… Suppose we transpose, the thinking of differance, this negative philosophy, into the medium of painting. Our project would be to show in painting what painting is not. What would you paint? Stricken by such an odd request we would begin to ponder whether it is everything that can be shown in painting which is not painting itself. A chair, a pipe, a watch. These things are not painting. But as one approaches the canvas, primed and prepped to paint something, one is overcome by a horrific realization: to paint the chair, the pipe, the watch, would still be a painting. Continue reading
My analysis of the compatibility/incompatibility of Christianity and Buddhism. If you feel you are going to take offense, please just don’t even read it.
Friend: [I’m] not a fan of the ‘pray for this injured kid so he gets help’. As much as I respect religions, wouldn’t a god want their people to call a hospital or raise money for someone to get a life saving surgery?
Me: Ok, so you’ve scratched the surface of HUGE DEBATES which have been going on pre-christianity, and have been problems from the very beginning of christianity. Which book in the bible you read will give you different opinions. The most common opinion cited, (because of it’s consistency with the rest of the scriptures) is that faith (or heart) is more important than works (actions), because a good heart will naturally lead to good actions, and it’s more important to have a good heart than to appear to do good. Buddhism of course goes the opposite direction, and there are books in the bible which argue more towards this. Buddhism believes that even if someone’s heart is totally selfish, and even if they do good for the wrong reasons, they are still benefiting the world. Multiple new testament books strongly proclaim that faith without good works is dead (meaning that the heart can’t be good if it doesn’t produce good actions). This becomes a controversial issue. Sort of chicken or the egg. Buddhism also believes that if a bad heart experiences the good feelings of helping others, it will become a natural choice, and in a way selfishness becomes selflessness. Christianity has a vague experience with this but nothing official as it would be apocryphal (inconsistent with primary scriptures).
There are also parallels between the stoic christians and the ascetic buddhists. These deny bodily pleasures in favor of spiritual knowledge and meditation. While christianity would describe it like voluntarily becoming a slave to God, who is perfectlygood, and therefore becoming an instrument for good to come into the world, buddhism would describe it like becoming dead. One is perfectly in tune with the universe, immune to false opinions because one has no opinions. This is initially shocking to Christianity because one would not want to be dead, because dead people can’t do good. But essentially these methods are similar.
To continue my wonderful spark of insight, the buddhists believe that suffering is just a natural part of life (almost a logical consequence of having brains, which I am discovering more and more I think is the case). Christianity builds on the creation story that suffering is because of the essentially evil nature of human hearts, and that only God can rescue us from punishment, (or creating our own hell is a better interpretation, but that’s not fundamentalist). So suffering in one christian sense (called Deuteronomical, based strongly on the book of deuteronomy) is punishment because of our legal infractions against God. While this thinking is common in a majority of religions and is appealing to a majority of humans because of its deterministic and legal nature, it’s also simplistic and childish. Like the child caught in the cookie jar, it also connects with humanity because of its simplicity and childishness. I find this to be a wonderful parallel to Karma. Which is slightly more mature to me because it highlights the deterministic strength of the idea. But both have a strange idea of justice and the universe, in which balance must be in some way restored.
Away and Apart
by Daniel Young
Sitting down, face to face
there is no bandaid, there is no brace.
I am 1,800 miles from home, staring at you through a screen.
Missing you with an aching pain.
Like a foggy window, made of plexiglass,
we can move behind it, but never pass.
Our fingers laid, can match the others.
Still, much too far away for lovers.
This dividing pane, cuts me in half.
The mocking muses quoteth plath:
(nodding on the left bed side).
Tell me, what does the veil hide?
These bone bars which hold my heart,
constrict my breath and chain me short.
Like having four lead walls, caving in,
or perhaps I am a bug on a pin.
I flop about, a gasping fish
You make it better, but you can’t kiss.
Cause you’re not here,
and I’m not there.
You can’t even hug your teddy bear.
by Daniel Young
The clock emerges from the alphabet soup.
Perhaps it wound itself.
The color swatches of God:
the sea, the sand,
the leaves, the trees.
Is there treachery here?
Is a pipe a pipe?
Is a rose a pipe?
Both is a word which signifies nothing,
until I give it something to talk about.
Creation. Still wrapped in a veil.
The dreams and wheels
within wheels and dreams.
Where is the master hiding?
The strings attached to us,
have fingers above,
and the story cohesion.
Must the characters enjoy their fate,
and not decide their part?
Dear Scarf, Return.
by Daniel Young
My furry friend that I have lost,
There is cold air upon my neck.
It longs for your long, snuggle hugs.
It longs for your style and embrace.
It longs to be under wraps.
Away from this shivering nudity.
Perhaps you have found some other fine neck
on which to perch your coils?
Where have you flown, my fine-striped friend?
How I wish to know, by sea or by wind?
by Daniel Young
I wake up dazed. Damn.
The blaring sun.
A coarseness in my clothes.
Where am I?
It’s certainly not familiar.
But, this empty sandbar is my home.
Welcome to two-foot island.
I wade into the knee-deep shallows
to salvage any thing.
Sift and sliver, bits of debris
for my pitiful shack,
a miserable stack,
a mound of putrid logs.
Lifting up a mast I find–
corpses mixing with the fishes
dying red my hopes and wishes
nightmarish dreams advance this christmas
as I’m waiting in the sea.
WATER Dying, dying, inchmeal.
WATER me WATER Oh, to make it quick!
WATER Water, water, everywhere
and nothing at all to drink.
I ate my dog today.
How sick is that? Those taunting birds.
Starving, close to death. That laughing sun.
At least I didn’t have to watch The mirages out at sea.
him take his final breath. The world is painted, a muted yellow.
This is killing me.
ALONE, ALONE, ALONE.
No one can hear me speak.
The Doctor listens quietly,
and then prescribes some pills.
–Words betray me.–
I am only a few days into this journey, and it hasnt been as startling as I thought it would be. The culture is quite different yes, but not extremely shocking to me. -They call it culture shock, no?- In fact Prague and other big cities of Europe remind me a lot of Portland–considered the wierdest city of the west half of the US at least. European cities are interspersed with trees and urban sprawl. Eco conscious, yet not afraid of technology. Mindful of the past and embracing of the future.
Poetry is like water.
You can’t live without it.
Out in the desert you know how precious it is.
Such thirst sits in your rock-hard throat.
Mining your soul with a pickaxe.
When you’ve walked for days and find a river,
you run it through your fingers and aren’t sure if you can trust your mind.
But you have to drink it,
even if it’s just a handful of sand.
You need it to be true.
It tastes so sweet,
and you die with a smile.
Remember when you saw the ocean for the first time? All you saw was land.
Because it didn’t fit in your head.
How could there be that much water?
You jump in and you’re surrounded like a hug.
With smothering love.
This is the life-giver.