Thursday, May 31, 2012

 In the sixties and earlier most of us gets our hair cut by a barber who comes around hunting for heads all over the village. Funny how one can still remeber the smell of their cheap lotions and sometimes sour breath as they went about cropping your hair twisting and turning your head at their whims.
This house on the water front of the Jelutung Highway has been sketched more than once as it is one of the most photogenic rustice looking eleement sitting on the water. It tells me of what impermanence is all about and also perservierence, or the will to survive despite all odds.
I arerly see this ' Mamak Kueh ' anymore these days perhapds he has become a thing of the past along with his trade. He used to be a blessing for a hungry afternoon or tea time where his cakes and sweets made in the Chinese style were a wellcome sight. 
Trying their luck close to shore the fishing vassel drifted here and there a common sight off the Jelutung Highway.
The original Icecream Man ringing his small bell as he paddles along. This was way back in the early sixties when the icecream was stored in a thick metal box probably frozen in a coldstorage before the vendor picked them up.
Here are sights and scenes in and around Georgetown, Penang done with Chinese Ink and pen. This location was done off the Malay Fishing Colony off the Jelutung Highway where the best 'Ikan Sembilang Restaurant is located.

This scene tken sometime in 1964 is off the Ria Street in Georgetwon. The street is no more in existent but the characteristics of the old Penanf street scenes is well portrayed in this picture.

The Mamak Kueh or sweets seller was at one time a common sight to see in the sixties and this one usually selss Chinese brand of sweets.

Thsi was a scene of what Pitt Street was once like in the sixties and this location is right infront of the very old Chinese 'Kwan Yin ' temple a very rustice temple grounds till today.

This roadside 'Mamak Stall is still there but eh picture from which the sketch was done was taken sometime in 1964. This at the junction of Siam Road and Anson Road.

