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Art and Practice with The Heart Sutra

Toward Re-organization — Related Posts: The Aristotelian Detour, Field Mapping, Toward an Experimental Politics of Nonviolence Most of us spend our lives avoiding the Heart Sutra, but it pursues us anyway like a heat-seeking missile, even while also rising up around us like the petals of the famous lotus flower. Allow me to explain. Blossom of Inexhaustible Kindness, 2013, by Tom Wudl We tend to assume that, at least in principle, there is nothing we may not know. The idea that being born, say, in the second half of the twentieth century in the US of A might limit or shape what we may know seems odd to us, insulting almost. And yet periods of history are defined by styles of thinking, root ideas and … [Read more...]

A Very Impressive Gentleman

Confession of a Buddhist Atheist Reading Stephen Batchelor’s Confession of a Buddhist Atheist is likely to have an irreversible impact on your image of the historical Buddha. Far from a demi-god who woke up one day beneath the Bodhi tree and lived out his life in an alternate universe defined by bliss and ease, Batchelor’s earthy and forceful Siddhattha Gotama exists within a Shakespearean landscape defined by passionate treachery and high political intrigue. While Batchelor takes pains to present this figure as one of many legitimate pictures of the Buddha, the picture he paints couldn’t be more bracing. Toward the end of Confession, for example, Batchelor tells of an old king who, when visiting Gotama, hands his sword and turban to … [Read more...]

Look Again

Photography and the Dream of Form, Part 1: Batchelor – Contrary to popular belief, machines, technology, do not exist to enslave us, or to limit or retard our spiritual growth. Rather, technology exists to liberate us from Cartesian habits of mind so that we can embody hitherto undernourished aspects of our potential for awareness. To see what I mean, examine the photograph to the right on your screen. The meat in the image is red but probably it's flowers instead of meat and just a little out of focus such that it appears meat-like. What's in focus must be water, but since water is transparent you can't actually see it. The shadow of three fingers and a thumb that interrupt the cool stripe of reflected light is in focus so, yes, … [Read more...]