Buddhism at Millennium's Edge - Seminar 4

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Copyright 1998 by Gary Snyder - Unedited Preview Cassette


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you have been very patient
ninety sixty nine i fatness ninety sixty eight i packed up
my librarian
ah whatever it wasn't wanted to keep from japan that it it all into a crate
couple of crates and had it loaded onto a ship set sail from kobe with my wife in newborn infant son
ah and set sail by ship
back to the western hemisphere
leaving japan for good although i made visits back and was breaking my residents there's ceasing my residents there and removing myself a deliberately back to the western hemisphere
with a a number of you know a complex thoughts in mind
ah one of the man to do with
ah what kind of a role ah i was wondering could i play in helping our ah make a place for a buddhist practice in north america
by just time nineteen sixty eight sixty nine san francisco zen center i had gotten going really strongly when i went to japan there wasn't a single thing happening and when i came back from japan twelve years later san francisco zen center on suzuki roshi i mean to
nike roshe with mount baldy and and in los angeles miserly roshi gotten started
there was already a lot happening more than i had even imagined ten twelve usually when i went to japan
but at the same time
i felt very strongly that i was also no reentering
my american wilderness space turtle island the old con
that i wanted to be engaged with the emerging environmental movement this was just before this date
i hadn't been back but i'm two months and i wrote to smokey the bear sutra and passed it out and a or wilderness club conference
the following fall i wrote a of
a manifesto for how to save the planet
it's a good one to call for changes and is reprinted in my recent book of essays so a place in space hey is still hard to improve on that the only thing is doing it you know
it's great you lost it's great to have good ideas
but the implementation of the national another question
and then in the spring of that year coming up around and spray of nineteen seventy
i was one of the people laws turned out and kicked off earth day i gave the earth day talk over to fort collins colorado colorado state university but there were they talks being launched that they all over the country and
that was the beginning then of the next round in american environmental work the first round actually it was the third or fourth round of american environmental work the previous round had been the conservation movement of the thirties
it just so that we have a memory that these things have existed before so i was involved in in kicking those things off in the seventies
and i found myself of wrestling with my divided loyalties and into some small degree namely the seem to loyalties i'd always had which were a loyalties to the indigenous ground of north america
and loyalties to the buddha dharma
i am wanting to honor both and wanting to find a way to make both work
but i was not so divided his i had been earlier and i saw i saw what i thought i needed to do too
resolve that gap at least for myself as a personal thing
ha and so i made the choice in the spring nineteen seventy not to stay in the city not to stay at a small town but to take advantage of an opportunity that came to me to to move to the mountains and with my my wife's agreement and we moved to a remote place up in nevada county
in the drainage of the yuba river watershed
on a remote ridge at the three thousand foot elevation
in an area which at that time had almost no population within miles
oh way out on a a barely passable dirt road three miles from the nearest small paved road ah a piece of wild forest and property with absolutely nothing on it
we started with that i and decided to build a homestead there may make a base there and from that base ah ah with the help of many good friends
a remarkable somehow and a remarkable natural community has evolved a that dove
is definitely in it for the long run
is definitely not going to go away
and is a source of strength and inspiration to me
and in a sense of points a possible direction of for one of the possible directions for how we might do are buddhist practice your in north america
i made a number of
readjustments of my thinking in of my attitude would i get back to the western hemisphere one of them was given me given to me by some american indian activists absent powwows i went to i started going to powwows again
political powwows to
reopen old connections and contacts with native american people and that was where i learned of that north america should better be cultured alignment
a name on an old native american name also you know i provisional name to give it a for now till we find maybe something that's even more authentic or more appropriate or older but turtle island does refer to native american creation mythology share in there