In the sixties food was cheap and available at any corner of the street in Goergetown. The 'Mamak Bubur was a favorite place to hang out for a bowl of sweet flavoured Bubur kacang mixed with coconut milk and some 'pulut or Glutinous rice. and all can be for 20 cents RM.
This Handicapped gentleman used to ride his way all over the 'Little India' area of Georgetown  where one can experience all kinds of Indian Food as well as collectables. This small part of the city is like a Mini - India however the Indians here are more Indian than the Indians in India.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Solo Mono Print Exhibition has come to an end and now i have to collect all my pieces and find a storage place for them. After calculating what i have sold and deducting the percentage owed to the gallery plus the expenses incurred by the show in the form of brochures and a banner, postage and so forth., I was told by the curator that I still owe the Gallery some RM240. So the total amount I made selling two pieces was about RM2500 in all and then I had to pay RM300 cash for postage and still owed RM100 because I could not afford the total amount to begin with bla!bla! Shit!!!
So what was it all for? While I end up with zilch the Curator is in Langkawi with his family for a long weekend, man where did I go wrong? I am not pissed at the Curator as he is merely doing his job and observing the deal as agreed between the artist and the Gallery. But still it stinks comes to think of it in terms of making a living and not to mention a sense of pride for whatever it is worth. I cannot even send my daughter for her bus fare to come home for a semester break or take my elder sister for a good dinner now that she is here or her son who has already left for that matter. So this is what it is like being an artist full time all the dreams you had and the people you thought you can count on are no more there simply because you have no way of returning their favors which you have been enjoying all these while.
I am beginning to realize that it is not the years that makes you age in life but it is the major disappointments and the unfulfilled goals, the feeling of being let down or worse taken for a ride by the very people you trust, this is what makes you age. The pain in the center of your chest that has for some time now vanished is now back and you start to find yourself running short of breath and your eyes are beginning to feel heavy and weary, too tired to focus on what it is that you are sketching. Worse you lack the will to even draw as there is not motive worth thinking about that can be an incentive to do what you love doing most in life.
The Georgetown Art Scene has long been hijacked by the few who through their personal wealth and thirst for fame and glory has left the artist on dry land as always. The Penang Festival showcasing in July has no place for the fine arts and caters more towards making sure that those who can afford it are entertained by foreign performing artists at what costs only the Chief Minister knows. What of the locals, where do they fit in on all these? Peanang Festival is for Penangites to enjoy their own festivities and when they really, genuinely do enjoy themselves the tourists automatically will do so too; it is not the other way round!! Penang artists are living like pariahs except for those who are independently wealthy for one reason or another. Those who holds the purse strings to the funds allocated for the benefit of artists in one form or another from the state government have made sure that the last to receive such funds are the artists and this is not me talking alone, it is the voice of many who are like me but have now way of expressing how the feel in the matter or who to turn to for that matter.
The New Penang Art gallery complex at Mcalister Road has numerous spaces underutilized and thus far it is a dead zone as far as art activities is concern. It is a shame that no one in the administration of the Penang State Art Gallery could make a suggestion that Penang artist should be given rental spaces in the complex to bring it to life. It would be an ideal location for tourists to visit and mingle with the local artists instead of having to wander around the City looking for them.It would be a great help to the artists themselves to have the small space from which they can work and exhibit their own works and not having to depend on Expensive Galleries to promote their works at exorbitant charges. It would also add on to a more personal touch like the facility they have in KL at Conlay Road.Why is it that anything to do with the benefit of the artists in Penang will always find a wall erected in one form or another by someone often for their own self serving purposes. I hope the State Government would one day look closely into this matter and spell it out to the rest of us the real deserving Penang born artists. We deserve better than to be shove around as though we are foreigners while foreign artists gets the red carpet treatment.I think it is about time Penang born artists stand up for their rights and demand an explanation from those who are elected to be caretakers of their needs as to why and how come!
It seems like it does not matter whether PKR or the Barisan National runs this State, for the artists it will always be a loose, loose situation, at least for those who carry no clout or knows no one in the administration. The local art galleries are primarily Chinese owned except for the Malay Artist Art gallery which is at present running as a one man activity and has never had a meeting of any kind for the past ten years or ever since i joined it as a member. The Malay Artist Art Society should have been made defunct years ago and a new society formed so that the paper trail can be established in order for it to procure funds from the various government agencies. But as it is my friend Rashid runs the society as a one man show which allows for himself the use of the space as his studio cum gallery. It is a waste of good strategic location but it is another victim of politics or personal exploitation. Most of its unofficial members are not concern with its existence except when there is a show organized.I used to enjoy the visits of foreigners to the gallery when I frequented the place and used it as one of my studios. But today it does not have the energy that it once did.
There is a building that belongs to the Barisan National or UMNO group located on Hutton Lane which was recently opened to be used as a venue for God knows what that would benefit the Malays in Penang especially those involved in the Arts. This was a year ago and till this date it is sitting there suffering lack of use. Money was spent to renovate the Heritage building and many meetings were held as to what or wherefore it should be used but  nothihg came off it.The Malay Artists in Penang are still running around with not place to call a meeting place much less a club house while one or two men sit on their hands keeping the building unoccupied till they find some use for it that would be of benefit to their personal cause.This is the nature of our country and its policy makers in a nut shell. It gets much worse as we get closer to the General Election as most of these so called movers and shakers of society will too busy scheming and planning moves and counter moves to make sure they do not seize to become relevant.In the meantime the fate of the Malay artists will always be as the Malay saying goes..."Hidup Segan Mati ta'Mau!" Too lazy to live, but refuse to die.
There is another group or Artists who exist pretty much in their own world within the enclosure of the University Walls. These are the elite of a different sort as they are considered the leaders in their own fields as they strive for higher and higher levels such as the Masters and Phds. They have little to do with those who do art on the outside except when every now and then invited to participate or become a contributor towards a collective effort for the benefit of the whole. These are the professors and lecturers who has no other concern except for their work and that is to teach art to upcoming students.They have minimal contact or interactions with their fellow artists outside their pay scope. It behooves them to be involved with the rest of the artist community at large and rarely invites for any share and compare which would benefit themselves as well as other contemporary artists not involved in education.All the talk about reaching out to the community as so on is never seen in action except for the activities carried out by the Museum and Gallery Tuanku Fauziah. How do on expose students towards the life of an artist living day to day on the street if there is no exposure for them in meeting or listening to the full time artists trying to survive outside of the campus walls?

