Tag Archives: grey

Yellow Bird: Portrait Of A Curious Cockatiel

I recently visited a bird aviary where they housed a wonderful choice of small parakeets, cockatiels, and various lovebirds.   The enclosure was large enough for a small walking path to make a nice circle around some low-lying branches and trees that the park had put in place so the birds could be seen up close.

This female cockatiel broke away from her little group on a nearby low branch to check me out. She seemed a little more than passively curious about my camera. I’m thinking she may have seen her reflection in the lens and thought I was another bird to come and say hello.Yellow Bird

In any case, I learned that the common grey male cockatiels are almost all grey, and only the females seem to sport about in colored splendor. The crest on the back of her head acts almost like a mood ring of sorts. Owners of these splendid birds will tell you that when the crest is vertical they are either excited or curious.

It’s when that crest goes flat against the head that you should begin to worry about that sharp little beak. I’m told this will only happen when they feel threatened. The most common cause is either having a child trying to pet them on their head, or another aggressive bird nearby will cause some problems.

Generally, the most unfortunate aspect of this bird variety is the noise they produce.  While they are nowhere near as loud as a full-sized parrot, they don’t seem to come with a mute button.

But when it comes to portraits, these little beauties see to love the attention.  Once my little friend finished her close up, she flew off back to her small group with little effort.  I don’t know if I satisfied her brief curiosity, but she certainly left a happy portrait.

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Why Are Pagodas in Zen Gardens?

Why do they put pagodas in Zen gardens?  What is a Pagoda anyway?

To the western mind a pagoda is similar to a cathedral. During the Middle Ages in Europe the Christian Church had a problem.   The Crusades into the holy land produced a rather lucrative market for holy artifacts and relics of the various saints.  Worshipers felt that these relics provided healing, prosperity and happiness if people prayed in their presence.  So, Church leaders started building cathedrals, shrines, and monasteries as a constant reminder of God, his saints, and the power of the church.

A pagoda is an Asian counterpart. Buddhist missionaries and laymen built pagodas to help spread the teachings of Buddha. Various sized pagodas are found from Bangladesh to South East Asia and China through the Korean Peninsula to Japan.  These structures housed important ashes or sacred relic of the Buddhist traditions.

Thus, the ability to shrink one down and place it in a garden as a statue is as natural as finding a cross, or statue of a saint in a Christian meditation garden.  It is a reminder to focus on the teaching, stories, or ideas the garden represents.

Pagoda designs descend from and contain local cultural alterations in appearance from the early Buddhist stupas found in India.   Pagodas are a place of gathering and a physical reminder of the teachings of the Buddha.  It is worth noting that Taoists also use pagodas for their shrines and artifacts too.

Most pagodas are found inside temple complexes of varying sizes and contain various shrines.  The taller pagodas are generally fitted with a metal roof  “hat” that made them susceptible to lightning strikes.  This was often on purpose to give that extra dramatic “pow” of the divine when lightning struck the tower.

These structures last.  Their designs are well suited for extreme natural conditions such as typhoons, lightning, and even earthquake prone regions.  Only a major fire has any real chance of destroying these structures.

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For further information about Pagodas try

 

http://www.kyopro.kufs.ac.jp/dp/dp01.nsf/ecfa8fdd6a53a7fc4925700e00303ed8/42629bd933a02da6492576b800333676!OpenDocument

 

And

 

http://www.jref.com/forum/all-things-japanese-26/pagodas-25061/

 

I used both sites and a little history knowledge as references to this article.