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.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
What's Love Got To Do With It?
Okay, I know I'm a bit late weighing in on this topic but I was inspired by the wonderful post over at 108 Zen Books. I have a slightly jaundiced view of holidays that have been hijacked as consumer opportunities, celebrations that have morphed in to shopping festivals. Note to self: this is a rant free post.
But I want to offer this little link to a piece Gil Fronsdal wrote on love. He talks about the different kinds of love. Valentine's Day has become a celebration of romantic love, a complex subject but Gil reminds us of the richness and diversity of love.
"The Buddhist tradition encourages people to develop four different forms of love, called the four Brahmaviharas: loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), sympathetic joy (mudita), and, finally, an emotion that we don’t generally equate with love, equanimity (upekkha). These are all forms of love because they all include a warm, tender, sympathetic attitude of the heart toward oneself or others.
Buddhism teaches that a variety of attitudes may be confused as love. One is sensual desire. Another is affection that is entangled with craving and the need for reciprocity. The Buddha never encouraged the cultivation of such affection; in fact, he often considered it a hindrance to spiritual maturity. However, if we abandon such affections too quickly, we may overlook situations when affection consists of a combination of craving and one of the four helpful forms of love. One of the joys of spiritual practice is learning to distinguish unhelpful grasping and neediness from an underlying love that needs nothing beyond itself. What should be abandoned is craving, not love. When letting go of craving is too difficult, then a person may practice developing one of the four forms of love to the point that any need to be loved naturally loses its power in the glow of love flowing from us."
Wishing you a day where you take the time to bring love into awareness and recognize the many places it manifests in your life and the new ways you can bring it into being in this world. Tossing imaginary flowers and chocolate in your general direction!
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.