Life as a glowstick

May 25, 2015

Nora Meiners sent me a link to this video of herself performing “Glowsticks” at the Women of the World Poetry Slam. It deals with the familiar parental situation of dealing with a child who can’t get his head around the impermanence of a toy, and makes the connection with the impermanence of our own lives. We’re more like glowsticks than not…

Nora graduated from Emerson College with a BFA in Creative Writing but started writing poems fairly only recently She has competed in the National Poetry Slam for Boston Poetry Slam (2013) and Lizard Lounge Poetry Slam (2014). She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

I like the poem, although I’d love to see it performed with … Read more »

The second arrow

October 11, 2014

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San Diego–based Seyo Cizmic is a surrealist artist who creates bizarre objects whose everyday uses have been subverted. This particular work is a striking reminder of the Buddha’s “two arrows” teaching, in which he points out that we take an initial instance of hurt and replay it over and over in our minds, magnifying and intensifying our pain. In other words, most of our suffering is caused by ourselves.

(Thanks to Caroline Hagerman on Google+ for bringing this image to my attention!)

Sweet Nirvāna!

August 27, 2014

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I found this sweet hymn in a book by Paul Carus, called Sacred Tunes for the Consecration of Life: Hymns of the Religion of Science. Carus (18 July 1852 – 11 February 1919) was an early German-American translator, compiler, and popularizer of Buddhist texts.

Carus seems to have been fond of hymns, since he published an entire book of settings of Buddhist texts. This is available online, courtesy of archive.org.

Unfortunately my sight-reading skills have atrophied through decades of disuse, and I’m only able to guess at what the tune is.

Here is the rest of the song.

Sweet Nirvāna,
Highest Jhāna!
Rupture sweeter than all pleasures,
Thou the measure of all measures,

Read more »

The Monologue of Ice, by Atta Kim

July 30, 2013

The Monologue of Ice: Four Days, Spring Picnic, by Atta Kim.

This is from 2011, but you may have missed it. The installation, in the Rubin Museum, NYC, was by Atta Kim, who is a South Korean photographer (born in 1956) who has been active since the mid-1980s.

As the work melted, visitors were encouraged to touch the ice and take away non-potable water from the pool on their way out of the museum, using small glass containers that were provided. It was the artist’s intention that the collected water be used to continue the cycle of renewal by watering a plant.

This installation was a beautiful illustration of impermanence, insubstantiality, and interconnectedness.

Meditating figures in Helsinki

June 13, 2013

Rafael Saifulin, "Onni"

Rafael Saifulin, “Onni.” Photographed in Helsinki by Donald Farmer.

Appearance/Emptiness, by Sukhi Barber

May 27, 2013

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Sukhi Barber was born in Hertfordshire, England. From an early age she was drawn to the classical and ancient traditions of art and philosophy, which led her to undertake a traditional sculptural training at The City and Guilds of London Art School. There she gained a firm grasp of figurative clay modeling and life drawing, graduating in 1995 with the prize for sculpture, and a scholarship from Madame Tussauds.

After graduation Sukhi traveled to India, captivated by the timeless quality of peace and balance that she found in Asian art. Settling in Kathmandu, Nepal, she spent the next twelve years studying Buddhist philosophy and producing sculptures based on the traditional techniques of stone carving and … Read more »

Images of mindfulness

February 13, 2013

Phatarawadee Phataranawik, The Nation: BACC show communicates the truths of dharma.

Fashion photographer and avid dharma practitioner Punsiri Siriwetchapun believes there is little difference between working on his art and meditation.

“The teaching of Lord Buddha seeks to achieve the cessation of suffering. The way to undo suffering is to explore the causes as they manifest themselves in our own bodies and minds in order to understand their origins. It’s the same with my art. I search within myself to convey my thoughts. My art presents my inner self,” says Punsiri who has been practising dharma for more than a decade.

Punsiri has teamed up with three fellow artists for the devotional exhibition “No Absolute … Read more »

A vision of peace in Burma

December 4, 2012
Meditation on peace, by Alamsyah Rauf (Alamsyah)) on 500px.com
meditation on peace by Alamsyah Rauf

 

There’s been so much bad news from Burma recently, with Buddhist monks advocating violence against the Muslim minority and being attacked by security forces as they tried to prevent the expansion of a Chinese copper mine, that I thought I’d post this lovely image of a Burmese boy monk meditating.

The photographer, Alamsyah Rauf, says that he used a 1/5th second exposure on a tripod to blur the water a little yet keep the monk sharp. Do visit his page, and if you like the photograph then consider supporting the artist by buying a copy.

A symbol for mindfulness

November 11, 2012

A graphic designer called Giedrius recently wrote to me from Lithuania, telling me that he had created the symbol above to represent “being here and now – the idea of mindfulness.” He said:

This is an open source symbol that can universally represent mindfulness. It can also work as a reminder that can help people to be aware of the present moment.

His website gives more background information on the symbol:

When you see this symbol, anywhere – in public, personal or virtual spaces – it will work as a reminder for you to become aware of this present moment.

Firstly, this symbol is presented like a physical representation of present moment.

Vertical forms represent

Read more »

Beth Orton: “The discipline and the focus that I learned in the monastery became the same discipline and focus that I write with.”

October 29, 2012

Beth Orton on National Public Radio: “When I was 19, my mom passed away very suddenly. … She left [me and my brothers] 2,000 pounds each. It was a bit like a fable — you know, what do we do with our money? I bought a ticket to Thailand with some friends, and then we all kind of peeled off. Me and this girl, she’s like, ‘I know of this place we can go and meditate.’ And I was like, ‘Meditation, what’s that?’ I didn’t know what she was talking about. I went because it sounded like a laugh. After a while I just opened up to it.

“The strangest thing was, it was … Read more »