and it wasn't used by and is still used by some of the radical native american groups and i found it a very useful way of recasting my own thinking
and helping to put a life in this hemisphere in perspective and seeing
the there to be a strong challenge
how about both of political or cultural maybe and spiritual or in finding a home on turtle island on making turtle island home for a whole homeless population
neatly all these euro americans asian americans african americans
who still haven't figured out quite how to live here
or in haven't even figured out that they ought to live here are that they ought to know how they live here of it there's a a lot of low on sureness which isn't even recognized
by people who live here and in i took their own as a question now what is that got to do with his practice
i comforted myself with the line from dogan which is when you find your place practice begins
now what did he mean by that i decided to take him literally
and say okay my place means a real physical place
and down
i started with turtle island
all of north america that's pretty big
you know it may not be cosmic
it may not be the whole planet or it may not be the planet and all of his galaxies with all of their count was buddhas bodhisattvas out there in all the julio cousins
but we all it's big enough
ah but good they're getting practical shrunk it down to a northern california for the mood for the most part and i'm ah i turned myself to the cultivation of possibilities just within the idea of northern california the place of northern california
yeah the idea of what possibilities
ah the possibility of
a stable population that olivia for a long time
the possibility of a population that has
reconciled and resolved itself with native americans
has been accepted by native americans by virtue of its knowledge and it's etiquette
a ah
population that is ah
cosmopolitan and ah
open and tolerant to a much larger world but also has a good focus on who it is where it is and knows where it is in detail which is to say knows the non-human neighborhood as well as the human neighborhood ah has good manners to be a
able to say hello properly to a common flickr as distinguished from a letter back woodpecker
so that you don't insult anybody
ah and ah has the capacity to share at work with other people and to give and help out when necessary without utopian communal expectations what we found on also one ridge was that we had
a not an intentional community it didn't go about that way we had an unintentional community which is much better
because with an unintentional community you can drop out of the community for a year you're getting burned out or bored with people and nobody is going to blame you for it and then you can drop back in again when you're ready
remembering that this is something i didn't quite make clear a little earlier when i was talking about them
the curve of my janome the curve of my yana admitting larger and larger numbers of beaks and classes of beans into the fold was also a curve of redefining what some comment what the booze community was
the be cool is in the pickups
ah later it came to be all good buddhists who are seriously try to help each other out work with each other and so forth finally the saga came to be this organic world and then it became this world to so this is our great world saga are great earth somehow by by those extensions well i'd gets to be
tubing but in working terms
on the one side the human community and it's non-human neighbors have a given area that you know we will take as a place that we're living is one sanga human and non-human together and maybe a few spirits and ghosts and demons but we don't have to worry about them too much and then that includes your own local boot
somehow you've got a little bit is some value in there somewhere as we happened to in our area
and we don't really make a of much of a distinction between that is to say those of us who are practicing buddhists we don't think of it is a distinction between the buddhist saga in the larger community because ah
even those people who never comes in the zendo will be there for some other purpose at some other time will be there for some other event will be there for some others shared need
if nothing more than partying together but usually there's more than that to do
ha and up ah
i should also say that at the time i i returned to north america
you know for reasons which i don't have time to explain to day i was kind of burn out with a traditional formal japanese temples that
admiring my teachers as much as i did nonetheless i didn't feel it was an institution that offered a whole lot to north america
nonetheless there are many places that started replicating that institution here in north america in varying degrees of fidelity and i was dubious about that and so i stayed away
i separated myself from almost all formal buddhist organizations ah for the last thirty years
