I hope so, there were always plans to paint things, but when you pay astronomical rent, run a restaurant or have to merchandise 2,000 Lbs of cheese, all invariably 6, not five days a week, all these painting plans have no chance to take hold, none at all. Finally father in law after looking at many of my older canvases had a eureka moment: “you are classically trained artist”. I was like: “you can say that, in some past life, – I had not painted for about 18 years”. He could not resist and asked for a portrait. So, here it came to pass, I am painting again, not as “seriously” but obviously just as seriously.
This is some of the best of everything. Legendary NYC art supply dealer of 20 years ago David Davis stretchers, -mine have Mercer Street address, it is from the time when they had a store in the basement of “Guggenheim Soho”, then canvas from fabric wholesaler (that does not exist for many a year) on Lower Broadway, and a finished painting that was started 18 years ago, all feels very, very special.
I love, love idea of this term “man-cave”. If you twist it around enough and away from popular American culture, you arrive at most surprising things, as in somewhere there is “Vajrayogini Cave”, or a cave in which Milarepa meditated, or whole Maratica Cave where Guru Rinpoche the Padmasambhava meditated on Amitayus, demonstrating accomplishment of that practice.
Alas “man-cave” is usually in the basement of the house where one lives. ut ability to bring an occupation of life-long interest into that with healthy degree of solitude, that is just breathtaking.
Somewhere along the lines of the effort to make more room, while still in NYC I lost my easel. But then again, my best paintings were somehow painted on the floor.
We love, treasure our efforts and results of our labors. With complete appreciation of all that, here in is a chance to throw away some of these perfect results.
It can be same as throwing paper printed with green images into a fire, up into the sky to have the wind pick it up and carry away, scattered. Or a wave of water carry it off into wast expanse of an ocean. And in same time not the same. As our mind dictates our personal phenomena and so we can regret the money to be wasted or view it all as offering mandala transforming into pure vision of spiritual practice.
What donations are used is much like that, light, fire, smoke offerings. Blessings going up in smoke, to be carried off by the wind and swept away by the rain.
There is persistent purpose and beauty to it all. So, if you are unable for one reason or the other leave your work, sit down on a bench to bask in the sunlight, might as well sponsor any of these activities that without doubt always have focused and sustained the elusive, indescribable positivity in this world.
2018 Summer retreat will present me with opportunities to engage in some of the study, contemplation, prayer and meditation, praising and offering and dedicating, all in a well known location. Palyul Retreat Center, upstate NY, for a month starting around July 10 and winding down around August 10. My attendance is in no way contingent on donations received. But all donations received will be offered to the various activities during the retreat.
gofundme link for this year: https://www.gofundme.com/summer2018retreat
-With dedication of all past, current and future merit of all beings towards clarity and wisdom inseparable within all of us.
I really miss Pearl Paint art supply store. Throughout 1990ties shopping there for oil paints, brushes and sometimes print paper as well as anything else from woodcutting chisles to gold leaf. That was really the store that had all sorts of art materials all at good prices, I will never forget that they had sale on some Old Holland oils 3 for $10, more then once. I still have some.
Here is one of my personal favorites. This was painted as a result of a purchase of a perfect stiff bristle brush (I usually use soft sable), I was so inspired to work with it that I finished this “Flying sax player” working through the night some time in winter of 1993. Missing Pearl Paint a lot, best location, best prices and best selection of art materials that I ever saw. #sherabpainting #paintings_of_sounds #nyc_paintings #jazz #music
Mother-in-law Kimchi, it is a somewhat known brand of the world famous Korean pickle. I hold unimportant distinction of situating it in a supermarket chain by recommending it once to the purchasing department and somehow the owner, a beautiful glamorous woman came over and said “thanks”. What can I say? -Only in New York City. (My reaction was, well my wife is Korean and this store did not carry any Kimchi at all, you know, life-or-death situation for some people). There is subtle irony to the whole thing of mother in law anything, it is that impossible to reach high standard that comes with a bit of imposition. But guess what, sometimes you just get a jar of already made pickle.
So, the in-laws come and look at my youth exploits covering the walls, at some point i was very well internationally received painter. And father in law goes: “How long will it take for you to paint a portrait, for me?” To that I am like: “ok, this is deep waters (thinking to myself, as I did not paint in 20 years) to him I am like: “you should not worry, I can work from a photograph, the bigger decision is to pain or not to period”.