What is there left to talk about?

My nephew came from Kuala Terengganu to get the sores on his feet taken care of and finally it is decided that he will go the specialists at Lam Wa Ee Hospital here. His wounds have become 'Aggressive" as the doctor put it when he first saw them.Dr. Khaw said expressed it Bahasa Malaysia, which was even more dramatic to those present in the room. He said " Dia sudah bertidak ganas!" Yes the wound on my nephew's foot has a hole about the size of a small platter and mean gangrenous looking. He has had it for the past fifteen years now and the past month or so it decided to become seriously bad.  Somewhere in my past blog I had a story on this about a month ago.These last few days I am suppose to take him to the hospital for the daily cleanup of his wounds but this morning as I was all set to do so i found out that he had left with my cousin  brother not two minutes past. It ticked me off for some odd reason most of which is the fact that it points out that I am unreliable or worse yet not willing to help, But my elder sister does not sees things this way and it puts me in a bind.
My niece and her children living in Balik Pulau has be diagnose with hand, foot and mouth decease and are under quarantine  and so my one retreat when shit hits the fence is out of bounds for now. I am stuck living on the busiest corner of Georgetown where the traffic is non stop and accidents is a common thing. Forget the noises and the pollution that is negligible compared to the aggravation of the heat that keeps you from sleeping at night.
My daughter came home from college yesterday, not the best of time for me even though it is good to have her home but I am so broke that it just is not right. I found out that after collecting the payments for the two pieces of art work I sold at my solo exhibition at Alpha Utara Gallery to the tune of 2500RM I still owe the Gallery about RM200 for expenses incurred. Such Is! I am behind at least four payments now in my car installments and my rent is not paid as yet for this month. Way to Go, Bahari!!
I am not a happy camper most definitely and I could feel it in my chest, that lump that sits there comfortably numb. The old anger demon sits in the corner scowling waiting to let out its long held back rage at life itself; this is the battle of the inner soul the 'Greater War' that The Prophet warned the Muslims about after they had won the Badr battle. The battle has been raging inside of me for as long as I can remember and sometimes it got to be so unbearable that i sympathize with my father and my brother and nephews who succumbed to being addicts. Often times I have this sensation of drowning and desperately
clutching for the reeds to pull myself to the surface but just as I catch my breath the reed breaks and down I go again. It is not a nice feeling the least to say.   But what to do? Life is a bitch, has always been and will always be but the show must go on and for those who can sit and take it without a whimper my salutations to them but i am who I am and I refuse to give in to causes and effects or divine interventions for those have done me little good all these years. I gave up on my well to do elder brothers and they me off course in this matter too i am to blame, my bad. My eldest son, well I have been asking him for more than enough to my utter shame, yes I have become the 'elegant beggar' that i used to joke about in the past, so careful what you call yourself! Yes"I have squandered my resistance for a pocket full of marbles, such are promises." Being an artist is really not what it cops out to be after all. I should have remained a Meat Cutter in Green Bay, Wisconsin, or a Yard Dog at H&H Ship Services in San Francisco or a Health and safety Manager at Patronas or the Ferry Terminal Supervisor at Jerejak Resort and SPA in Penang; but in believing myself as an artist has really torn my heart to pieces. This was how my father must have felt till his death...a broken man.

And the wise man said...

"To live peacefully one has to examine disorder. Why do we human beings, who are supposed to be extraordinarily evolved, extraordinarily capable in certain directions, why do we live with and tolerate such disorder in our daily lives? If one can discover the root of this disorder, its cause and observe it carefully, then in the very observation of that which is the cause is the awakening of intelligence. Observation of disorder, not the striving to bring about order. A confused disorderly mind, a state of mind which is contradictory, yet striving to bring about order, will still be disorder. One is confused, uncertain, going from one thing to another, burdened with many problems: from such a way of living, one wants order. Then what appears to be order is born out of one's confusion and therefore it is still confused.
When this is clear, what then is the cause of disorder? It has many causes: the desire to fulfill, the anxiety of not fulfilling, the contradictory life one lives, saying one thing, doing something totally different, trying to suppress one thing and to achieve something else. These are all contradictions in oneself. One can find many causes, the pursuit of causes is endless. Whereas one could ask oneself and find out if there is one root cause. Obviously there must be. The root cause is the-'self' the `me', the `ego', the personality put together by thought, by memory, by various experiences, by certain words, certain qualities which produce the feeling of separateness and isolation; that is the root cause of disorder. However much the self tries not to be the self it is still the effort of the self."

