swampflower wrote:Buddhist inspiration may be seen in many expressions of Art including painting, calligraphy, sculpture, song, dance, and architecture.
I have just begun reading a book describing the history and techniques of sumi-e which is the art of ink line and wash painting. There was mention in the book of the strong influence the spread of Buddhism had on the development of arts in China and Japan.
However there seems to be a wide perception in the West that to embrace Buddhism means to turn away from material things which may include the arts. There are precepts of Buddhist conduct wherein song, dance, and music are to be abstained.
May these disparate views be reconciled as one tries to follow the Path of the Buddha?
As I am sure others will point out much of Chinese and Japanese Buddhisim has a long relationship with art...sumi-e drawing in Japan being one form as you mentioned.
Calligraphy is also another example in Japan.
So any perception in the West that Art (capitalized) is somehow not Buddhist is a misunderstanding...or should we say a incomplete understanding based on a misperception of the true nature of both.
In Zen Buddhisim also Art is often NOT intended to make a "pretty" object but often a dliberately simplified repersentation of that object ... not made to be pretty; but to show as clearly as possible the essential nature of that object... the object in it's "suchness as such it is", by "pointing directly" at the object's true nature for mindful consideration of that true nature.
Calligraphy in Japan often has that purpose.
(Words are poor vehicles to describe the meaning here, but I hope you get my meaning.)
At any rate...the subject of "Buddhist Art" is a varied and fascinating one. I hope you enjoy it and learn from it. There is a lot there.
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach