Art and Suffering

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  • Kokuu
    Treeleaf Priest
    • Nov 2012
    • 6785

    Art and Suffering

    From an interview with the wonderful Jane Hirshfield in Tricycle:

    "We make art, I believe, partly because our lives are ungraspable, uncarryable, impossible to navigate without it. Even our joys are vanishing things, subject to transience. How, then, could there be any beauty without some awareness of loss, of suffering? The surprising thing is that the opposite is also true, that suffering leads us to beauty the way thirst leads us to water.

    In the midst of suffering, we almost have no choice. We have to feel and acknowledge it. It demands response. Art offers a way not only to face grief, face pain, but also to soften grief's and pain's faces, which turn back toward us, listening in turn, when we speak to them in the language of story and music and image.

    Art isn't a superficial addition to our lives; it's as necessary as oxygen. Amid the cliffs and abysses every life brings, art allows us to find a way to agree to suffering, to include it and not be broken, to say yes to what actually is, and then to say something further, something that changes and opens the heart, the ears, the eyes, the mind."


    Gassho
    Kokuu
    #sattoday (but sadly made no art)
  • Kyonin
    Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
    • Oct 2010
    • 6742

    #2
    Hi Kokuu

    Art is such an important part of human life and so often overlooked by the rushing people in the cities. We need art just as we need oxygen. But at the same time it's sad to see how so many people seem to embrace ugliness and actually consume it like candy.

    And yes, you made art by being here in this universe.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

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    • RichardH
      Member
      • Nov 2011
      • 2800

      #3
      In my experience art is Joy. It is a Joy based activity, that is about letting go into free-play. This joy is a heightened energy, with heightened faculties and abilities, that can't be coerced or forced, but comes like grace. The subject matter may be dark, but there is joy in the visual turn-of-phrase, and in the process. When art becomes a compulsion, or slavish, it is can be seen in the turn-of-phrase, in the gesture of the paint. The lack of joy is visible. So I'd say Art is about Joy.

      Gassho
      Daizan


      sat today
      Last edited by RichardH; 04-13-2015, 09:13 PM.

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      • Myosha
        Member
        • Mar 2013
        • 2974

        #4
        Originally posted by Kokuu
        From an interview with the wonderful Jane Hirshfield in Tricycle:

        "We make art, I believe, partly because our lives are ungraspable, uncarryable, impossible to navigate without it. Even our joys are vanishing things, subject to transience. How, then, could there be any beauty without some awareness of loss, of suffering? The surprising thing is that the opposite is also true, that suffering leads us to beauty the way thirst leads us to water.

        In the midst of suffering, we almost have no choice. We have to feel and acknowledge it. It demands response. Art offers a way not only to face grief, face pain, but also to soften grief's and pain's faces, which turn back toward us, listening in turn, when we speak to them in the language of story and music and image.

        Art isn't a superficial addition to our lives; it's as necessary as oxygen. Amid the cliffs and abysses every life brings, art allows us to find a way to agree to suffering, to include it and not be broken, to say yes to what actually is, and then to say something further, something that changes and opens the heart, the ears, the eyes, the mind."


        Gassho
        Kokuu
        #sattoday (but sadly made no art)
        Amen.

        Thank you for the moment.


        Gassho
        Myosha sat today
        "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

        Comment

        • Jika
          Member
          • Jun 2014
          • 1337

          #5
          And yes, you made art by being here in this universe.
          治 Ji
          花 Ka

          Comment

          • Stev
            Member
            • Jan 2011
            • 54

            #6
            Hmmm I cannot see art is that important to me, or to
            those who are suffering, given the choice of art or oxygen I would take oxygen every time
            I do prefer Daizan's take on art that it is Joy and loses something when the joy of the doing is lacking.

            sat2day
            Last edited by Stev; 04-14-2015, 12:46 PM.

            Comment

            • Byrne
              Member
              • Dec 2014
              • 371

              #7
              Originally posted by Stev
              Hmmm I cannot see art is that important to me, or to
              those who are suffering, given the choice of art or oxygen I would take oxygen every time
              I do prefer Daizan's take on art that it is Joy and loses something when the joy of the doing is lacking.

              sat2day
              It's not an either/or situation. The first noble truth sets the stage. Art is a nice way to process it. It's a joy to create art, but often the inspiration comes from a very painful place. You don't have to be so literal. You don't have to intellectually understand what's being expressed. You just express it. The best stuff reveals its meaning to the artist over time.

              Gassho

              Sat Today

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              • Stev
                Member
                • Jan 2011
                • 54

                #8
                "Art isn't a superficial addition to our lives; it's as necessary as oxygen."
                I found this statement to be pretentious artist bollocks, so i was just being facetious, take no notice of me , I don't.

                Though having further thought about Daizan's post I think that is the best explanation of art I have heard.

                sattwicetoday

                Comment

                • Kokuu
                  Treeleaf Priest
                  • Nov 2012
                  • 6785

                  #9
                  "Art isn't a superficial addition to our lives; it's as necessary as oxygen."

                  I live with pain on a daily basis. Having an artistic way of expressing what I go through is a huge release. Many other chronically ill friends feel the same way. Many of us didn't have any interest in art before becoming ill and now it is an essential part of our lives. Sure, as necessary as oxygen is over-egging it somewhat, but I totally get what she means.