Saturday, May 12, 2012

The Balik Pulau Art Club

A group of Artists mainly Chinese except for myself had a meeting at the Alpha Utara Gallery where my solo exhibition is going on. They are part of a group from Balik Pulau, Penang i.e. from the other side of the island . last year i had attended the first Art show held by this fledgling group in the process of setting up an Art Club and I joined the Club, back then.
At least three quarter of these individuals were not aware that my works were on the walls at the Gallery and even fewer knew that i was already a paid member of the club that they were sitting to re-elect the committee members of..But that is the way it is with the Chinese I have found out over the years. Everything is strictly business, nothing personal just that they were there not to admire whose works were on exhibit but to carry out a meeting.
Food is a must for the Chinese no matter what the occasion  for without food whats the sense of doing anything? There is a family who is always on hand for every Art show opening in and around Georgetown like they knew it somehow and they are there for the free food. Most gallery owners here will point the out to you if you ask.   
This gentleman is trying to impress the lady he had accompanied to the meeting giving her a brief description of how the technique of mono-printing is done while i looked on he had an aloof air about him when he first made eye contact with me.. Later he learned that he was describing my works and i could sense his embarrassment 
Hence you have another set of audience that you have to bear in mind  when having a show. Its not a fault but it just is the way it is. These are artists all of them, at least I believe so, and none made a single comment or ask a single question as to how or what or when of my works on the walls. Not even after the gallery curator announced it to them that these were my works. Was it a racial thing? Oh well, welcome to the Club!!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The fourth Bodhisatva Vow.

The fourth Bodhisattva Vow; The Buddha's Way is Unsurpassable (Impeccable?), I will attain it!
To become an Enlighten Being, one who has transcended this Mayavic (illusive) realm of cyclic existence of birth life and death, is next to impossible. In the Buddhist sense it would take many life times and evolution through incarnations to arrive at being able to achieve this status of the so called Buddhahood -'The Perfect Man.' (or Woman). That is why it is said by the Buddha that it is this lifetime while in the human form as a human being one must not waste time, for it is only in this form that man is able to enter 'Complete Enlightenment' of the Buddhas. How often does one think of this in a life time the fact that we are here for more than just the reason of  having a fancy car and a beautiful girlfriend and a large home and for which most would sell their souls to the devil if need be, the fact that we are here to do more and become a whole lot more if we only learn to understand our True Nature, our Divine Self.

 "Buddhas are human, they are not Deva's, they are not gods. They are enlightened men and women. But the point is that they are not afraid to be human, they are not afraid to let themselves participate in the pains, difficulties and struggles that naturally go with human existence. The only difference is--and it's almost an undetectable difference--it takes one to know one. As a Zen poem says, 'when two Zen masters meet each other on the street, they need no introduction. When friends meet, they recognize one another instantly.' So a person who is a real cool Zen understands that, does not go around 'Oh, I understand Zen, I have satori, I have this attainment, I have that attainment, I have the other attainment,' because if he said that, he wouldn't understand the first thing about it ."
                                                      Alan Watts

As it would take a very long and committed amount of time and perseverance to understand the Truth of Islam, so would it take the same amount of dedicated and committed amount of effort to understand Buddhism. To come to understand both in a singular lifetime would take more than just time but a mind that is not afraid to ask and confront all issues right of wrong for the sake of discovering the Truth. If done in the privacy of one's own mind it is not as dangerous as when it is done openly like blogging in the Internet where one's thoughts and experiences are exposed to  the whole world and thus open to reticule and chastisement, or support and encouragement. This has been my original intention in setting about keeping an artist journal initially and continuing into this blogging till this date. Call it comparative religious study if you may or a spiritual self discovery or whatever, it is an on going project intended to discover what Is.

