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, December 25, 2010
The Gift You Can Give Anywhere, Anytime & Its Free!
In our culture, part of the season's ritual includes exchanging gifts. A lot of us have mixed and contradictory feelings about this. I have jokingly heard the season referred to as "the winter shopping festival." It is the commercial pressure circus that makes us recoil in disgust. Something gets lost in the foofaraw of black friday and cyber monday and the cry for us to buy, buy, buy, now, later, on boxing day. Sometimes the things we are urged to buy are are so incredibly unnecessary,as to be amusing; things that have caused me personally to nominate "useless gift of the year"; things such as electric jewelery cleaners, hot dog cookers. I'm sure you have a few nominations of your own.
So here's a different kind of exchange we can engage in at anytime, Christmas or not, that might seem more meaningful:
"In order to become used to caring for others more than yourself, You should bring to mind the essential points and integrate in your being The visualization for exchanging self and others, While riding the horse of the breath. from "The Great Medicine That Conquers Clinging To The Notion Of Reality" root text of Shechen Gyaltsap Pema Namgyal
Here is the wonderfully clear commentary on the practice by Shechen Rabjam: ...Breath out while thinking, "May all my good qualities, happiness, merit, and realization go out with my breath and benefit all beings." Think that all beings receive these benefits. Then breathe in while imagining that you inhale all of their suffering and its causes, their negative thoughts, and so on. Imagine that you attract these afflictions and negativities like a magnet, and by dissolving all that you inhale into your heart, others are freed. Then while briefly holding your breath, transform all the suffering and negativity that you inhaled into joy and happiness."
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.