actually i find myself thinking more has an old style orthodox written eyes and person with japanese rooks than i do an american buddhist because certain things about japanese buddhism or looser and more fun
the one of the secrets about japanese buddhism is they're not as strict as they look
and another secret about japanese buddhism is they're not as hierarchical as they seem they talk to each other listen to each other and ah
take everybody's needs into account in an amazing way and in fact the truth is in a room-sized and monastery all monks have an equal vote no matter how senior they are or how you only are they all have equal vote
in a voting the case of voting in they often do have meetings and volt a case of voting on an issue means of the roshi and all of the monks in the box cannot vote the regime
in the most can walk out on neurosci and they have sometimes
quietly pack up and leave all of leave at once abandoned in the monastery
ah the roshi serves in a rinzai zen monastery at the will of the bucks the bronx actually legally and theoretically within the zone system are in charge of the monastery and are responsible for the buildings when a roshi dies in japan
after a year of mourning a committee of the bunks who are in the group go out canvas the country
find some candidates invite a roshi to confer an interview interview the roshi decide whether or not going to hire him and hire him and he serves at at the invitation of the monks ah and can be disinvited by the monks to although they rarely do that
out of respect to the office of roshi what they do is simply leaf if there if they reach a point where they can't agree with it
so a paradoxically i felt that somebody's groups in america were paradoxically more hierarchical and more tied to power games then the models they thought the remodeling themselves after
well so i kept my distance but i have plenty to do where i was anyway
and i thought of myself and this is the model that i'm thinking of i thought of my work as being a matter of say making a lake
oh here it comes again rather than making a fish
are we need both
ah the buddhist centers and groups here in this country are engaged in making fish
ah they're trying to create buddhists buddhist individuals and my territory and some of my colleagues used to make the habitat in which they can swim
a to make the community come about to make the appreciation and understanding of what they are trying to do come about to transform these are all valid works in some cases we need to transform individuals in some other cases we need to transform the mindset of a whole society and willy nilly
i ended up as a writer and as a poet i supposed to
working on the whole society to some extent or at least are working on the west coast society but not in a vacuum not abstractly because every step of what i have done in trying to imagine a culture that could take advance
judge at buddhism in north america has been done in terms of the concrete experience of daily life and work with a real community and real politics here in california which means visits to the school board visits to the county supervisor's office writing letters going to meetings
a and hassling on every possible level with reeled in the intransigent people
and sometimes was a really great people and
what i saw in japan was that the network of zen temples and other buddhist temples was built on and presumed
a calmly are quietly working buddhist lay population of ordinary people who were far more deeply buddhist they need appeared on the surface that's what i ended up see
and what i would like to see in north america is to some degree a culture of ordinary people who can provide the same kind of community support for those are specialized more highly intense practices that will want to give themselves
twenty years in the sodo so they can really do their xin study
that's a kind of the territory that i'm thinking of and at the same time when i think of what a real community would mean as i think you've already heard me say it means to me a community that is grounded in his own natural environment as well and that is
consciously or unconsciously living in such a way as to be here in north america on turtle island as inhabitants not visitors for the next thousand years
it took five hundred years from the beginnings of poetry the dealt with nature in china until five hundred years later they had some really good landscape points and they were really getting into writing supporters about the chinese environment
from the for century a d to the nice and d we got five hundred years to write some good nature points about america then now this is a a long term project in the kind of artwork or dramatic work you might call it street poetry but you may call it field and mountain i mean street theater but you might
call it fielded mountain theater of a making an interesting culture happen
here at the western hemisphere to which buddhism would make a wonderful contribution
i thought i saw the sun a little while ago

