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Seen With True Vision

Post #1476 • December 19, 2011, 2:00 PM • 2 Comments

[Image: Bodhidharma, December 19, 2011, ink on paper]

Bodhidharma, December 19, 2011, ink on paper

Bodhidharma, via Red Pine, excerpted by Tricycle.

Seen with true vision, form isn't simply form, because form depends on mind. And mind isn't simply mind, because mind depends on form. Mind and form create and negate each other. That which exists exists in relation to that which doesn't exist. And that which doesn't exist doesn't exist in relation to that which exists. This is true vision. By means of such vision nothing is seen and nothing is not seen. Such vision reaches throughout the ten directions without seeing: because nothing is seen; because not seeing is seen; because seeing isn't seeing. What mortals see are delusions. True vision is detached from seeing.

The mind and the world are opposites, and vision arises where they meet. When your mind doesn't stir inside, the world doesn't arise outside. When the world and the mind are both transparent, this is true vision. And such understanding is true understanding.

To see nothing is to perceive the way, and to understand nothing is to know the dharma, because seeing is neither seeing nor not seeing and because understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding. Seeing without seeing is true vision. Understanding without understanding is true understanding.

True vision isn't just seeing seeing. It’s also seeing not seeing. And true understanding isn't just understanding understanding. It’s also understanding not understanding. If you understand anything, you don't understand. Only when you understand nothing is it true understanding. Understanding is neither understanding nor not understanding.

Comment

1.

Walter Darby Bannard

December 19, 2011, 3:48 PM

Welcome back. Though I have expressed my strong reservations about the new rules, regulations, and format, I trust that your natural intelligence and wise guidance will make the revived blog the intellectual success that the first one was.

As for "Blowhardharma," that vacuous text, which is too vague to even qualify as B.S., is certainly no comparison to the portrait, which I think may be the best drawing I have ever seen by you, full of life, tricky brushwork and inspired value variety.

I read you and John on the introduction page, and felt gratified to once again be in the company of those intelligent enough to disagree with. I think the state of the art world is less a battleground (though it is that too) than a result of normal social evolution which simply demonstrates that "size matters," as they say. Everything reverts to a low common denominator when it gets popular enough, and I think analyzing the situation from that point of view would be most fruitful. Good art only prevails in those rare times when people want it, and the current art business (in a comparison I wrote to John a while ago concerning the stock market) is a crowd of blind lemmings who can't find a cliff.

That said, I'm not going to get into it because I have too much else to do, but will be pleased to respond to others, especially if we can drag some of our old cronies back in, or, "hopefully," new ones.

2.

Franklin

December 19, 2011, 6:40 PM

The literature of early Chinese Buddhism was aimed at cutting off the road of the mind, as one writer put it, with the idea of allowing pure consciousness to operate without conceptual restraints. It can be read as prose poetry. "Understanding not understanding" is comprehensible in the normal sense, as a pretty good rendering of metacognition in 5th century Chinese terms. On the other hand, maybe Bodhidharma would agree with you that nothing is there.

I'm glad you like the drawing so well. And thank you, profoundly, for your trust.

The bit about the blind lemmings is wonderful, but I think it would be more accurate and more helpful to stop thinking of the art world as one thing or one kind of thing. This is precisely what becomes possible when the discipline takes on the overgrown proportions that correspond with popularity.

That allows you to conduct your dealings with the segment you like. Down in Miami I spent some time in the company of a young artist who is fascinated with postwar abstraction, is curious about Clement Greenberg, and is as hungry as anyone out there for artistic and professional progress. And yet she did so with no concern for being against something else—she was just offering what she had to people who wanted it. And she found them. This, I think, is the way forward.

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