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issue#1286 - Thursday, December 12, 2002 - Editor: Jerry
When I first took up
the brush, it was like holding a piece of
straw above an endless ocean.
Once, when giving a Dharma
talk, the Buddha simply held up a flower
and smiled. This was silent action. And among all those in
attendance, only Mahakasyapa understood the meaning of this action.
As a contemporary seeker on
the Path, I have chosen painting as my
own special way of living amongst the people. My training as a monk
-- sutra study, chanting, meditation -- prepared me well for this
experience. Particularly the meditation. Zen meditation is much
brighter than the gold and silver of the world, and its scent is
more elegant than that of all the flowers in the marketplace.
Diamonds are both beautiful and indestructible; yet following the
laws of karma, they will inevitably return to dust. The
crystallization of Zen, however, is as endless and infinite, as is
the scent of a painting.
In comparing the works of a
secular artist with those of a seeker
on the Path, there is one striking and intriguing difference:
Often, the secular artist expresses immense detail and
differentiation, whereas the seeker often expresses a simpler, more
cosmic mind. An artist's works are necessarily an expression of his
limited capabilities. Whether it's flowers or people or scenery of
abstraction, the beauty of lines and color are necessarily limited
by and reflect the artist's subjective experience
There are times in the life of
a practicing monk when we are jolted
by unexpected visions. As monks we do not give such things a second
thought, but ordinary people without a wise teacher may be jolted
and even crazed by such experiences. Some claim to have been given
extraordinary capabilities by the gods. It is such types of vision
that Dali expressed on canvas, something that few can accomplish.
Not becoming enlightened in
this lifetime may be sad but nothing is
sadder than going mad. While artists try to express their lives in
visual forms which are then labeled "realism," "abstract," etc., it
is up to the viewer to discover the real meaning of the painting.
And if he is successful, it becomes a meaningful part of a
The works by a monk-artist are
the same. When a monk-artist
expresses the crystallization of his experience and a viewer is
drawn into this world, then path-seeking becomes a less lonely
experience as the monk-artist and the viewer walk on together
towards the world of enlightenment.
In today's world of
specialization, people live according to their
own colors. As a child, I never dreamt that I would become a
monk-artist; but now, as I continue on the path as slowly and
steadily as the flow of a brush soaked with ink, I realize that my
path is to fill the universe with what I hope will be visual
fragrances for others, so that we may walk together.
May all beings be well and happy! --Monk SongYoon __________________________________________________________________________
Maya Must Recede
It is said that the dawn of
the rise of Kundalini is the 'expansion
Know this to be a limitation of language.
Consciousness is the cause and substance of all, just as the mind
when dreaming is the holder of the dream and by its energy assumes
all forms in the dream.
Consciousnesss does not expand prilgrim, no no, Consciousness is
all; the pure Being/Existence and the Dynamic/Reflective.
listen to the three-fold wisdom.
If, in a spacious room full of smoke a fan is turned on and the
smoke recedes, has there been an expansion of the element of space
or a has there been a receeding of the pervasion of smoke?
Consciousness does not 'expand', it is Maya rather who 'recedes',
who is sublimated to her Master the Infinite Being which is
characterized by the fullness of Existence or Being.
This is not an inert, dead Being, a static existence, but is of the
nature of Self Awareness.
Pure Being (Shiva) that is not dead inertia but Conscious Bliss of
the nature of dynamism.
The supreme essence of all gross mantra is also the subtlest of
subtle dynamism: Consciousness/Awarnesss.
Being/Reflection! This is the fruit of mantra, this is the supreme
vibration, the paravak, the supreme mantra.
That which is all does not expand, even the word-form 'expand' as a
concept exists due to That.
All of sadhana is not an effort to expand Consciousness, but
rather, is an effort to remove avidya or ignorance, to blow the
smoke of Maya away.
Consciousness does not expand; ignorance 'recedes'. Sublimate the
manas into the buddhi, sublimate the ignorance of ego and linear
thinking into spiritual knowing and spontaneous knowledge, true
knowledge, knowledge that is synonymous with being, knowledge that
is not memory from books.
Sadhana is like peeling an onion; it is the shedding of a lifetime
of learned states, and in due course, a burning of karmic seeds.
from Ultimate Advaita
Every disciple has to be told
this in the beginning: "One day the
method that has helped you so far has to be dropped. When its work
is finished, don't carry it, not even for a single moment longer.
When your illness is gone, you have to drop the medicine. If you
continue the medicine then IT will become your illness."
ALL methods are methods, all
means are means. And if you want to
reach the end you will have to drop all means and all methods.
That is the only way to enter into the ultimate. The lover will
have to forget all about love, and the meditator will have to
forget all about meditation. Yes, there comes a moment when the
meditator does not meditate, because he has become meditation
himself; now meditation is not a separate activity. And there
comes a moment when the lover does not love, because he is love
"He who has found the
bliss of the eternal is no more afflicted by
the thought, 'Why have I not done this good? Why have I done this
non-good?' They who have found the self are afflicted no more by
such thoughts of good and non-good, self and other."
-- Taitiriya Upanishad ____________________________________________________________________________
Paintings by Bob Graham
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