to finish this talk i have a suggestion that is at least it's in terms of local politics on the state and county level politics
buddhists particularly zen buddhists have the power to totally take over politics
here's how
you've got to meditate a lot
in democracy in this country actually is worked out hammered out and fought out at meetings
to do democracy especially on the county level you have to go to meetings why don't more people go to meetings why don't why can't you get people at meetings
right they can't sit still and is boring
now who knows

believe me after a session a meeting in the county supervisors cheaper is fascinating

so there's a key
so some of the people that i did i'm appreciating right now this is winding up what i'm seeing that i've been learning from an appreciating just in the last year or so few years carl below felt
in the department of religion down at stanford working on dogan translations teaching his students coming up here in working was in center on texts a man who splits or who to gracefully handles both the academic world in the world of practice and is very modest in the process
norman fischer i think is another great model of a clear and ah
intelligent curious and very bold a teacher and leader i mean he's bold italy not peers
real imamura the son of campbell memorial who's now in his forties and is a professor of psychology at evergreen university who worked for a number of years as a digital should preach it gave up because his congregation dried up so he became a university professor but real is in the
process of rethinking and reinventing i think he is jodo shin and bringing that around to where it can be shared by a larger circle of americans jim harrison the novelist and short-story writer and poet
look at gym harrison's little novels especially the last two books a woman lit by fireflies and the latest one julep each one has three long short stories in it each one of them is doing to them in the funniest and most remarkable or red neck
intellectual way
you this will be pleasure believe me if you read these
andrew shelling
who is doing the most
intelligent and graceful translations of buddhist was from the sanskrit these days
ah these are just a few of the people that i'm appreciating right now and the korean board who came by last month colon
was a zen up then he was a newspaperman and that he was a a radical and he went to jail now he's married to a lady professor and all the way through he writes great zen pipes
ah and to the hummingbird xanga in the wild turkeys ah ha
the hummingbirds xanga these are this is a model for you when you get out in the real world
you are already in the real world this is a model for you when you don't have the big zen center nearby
of the hummingbird xanga is a two person somehow over the oakland hills mike michael mcclure and his wife amy that sit on the deck with the hummingbirds every morning call themselves the hummingbird caught the while tricky song eyes be and my wife who sit on our deck every morning and the wild turkeys walk by
by so we're going to have a network of to person wild bird song has
this is just the beginning
thank you all very much for coming today and it's five o'clock or almost five i as i promised you
you can leave whenever you like i'm not going to stay sitting here i'm going to circulate around and
people can now talk with me a little further maybe before we shut down
a question or two to wind it up yes



the question is do i think something's going to happen because of the millennium is coming
the crop circles
ah and
people have been talking about the millennium i'm trying to get this question because people couldn't hear it because you were just talking to me
so this the younger but is asking do i think that that there's any reason to think that the millennium as an idea as something is coming like him two years or or whatever
his own
something to seriously feel that there might be something happening or change absolutely not it doesn't mean a goddamn thing
this is just whose calendar you listen to
these are arbitrary timeframe established by different cultures this happens to be the arbitrary timeframe that the roman catholic church built on top of the old roman calendar
now it's true some christians will think that the world is coming to an end at midnight in the year nineteen ninety nine they did the same thing in your nine ninety nine they went out on the tops of the hills wrapped up in bed sheets and waited for the world to come to an end and it didn't so they said well maybe it's the next month
so yeah i'm sure we'll see some stuff like that but not to worry
and on the other side do not expect utopia to be around the corner either and i don't know about crop circles as probably teenagers
the okay it's not but i mean aliens from outer space don't know about the millennium either you know it's not their calendar

it's christian eschatology
it's the christian calendar still lurking in the backs of people's minds plus it's a number two thousand and that's all it is just a number it was a different calendar it would be a different number the jewish calendar doesn't say two thousand the chinese calendar does the indian counter doesn't nor does the japanese
so i consider this you know it's it's an interesting look to use for a conference
and why not
but no and it's as real as the reality of us being excite me i've got some i've got to nineteen seventy four cabernet sauvignon and then i'm keeping till the till the night of nineteen ninety network we're going to have venison a good read one

well it's deeply reassuring to your down here doing all these days to this for for her to thank you

i respect your interest in it right
it is it yet
well this year's the olympics
delete the the millennium is like the super bowl

well yeah we could sell more television time if there was going to be illiterate to the
i tell you who's going to be the winners and losers is the people with the computers
i couldn't get the calendar straight yeah
the central valley yeah

