Wednesday, August 2, 2006

I think I am falling in love with buddhist myth, art and wisdom. It is fun to discover. The pieces of knowledge that I have come across seem very simple and the teachings of Buddha don't generally tend to conflict with his other teachings.

One such piece goes something like: "There are many divergent paths to happiness. When one finds he is on the wrong path it is his duty to quit it." I assume the author meant nirvana when he said happiness, but I could be mistaken.

Another myth, Japanese in origin, I think, can be paraphrased like this: Lord Buddha was on a journey when he came across a dragon spirit below him from where he stood on a cliff. The dragon extolled a very sophisticated piece of knowledge that the Buddha may not have been aware of. The Buddha asked for another piece of wisdom and the dragon did, indeed, utter something even more profound than the first. The Buddha, again, asked for another and the dragon told him he would utter more buddhist wisdom if the kindly lord would feed him, the Buddha agreed. The dragon kept his part of the bargain and then asked for the human flesh on which he feeds exclusively. The Buddha jumped into the dragon's mouth without hesitation.

This myth seems to say that the soul's knowledge is above the secular body. It also seems to say, to a somewhat lesser extent, something about being true to your word, even if the price is not expected or is unpleasant.

Buddhist art is a strange thing. It is a discipline more than a real art form since the every buddha depicted must have exactly the same proportions and every gesture and expression has a spiritual meaning. And while an artist must be exceedingly skilled to create great art, there is no room for personal expression within those confines. Yet for all that, the images are themselves are very beautiful.

This is not to say I have renounced my atheism.

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