Friday, May 09, 2014

Instructions for the Artist ~ No 6 ~ In Spirit Different

The sixth in a series of articles based on Dogen's Instructions for the Tenzo, exploring how it might be applied to artistic practice and work in general.

' Although the work is just that of preparing meals, it is in spirit different from the work of an ordinary cook or kitchen helper.'

Although an artist's work is just that of creating art, it can be in spirit different from the artistic work of an ordinary artist or creative individual. It's not that the work is changed in its form or content, but by the aim or purpose it is being put to. The purpose of the act of creation, becomes as important as the purpose of the completed artwork; to transform oneself, others and the world. This action and purpose of creation being the ultimate altruistic action.

Any artist wants through their act of creation to challenge, surprise and change his/her own percetions of the world, and through their artwork to challenge, surprise and change the perceptions of those who view it. This seems to be so for most truly creative acts. What is in spirit different here is that the change envisaged is fundamentally a spiritual one, to have a vision and knowledge of reality as it really is, to see the world as if through the eyes of an awakened being... a buddha. This makes every brushstroke, every colour chosen, and every composition desvised an activated insightful opportunity to enlighten self and other.

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