|Dr. Robert Puff|
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#1547 ~ Sunday, September 7, 2003 ~ Editor: Gloria Lee
Sam ~ E-zendo
Since earnestly studying the Buddhist doctrine of emptiness I've learned to still all the common states of mind. Only the devil of poetry I have yet to conquer- let me come on a bit of scenery and I start my idle droning.
BAI JUYI from Zen Poems
Diana ~ NDS
It's not about you,
and everything you see is you.
Elegant, parsimonious way
to stage a cosmic joke, huh?
Nina ~ NDS Rembrandt's Vision
(The following is an
excerpt from Anne Rice's book, The Tale of the
Body Thief. It is a portion of a letter from the vampire, Lestat, to
his mortal friend, David. I find it to be a striking allegorical
I believe that Rembrandt sold his soul to the Devil when he was a
young man. It was a simple bargain. The Devil promised to make
Rembrandt the most famous painter of his time. The Devil sent hordes
of mortals to Rembrandt for portraits. He gave wealth to Rembrandt,
he gave him a charming house in Amswerdam, a wife and later a
mistress, because he was sure he would have Rembrandt's soul in the
But Rembrandt had been changed by his encounter with the Devil.
Having seen such undeniable evidence of evil, he found himself
obsessed with the question What is good? He searched the faces of his
subjects for their inner divinity; and to his amazement, he was able
to see the spark of it in the most unworthy of men.
His skill was such - and please understand, he had got no skill from
the Devil; the skill was his to begin with - that not only could he
see that goodness, he could paint it; he could allow his knowledge of
it, and his faith in it, to suffuse the whole.
With each portrait he understood the grace and goodness of mankind
ever more deeply. He understood the capacity for compassion and for
wisdom which resides in every soul. His skill increased as he
continued; the flash of the infinite became ever more subtle; the
person himself ever more particular; and more grand and serene and
magnificent each work.
At last the faces Rembrandt painted were not flesh-and-blood faces at
all. They were spiritual countenances, portraits of what lay wihtin
the body of the man or the woman; they were visions of what that
person was at his or her finest hour, of what that person stood to
This is why the merchants of the Drapers' Guild look like the oldest
and wisest of God's saints.
But nowhere is this spiritual depth and insight more clearly manifest
than in Rembrandt's self-portraits. And surely you know that he left
us one hundred and twenty-two of these.
Why do you think he painted so many...
click here for others
Though Dürer is credited for being the first artist to consistently create self-portraits, Rembrandt is given credit for being the first artist to intensely study the self through art. During his life time, 1606-1669, Rembrandt sketched his own face thousands of times. He created a legacy of 60 self-portraits that depict his history, an autobiographical story that chronicles his turbulent life. From rags to riches, through marriages and mistresses, from youth to old age, we can witness the changing face of Rembrandt.
His first self-portrait is dated as early as 1629; his last, a few months before his death in 1669. Between those forty years Rembrandt modeled for himself so many times that we can't help but wonder why. There seems to be several advantages for Rembrandt to turn to the mirror for inspiration. One notion suggests that as a young and struggling artist, Rembrandt was the most readily available model. He could paint himself anytime, anywhere without having to pay or rely on a professional model. Another reason for the multitude of self-portraits may lie in the typical clientele of the time. Rembrandt often painted his own face deep in the shadows or with grimacing expressions, techniques that he certainly could not explore on the portrait of a wealthy client. Kelly noted that for Rembrandt, "self-portraits became an outlet for feelings and ideas concerning the nature of human existence which found no satisfactory channel elsewhere." In this case, his own face provided a wide range of opportunity for growth and discovery as an artist.
Janson summed up Rembrandt's use of the self-portraits well when he wrote that "...his view of himself reflects every stage of his inner development - experimental in the Leyden years; theatrically disguised in the 1630's; frank and self-analytical toward the end of his life, ... yet full of simple dignity." The self-portraits of his last two decades show that Rembrandt was beyond using himself as a model out of convenience, and past using his face to test new techniques. It is in these last two decades that a real exploration of self comes forth. We see a much more honest view of Rembrandt's features in his later work than in his famous Self-Portrait, from 1640. In his final self-portraits dated from 1660 to 1669, Rembrandt appears old, wrinkled, and tired. Glancing in the mirror, Rembrandt said of these final portraits, "...and I came, it may be, to look for myself and recognize myself. What have I found? Death painted I see..."