Buddhahood is thus taught to be the timeless, virtue-filled Real (although as yet unrecognised as such by the deluded being), present inside the mind of every sentient being from the beginningless beginning. Its disclosure to direct perception, however, depends on inner spiritual purification and purgation of the superficial obscurations which conceal it from view.In this day and age most of us have no or little interest in these matters except when it does serves our self interest for one reason or another. We have to have a sort of wake up call and hopefully not of the dramatic kind that would shatter all our hopes and make us run for the mountains to save ourselves. A death in the family has no more as dramatic an effect nor even deaths of a few thousand in one tragedy like the Tsunami in Japan or Acceh. We have been desensitized from feeling any sense of awe or of the sacredness of our being, we have become like toy soldiers in the hands of demonic puppeteers to fulfill their hidden agendas, we have become fodders for the butchers who are out to harness the fall of religions. Wake up! Stand up! as Bob Marley sang....Stand up for you Right.It is not only for your right that you have to stand up in this case, it is for the salvation of your souls, of who you truly are that you have to wake up to. When you loose, God looses.

"If you will know yourselves, then you will be known and you will know that you are the sons of the living father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you are in poverty and you are poverty."

  • So make the effort and lay your journey ahead, this journey of 'self discovery', this journey of the straight and narrow leading towards the All Mighty, your Home, fulfill your covenant made with Him before you were even conceived by your parents.
    It is the enlightened mind that can conceive such a legacy that is rightfully belonging to Man, a mind that is free from all attachments and a mind that is free from its own being. For this mind to manifest 'the journey of one thousand steps has to proceed from where you are' not tomorrow but now! To discover your Buddha nature, your true being, your Perfect man you have to attain to Buddha hood, become a Buddha, become the Perfect Man.  

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Alpha Utara - Solo Exhibition.-Why? What for?

You can never know who would turn up for your shows and what to expect every time someone ask a question of your work, so it is best to be prepared with a short story so that you can entertain your guests whoever they turn out to be. 
Most guests trun up because they have heard of you or follow your  progress as an artist one among the few that they have chosen to patronize, like the gentleman in the green flowered shirt who has bought a few of my works since we met  one or two shows ago. The gentleman on the right is a reporter from NSTP I think and I have seen him quite frequently at most art openings in Georgetown. Kudos to these people who gives their time and attention to what is going on in the art scene in Penang.
I never get tired of explaining my works, my life my story to my guests as i feel they very much deserve my time and especially those who really have genuine interest in what I do and who I am. I strongly believe a genuine artist is one who trully shares himself as he shares his works with his audience, it is a performance. 
When you hang your works up to be seen by the general public you do it with the best  of intentions in sharing with them your capabilities and your God given talents and if one or two decided your works are good enough to be bought then it is an added bonus, if you do not sell a single piece of work, well feel a little disappointed or depress, you have earned it too, but move on as the must go on....

Your show is not only about you, it is also about all those who often meet among themselves at such an ocassion to talk, shoot the breeze and catch up with what is what with the art scene, the Opera, the flea market and who knows what else.
Then there those who are your die hard supporters and helpers. They make the show what it is and the show is for them as they need it more than you or your well learned guests, they are the young looking for role models.
It is said that Happiness is in doing what you love and doing it with those that you love most. Seated are my sister, closest to me, my cousin sister next to her and my niece, right hand most. These are the ones who often wonders what in heaven's name do I do for a living or how do i justify myself to being an artist. For my sister  and niece this is the first time they have been to my Show.

