Guru Rinpoche in today’s art

Guru Rinpoche if approached with a degree of knowing is immediately understood as one of the most influential masters that ever lived. The sphere of influence and time frame during which it took place (not counting the fact that it perfectly continues to this very day) of Guru Rinpoche is enormous and engulfs most of today’s historic Buddhist regions in one way or the other and at one time or the other.

With understanding that what we call Himalayan or more often Tibetan Buddhism is only possible because it was indeed single handedly established for generations to come by non other then Guru Rinpoche. With that we see how Guru Rinpoche legacy reaches into Europe and America of 21st century as important and dominant spiritual tradition of today. Some thousand years later to the fact of historical time line of Guru Rinpoche visit to Tibet.21st_guru_rinpoche02

This much is clear Guru Rinpoche is here, with us, today and in many forms.

There is little doubt that Guru Rinpoche was not the one that practiced acception or rejection all the while perfectly unveiling the spiritual path to all of his students. Guru Rinpoche clearly was not into dogmatic rituals, yet he perfectly transmitted Rituals. There are quotations from the master that tell us things like this: If one were to receive such and such instruction it is possible to awaken then and there, or within a practice retreat of several moths, a year, twelve years, during bardo, next life time, within 3 lifetimes thereafter. From that there is no was to misunderstand the potency of instructions that can be had and it is clear that application right where one is, in that time and space, all that matters. Our capacity to follow through that is all that differs from case to case. And so based on that we can encounter some slight feel of lightly calcified situation, a little bit of dogmatic approach. Which is nothing that is ever found in the teachings but rather is due to our rational mind organizing doctrine of liberation from bounds of Samsara into a system of knowledge rich with concept. Much alike famous “stone tablets”

Let’s bring Guru Rinpoche more into our hears, into our popular culture, into things we know and live in today.21st_guru_rinpoche01

I am a big fan of impressionist and post impressionist European painting and here is a picture that in some way is meant to bring famous Ngadama image into that frame of understanding, into that technique. It does not mean that I would ever think that traditional Thangka Painting should change at all and this picture is not even meant to be of same magnitude as to be meditated upon as a support for visualization. It’s just my own personal small attempt to use a piece of modern art and representing something that I am working on still making my own in any small way. The legacy of great master.

Advertisements

Relics of the past – NYC

For a while the grand temple for the artists in New York’s at that time very democratic Manhattan was without doubt Pearl Pain art supply store. The store had 6 floors and a crafts annex in the building across the street in the back. It was located near corner of Broadway on canal Street and it would not be an untruth to say that a large, very large percentage of all American and artists came through it’s stair. That store had it all. One could buy a box of 3 tubes of Old Holland oil paints ON SALE and not go broke. At some point, i think later on they even had a line of paint that they packed themselves. Here is a single tube that lives on in my collection.pearl_tube_01

As I never worked there, I do not have a “1st hand experience” of the idea but it was also said that for the artists it was one of these places where one could easily land a job, if in need.

 

 

We do not have Pearl Paint anymore. But to remember the ones that remember, well we have:

Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York

a.k.a. The Book of Lamentations:
a bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct

Here is a link to the article on pear’s departure.

http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2014/04/pearl-paint.html

Orchidaceae Offering

When one’s life is full of activity with a degree of uncontrolled hectic energy, well cultivation of flowers is much harder to maintain then one thinks.

And to that, in NYC there was effort after effort to buy an Orchid in a supermarket and see it thrive. However whether over-watering, lack of fertilizer or who knows, possibly lack of watering? They never did thrive. After a while following in it’s inevitable direction they would shrivel and die.

After move upstate whole family’s burden of running around in busy circles has somewhat abated. And one time finally visiting a temple in the Hudson Valley that I meant to visit for over 10 years, I observed many orchid pots standing on a previous lama’s throne’s and table. All in full bloom with many flowers. And so 2 pots were purchased some time later and comfortable abandoned in a good spot, they are thriving and it takes no effort. Now blooming for 2 years.

