Love this speech so much. It helps me a lot during the hard times of creative crisis.
… In meditative art, the artist embodies the viewer as well as the creator of the works. Vision is not separate from operation, and there is no fear of being clumsy or failing to achieve his aspiration. He or she simply makes a printing, poem, piece of music, or whatever. In that sense, a complete novice could pick up a brush and, with the right state of mind, produce a masterpiece. It is possible, but that is very hit-and-miss approach. In art, as in life generally, we need to study our craft, develop our skills, and absorb the knowledge and insight passed down by tradition. But whether we have the attitude of a student who could still become more proficient in handling his materials, or the attitude of an accomplished master, when we are actually creating a work of art there is a sense of total confidence. Our message is simply one of appreciating the nature of things as they are and expressing it without any struggle, of thoughts and fear.
We give up aggression, both toward ourselves, that we have to make a special effort to impress people, and toward others, that we can put something over on them.
Genuine art – dharmaart – is simply the activity of nonaggression.
Source: “True Perception” by ChogyamTrungpa
Not long time ago one of our teachers showed us his collection of Tibetan stuff he bought recently from local vendors. One of the things that attracted my attention at once was an old wooden cover book full of small images of Buddhas & Bodhisatvas. Really gorgeous piece of art…
“The following example is not perfect but it may help me explain the relationship of emptiness to thought. There is rather unusual Japanese noodle dish called wanko soba. One is served a small amount of noodles, which one proceeds to slurp down.
As soon as one is finished, the waitress brings a second serving. If the customer downs these noodles as well, another batch is served immediately. Because the quantity of soba is small enough to be consumed in a single gulp, this cycle of serving and eating repeats itself numerous times. The customer cannot easily control his eating speed, since he must follow the brisk rhythm created by the waitress. Whenever she brings another serving of noodles, she pours them into his bowl and adds the empty serving bowl to the stack in front of him, so the bowls pile higher and higher. Customers may take this as a challenge to eat more than the others in the restaurant, or at least feel some sense of achievement watching the pile grow, so they continue eating. The mounting pile of bowls seems like a proof of their accomplishment.
The act of thinking is a lot like a reversal of the process of eating wanko soba. In short, the customer looks at the empty bowl piled up before his eyes and fills them with his “thoughts” rather than with “noodles.” He follows a certain rhythm when he does this; first one thought fills one bowl, then, in a flash, another, then another… In this manner, like conditioned reflex, “thought” accumulates before our eyes. I have no idea of the exact path our thoughts take, but the example of the empty noodle bowls reflects the general mechanism. In short, our brains automatically insert “answers” into small spaces. In this fashion, emptiness carries our thinking process forward.”
White by Kenya Hara