Al Insan Kamil -The Perfect Man

"The Perfect Man ( el Abdul Kamil) or (Al  Insan Kamil) is a miniature of Reality (i.e. of God and the Universe) If you have insights more than I do please feel free to help me out. Ibnul Arabi takes pains to explain how the Perfect Man unites in himself as a microcosm of all that is manifested separately or is manifested in both the spiritual and the physical worlds."
Who was Ibnul Arabi? That is for the willing to find out and the InterNet is as good as any  library.
I am now going to start making an attempt at Bringing together Buddhist and Islamic thoughts and if there are those who has greater insights into the matter please help me out. Tonight asI am writing this entry the mostly Chinese Buddhist population around the country are celebrating Vesak Day or the Buddha Gautama's Birthday and in its honor i am going to make this attempt for my sake as well as that of my fellow countrymen. Malaysia is a multi -Religious country and Buddhism and Islam exist alongside each other as does Christianity and Hiduism and a host of others. Religious tolerance is not an option here but mandatory for this nation to survive into the future and as such the need to bring an understanding of any given religion from the perspective of an open minded and an unbiased mind  is crucial as I see it.

The Buddha was The Perfect (Enlightened) Man of Ibnul Arabi  one among the many in the history of Man.

"The essence of the perfect man is a mode of the divine Essence. His spirit is a mode of the Universal Spirit. His body is a mode of the Universal Body (al Arsh) His knowledge is a copy or a reflection of the divine Knowledge. The Heart of the Perfect Man correspond to the Celestial archetype of al Ka'aba (alBaytulMa'mul). His Spiritual faculties corresponds to the Angels; his memory to Saturn; his understanding to Jupiter; his Intellect to the Sun and so on and so on..."

Here in not so many words Ibnul Arbi has described the Buddha Nature.

"The eternal Love of the One to behold His own Beauty and Perfections manifested in forms, and above all things to be known to Himself in and through Himself, found. Ibnul Arabi  says, its completest realization in the Perfect Man, who alone knows Him and manifest His Attributes perfectly."

One has to do some Buddhist studies in order to see the simmilarity in what is being said here by Ibnul Arabi with regard to the Perfect Man and the the image attributed to the Buddha. I will not go into the details but briefly it was said that when asked of the existence of God and the afterlife the Buddha did not give a yes or no answer but answered with a half smile He kept a Noble Silence. One must realize that the time of the 'Historical Buddha' in India Hinduism was at its worse with the abuse of powers and privillages and human sacrifices was becoming a norm. The Historical Buddha was in essence a Bodhisatva who came to intervene and lead the people out of their spiritual blight. Hinduism accepted the Buddha as an Avatar of one of their Gods and thus there was no real conflict back then for them to accept him, however had he said I am God or the eesence or whatever of the One God, I am sure there would have been more suffering than   he would anticipate.
One of the essence of the Buddha's teachings is the principle of form and emptiness, perhaps here we see God as emptiness wanting to behold Himself in forms. (re;The Heart Sutra).
"The One" in Ibnul Arabi's reference to God is to me the fact why the Buddha's teaching emphasizes upon the non existence of even the 'self'. The self itself is an illusion to the Buddha, perhaps the Buddha was trying to tell those of his time there is only 'The One' and not two as with the believe in a self would constitute another other than God.

"Their statement, "The Immutable Archetypes are in non-being," or "exist in non-being," does not mean that non-being is a receptacle for them, since non-being is absolute nothingness. Rather, what is meant is that while they exist in the presence of the divine knowledge, they are clothed in non-existence in the external world, and qualified by it. It is as if they were established in their external non-existence, then God clothed them in a garment of outward existence, whereby they become existent. And Allah knows best."
Shaykh al-Akbar Mohyiddin ibn al-Arabi

Fusus al-Hikam (Pearls of Wisdom)
Translation: Dr. Mukhtar Hussain Ali

All in all, the following are details of groups of saints living on earth at any given time:

1.There are at any given time 4,000 Awliya living on earth. They are not known and recognized by the general public. In fact, amongst them one does not know the other and they themselves are not aware of the validity of their actions and devotion. All these are hidden from them and the general public.
. Three hundred (300) from this group are statemen involved in the administration of this world. They control all transaction in the universe. They are the leaders of all pious people in the Divine Court of Allah Most High. They are known as AKHYAR.
3. Amongst these 300, there are 40 who are known as ABDAL.
4. Amongst these 40, seven (7) are ABRAR.
5. Amongst these 7, four (4) are AWTAD.
6. Amongst these 4, three (3) are NUQABA.
7. Amongst these 3, one (1) is known as the GHAWTH or QUTB. He is the most senior of them all and the Head and Chairperson of the spiritual assembly.
. In mystical revelation it is otherwise, for if you perceive mystically that the Haqiqa of Mohammed is displayed in any human form, you must bestow upon the Haqiqa of Mohammed the name of that form and regard its owner with no less reverence than you would show to our Lord Mohammed, and after having seen him therein you may not behave towards it in the same manner as before. Do not imagine that my words contain any tincture of the doctrine of metempsychosis. God forbid! I mean that the Prophet is able to assume whatever form he wishes, and the Sunna declares that in every age he assumes the form of the most perfect men, in order to exalt their dignity and correct their deviation (from the truth): they are his vicegerents outwardly, and he is their spiritual Reality inwardly
Further, you must know that the Essential names and the Divine attributes belong to the Perfect Man by fundamental and sovereign right in virtue of a necessity inherent in his essence, for it is he whose "truth" (Haqiqa) is signified by those expressions and whose spirituality (Latifa) is indicated by those symbols: they have no subject in existence (whereto they should be attached) except the Perfect Man. As a mirror in which a person sees the form of himself and cannot see it without the mirror, such is the relation of God to the Perfect Man, who cannot possibly see his own form but in the mirror of the name Allah; and he is also a mirror to God, for God laid upon Himself the necessity that His names and attributes should not be seen save in the Perfect Man. This obligation to display the Divine attributes is the "trust" (Amana) which God offered to the heavens and the earth: they were afraid to accept it, "but Man accepted it; verily he is unjust and ignorant" (Quran 33:72), i.e., unjust to his own soul in letting it suffer degradation (from the things of this world) and ignorant of his real worth, because he is unaware of that with which he has been entrusted… Beyond the plane of the Names and Attributes, which are ranged on the right and left of him according to their kind, the Perfect Man feels through his whole being " a pervasive delight, which is named the delight of the Godhead" (al-Ladhat al-Ilahiya)… Here he is independent of his modes, i.e., the Names and Attributes, and regards them not at all. He knows nothing in existence save his own nature (Huwiyya), contemplates the emanation (al-‘Hudur) from himself of all that exists, and beholds the Many in his essence, even as ordinary men are conscious of their own thoughts and qualities; but the Perfect Man is able to keep every thought, great or small, far from himself: his power over things does not proceed from any secondary cause but is exercised freely, like other men's power of speaking, eating, and drinking.”

I have taken a deeper gaze at Islamic philosophy in order to provide a more in depth comparison with the teachings of Buddha.Sufiism is to Islam as Buddhism is to Hinduism. both look into the true nature of what 'Is". Even though Buddhism does not openly acknowledge the existence of a God it has brought its believers up to the Gates of Heaven in the  Islamic sense. I am talking about the Buddhism as I have come to understand to be the true meaning of the Buddha's teachings.I picked out the quotes above simply because they describe my thoughts an feelings on the matter especially when describing the attributes inherent in the Perfect Man, entities like the Buddha, Jesus Christ. and the Prophet of Allah (Pbuh). For me these and many that come after them only lesser in degrees like THe saints and Awlias, the Walis and Sages are the vanguard of God's religion. the Light of the Human Spirit.

"Our collective pursuit of materialism and our disregard for the sacred  within all of life has had a devastating effect. We have dismissed our ancient role as guardians of the planet. As a result the sacred fire that we were supposed to keepburning, the light of the sacred that nourishes all of creation, is slowly going out. We can see this in a culture that is increasingly soulless and fractured. We vitally need to become conscious of what is happening to the sacred light. We need to recognize this growing darkness wich is a forgetfulness of the sacred within our own souls and within all of creation. Only when we are aware of what is happening can we begin to change our world."
                                                                                                                           Llwelyn Vaughan - Lee
                                                                                                                           Spiritual Ecology

Saturday, May 05, 2012

The Third Bodhisatve Vow

Last Sunday was the opening day for my Solo Exhibition at the Alpha Utara Gallery on China Street in downtown Georgetown. There was a good turnout at the opening but most who came were not the regular faces that i used to see at art openings in Penang but mostly people who were has been supporting me from the first show I had here which were mostly friends and relatives and school children. In a way i was quite happy that this was so as i had a great time entertaining all instead of being cornered by one or two so called prominent art collectors or well known personalities in the art circle. I was very happy to have my older sister there for the first time and some foreigners from off the street who expressed genuine interest in my works which were mostly Mono prints.