                  Gassho
                  Kokuu
                  #sattoday

                  Comment

                  • Stev
                    Member
                    • Jan 2011
                    • 54

                    #10
                    Hi Kokuu,
                    I am glad to hear of the benefits you have found in your art.
                    Thanks for your point of view.

                    Gassho

                    sat a couple of times 2day

                    Comment

                    • RichardH
                      Member
                      • Nov 2011
                      • 2800

                      #11
                      Hi Kokuu. I appreciate what you are saying. Creative activity expressing difficult states is very healing. I have never suffered from chronic pain (just chronic dukkha) and cannot speak to that experience. It is very likely that different people make art for different reasons, and definitive statements about "Art" are iffy. Different statements may resonate with different people.

                      Gassho
                      Daizan
                      Sat today

                      Comment

                      • Kokuu
                        Treeleaf Priest
                        • Nov 2012
                        • 6785

                        #12
                        It is very likely that different people make art for different reasons, and definitive statements about "Art" are iffy.
                        Agreed. This one resonated with me but may not with others.

                        Gassho
                        Kokuu

                        Comment

                        • Byokan
                          Treeleaf Unsui
                          • Apr 2014
                          • 4288

                          #13
                          Art offers a way not only to face grief, face pain, but also to soften grief's and pain's faces, which turn back toward us, listening in turn, when we speak to them in the language of story and music and image.

                          ...art allows us to find a way to agree to suffering, to include it and not be broken, to say yes to what actually is, and then to say something further, something that changes and opens the heart, the ears, the eyes, the mind.
                          Thanks for posting this Kokuu, it really speaks to me.

                          Daizan is right, of course, it's all very subjective.

                          I have a low level of chronic pain, that was much more intense and debilitating in the past. I think it’s no coincidence that I “discovered” art in the midst of the worst times. It was not just a distraction from the pain. I think the way that the pain brought me into the very still center of each moment, opened me to experiencing things in a new way. It opened my heart and my senses, for sure. The slowing down that pain brought, allowed me to notice things I used to just rush past. This pain also connected me to the human race in a way I hadn’t been aware of before. Now I could also see this connection in art. I could feel the human experience behind the art. Art reveals relation, and encourages us to consider meaning. It helped transform my suffering into just presence and awareness of experience, without all the dukkha. I can’t say it very well, and I am no artist myself, except in the way we all are, with our lives being our expression. But art saves me, daily. I know Jane Hirshfield was talking about the healing effect of making art, but even for those of us who don’t make the art ourselves, this wonderful connection, reflection, and healing is available by engaging with art. Much gratitude to the artists who put their creation into the world, from an art lover.

                          Gassho
                          Lisa
                          sat today
                          Last edited by Byokan; 04-14-2015, 09:40 PM.
                          展道 渺寛 Tendō Byōkan
                          Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

                          Comment

                          • Risho
                            Member
                            • May 2010
                            • 3179

                            #14
                            This is very interesting! Thank you for this topic and the posts -- too lazy to iterate through your names, but these are very interesting responses .

                            Is art more important than oxygen? I guess it depends on important in terms of what? And I guess it depends on your definition of art. Like Kyonin said, just by living here you are art. In a way that touches me. I mean, I'm not artist. lol You give me a canvas, and it's going to look like a 3 year old did something to it, and that would be a slight to 3 year olds. lol

                            But at the same time, making something, the way we work, the way we live and express ourselves can be art to. So I don't think it necessarily has to be traditional to be art. And if we are talking about art in terms of human expression, you're damned right it's more important than oxygen, because expression is what it is to be fully human. You can be brain dead and still breath. Anyway, I'm throwing out lots of generalities, but these posts revved me up.

                            Gassho,

                            Risho
                            -sattoday
                            Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                            Comment

                            • Byrne
                              Member
                              • Dec 2014
                              • 371

                              #15
                              Stev, I too cringe when I hear something pretentious. Here's what I consider pretentious artist bullocks. Someone I know posted it on Facebook the other day. I won't say who said it, but despite my criticism they are a very talented artist. But I think they're missing something.


                              "This is how I see it. As an artist it is my responsibility to not have a boring life. To feel deeply. To listen to the stories of strangers. To try new things and go new places. To say yes. To question everything. To find beauty in the commonplace. And to fall in love. Over and over. Because through the highs of love and the lows of heartbreak I truly know what it is to feel."


                              Even though it's a nice sentiment is also ridiculous. Everyone has feelings. An artist is just someone who has figured out a way to express those feelings. An artist's only responsibility is to produce art, otherwise they aren't artists. Maybe their life is really interesting with lots of adventures. Maybe it's very mundane and unsatisfying, and never leave the house. If they're good at it, maybe they can have a career. My wife and I make a good living off our own art. It's not because we have had a responsibility to be any particular way. It's because circumstance gave us a few talents (wife is a great percussionist, songwriter, and singer. I'm an all around instrumentalist and visual artist) and we found ways to transform those talents into skills. Live performances and merchandise sales. Beyond that, we're as like everyone else as everyone else is like us. We're artists because we produce art. Not because we are a certain way.


                              The most talented songwriter I know restores furniture in Marietta GA. His life is pretty ordinary. He rarely performs out and what he's done is poorly documented. His songs are fantastic. He's also a great dude.

                              Gassho

                              Sat Today

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