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Re: : Theosophy in the mist

Apr 26, 1998 10:22 AM
by Alpha (Tony)

Mark wrote:
>Enjoying the tea,

An excellent brew!

>The clouds in Chinese painting belong to the
>mountains and most of the skies are empty voids, yet these voids may be
>the most important parts of the design.
These voids/space(s) in between do seem to be "where it all happens" (for
want of better words). In between the inbreath and the outbreath. The dawn,
the twilight. It also helps in the understanding (realizing) of Dzyan.

>>From Michael Adam's 'Wandering in Eden: Three Ways to the East Within
In "The Secret Doctrine" the "geographical locations", East and West, etc.
seem to relate to states of consciousness, to "locations" within us, ...
Ways to the location within us, etc., etc., etc., as well as to the
geographical locations themselves. The names of places have meanings. So
Lha-ssa (HPB spells it in different ways) is far more than just the capital
of Thibet. It sort of hisses "out." For an example, in an article of HPBs
she spells "Akasa" in a number of different ways, but when it is reprinted,
we, because of our western minds tend to say akasa is spelt akasa, and that
is the end of it, so all the different spellings/nuances get standardized,
thus going some way to "destroying" that something extra.

>By way of what is painted,
>what cannot be painted is implied - the invisible Reality, the Tao, is
Wonderful way of putting it.
"The Secret Doctrine" - The Doctrine is what is painted, the

Thanks for the book titles.

Your enthusiasm vibrates through. It is catching!

>> 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 preparation,
>> > ... how could the Tao not naturally manifest?
>> Mark:
>> Perhaps you could enlarge on "the emptiness of paper or silk"....or perhaps
>> it can't be put into words.
>> It just seems that it could equally(?) be to realise the fullness of paper
>> and silk.
>Emptiness and fullness ... yes.
>The image of Darkness. Darkness within darkness, the gate to all
>mystery. Void = Pleroma. Nirvana = Samsara. Words and pictures will fail
>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
>>From George Rowley's 'Principles of Chinese Painting'
>©1947 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. YŁn Shou-p'ing complained about
>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.""
>>From Michael Adam's 'Wandering in Eden: Three Ways to the East Within
>©1973 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 (©1959 Random House, Inc)
>'The Chinese on the Art of Painting' by Osvald Siren (a Theosophist)
>(©1963 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 ©1987)
>Enjoying the tea,
>WITHOUT WALLS: An Internet Art Space

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