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.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Morning in the Zendo
Here's a picture of morning in the new zendo. It was actually the formal living room in the house but after I placed the buddha in the window seat and considering the dark, serene quality of the room it felt like a meditation space. And as our living room furniture quickly made itself comfortable in the sunroom with its soaring windows and view of the pond, well, the inclination to have this as a meditation room (sans furniture) became stronger. It's interesting how if we listen, things are suggested to us by our environment. Even our Tibetan friend who came to do our house blessing and purification recognized it immediately as a place to have a formal sitting group. Who knows what the future holds?
I am still visited by doubt, wondering if we have done the right thing. Is this too big a property? Will we be overwhelmed by the work it takes to look after it. Have I been greedy in choosing this place? In and out float these challenging thoughts. They are interspersed with feelings of great peace while digging in the herb garden, noticing the light decline and hearing a duck land on the pond. I remind the worrying mind to settle and simply be with what is, not run off conjuring stories. How quickly the mind ignites the emotions into little brush fires of fear and worry. I remind myself to take another path, to cultivate courage and fearlessness. And if I watch this activity of my mind I am reminded of its insubstantial nature, how it is a little house of cards. And the sense of emptiness sinks a little deeper into my bones.
And on the note of emptiness here's a lovely little poem that seems to suit my mood and the season. It is by the Chinese Zen nun Yi-k'uei (1625-1679). I found it in a delightful little book I am reading "Enso: Zen Circles of Enlightenment" by Audrey Yoshiko Seo.
I watch unmoved as waves recede and Dharma gates fall into disrepair, I draw a circle on the ground within which I will hide myself away. Suddenly the summer begins to draw to a close, and fall comes again: It is only recently that I have mastered the art of being a complete fool.
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.