yeah you'll in fairfield her know
the topic is is the great central valley and and what to be done the loss of croplands the loss of habitat
which i am very aware of in totally sympathetic to and in just briefly to speak of it a little bit to put it in this perspective
people rarely get out into the great central valley i don't know about you folks here but there's a huge population of bay area people for whom the bay area and the coast is their idea of california
ah and if they do go over to the great central valley they think of it is awfully flat awfully hot in awfully ugly
which i can understand you know at first sight but also spending more time there and i spent a lot of time there now i think it's beautiful and it's most remarkable area and there are patches of waterfowl refuges and original vegetation and ripe
arian streamside forests that are just lovely
in the soils are outstanding
and so it is a real concern that the valley is being so trashed first by industrial farming and now by suburban spread
and i don't know what can be done about it what can be done about it i'll tell you what can be done about it is do not vote for any more water bonds
do not let any more water be put into the great into the california water plans system
choke off the water
this is it will be a big issue they want to get more water loosened up now
they want to wheels some new dams on the yuba river
there there should be appointed which we say no more messing with the watersheds no more messing with the water systems normal commercial selling of water from northern california to suburbs in central california or all the way down to southern california that would be one of the ways to manage that you don't like put that greek people managed
get some water back from lake berryessa for puto creek where they cut off was vacaville and of fairfax
so our suburbs have to learn some limits have to learn so austerity have to learn to shrink down so that salmon can still be in duck creek which this year salmon were running again and put daiquiri put that creek is a little invisible ugly unknown despised stream
that runs through the uc davis campus nobody ever sees it except some of us fanatics
no thanks for raising them actually see there are answers to some of these things to and one of the mist to understand water politics and water selling politics
what water said whiskies from drinking water but what if you're fighting cup
fighting over obama yet
ah i never got them
that's good yeah
here is it
ginsburg last time
share with us
what night
or when you read
you are
or three
when not yourself
absolutely oh when ellen first rid to him how allowed at the six gallery in the marina
he had not long been into it before i felt and i think a number of other people felt
this is a powerful point that is going to change things
ah that it just became it was instantly evident that this is a transformative text there's going to touch people everywhere
and it was true of course that was a very strong moment
ah yet you know three weeks or a month earlier and when i went by allen's little cabin in berkeley he was working on this new poem i said what are you going to call an l and he said i think i'll call it strokes
you're serious he had not yet himself quite gotten it you know what he was doing you know i had to it took a while before he realized that he had indeed made something remarkable a lady called a whole


oh that's just a little piece of chinese history although it's one that you know buddhist scholars remember by heart
pardon me
all the lesson let's see the lesson is what that your zen buddhists
are some of you are because that's do maybe to the buddhist persecution of a forty five
there were a variety of schools of buddhism flourishing in china then they had a
a five year stretch of a nadie emperor who came in ah for a short reign who was totally crazy about taoists and totally hated buddhists and he destroyed temples destroyed libraries melted down there
bronze bells and their majoras and paintings it was extremely destructive
drove a monks and nuns out of the temples and monasteries made the return to lay life basically i just shattered the buddhist world in about three years
the only school of buddhism that rose from the ashes of that was zen
and they say that it recovered because it did not depend on words and letters a direct transmission from mind to mind they had lost their libraries you see they had lost their religious icons they lost their paintings but
the zen teachers and a zen monks nuns and simply gone back into lake clothing were working as fishermen and peasants came back and re-establish their meditation halls with the simplest of stuff and picked up and went on and so they say because of of the way that xin was taught and transmitted it was able to recover
