Miriam Louisa – Zen saying: painted cakes do not satisfy hunger

This incisive observation from Miriam Louisa helps in the issue of understanding no-self as self obliteration!

DOGEN ON PAINTED CAKES AND HUNGER. AGAIN. – Miriam Louisa http://wonderingmindstudio.com/blog/

FEBRUARY 12, 2016

Miriam says;
“A recent online conversation with a friend brought up our observations of the way so many folk in the ‘spiritual field’ feel that it’s somehow wrong to have a passion to create, or be interested in, art. He commented, “They’ve internalized teachings that say that artistic expression is a lie, that it is too sensuous, too rajasic, too much of a distraction from “higher” things. I’m reminded of Plato wanting to expel poets and musicians from his Republic!”

The mainstream art world is a minefield for artists and artisans whose practice is fuelled by the impulse to express from the wonderment and awe that is their authentic experience. On the one hand we have the denial by its curators and critics of anything that whiffs of ‘the spiritual’ in contemporary art (see the daylighting has begun), and on the other we are rebuked by the high priests, teachers and purveyors of (so-called) “higher” things themselves! I have had first-hand experience of this on my journey – I was associated for a while with teachings that regarded all creative expression as potential ego-reinforcement. It was a liberation for me to abandon such a separative misconception and embrace the full monty of the creative life; to meet and work with new teachers who themselves were artists and who considered creative practice to be an essential aspect of awakening to the Real.

My friend finished by saying that many of these people have “suppressed creative, esthetic, blissful, sensitive, compassionate and divinely universal parts of themselves by rejecting the aesthetic aspect of life.”

Miriam Louisa says;
“It made me think back to this post – originally written and published in 2009 – and prompted me to put it up again. Lest we forget.

________________________________

Zen saying: painted cakes do not satisfy hunger

Meaning: painted cakes aren’t the real thing, they only describe the real thing. Implying that for the serious seeker of Truth, creative work is a vanity, a distraction, a pointless pursuit.

It is true that the tendency to identify with one’s creative expressions can cause the ego to inflate, with all the suffering that comes by default. But identification with any human activity carries this danger.

The question: What is the self that expresses in self-expression? is our lifeboat in these dangerous waters.

The monk Dogen saw the bigger picture.
He said: Painted cakes do satisfy hunger.

Aside from painted cakes, there is no way to satisfy hunger.
Aside from the painted cakes we make,
artists and writers and educators and web builders
have no way to express their ideas and inspirations.

Aside from the process of making painted cakes
we have no insight into our creativity
and what fosters it or sabotages it.

Aside from the painted cakes we perceive,
what so-called Reality is there?

If Reality is REAL, it must be whole and undivided. Our painted cakes are therefore nondual expressions of the truth – whether we know it or not, and whether we like it or not. The ten thousand things are painted cakes awaiting the glance of an awakened wondering mind. This vast and all-embracing perspective lifts our creative work into the realm of sacred practice, something many artisans – including this one – are very conscious of and deeply committed to. Our works are ‘painted cakes’ and amazingly, they do satisfy hunger.”

________________________________

Homage to John Daido Loori, Sensei, for inspiration and teachings.

________________________________

Painting by Wayne Thiebaud – Boston Cremes, 1962

________________________________
If this topic interests you, do pop over toMiriam Louisa’s other website theawakenedeye.com and have a look around. Thanks.

Advertisements

Christian and Zen quotations

“When one side is revealed, the other is concealed.”
~Dogen

A monk asked Joshu, “All things return to the One. Where does the One return to?”

Joshu said, “When I was in the province of Sai, I made a cloth shirt. It weighed seven pounds.”
~Blue Cliff Record, Case 45

“Light has no front or back.”
~Traditional Zen Saying

“What is the sound of a single hand?”
~Hakuin

“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalms 36:9).

ZEN SAYING: “At first, I saw mountains as mountains and rivers as rivers. Then, I saw mountains were not mountains and rivers were not rivers. Finally, I see mountains again as mountains, and rivers again as rivers.”

TONI PACKER: articles and quotes by Toni (Joan Tollifson’s teacher)

ARTICLES are HERE – http://www.springwatercenter.org/toni-packer/articles/

Awareness

Striving

A Quiet Space

On September 11, 2001

Anger

What is my Innermost Core?

What is the “Me”?

Can Meditative Inquiry Be Carried On?

Openness

NB see also http://www.springwatercenter.org/toni-packer/dialogue/
-0-

QUOTATIONS: (there may be a few repititions)

“In the expectation of wonderful things to happen in the future, one doesn’t hear the sound of the wind and rain, the breath and heartbeat this instant.” ~ Toni Packer

-0-

Awareness cannot be taught. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever. Activity does not destroy it and sitting does not create it.

It is there, uncreated, freely functioning in wisdom and love, when self-centered conditioning is clearly revealed, in the light of understanding.

When the changing states of body-mind are simply left to themselves without any choice or judgment, a new quietness emerges by itself.

This new mind that is no-mind is free of duality—there is no doer in it and nothing to be done.

-0-

Life is a vast, unknowable movement of wholeness with no one separate from it and nothing outside of it.

