Monday, November 30, 2009

Snow Globe Buddha Offers Greetings

Okay here's a Christmas Koan. What kind of holiday card do you send to your Buddhist friends? Is that like the joke, what did the Buddhist find when he opened his Christmas present? Emptiness. I know this is okay because you've come to expect complete foolishness from me if you pop by here now and then. I don't bill myself as a Zen fool for no reason at all!

I did this little mixed media piece last year (it's sold) and decided it would make a nice little holiday card. I've been searching around for the perfect quote. This morning on Tricycle's Daily Dharma there it was waiting courtesy of Sylvia Boorstein: "(I often think about the snow globes with lovely scenes at their center, scenes hidden from view as long as the “snow” is shaken up. Once the globe is left alone on a steady surface, the snow settles, and what is meant to be seen is revealed.)" I have simply used the last part of the quote "the snow settles and what is meant to be seen is revealed." And a little shameless shilling - they are for sale on Etsy if the fancy overtakes you!

It's a great thought actually because it is so habitual for us to be stirring things up. I have heard Dharma talks with the same message based on a glass of water and sand or a lake, but the stirring of silt and mud all have the same effect. These liquids and their swirling bits are offered to us as reminders that running here and there, with our incessant chatter and pouring over things simply muddy the water. If you are engaged in a regular sitting practice you will know how helpful it is to just sit; how sometimes the answers or solutions to problems just arrive as you sit. Or the problems loosen their grip on you. But we also know how difficult this is when life puts a little squeeze on us. It's hard to stop shaking that globe. We just grasp it as hard as we can and shake and shake.

Our wanting to make things happen, to have things go our way, our sense that we are in control; these are the things that cause us to grab that lovely clear snow globe and shake the dickens out of it. We think all the shaking will make the snow land in just the loveliest little drifts that will please us, but in reality life doesn't work this way. Yes our actions have consequences, but we are not privy to all the things that go into creating the results. So here is the Buddha in all his lovely hot pinkness offering up holiday greetings and Dharma from within his little enso of a snow globe.

What are you shaking up in your world today?


  1. Gorgeous card! And lovely post too. It's probably much too early to say this, but, what the heck, - Merry Christmas! All the very best, Marcus

  2. Hey Marcus, it must be that time difference that makes you want to say Merry Christmas, it's probably December in Thailand by now! Thanks for the kind comments and best of the season to you.

    You must have heard me humming my favourite Christmas song, it's "Great Big Sled" by the Killers. My favourite line is "I want to roll around like a kid in the snow. I want to relearn what I already know."

  3. You're right! December the 1st here! No chance of snow though! All the best, Marcus

  4. thank you for giving us the zen slant on art, and life-- shaking things up to reveal something, and then come the consequences-- good or bad..I needed that this morning.

  5. I love this! Spoke directly to my heart - "what is meant to be seen is revealed." Yes... What you wrote about this speaks to me of clarity and also reminds me of humility for some reason, to have the humility to just sit and not try to make anything happen, to let life unfold. Okay, so I'll stop shaking my little world here and see what happens :) Thanks for the insight today! C

  6. I love this card. I went to Etsy, but couldn't find it. Am I doing something wrong?

  7. no, my mistake! the ones I had posted there sold yesterday and I was so busy with a home art sale today that I didn't get a chance to repost them until now. You should be able to find them now!

  8. wow, glad I stopped by today! So much snow in my head...whirling like a blizzard...well that was this grieving showed up as shouting and then i was blessed by a visit by my acupuncturist/friend/souljourney qi is flowing better and I am calmer and my snow is settling nicely to the bottom of my globe/head.

    great image from you and advice from Sylvia...I love that woman...she reminds me of my great-aunt bella...(I told her that once) I mean she totally has BeBe's presence and body build everything!

    gentle steps,

  9. ah so much opportunity for practice in illness. I know this too, perhaps not as intensely as you. But how difficult! I know that for sure, too. Yes that image of the swirling chaos and confusion of the mind, just like a blizzard, hard to see out. Glad to hear your storm has settled a bit for now.

    take good care!

  10. Love the art work and how you've made them into cards.
    The snow globe is a perfect metaphor too.