Friday, June 19, 2009

Does Buddha Belong In The Market Place?

Buddha's Bedtime Story - Original Brush Painting On Vintage Book Page - Matte Size 8x8
Image Size 3 3/4"x 4 1/2" - $25 CDN - free shipping

I have a confession to make.  You have arrived just  in time to catch me with my hand in the cookie jar.  Don't worry no goods, services or more importantly beings,  have been harmed in my foray into banditry.  I am swiping an idea from a fellow artist.  Would it sound better if I said I was borrowing an idea?  Would you find it more palatable if I reminded you that imitation is the highest form of flattery?

Randall Plowman of the "Collage A Day " sells a collage on his blog most days (as do a number of other sites).  And I have decided in an effort to challenge myself and shake things up a bit to give it a try.
 I wrote 100 days of Dharma.  Now I think I will post 30 days of art.  Partly its because I see how beneficial it is to do something repeatedly.  Partly it is because the sluggish side of me needs some reason, some serious encouragement to apply some discipline.  It's so easy to let the days slip by with all kinds of good reasons why studio work hasn't happened.  Sloth and Torpor, my good friends, invite me out to tea.  My mother's business details have kept me busy.  There's the garden calling for attention.  The sunshine beckons for long walks.  But the truth is there is still time to get a little studio work done everyday.  And the benefit of exercising that muscle is immeasurable.  It builds skill and takes us places we didn't know we were going.

So here I am cookie crumbs and chocolate chip smears on my chin posting the first piece of art for sale.  And that's not the all of it.   I wrestled with the commercial aspect of selling each piece here.  For me it adds a slightly different twist.   I did post a piece of art with each writing for a 100 days so I needed a little variation.  And in truth the economics of a $25 original are kind of an interesting idea.  It makes original art affordable for more people and contributes to my my own right livlihood.  But how does that fit in with the Dharma?  Is it a bit crass to post something for sale in the same place I write about the Dharma?   Are the Dharma and money and commerce mutually exclusive?  Must they be separate?  Where do we draw the line?  I am exploring all of this.  So maybe I am eating cookies in the nude now?   

So  I must say this is an experiment, one that makes me wriggle a little but then what is life for, if not to provide a little wriggle material for ourselves.  I'm on the hook now, I might as well wriggle!  It reminds me of the Bruce Springsteen song (courtesy of my daughter) I was listening to on my ipod the other day.  The song is "Dancing In the Dark" and I thought to myself, isn't that what we're doing here a lot of the time.  It seems so descriptive of this human dimension somehow.  Springsteen also reminds us that "we can't start a fire without a spark" and that (my personal favourite) "you can't start a fire worrying about your little world falling apart.".  So here I am out on the dance floor.  Care to join me?


  1. Yes,Yes,Yes!

    I'm so excited to see 30 days of your art! Who knows there may be one with my name on it :)

    I love the idea! Not crass at all! It's Life/Dharma (Truth) playing itself out in form! Go for it!

    I can hear the music playing now...

    Much love, and success!

  2. If I buy something that makes me find my own truth, be more present, reflective and brings me joy, therefore happiness, it is Dharma.

    If your talent and your art bring well being, joy and happiness, it is Dharma.

    Selling your paintings is what's linking the two, it is what allows me to bring home what you so beautifully manifested on your canvas.

    Trust that only people that connect with your art will buy it. You are helping create unity, connection and communion - there is beauty and intention in all your paintings.

    "That which brings well-being to man is Dharma."

    "That which leads to the attainment of Abhyudaya (prosperity in this world) and Nihsreyasa (total cessation of pain and attainment of eternal bliss hereafter) is Dharma". Rishi Kanada

    "Money" and "selling" are not bad things or Adharma. They are only two of many intermidiates between people.

    Take care,


  3. Well thanks to you both for your encouragement and wise words. And to you Patricia for that detailed clarification.

    It's interesting when I look a little deeper. I guess I wouldn't have started this little project if at some level I really felt wasn't okay. When I think of it now, I think I was trying to peer through the eyes of others. "What will people think of me? Some Dharma folk might find it offensive." Ah attachment to that self image and projection. How can I know what others will think? I am reminded to do my part and not worry about results, if after some thought an action seems good.

    I hear you saying it is "right livelihood" I think, and if I stop and consider it as you so succinctly put it, selling is simply a form of connection. Money does get a bad wrap in the spiritual world sometimes!

    I am having fun here already! Bows to you both.