Dividing camels

The traditional teaching stories of the Sufi's are often intriguing. One of my favourites is known as Dividing Camels. I originally came across it in Idries Shah's book Thinkers of the East.

There was once a Sufi who wanted to make sure that his disciples would, after his death, find the right teacher of the Way for them.

He therefore, after the obligatory bequests laid down by law, left his disciples seventeen camels, with this order:

'You will divide the camels among the three of you in the following proportions: the oldest shall have half, the middle in age one-third, and the youngest shall have one-ninth.'

As soon as he was dead and the will was read, the disciples were at first amazed at such an inefficient disposition of their Master's assets. Some said, 'Let us own the camels communally,' other sought advice and then said, 'We have been told to make the nearest possible division,' others were told by a judge to sell the camels and divide the money; and yet others held that the will was null and void because its provisions could not be executed.

Then they fell to thinking that there might be some hidden wisdom in the Master's bequest, so they made inquiries as to who could solve insoluble problems.

Everyone they tried failed, until they arrived at the door of the son-in-law of the Prophet, Hazrat Ali. He said:

'This is your solution. I will add one camel to the number. Out of the eighteen camels you will give half--nine camels--to the oldest disciple. The second shall have a third of the total, which is six camels. the last disciple may have one-ninth, which is two camels. That makes seventeen. One--my camel--is left over to be returned to me.'

This was how the disciples found the teacher for them

Here is a sufi comic version from Arif & Ali's Blog

Dividing Camels

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New Listening

!Album by Chris Smither

Album by Chris Smither

I first heard Chris at the Blue Mountains Music Festival a few years ago, and I'm excited to see he is coming back again this year. We loved his music and went back to see his show again the next day. This new album is excellent.

I have nearly all of Van's albums and this continues his return to form after a bit of a slump a few albums ago. Full of lyrics inspired by the Global Financial Crisis and Van's usual theme's. There is a stronger Jazz flavour than he's add for a while and the album features some great sax and plenty of horns.

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The Anarchists Tool Chest

Just finished reading the Anarchists Tool Chest by Christopher Schwartz.

Its inspired me to build my own chest and stock with it quality tools made where possible by small firms and individuals who are keeping the tools needed for traditional woodworking alive. Chris has wicked sense of humour which, once I tuned into it, added a nice touch of levity to the material.

The book is about what Chris describes as the essential set of tools needed to practise traditional hand tool woodworking. Its also about building a chest to house them. What really makes the book though is Chris's philosophy that permeates the text, this is what the use of 'Anarchist' in the title references.

"The mere act of owing real tools and having the power to use them is a radical and rare idea that can help change the world around us and - if we are persistent - preserve the craft"

The book is published by Lost Art Press who describe themselves as

 a small publishing company in Fort Mitchell, Ky., that seeks to help the modern woodworker learn traditional hand-tool skills.

They have a collection of good stuff for those into the hand tool world. They don't ship internationally so I bought mine as a Kindle book. I also bought the DVD, Chris put this together as he had many requests to describe the tools he has in his own chest in more detail, going into brands and why he choose them. Its available from Lost Art (here) is well worth getting as an accompaniment to the book.

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Leaving Octopress

After some months of not posting due in part to the limitations of Octopress, I have changed buses again. The site is now being built with Rapidweaver and uses the Rapidblog plugin to synch with a blogger account. This allow posting from the Blogger web interface and from IOS blogging apps like Blogsy.

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The huge climbing kiln at Kawai Kanjiro's House

Ceramics Destinations in Kyoto

The following are worth considering if you are in Kyoto and interested in Ceramics.

Kawai Kanjiros' House

We have visited this beautiful old merchants house with its huge climbing kiln several times and always found it rewarding. The enormous climbing kiln and beautifully preserved house are worth spending some time exploring.

Kawai Kanjiro was a key player in Soetsu Yanangi's "Mingei" movement 1 in partnership Shoji Hamada, Kenichi Tomimoto and Bernard Leach.

The term mingei (folk art) was coined by Soetsu Yanagi in 1926 to refer to common crafts that had been brushed aside and overlooked by the industrial revolution. In the wake of te great tide

More photos of Kawai's House are here

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