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Fine Dust

Article/Photos: Lo Senhao

The Datun River Valley breathes out layers of foggy mist. From the rhyming roots of an acacia forest, it penetrates the chilly beauty of Prunus campanulata, soaks the color-changing Liquidambar formosana, infiltrates tiny pine needles, and even erodes my dispirited pores that have been covered by calcium deposits, repeatedly weathers my longtime imprisoned heart and soul, and decomposes every part of my body. One by one, my irregular aged cells are drifting and floating, with the blowing northeastern monsoon wind, in Article/Photos: Lo Senhao ritual. The top of the roof is filled with mysterious energy, opening all the receptors of body and mind, drawing essential nutrients to sustain my exhausted body. Surrounded by majestic natural mystery, I think about the boiling golden Temmoku glaze liquid in the kiln that has reached over 1300 degrees, rippling in rich and colorful glamour. Every work made in the kiln requires numerous karmic alignments: dust eroded and crumbled from volcanic rocks, ashes left at mother's wood burning stove after cooking, reed stems from Hunglu Mountain, basalt from Penghu island, shell sands given by my students, sarira (Buddha's relics) given by my splritual brothers... Every burnable thing and all of the collected dust and dirt infusing over flames in the kiln at this moment.

A trace of a shining fireball appears in the quiet night sky. My heart follows it rising above the horizon, gazing at the stars overhead, opening my heart and soul. Imagine dust and air filling space, gradually accumulating fateful causation and shrinking into a condensed core. As pressure intensifies, the temperature rises, producing energy and dynamics, properly spinning and turning the gearwheels propelled by the universe. Without exception, all the celestial bodies are born this way, in their own places playing their irreplaceable roles. I begin to realize the principle of "dust piles into worlds" and deeply experience the aesthetics described in the scriptures, "from dust comes everything in the world, the sun, moon, stars, constellation and clouds.

With the loud explosion of the Big Bang, the universe came into existence. Trillions of celestial bodies boisterously rushed through starry vortexes that are hundreds of millions of light years away in the Milky Way, splendidly beaming in congregations. Whether distant stars or nearby galaxies, every dot represents a different meaning and karmic relation: dispersed galaxy clusters, lingering obscured spherical celestial bodies, burning stars, drifting smoky dust and hazy shooting stars, all of which are evenly distributed in the sky Feels like I have sunken into a bustling yet absolute abyss, spinning and interacting with the stars. Wondering exactly how vast the universe is? How many stars are affecting me?

Astrologers have accounted over one hundred billion stars in the universe, however this figure is less than 1 percent of the galaxy clusters, labeled "3C273", being within three billion light years from us, and over 30 of them are several times larger than the galaxy cluster called "3C273". This is the limit of human knowledge so far, and there might be much more and much bigger stars that we have not yet discovered...

We are blessed to exist on this lucky planet "Earth" joining in its slow pace, barefoot walking in the Milky Way, indulging, lingering and having fun in the confluence of over one hundred thousand millions of galaxies. We breathe ancient air, drink from antique mineral springs, experience everything made of fine dust, enjoy the exciting evolution of the birth and destruction of stardust. Thinking about the water in my body, the calcium phosphate in my flesh and bone, the iron in my bloody the magnesium and zinc in my heart and liver, the potassium and sodium in my flesh and skin, the heavy metal in my brain, the silicon carbide in my pulmonary alveolus, and stone in my kidney... all of these basic elements get entangled in our lives and are bestowed from the Earth and Nature. Hundreds of tons of space particles arc falling to the Earth from outer space, plus the fertile dirt and dust eroded by wind on Earth; within each parting or gathering, the formation, existing decay, and disappearance of every existence is determined. To trace it to its source, every atom in the body comes from scars in the universe, and one lifetime is an infinite canny karmic assembling, and my body is just temporarily borrowed from these ancient elements used by all sentient beings, aliens, universal life forms for uncountable time, and one day it will finally cease to exist and decay, disintegrate into billions of fine dust particles and then create another billion karmic relations; life is actually such an instant action, made from dust and returning to dust.

The chirping of an early-rising Taiwan Blue Magpie cracks the chilly dawn. After lying on the roof and counting the stars all night long, before getting ready for bed, I should collect all the inter-galactic star dust that has fallen on me from last night to this morning, incorporating it into my Temmoku glaze recipe for the next firing. One Temmoku bowl presents an immeasurable amount of dust with untraceable origins, which is possibly the beginning of another universe. The process that formed the stars and planets is almost similar to pottery-making. I feel that every my Temmoku glaze recipe for the next firing. One Temmoku bowl presents an immeasurable amount of dust with Temmoku bowl is connected to every sentient being, related to the limitless sky and universe.

To view life from the perspective of fine dust, our situation can also become very open, as we humble ourselves to the lowest and smallest of all; we are free and open, and surely we can see the boundless universe in fine dust, finding the whole cosmos in one Temmoku bowl.