whereas the other schools didn't know it's interesting story so that's why there is that buddhism today
you can say yeah yeah
you look at your vision or
understand me
for those people
i'm curious are interested
can we need to run off
you're american what about those people who are
how you
that's a very good question how and i hope you heard that he said
for some of these things to go come about does everybody had to become a buddhist
what about the christians and muslims and on the jews
i don't know really if if buddhism whatever make a big dent in western culture and may well not
in any institutional way
ah but in here's a couple of things to offer that are very powerful and in the nature of cultural assimilation in history these may well be taken up and be in their own way quietly transformative in these other traditions i certainly will hold for that so
what buddhism has to offer to christians is
that they include an ethic for nonhuman beings in their moral code for some inexplicable reason judaism in buddhism accidentally overlooked that they haven't they just forgot it you know that we should be
be kind to the cat
and say thank you to the cow
and maybe even let them go to heaven
but that is easily rectified
in fact there are green eco christian groups around right now who are busily talking about let us have an environmental ethic and ecological i think within christianity they can do it
the jews can do it and the muslims can do it it's eminently sensible and morally attractive the other thing in doing so
the the steps to becoming a person of place here in north america are easier to then because you're willing to say we have a relationship in a certain moral obligation to other beings than just humans and so let's take all of that into account say that as a christian say that as
do say that as a muslim the other thing that could that the buddhism and in particular is in has to offer to the western world
is that they learn to pray
it looks to me like it's been a long time since christians believed in prayer in the way that they posted in made prayer work the way could work that took contemplated prayer seriously because prayer if you go into it becomes a form of meditation becomes a reflect
option is a mirror to who you are
a raises the question of self and non-self
and indeed you know to go step further of the catholic church has had a contemplate traditions in it and still as if you've gotta play give orders but the contemplating of orders themselves kind of leverage themselves confess we sort of don't know how to contemplate
how do you do it and that's why they've been sending their own priests and nuns to sit in their nose and that's why there are some secret crypto xin catholic order our catholic monasteries where are they are quietly doing zazen because as
ashley's us and is the best way to meditate don't ask me why i think because you keep your back straight
and this is a great gift this is a great gift to the world of serious contemplate of religious practitioners that they may take this and deepen themselves with it
so you know the two most important things to the religious world prayer and the ethic of non killing or will be it can be beautifully enhanced by the lessons from buddhism
in buddhism can do that much and don't forget what you call it that may be what the future has
what does buddhism and to learn from the other traditions
i don't know quite what tradition buddhism is learning it from i guess a like a ah equality and the matter of relationships between men and women
those were our cultural practices in asia
buddhism is learning to empower women here in north america because of a that grand old american
a liberal egalitarian
impulse that is still willing to some extent and which has from the egalitarian liberal standpoint argued you know first against slavery then argued for our the equality of women and a vote and more and more you know
into the feminist world in front of these people from the liberal of night mindset or also arguing for animal rights and for a liberal mindset argument for on the environment you know that is the tragic story of a the enlightenment and thompson in thomas jefferson's mind free
at the turn at the beginning of the american not here up we have actually the united states has a philosophically some very good routes in the enlightenment in deism in the understanding of democracy and in the intelligence of the founding fathers are most of that is like sort of
gold by the borders and forgotten by lots of people but they are very good routes and so we can hope to make use of those in and nourish those

