John Fraser’s Kusen No. 240
“A teacher and his student were standing by the shore. In the distance was a boat. The teacher said to the student ‘forgetting about your mind for the moment, point to the boat’. The student pointed to the boat. The teacher then said ‘forgetting about the boat for the moment, point to your mind’. The student pointed to the boat again”
In dualism, we imagine the mind comes first, occupying an unspecified space, within which the world then appears. But truly, mind and world are the same illumination. But it is not the great illumination.
Dogen said that when we see water, fish see shimmering palaces. Demons see blood. Gods see strings of pearls. But the eyes seeing ‘water’ are without limit, and so the powers of expression of ‘water’ are without limit. This is the great illumination. Likewise, ‘mountains’. Likewise, ‘thinking’.
More zen articles at Kusen & Notes from John
Many visitors to the friendly Ren Bar in east Tokyo made calligraphy and artworks to express their wishes for the new year… here is my fast ink portrait of the famous master!
- 24 May 2017
In Buddhism we awake to the dream and realise we are still within the dream – helping us be much more aware and open. In transcendental meditation effortless concentration is practiced, moving deeper into new levels of consciousness.
The world of Twin Peaks, from the pilot to the Missing Pieces of Fire Walk With Me, explore many things. These include the journey of selves and the parting of the self into wider dimensions. There is a clear sense of the vast mystery – beyond notions of good and evil.
The spectrum of actions of the town’s residents and visitors range from extremely selfish – Ben and Catherine’s entertaining subterfuge for example – to genuinely caring – even Harry and Albert are looking out for each other after a rocky start to their relationship. The red room’s characters too seem to encompass contrasting aspects of a being’s possible ways of behaving towards others. Trust – deception accompany wholeness – fragmentation.
Bob and Mike complement each other in this way. Even Dale’s pure innocence is balanced by Bob’s intervention into his body and mind. If there is no such thing as a fixed essence or unchanging soul – these character transformations seen particularly within Leland Palmer, magnificently portrayed by Ray Wise, and Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle ‘Kale’ MacLachlan) are not unnatural perhaps but part of the wider planetary and worldly magic Mark Frost and David Lynch delve into.
Near the end of the second series Dale is seen coming out of meditation. He is sitting cross legged on a cushion in his room at the Great Northern, before beginning his regular dictation to Diane. Lynch is a practitioner of transcendental meditation. TM – carefree absorption aided by a mantra personal to the individual, which through regular practice connects to higher levels of consciousness and states that blissfully drop the immediate noise of the self.
It can be visually and multi sense stimulating, taking a self into a different place. We see Dale is vulnerable, but with an increasingly open heart-mind is gradually connecting to the mystery of the woods and the the owls.
Fire darkly or brightly
Dale Cooper deflects any symbol of heroic yogic meditator though or fearless FBI agent. He reveals his uncertainties and his fragility. The ‘good’ Dale and the blackness of the Black Lodge are smeared together, will the fire burn darkly or brightly through him?
Missing Pieces offered glimpses of future and past moments, with a humane and soft exploration of the relationships and states of the various characters of the intertwined Twin Peaks extended family. It balances the earlier film. The emerald green owl glyph ring circles on.. the broken heart necklace a reminder of throbbing hearts.
Other David Lynch related posts
“Tokyo Art Exhibitions – MOT and David Lynch at LAFORET” and other notes. →
Trying out the zen enso circle, symbol of universality and the idea of beauty within imperfection.
Small to medium fude for sho on single hanshi sheets.
Working on the character nen – commonly translated as mindfulness or mindful, also attention or care. There is a balance needed between the two parts of the kanji.
The fude brushes hanging to dry – looking like they need another good rinse!
Making some marks with fude brushes and fudepen using Japanese sumi ink. Beginning practicing for a series of three Drawing and Painting Studio workshops. Experimenting with the brush stopping and flicking, speed of the marks and energy.
In the first Shodo group the Kanji characters ten – heavens/ sky and shin or kokoro – heart/ mind. I have chosen zen related characters for participants to practice.
- 02 March 2017
For the Aye Write! 2017 book festival I was asked to help deliver a project combining art and literacy, working with adult learners and tutors from around Glasgow city.
We came up with a book of creative writing and drawing, experimenting with various approaches that allowed individuals to express themselves to a theme of ‘learning for the future’.
Have a super duper 2017 and all the very best wishes for a peaceful holiday.
Creatively 2016 has been really varied, and has seen work on various visual projects, particularly photography and drawings, both getting more abstract and playful.
Recently I have been running free community art classes in Ruchill and Maryhill in Glasgow for young people and adults. I’ll be growing these into the North West and East of the city in 2017.
- 28 June 2016
Working with nature, plus my own ‘sculptural’ props and my trusty old nikon dslr, and recent smaller digital camera, I’ve been going on to develop various series of photographs and c-prints. The two images I’ve selected here are from work on the Scottish Hebrides. These series have gradually become more abstracted and playful with colour and atmosphere, and are influencing new drawing and painting experiments in terms of colour blocks and composition.