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.

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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.”

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

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Painting by Wayne Thiebaud – Boston Cremes, 1962

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

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FREDERICK FRANCK's 10 Commandments as an artist – via Miriam Louisa

FREDERICK FRANCK’S TO-DO LIST – He called it his “10 Commandments”

“These Ten Commandments on seeing/drawing were revealed to me on a mountain, but also in a meadow, on a beach and even in the subway. For their revelation did not come all at once, but in installments, as it were, over the years, and always while I was busy drawing, and invariably on holy ground. But that may be because, while drawing, all ground is holy: unseparated from the Whole.

1 You shall draw everything and every day

2 You shall not wait for inspiration, for it comes not while you wait but while you work

3 You shall forget all you think you know and, even more, all you have been taught

4 You shall not adore your good drawings and promptly forget your bad ones

5 You shall not draw with exhibitions in mind, nor to please any critic but yourself

6 You shall trust none but your own eye, and make your hand follow it

7 You shall consider the mouse you draw as more important than the contents of all the museums in the world, for

8 You shall love the ten thousand things with all your heart and a blade of grass as yourself

9 Let each drawing be your first: A celebration of the eye awakened

10 You shall not worry about “being of your time”, for you are your time

And it is brief.” – Frederick Franck

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From Franck’s book, The Awakened Eye – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0394740211?ie=UTF8&tag=wonderingmind-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0394740211

The Zen of Seeing is here – http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zen-Seeing-Drawing-Meditation/dp/0394719689/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1458974460&sr=1-1&keywords=frederick+franck

For more about Frederick Franck, visit the awakened eye website. – https://theawakenedeye.com/2012/09/19/the-dance-of-me-and-mu/franck-drawing-128/

Miriam has several sites – but the 10 Commandments are from here -http://wonderingmindstudio.com/inspirations-aspirations/to-do/