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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

"Buddhist Primer"

"A Boddhisatva sat in lotus,
 At his altar Zen he showed us."

This is a detail of a box listed on Etsy. I wanted to paint something with a meditating figure, this was the first one of several on this theme. I just thought about the scene and the figures appeared. The ape-like qualities of the figures in front were not intentional, they just happened that way. The meditating figure is larger and has no face . . .hmmm. . . so I thought, this has to be a lesson in Zen mediation.

Later boxes from this series show the meditating figure with a distinctly Arabic or Palestinian hat, which led me to wonder, suppose the Palestinians in Gaza took up Buddhism, while at the same time remaining Muslim? I wondered, briefly, before fighting broke out again, what would happen if a meditative religious practice were grafted onto today's instincts for jihad.

Would mediation by either side, help lead to peace? One thing may be said about both sides in the conflict, neither religion has a tradition of meditation for clearing of the mind. Neither does Christianity. The monotheistic religions suffer from their own motivational myths, jihad, conquering, subjugation, being chosen. The religions of the word are ego inflating by definition. Nowhere in the core of these practices is a process of emptying the trash of the mind. If anything, they conflagrate mental debris by accentuating and emphasizing the power of the word which gets taken straight to the ego, and from there to anger.

That's it! The word has taken over! We need to clear our minds, forget our language, at least for a few minutes every day!

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