-0-

Sitting quietly, doing nothing, not knowing what is next and not concerned with what was or what may be next, a new mind is operating that is not connected with the conditioned past and yet perceives and understands the whole mechanism of conditioning. It is the unmasking of the self that is nothing but masks – images, memories of past experiences, fears, hopes, and the ceaseless demand to be something or become somebody.

-0-

The emergence and blossoming of understanding, love, and intelligence has nothing to do with any tradition, no matter how ancient or impressive-it has nothing to do with time. It happens on its own when a human being questions, wonders, inquires, listens, and looks without getting stuck in fear, pleasure, and pain. When self-concern is quiet, in abeyance, heaven and earth are open.

-0-

What are we when there is no one doing anything, no one attaining anything, no place to go? There is no place to go. The whole foundation is already here in each one of us. It is the same in all of us. There is only one foundation, which is presence, wholeness, boundless love.

-0-

In truth we are not separate from each other or from the world, from the whole earth, the sun or moon or billions of stars, not separate from the entire universe. Listening silently in quiet wonderment, without knowing anything, there is just one mysteriously palpitating aliveness.

-0-

We are human beings, not ‘students’ and ‘teacher,’ coming together and questioning, looking together, not having made up our minds about what we’re looking at, but starting afresh.

-0-

The solution of the problem lies in seeing it—in the seeing, without wanting a solution, or dissolution—just seeing what’s there. . . .

-0-

Awareness cannot be taught, and when it is present it has no context. All contexts are created by thought and are therefore corruptible by thought. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever.

-0-

“What is personal death?

Asking this question and pausing to look inward – isn’t personal death a concept? Isn’t there a thought-and-picture series going on in the brain? These scenes of personal ending take place solely in the imagination, and yet they trigger great mental ad physical distress – thinking of one’s cherished attachments an their sudden, irreversible termination.

Similarly, if there is ‘pain when I let some of the beauty of life in’ – isn’t this pain the result of thinking, ‘I won’t be here any longer to enjoy this beauty?’ Or, ‘No one will be around and no beauty left to be enjoyed if there is total nuclear devastation.’

Apart from the horrendous tragedy of human warfare – why is there this fear of ‘me’ not continuing? Is it because I don’t realize that all my fear and trembling is for an image? Because I really believe that this image is myself?

In the midst of this vast, unfathomable, ever-changing, dying, and renewing flow of life, the human brain is ceaselessly engaged in trying to fix for itself a state of permanency and certainty. Having the capacity to think and form pictures of ourselves, to remember them and become deeply attached to them, we take this world of pictures and ideas for real. We thoroughly believe in the reality of the picture story of our personal life. We are totally identified with it and want it to go on forever. The idea of “forever” is itself an invention of the human brain. Forever is a dream.

Questioning beyond all thoughts, images, memories, and beliefs, questioning profoundly into the utter darkness of not-knowing, the realization may suddenly dawn that one is nothing at all – nothing – that all one has been holding on to are pictures and dreams. Being nothing is being everything. It is wholeness. Compassion. It is the ending of separation, fear, and sorrow.

Is there pain when no one is there to hold on?

There is beauty where there is no “me”.”
― Toni Packer, The Work of This Moment

“The solution of the problem lies in seeing it—in the seeing, without wanting a solution, or dissolution—just seeing what’s there. . . .”
― Toni Packer, The Light of Discovery

“In the expectation of wonderful things to happen in the future, one doesn’t hear the sound of the wind and rain, the breath and heartbeat this instant.”
― Toni Packer, The Light of Discovery

Juxtaposition: light from Sufi, Buddhist & Jewish sources

Juxtaposition:

The first quotation is by from Sufi teacher Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee;

SUFI:
“If we can allow ourselves to live an ordinary life while also staying awake to the great void at the center of all that is, then we can be this intermediary place between that intoxicating, mystical bliss of oblivion and the wonder of how the Divine creates and reveals Itself in all the forms of life. Our lives are the expression of this bridge – ordinary and extraordinary, all things in their place, everything free to be as it is, and our consciousness, our heart, free to be used as needed.”
-0-

BUDDHIST:
The great Master Dogen said, “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self, to study the self is to forget the self, and to forget the self is to be enlightened by the ten thousand things.” To be enlightened by the ten thousand things is to recognize the unity of the self and the ten thousand things.
-0-

JEWISH:
The search for reason ends at the shore of the known;
on the immense expanse beyond it
only the sense of the ineffable can glide.
It alone knows the route to that
which is remote from experience and understanding.

Neither is amphibious:
reason cannot go beyond the shore,
and the sense of the ineffable
is out of place where we measure, where we weigh…….

Citizens of two realms, we must all sustain dual allegiance:
we sense the ineffable in one realm;
we name and exploit reality in another.
Between the two we set up a system of references,
but can never fill the gap. – A J Heschel
-0-

NB The Sufi quote is from a book review on the wonderful ‘Spirituality & Practice site by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat here;

http://www.spiritualityandpractice.com/book-reviews/excerpts/view/28020/for-love-of-the-real

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee – his site is here – http://www.goldensufi.org/about_lvl.html