Hence what are the Dharma Gates?
 "It would be more accurate to refer to Buddhism as the "Buddha Dharma," meaning the Truth pointed out by the Buddha so that we can discover it for ourselves. Buddhism, then, is really a way of life designed to help people see things as they really are, free of delusion, projections, paranoia and false assumptions."
 by Ryuei Michael McCormick

Do not accept any of my words on faith,
Believing them just because I said them.
Be like an analyst buying gold, who cuts, burns,
And critically examines his product for authenticity.
Only accept what passes the test 
By proving useful and beneficial in your life.
The Buddha (Jnanasara-samuccaya)

 I do not wish to convert people from one organized religion to another; I have no interest in any of these organised religions. My interest is in Dhamma - the truth, the Teachings of all Enlightened ones. If at all there is any conversion, it should be from misery to happiness, from defilement to purity, from bondage to liberation, from ignorance to enlightenment.
- S N Goenka

Love which is alone the means for the unity of mankind, must be supreme, and it cannot be so unless the mind is transcendentally pure.
- Sayagyi U Ba Khin

Dharma or Dammas as in  the Pali cannon has two application ie the Dharma with a capitalD and that with a small d.The capital D is the "Laws" of Buddhadharma and the small d to me are the day to day phenomenon, the ideas the concepts the thoughts that we manifest day in dayout, positive as well as negative, good and bad, these are Dharma Gates. and according to the Bodhisatva vow, I will enter them or take them on or understand them and let them go. Some are easier than others but most will keep creeping up into my consciousness like weeds untill I have uprooted them from the ground of my consciousness. Dharmas are also illusions that I have created through my own ignorance as the Buddhas teachings repeatedly points out, for so long as I believe my 'self' is real I am bound by the laws of Karma or cause and effect I have a long long way from doing away with my self thought 'self'. Try as I may sitting and burning away the midnight oil with my sitting in meditation trying to empty my mind.all I ended with is a bad back but my mind is far from empty more and more stuff keeps popping up.

Why do I even bother!? Why create more suffering in order to end suffering? I have pretty much understood what the Buddha's teaching is all about but annihilation of my self is the toughest act to follow. Why even bother? I do it over the years ever since I first encountered Buddhist thoughts simply because it makes a whole lot of sense  to me For more than forty years I have studied Buddhism in spite of being a Muslim constantly begging Allah's Mercy and Forgiveness just in case I transgress and worship two instead of the One and end up in the wrong place in my after life. But I keep telling myself that Buddhism is NOT a religion nor is there a God to be worshipped. It Is a Way of tackling this life that I am having a tough time navigating through without blind faith alone.I intend to enter this final Dharma Gate at least before I die with a Complete Understanding and Enlightenment...Insha'Allah.

He who knows Himself knows His Maker. 
 IN this life you can only know yourself through others, through relationships. interactions, interdependence and so on.  It is when you realize how you are what you are because of the processes of evolution of your mind in relation to others that you begin to channel your thoughts towards self discovery. Being aware of your daily experiences and you thought processes in relation to these experiences you begin to look at life as you would look in a mirror and what you see is the reflection of who you are, or who you think you really are. However you are still trapped in a thought process, in a dual thinking mental state of right and wrong, black and white form and emptiness. The process of getting closer to discovering you true nature will involve hard work as set down in the various teaching of the ancient texts and enlightened men.. the Perfect Men. (al Insan Kamil), the Prophets and the Saints, (Wali ul  Allah), the Great Teachers and Rishis. These are the ones who can point you your journey inwards, towards understanding your inner nature and the relationship you have to the Divine Nature. They will help you to shatter the shackles that has held you down keeping you a prisoner of your own ignorance. 
This is your work, your Practice, your journey in life...the journey back home.