marriage as zim partnership
ah well marriage is certainly partnership
and i'm
if two people have a practice they can work lot with each other much better now
this is something i've seen is that just the shared base basis of a practice
ah will stop a couple from scrabbling with each other from deliberately or willfully misunderstand each other from getting emotional so they'll stay back for a second say to themselves or even say out loud hey wait a minute we know better than this
take a breath and come back to it much more calmly
but then you know that simply is saying that a buddhist practice gives you a way to take a breath recover your sanity and deal better in any way in any case with the world you know that's what is for
as neocons and zaki used to say you know our first zen guy in north america since i've used to say one breath meditation all you need
the just have a one breath meditation in the middle of big noisy meeting stop have one breath meditation try it you know if you haven't already so we bring that you know to r relationships with each other's to
yeah yes
the happy birthday
well first of all kerouac and alan watts are two very different people
so the each editor kind of impact
my ah sense of jack kerouac at this point is that he was it a extraordinarily good writer
with a remarkable sensibility and an extraordinary gift for language and a very interesting and funny kind of insight into human beings are in a deeply compassionate heart and i think that comes through all of his novels but he makes his mark in the world as a writer
he leaves his mark in the world as a novelist
as another american original
another original unique sort of eccentric american novelists and i would want to make bets but i would be willing to hazard a guess that he'll be counted among the ten or fifteen most interesting and important novelists of the twentieth century you know in another hundred years
alan watts is a very different kind of person with a very different kind of role
ah and there's no doubt that he contributed to a very broad interest curiosity appreciation for our
buddhism and present and for taoism
here in america
many many people loved him he was so much admired and much loved sweet gentle playful imagine it is informal creative
very giving out there traveling and talking a lot and occasionally there were people who would criticize him because he hadn't done serious and studies for that guy think so what you know he did what he did beautifully
and in terms of helping people understand their own situation he did a great deal of good along ah and i i admire and respect him highly for exactly what he did and in time you know right now people are remembering him so much boy he was a big presence in the bay area
in the fifties and sixties he was really a big presence he'll come back people will understand what elon did and appreciated the again in the near future i guess i think that the time is about to come around you know when we were going to be evaluating our west coast in our bay area cultural his
diary of the last half century
people will be looking back and saying wow what a ride you know for nineteen fifty five to the year two thousand this place was or this whole northern california bay area was just a remarkable hotbed of artistic literary spiritual political creativity and people are going to look at that and say ellen
watts a big part of that you know so i think that's coming as and suzuki soon real roshi he'll be right the middle of that
yeah redneck collect the water
hi jim harrison
he wrote the novel called legends of the fall which was made to a movie
he's done a lot of writing and he is in olds instant
the him and dan gerber now there's a wonderfully hidden and tucked into his stories but you'll see it
yeah yeah i ask if you talk a little doubt that connection between and be honest because they always seem to be that connection
it's carrying over here
a contemporary american society
buddhism in the arts
there were a few times and places in the history of buddhism or where art was some
ah an obstruction to spiritual all seriousness but not too many ah basically unlike christianity in and unlike islam or the buddhist world has enthusiastically encouraged artists and has felt that art has a strong role to
oh and as thereby launched you know an extraordinary a richness of art throughout the indian and far eastern world ah just extraordinary amount of art beautiful painting sculpture and then what i take to be also buddhist start far east
your landscape paintings he stays in landscape paintings although they are not explicitly buddhist i have come to think of them as a buddhist art particularly an art in the many of the great landscape painters resent trained people so that's an interesting thing so buddhism is not hostile to art
in what ways how does it express is non hostility
ah well one way is a certain area a big area of buddhism doesn't even think of art is art
it thinks of it as instructional materials
the mon dollars and tom cause of tibet our instructional materials was teaching devices they help you teach people they help the lecturer lecture and they help you remember what the twelve fourteen chain of causation is and what the six paths are
et cetera in they are extremely helpful if you are assigned to do visualization exercises so on that is a an entirely worthy territory for the buddhist viewpoint instructional structural materials or the buddhist icons the buddha figures and bodies out in the figures are also in a certain sense instructional structural mature
eagles inspiring instructional materials but you know they must have gone beyond that into some very deep meditations to come up with such perfect representations one yen or avalokiteshvara was seen in somebody's meditation
every one of those figures that just glows mangia three amitabha
and the ones that are unique in their ways like food or we all each one was seen in a meditation and was residual eyes and the artists than it did that work were honored in are honored in the tibetan tradition as meditators as visualizers they can't do they do it you know people say well they do it
by following diagram they do it by rote
within their own tradition they say oh yeah we have a diagram we follow but you can't really do it until you have your meditation seen it rise within you rise again come back again so that's like what we were saying earlier what are gods or what a deities and spirits they are things that rise again within us
you have to contact them again so there is a place in are looking at it this light within us where you will be able to see the beautiful bodies alpha tara
or any of a number of other figures and so that's part of the sense of what buddhist art is in what it does
ah and in the literary arts in poetry or a kind of not to ideological non dogmatic sweetness and poetic a skill prevails
ha ha so that it can be argued that
much of the great poetry of tongue and some nasty china which doesn't talk about buddhism much ah has a strong a buddhist underpinning just as the painting does
that if you read the are a blight on the history of haiku or ah you know he feels and i think in some ways she's justified that what the haiku tradition ended up doing basilar the highest art in the world and some true dharma art highly refined highly compressed earth
arriving at a very beautiful shorthand sense of the phenomenal world with the dharma woven into it so yeah all art and song is sacred to the real the mountain spirits says
or in the know play ah called banana tree or a banana tree comes up does a dance a banana bush she's the main character in this no play
and she says
all art is offerings to the buddha's so that's a one way of looking at its offerings to the food is
that's a nice question

well it's five thirty know
and know maybe we can wind it down folks can hit for hold all hang out here a while longer
thank you very much