And so I open my old paint tubes that I would not be able to afford now and contemplate with deep, deep excitement in front of a canvas. Amazingly 20 year old oil paints by best makers like “Old Holland” do not get old, they just don’t.
Grandfather is an older gentleman that has lived through 60ties and 70ties and without doubt had bell bottom suits back in the day, There is some sort of imperfect sense of glamour about him that only time was able to damage, back in the day (I saw the pictures, the whole family looked positively cutting edge).
Here is 1st painting I did based on imprecise recollection of how I thought he came across during his youngest son wedding. It is unfinished piece. Please do not judge. The background was not done before it was abandoned as a study of what to do, as well as face and general final touches were not laid down. It is a small piece as can be seen from this picture. And it was a miscalculation because the goal was to produce a portrait. So, setting this attempt at style, for the memorial day visit an actual portrait had to be affected, and now I knew that I can always just paint. And here are paintings to the world, ever-so-slight “make an offer that I can not refuse” as well as myself thinking that, who knows maybe the Old Holland paint tubes did not dry up and what a joy it is to put paintings out there, one of a kind, painted with your very own being, no matter how fast or slow. If you wander about the reactions, everyone seemed to have loved it.
With continuous waves of birth, old age, sickness and death as long as we read and write here or there it is possible to feel like a “survivor”. But that situation may present further complications, lets try to quickly glance in direction of what may lay on the other side of the threshold.
Within the 20th and 21st centuries we had some of most interesting Buddhist Masters of Buddhism as a whole and certainly of Tibetan Buddhism in particular. The image of the Great Stupa of Tibetan Buddhist traditions founded, built and then broken and swept into the vast ocean of all of humanity is for sure very unique period of Buddhism and Buddhism of Tibet. As a result we had some of the most celebrated masters pass away in places like France, in case of Dudjom Rinpoche, Nepal in case of Chadrel Rinpoche and farther still, Upstate NY in case of Thinley Norbu Rinpoche and Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpoche. As well as many others. While I can not say that I am dedicated disciple of Shenphen Dawa Norbu Rinpoche, I did endeavor to visit Rinpoche’s center in NYC and in Upstate NY as much as possible and was able to meet and observe this great master over 10 times. So, while I am not well placed to say anything, it is still an opportunity to try and publish general, meritorious talk for all to read and for myself to contemplate.
In a way of list I set out from these, following markers.
What did we come to think of the act of Historical Buddha’s passing. And how we work with it today. The 12 deeds of Buddha is the life example teaching that we can work on directly, without too much study. Emulating the glorious example in our own life.
What Chardel Sangye Dorje Rinpoche (June 18, 1913 – December 30, 2015) left us in the his last testament was a few short lines and one of them was: “Do not be sad“. This was a kind of Master that one would feel devotion to, without having ever met them, at least in my case. So, it is not easy not to feel sad, it is also difficult to know what some of the direct disciples felt.
Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche (1904-1987) amongst so much brilliant writing left us with volumes of books that stand apart from all others. And in the famous Prayer to Recognize my own Faults we receive very clear information on the direct focus of the spiritual practice. On the actual work of correcting things with our own view.
And to the reason for writing these few notes out. In Greenville, NY state (not far from Albany) Kyabje Shenphen Dawa Norbu (born February 17, 1950) entered into tukdam meditation on Sunday, 15th of April at 12:02AM
-How not to be sad about that!
How to engage in the correction of the faults of the view that may feel as parting?
In the Glorious Arya Nagarjuna text Praising the Twelve Events in the Life of Lord Budda, in Dharma Samudra translation when we come to the end we read:
In order to motivate those who are complacent in dharma practice,
At the pure ground of Kushinagara
You reached the deathless vajra body.
We praise your deed of passing into parinirvana.
And just like that if we perfectly adjust the view of the Lama to be non other then Buddha himself, with direct sharpness of Lord Nagarjuna we are left with nothing to do but abandon the sadness as much as possible, however hard it maybe, all in favor of practice of view and conduct that actually emulate these great beings that come again and again to guide us on the spiritual path of arrival in certainty that Buddha is always within and never apart, thus can not really ever leave us.
Pictures are from 3rd month and 10th day in Upstate NY, August 13th, 2016. Above, Rinpoche is with his son, during Tsog offering, Tulku Namgyal Dawa Rinpoche. Below is Rinpoche’s seat during the short afternoon break.
With condolences to the Dudjom family on this momentary parting from this brilliant guide of all beings. With aspiration for Rinpoche’s quick return.