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Re: : Theosophy in the mist

Apr 26, 1998 01:48 PM
by Mark Kusek

> Alpha wrote:
> =

> > <snip>
> > Taoist artists of long ago, paused silently;
> > long enough to realize the meaning of the emptiness of paper or silk,=

> > before they would ever move to pick up the brush. With that preparati=
> > ... how could the Tao not naturally manifest?
> =

> Mark:
> Perhaps you could enlarge on "the emptiness of paper or silk"....or per=
> it can't be put into words.
> It just seems that it could equally(?) be to realise the fullness of pa=
> and silk.

Emptiness and fullness ... yes. =

The image of Darkness. Darkness within darkness, the gate to all
mystery. Void =3D Pleroma. Nirvana =3D Samsara. Words and pictures will f=
and only serve to illustrate duality. When looked for, it cannot be

What is the image of the imageless? It can't be shown. When you try to,
it just looks like ordinary life. Therefore the Sage says "Have a cup of

=46rom George Rowley's 'Principles of Chinese Painting' =

=A91947 Princeton University Press (pg 71) -

"The relation between solids and voids will tax our aesthetic
sensitivity more than any other problem in Chinese design. To know when
a brush stroke has 'chi' may seem baffling, but at least the brush
stroke is tangible and measurable. A void may be so indefinite that it
defies all judgement; in fact, many Sung voids were meant to suggest the
"mystery of emptiness." Such a conception has had no parallel in the
West because our concern with actuality has made us emphasize the
existent rather than the non-existent so that the sky was a space-filled
realm and not a vehichle for imparting a sense of the infinite. Far from
being a void, a typical Dutch sky is a painting of tangible could forms,
defining a definite space. The clouds in Chinese painting belong to the
mountains and most of the skies are empty voids, yet these voids may be
the most impoortant parts of the design. Y=FCn Shou-p'ing complained abou=
his contemporaries, of the late seventeenth century: "Modern painters
apply their mind only to brush and ink, whereas the ancients applied
their minds to the absence of brush and ink. If one is able to realize
how the ancients applied their minds to the absence of brush and ink,
one is not far from reaching the divine quality in painting.""

=46rom Michael Adam's 'Wandering in Eden: Three Ways to the East Within
=A91973 Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. (The Way of Emptiness - pg 57) -

"The Tao cannot be told, it cannot be painted. Being invisible, it could
seem that the only fitting representation is a blank sheet of paper, but
blankness of this kind in no way conveys the way of Tao, the wonder of
Emptiness, nor suggests it as the source and being of all the ten
thousand things. But when a master painter takes the empty paper and
makes a mark in one corner only, the whole sheet becomes alive; what was
only blank is now vibrant, potent, pregnant. This is the "mystery of
Emptiness" of which the Sung painters spoke. By way of what is painted,
what cannot be painted is implied - the invisible Reality, the Tao, is
suggested. Let a master brush a small bird upon a blank sheet and
blankness becomes the wide upholding sky; what was only empty becomes
Emptiness, all heaven is immediatekly at hand. Drawing a bird, he
creates a sky for the bird to fly in. If there were no bird, there would
be no sky. Without the sky the bird could not fly, could not 'be.'
Without Emptiness nothing could 'be'[neither sky nor bird], with
Emptiness all comes into being."

(pg 63) -
Chinese painters have been called sages and magicians: their paintings
are not for entertainment or pleasure only; they are potent, magical,
they bring wonders about, reveal the Tao. "When one approaches the
wonderful," said Hui Tsung, "one knows not whether art is Tao or Tao is

If interested, please see also: =

'The Way of Chinese Painting' by Mai-mai Sze (=A91959 Random House, Inc)
'The Chinese on the Art of Painting' by Osvald Siren (a Theosophist)
(=A91963 Schocken Books, Inc)

For a Theosophical perspective on Space and Emptiness see:
'The Secret Doctrine,' especially the parts concerning the first few
Cosmogenetic Stanzas
and the wonderful 'Space and the Doctrine of Maya,' by G.dePurucker
(Part of his 'Fountain Source of Occultism,' but also available as an
independant volume in the series of 'Esoteric Teachings' from Point Loma
Publications =A91987) =

Enjoying the tea,
WITHOUT WALLS: An Internet Art Space

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