Nothing but Crows (kaleekolai) wrote,
Nothing but Crows

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[Living Buddhism] The daily report continues

I realized that I forgot to jot down one of my thoughts regarding art as a form of meditation last night. I remembered reading about the mandalas that Tibetan monks make and felt that my own artwork, although different in it's symbolism and actual purpose, was in a way akin to this practice. The mandalas are meant to illustrate Buddhahood and enlightenment by painting images of celestial Buddha's and their Buddha realms. They are visual representations of our own innate Buddha nature. If we follow the Mahayana Buddhist ideas of oneness and of this world (samsara) being the same as nirvana, then one could use anything from samsara to realize nirvana. In fact, that is part of what the Tibetan mandalas are; images that use the things of this world to bring us closer to the understanding of nirvana.

Another thought that occured to me was the fact that I have been creating the art and then either selling it or giving it to others. To me, this is an exercise in dettachment since I usually like to hang on to my artwork. I get attached to it and often feel that I can't part with it. This type of attachment is exactly what causes dukkha (suffering). The paintings are not permanent and neither am I so there is no point in trying to believe otherwise. This doesn't mean that I am not proud of my achievements or that I can't enjoy the artwork but rather that I am able to recognize that they are impermanent and will not last forever (nor will I). By trying to hang on to them that strongly, I will only cause myself suffering should something happen to them (eg. - if they got damaged). Of course, I can understand this on an intellectual level but actually having that level of dettachment is something that I haven't yet achieved.

This morning I thought that it would be nice to be able to spend some of my day doing menial chores like the monks and nuns would do in the monasteries. I have a feeling that just the act of sweeping or washing floors would be fairly meditative in itself. I suppose I might think differently if I had to do it though.

I also noticed how much we distract ourselves in North America (and I'm sure in other countries as well). We listen to our iPods, we watch our TVs, we read, we chat on the computer... anything to keep our minds busy. We are not accustomed to quieting our minds, in fact, we seem to seek the exact opposite; constant stimulation. We stimulate our mind through sound, taste, sense, sight, anything that is available. And when we aren't stimulated by some external thing, we distract ourselves with thoughts. We go over a conversation we had with our mother/father/partner/boss that we had the other day. We fantasize about the movie that we're going to see with our friends on the weekend. We keep the mind active, always thinking, always reflecting. It's no wonder that so many Westerners have difficulty with meditation. We are programmed to use our minds in the opposite way. Even when I try to meditate, I notice myself thinking about journaling the experience instead of just experiencing it in the moment. I wonder why we've become such sensory junkies and am fascinated by it at the same time. I wonder how difficult it will be to reprogram this over-stimulated mind.
Tags: attachment, distractions, living buddhism, mandalas

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