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.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Zendot Turns Two, No Tantrums, Please, We're Buddhist
Two years ago today, I wrote my first post on blogger. I was dipping my toe into the cyber ink pot (now that's better than ambidextrous, don't you think?). I had posted some art on etsy and the etsy tips suggested a blog was a good thing. Sure why not. I didn't have a clear idea of where I was going but I pulled on my blogger boots and headed off down the trail, posting my first piece of art called "Post Apocalyptic Buddhist Graffiti" Three passions bumped into each other on the trail, my love of writing, exploring the Dharma and art. Here was a place they could hang out together, meet, shake hands, have a coffee, do the hokey pokey, anything within the boundaries of reasonably good taste. It didn't really matter if anyone read what fell in the blogger forest, I was balancing precariously on a little cyber soap box. It felt like a strange mix of offering and opportunity.
It has been an interesting journey, sometimes with many consecutive days of disciplined writing (100 days of Dharma) and as a personal challenge, 30 days of art. At some point I decided I didn't want to post everyday just for the sake of posting. I wanted to write when something in my life or on my mind beckoned me to the page.
I found Dharma friends along the way and blogs that resonated with me, bloggers filled with wisdom and passion who offered sips and deep drinks from their wells. My Dharma has always been about the koan of everyday life, not so much what I find in books or scriptures. It has been my aim to share my life with some transparency without being too much of a Zen Soap Opera. I try to balance the suffering with some joy and find the Charlie Chaplin in the suffering. Irreverence and foolishness are important qualities to me and I try to bake a little into each batch of Dharma biscuits.
The little paper doll Buddhas in the picture above are sharing the coffee table with a book called "Pain Free" (it's written by a physiotherapist, no Dharma intended) but it struck me that often that's what we're up to, trying to escape from our pain, whatever it might be. I have been learning that pain is a little like the monsters in nightmares, you've just got to turn around and look them in the eye. I have been learning that there is so much sweetness and wisdom in the darkness, in the pain. It is full and ripe and just what you need. You just have to learn how to shine the little bike light from your Christmas stocking on it and find the hidden treasures.
That first Dec 30th, 2008 blog post contained these words from the Dalai Lama:
"Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to have woken up. I am alive. I have a precious human life. I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others, to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thougths towards others. I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can."
What more can we ask for really to wake up each day with the aim to "wake up"?
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.