This year biggest and now apparently in Guinness world record book as such gathering called Kumbh Mela was culminating with the last bathing in the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and river of energy Sarasvati on seldom coinciding 2 day and a night in between Maha Shivaratri. The Kumbh lasts 55 days.orchid_01_web

Lord Shiva is naturally respected by Buddhists of any depth and while our deep appreciation will naturally differ from some theistic and ritualistic approaches of some followers that we term today as Hindu. It is of no importance, as we can still all remain respectful and appreciative, which we really must. Maha Shivaratri translates as The Great Night of Shiva and many spiritual seekers will not sleep during this night devoting themselves to prayer and contemplation. And I really like this part. To change your schedule from routine and monotone or to sacrifice a bit of sleep and comfort all for materially most useless type of thing: spirituality. It is rather great and in the end invigorating!

I went on and composed this pointing of an orchid as an offering to the Shiva and all spiritual practitioners. Especially the one’s that stay on through the dark of night!

Vajra Sow

Dorje Phagmo, Vajra Sow, Diamond Pig?

-There is a famous iconic Buddhist manifestation of Buddha in a female form like that.

pig_01

There is also a legend that an important female Siddha and a head of a monastery in Tibet just would not be seen if she did not want to be seen and at any time would turn into an ordinary looking pig, hiding from any visitors. This gives us a very practical level of understanding of what “Nirmanakaya” could actually be. It is said that out of compassion Buddhas continuously manifest as buildings, roads, bridges, rain, sunshine, food, books, teachers, “dharma”. The idea does ask us in return to consider thinking of all these manifestations that we see as Buddha Bodies, even if we were to assume that some are not, there is still no way to tell which one’s are which! So, it could be better to stay on a safe side (and follow teachings on pure view, 5 purities and such).pig_03
-Surround your self with Buddha’s manifest bodies. This way one can’t go wrong. This one here is a homage to the idea of the “Year of the Pig”

Unexpected Result

By now I should have expected something like that. But every time something of s sort happens there is a slight feeling of surprise. As i wrote in more then one article here already, my father in-law without much interest or expectation has discovered to his surprise what i told him now and then, for years. I still view myself as somewhat of an artist and there was a time when I exhibited, sold and even answered questions, all in regards to my artwork.

Much has changed since then. America is where I am now and I read, write and speak in English with some degree of proficiency. Computers came and took over, pay ohones all but disappeared, together with music and book stores. Cell phones now are viewed as ultimate gateway to happiness (just think of azure coast line screen saver that one can get with a purchase of a $1,000 device that can do invariable more and more of the things that never needed to be ever done). All this is here not just for me but for many.

And so my father in law asked me on several occasions to paint his portrait, -that sounded really good to me. I have not painted for 18 years at that point but never thought that I have laid down the brushes, it’s just that I was not in the right place to do so. And so, I bought a few canvases, a pallet knife and investigated into new paint producers to add to the selection of now antique tubes of paint (all purchased in Pearl Paint in NYC – art materials point of pilgrimage that only exists in the realm of memory of so many).

My 1st attempt at the painting did not result in anything that I felt I could finish, although the composition came together neatly and character of the old man somewhat reflected in the moment. Still I was playing with the ideas, colors, brush-strokes too much after all these years and I had to abandon the canvas. Quickly painting just a prominent portrait with noting much in the picture in a way of distraction.

However when the old man came over he said that he is intending to take the half finished, half erased, half not meant to be canvas home and i can come and work on it there, finishing it as i please. I was amused, telling myself: “Guess what I will have to do something to finish this one as well, to some degree, he wants two portraits now”

And here we have it, yet another canvas lives to be signed as a finished work.

An actual signed return

IMG_20180528_181150I 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.

Baby elephant mind

IMG_20180613_134219Title: Baby Elephant Mind. Media: oil on canvas. Size: 40 by 30 inch. #elephant #elephants #elephant_painting #painting_of_nature #sherabpainting

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.