Manuel Hernandez ~ A Net of Jewels
"Mind is interested in
what happens, while awareness is interested in the
mind itself. The child is after the toy, but the mother watches the child,
not the toy."
The Wisdom of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
Ben Hassine ~ NDS
If you would like to hear the chant: right-click then: save target as (in Windows that is...) Note: The Pali/English text translation may be read here. Or just listen... http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NondualitySalon/message/76476
Mike ~ E-zendo
Here is one definition of
"True Zen consists of sitting quietly in the correct posture. It is not a
special state, it is the normal state: silent, peaceful, without agitation.
Zen means to put the mind at rest and to concentrate the mind and body. In
zazen there is no purpose, no seeking to gain something, no special effort
or imagination. It is not knowledge to be grasped by the brain. It is solely
a practice, a practice which is the true gate to happiness, peace and
--Taisen Deshimaru Roshi
~ ~ ~
[There are many interesting articles by Zen Master Nishijima on this page
(link above). The articles themselves must be downloaded as either PDF or
MS-Word files. Below is the description of his article on the Shobogenzo.]
"Understanding The Shobogenzo"
"Most people's reaction on first reading the Shobogenzo is that it seems
very difficult to see clearly what the writings mean. This is a natural
reaction because when we read a sentence, we usually expect to be able to
understand the meaning of what we read immediately. The first time that I
picked up a copy of the Shobogenzo, I found that I could not understand any
of it, although I was reading a book written in my own native language. Of
course, reading the Shobogenzo in translation introduces a new set of
problems related to the skill and knowledge of the translator, and to the
similarities of the languages.
"Attempts to elucidate the problems that the Shobogenzo presents to the
reader bring me to four main reasons:
"1. The Shobogenzo is written with a unique logical structure, which I have
called "Four Views" or "Three Philosophies & One Reality." I explain this
system of logic in a later section.
"2. Master Dogen wrote using many phrases and quotations from Chinese
Buddhism which are relatively unknown to the layman, and difficult to render
into other languages. These phrases appear in the Shobogenzo in their
original Chinese form, making some parts of the book a commentary in 13th
century Japanese on Chinese phrases from even older sources. In the
translated version, we have the additional problems of representing these
phrases in a very different target language.
"3. The concepts that Master Dogen wanted to express were profound and
subtle. Even in his own language it was necessary for him to invent many new
words and phrases to put over what he wanted to say. These new words were
largely not adopted into the Japanese language, and so are unfamiliar to us
"4. Master Dogen wrote the Shobogenzo in order to explain his experience of
reality gained from practicing Zazen. His words are based on this
experience. It is normal these days to think that anything philosophical can
be understood intellectually, as an intellectual exercise. We do not have
much experience of philosophies which are pointing to physical practice. We
think that just reading the book should be enough to understand what is
written in it."
Jeff ~ NDS
How do I know what the
is of an aggressive marketer?
Marketing need not be a black art,
it can be and is for many, an
information art, a community building
art -- worldwide, especially with
the reach of the internet.
You think everyone sells cheap
and shoddy goods? Especially
in the spiritual marketplace?
Is there no integrity and honesty,
no delight in sharing good news,
and hope and motivation building
efforts for pure reasons, are there
no bodhisattvas among the marketers?
Always in Love, Jeff
Sarojini ~ NDS
I agree with you. I think it is important not to "dismiss" someone
because they are "marketing" themselves. It reminds me of the words to that
song that goes "What if God were one of us". Would it be "tacky" if He were
amongst us to actually get a Web Site? Probably not really. What better
way for so many to receive His message. But, somewhere in my heart, a
little part of me still hangs onto the thought that God would just be too
"Godlike" to get a Web Site. But how are we to know? :-) And since we can't
be certain, it's a pretty good idea to just view everybody as God. Because
we all are, aren't we?
Peace and Love Always,
Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained.
This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind.... If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like a sun....
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|Dr. Robert Puff|