Photos: Stanford Clouds (11-14-2010)

Photographs on Stanford Campus
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010

By Peter Y. Chou

Preface: Washington Post reported "Animal-Shaped Clouds Aid Hurricane Forecasters" (Oct. 8, 2008)— "High-resolution satellite imagery was used to examine more than 50 storms over the past 10 years. Clouds shaped like bears, elephants and lions were correlated with Category 4 and 5 hurricanes, while clouds looking like ducks, frogs and bunny rabits were more often associated with Category 1 and 2 storms." Interesting cloud photos from the web— Clouds that look like Animals, 30 Creepist Clouds, and Cool Clouds for Kids. There is even a Cloud Appreciation Society with 24,179 members from 86 countries. Pareidolia is a psychological phenomenon whereby a random stimulus is perceived as significant. Examples include seeing animals & faces in clouds, and man or hare in the moon. The 23 photos below were taken during the week of November 13-20, 2010, when I attended five Stanford lectures that inspired my mind to leap skyward. Perhaps these cloud photos mirrored my inner state of mind this week. The first three of a giant "Hare Cloud" were from Foothill College, Los Altos Hill (11-13). The next eight photos from Stanford Oval and Serra Mall (11-14) showed clouds looking like heron, crocodile, shark, Pegasus, and the Platonic Lambda. "Owl Clouds" and Moon & "Tornado Cloud" (11-18, 4:56 pm) were taken at Tresidder Union and Faculty Club before Henri Atlan's talk at Stanford Humanities Center on "Sparks of Randomness""Sparks of randomness is semen— chance meeting of sperm and egg to make life." The "Tree to Dance" photos (11-17) were taken from a car on Foothill Expressway and inspired the haiku— "Tree of airy lightness— / May I dance with you / across the Milky Way." Sogyal Rinpoche's talk at Pigott Hall on "The Mind" was insightful— "Mind turned outward is samsara. Mind turned inward is nirvana— it's all up to you." Sogyal Ripoche's photo, Annenberg Auditorium (11-18, 9:05 pm) was taken after his talk "What Meditation Really Is""Meditation is mind free from distractions, spaciousness abiding." The next five photos (11-20, 12:39-12:50 pm) were taken before Prof. Robert Brown's talk "Gupta Period Buddha Image of India". While walking from Pigott Hall to History Corner, it struck me that this busy walkway is empty, as students have gone home early for the Thanksgiving holidays (no class 11/19-11/28), so I took photo "Stanford Arches & Columns" and wrote haiku — "These arched columns have / moment of silence without / students on this walkway." Prof. Brown showed how the first Buddha sculpture (125 AD) done 600 years after Buddha's death was 9 foot tall with eyes looking straight out, a mean imposing figure. Then over the years, images of the Buddha became more feminized— eyes lowered to the ground, body slim & slender, folds in garment like a woman's sari. Brown has collected hundreds of Buddha images in his trips to Asia and is writing a book on this subject. He doesn't have an answer for this phenomena and asked the audience to give him some clues. One suggested to look at the political climate in India, that Hindu Kings may be threatened by Buddha statues appearing everywhere, so the sculptors made Buddha more feminine to be less threatening to the reigning kings. Another said, perhaps there was famine and not enough food during the Gupta period (320-550 AD), so people had skinny bodies. Prof. Harrison said the feminine ideal of beauty in India is shapely figures, so they portrayed Buddha with youthful image of beauty. Another said Buddha symbolized inner peace, so simplicity & grace are qualities more appealing. I threw my two cents worth and said that Buddha means "The Awakened One" or Enlightenment. In two of the greatest Western pieces of literature, Dante & Goethe, we have the feminine leading the protagonist to heaven. In Dante's Commedia, the poet Virgil guided Dante through Inferno and Purgatory, but only Beatrice (feminine) can guide Dante to Paradise. In Goethe's "Faust", the last line is "Eternal Feminine leads us above." So Faust does not lose his soul to the Devil Mephistopheles but is awarded heaven based on his intentions at the end, serving his community instead of gratifying himself with wine, women, and song. I believe the artists who created the feminine Buddha images may have had an enlightened inner experience, so they projected that peace and serenity onto their Buddha sculptures. I'm closing these cloud photos with "Lambda Cloud Formation" (enlargement of "Platonic Lambda Cloud"). Since Platonic Lambda symbolizes the "Soul of the Universe" (Plato's Timaeus 35b), these ever-changing ephemeral clouds may inspire our mind to turn inward and experience "spaciousness abiding" that is infinite and eternal.

"Hare Cloud", Foothill College, CTIS

Closeup of "Hare Cloud", (11-13-2010)

"Hare Cloud", Foothill College, Lot 4B

"Heron Cloud" Stanford Oval

"Heron Cloud" (11-15-2010)

"Fish & Crocodile Clouds", Serra Mall

Clouds over Lamppost, Stanford Oval

"Shark & Heron Clouds", Serra Mall

"Platonic Lambda Cloud", Hoover Tower

"Platonic Lambda Cloud"

"Pegasus Cloud", Serra Mall

"Owl Clouds", Faculty Club

Moon & "Tornado Cloud"

"Comet Cloud", Serra Mall

Tree to Dance, Foothill Expressway

Tree to Dance, Foothill Expressway

Sogyal Ripoche, Annenberg Auditorium

Tower and Clouds after Rain

Palm Trees & Clouds, Lasuen Mall

Stanford Arches & Columns

Arch of Clouds, Lasuen Mall

Palm Trees Arcade

"Lambda Cloud" Formation

— Peter Y. Chou, Photographed at Stanford, November 14 & 20, 2010

| Top of Page | Stanford Clouds 11-4 | Stanford Clouds 11-3 | Stanford Scenes | Thornewood | Guadalupe Trail |
| Purisima Creek | Castle Rock | New Almaden Trail | Lake Lagunita Hare | Upper Stevens Creek |
| Saratoga Gap | El Corte De Madera | Pinnacles 2010 | Nature Walks 2010 | Nature Walks 2009 |
| Nature Walks 2008 | Haikus 2010 | Haikus 2009 | Haikus 2008 | Haikus 2007 |
| Poems 2010 | Poems 2009 | Poems 2008 | Basho on Poetry | Poems Index |
| CPITS | Poetry & Power | Poetry Resources | Books | A-Z Portals | Home |

© Peter Y. Chou, Wisdom Portal
P.O. Box 390707, Mountain View, CA 94039
email: (11-24-2010)