12 April 2016

The Power of Anguish

As a long-time student and fitful practitioner of Zen, I became familiar with Stephen Batchelor's writing several years ago, specifically his book Buddhism Without Beliefs.  Recently, I chose the passage below to feature in a regular Facebook posting of mine called Daily Dharma.  It speaks so eloquently to the goals of those who create that I thought I would share it with you here.

Mural No. 4
Mark Rothko

"Great works of art in all cultures succeed in capturing within the constraints of their form both the pathos of anguish and a vision of its resolution. Take, for example, the languorous sentences of Proust or the haiku of Basho, the late quartets and sonatas of Beethoven, the tragicomic brushwork of Sengai or the daunting canvases of Rothko, the luminous self-portraits of Rembrandt and Hakuin. Such works achieve their resolution not through consoling or romantic images whereby anguish is transcended. They accept anguish without being overwhelmed by it. They reveal anguish as that which gives beauty its dignity and depth."

"This novel picks you up by the scruff of your neck and doesn't let you go until the final pages!" (5 stars) VB, London

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