Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Knitting The Giant Rumpled Sweater of Humanity
Everywhere you go these days there is talk and relief efforts being directed toward the situation in Haiti. Over at Full Contact Enlightenment I was touched by a quote posted a few days ago. "The misery of millions is not a cause for pity. Rather it is a cause for developing compassion." His Holiness the Dalaï Lama
It reminded me that this arising of compassion is so natural when we see suffering in the world. If we remember not to turn away, if we can step outside our own small worries, we cannot help but feel the tug to help. You can see this as people everywhere watch the news and respond by opening their hearts and wallets. In situations like this people go to amazing and creative places to offer food and supplies, and prayers.
It is interesting to watch because not only does it help those in need and trauma but it brings people together, it knits us into a tighter community with a common cause. We become a giant, slightly rumpled sweater of humanity offering warmth and comfort to those in need. And in our helping, our hearts open, our spirits are lifted and we experience our "Buddha nature". We feel generous and alive and connected to our human family. And as the Dalai Lama points out we experience compassion.
A fellow Vancouver Islander and Etsian, Sarah over at Kooandpoppet, donated 50% of her sales for a period, from her cute and quirky little handmade creatures, to Haiti. Great idea! So this coming week I will do the same over at my Etsy shop. Also locally, in Victoria, there will be Multi faith prayers and donations at Christ Church Cathedral on Monday at 4:30 pm. And an email arrived today from a friend about a group called Shelter Box. Check this out. 11 plastic tubs make a temporary hospital. One box provides shelter for 10 people.
And so again the question arises for me, do we have the strength to open our hearts and be touched deeply by what comes to us. Can we look inside and ask "what is it good to do", rather than flip the channel or turn away and feel overwhelmed. I think this is what it means to live the Dharma.
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.