with warmth.

Hi Sterling,

It's always wonderful to hear from you! I am not so sure things are quite as cut and dry as my Japanese friend K-Sensei explains it, but I do think that European history has seen various stories about the moon that include people going crazy at the full moon or well... the word "lunatic" and the idea that dangerous things can happen on the night of the full moon. Mountains too do not have the long history of respect or veneration in the European experience that you will find in China, for example... there is a wonderful book about mountain climbing that I think I always recommend to you.... it kind of reminds me of you somehow-- it's called Mountains of the Mind,,,, I have always loved moon viewing and even as a child looking at the moon made me feel serene. My friend Don in Mongolia has a wonderful blog (linked above) with some fun descriptions of moon viewing in Mongolia.... thouygh there often seems to have wolves howling as part of the scene--which reminds me of another Western expression: "Howling at the Moon"

Hi wanderer,

I have long been obsessed by the silk road too! My own fascination began with Kashmir. I just kind of fell in love with the place in my imagination-- from a very early age too. And, it was the first place I traveled to when I got old enough. And, And finally going there it was everything I thought it would be

Anyway, it was nice hearing from you--hope we will get to talk more someday too (sent you a facebook friend request)...yoroshiku onegaishimasu.

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