Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

Bronze Buddha

The Hess Collection, Mount Veeder, California, USA

October 12, 2013

This essay, Bronze Buddha, is the companion piece to Fulfilled And Accepting.

It is also the fifth in a sextology on Art:
  1. Art Gallery: The Physics Of Creativity
  2. Mona Lisa! Mona Lisa!
  3. Performance Artists
  4. Don't Regulate The Tate
  5. Bronze Buddha
  6. Erasing The Constraints: Robert Rauschenberg Works
in that order.

I am indebted to John Connell and to Donald Hess who inspired this conversation.

Earth-Touching Buddha by John Connell - Bronze - 2002 - Photography by Laurence Platt - The Hess Collection, Mount Veeder, California, USA - 11:39:18am Saturday October 12, 2013
Earth-Touching Buddha
The moment I set eyes on him for the first time, I'm completely enraptured by him. He captivates me totally. I love him immediately. Now I suppose technically I should've said "The moment I set eyes on it  for the first time, ...". But that's not how it  occurs for me. It  definitely occurs as him  for me - not a question about it.

He  is Iron Buddha - at least that's how I refer to him. It isn't until later, quite a while later in fact, I find out he's actually cast in bronze not in iron. So he's actually Bronze  Buddha not Iron Buddha after all. It hardly matters. Whatever metal he's cast in, he's riveting, sitting here on this rock in eternal Zazen. Yet in honor of the metal in which his creator did cast him, I've titled this essay (and am referring to him as) Bronze Buddha.

His first nuance which grabs at my heart when I notice it, is oh so subtlely different than most renditions of Buddha. Most Buddhas have the palm of their right hand open and up (fulfilled) and the palm of their left hand open and down (accepting). And both this  Buddha's palms are so roughly hewn that it's hard to tell whether they're open or closed. That's not what gets my attention. What gets my attention is what you can  tell: his left hand is resting on his crossed legs, and his right hand is touching the ground, the Earth. Now  I get who he is: he's the Earth‑touching  Buddha. Oh ... my ... God!  How subtle. How sublime. How perfect!

Listen: it's not easy to create a true representation of the Self (you try it) - which is what this Bronze Buddha is. It's actually a whole lot easier to create / be  the Self itself (which isn't easy to create / be either) than it is to create a true working representation of the Self. So to sculpt  a true working representation of the Self like this Bronze Buddha, is another exponential order of creation entirely, one which requires a very special talent.

What's stunning about this work and his presentation as I be with him on this rock under these shady redwoods, is getting his true working representation of the Self in the world, and I get it's me as the Self  getting his true working representation of the Self in the world, and I get he and I and the world all show up  in the context of the eternal Self. It's a Zazen home run. I sit down before him and, ignoring the caramel colored gravel on the ground staining and embedding into the backside fabric of my black jeans, cross my legs like him, rest my left hand on my crossed legs like him, touch the Earth with my right hand in front of me like him, and just stare at him. He stares straight back at me, his gaze unwavering, this Earth-touching Buddha, our good friend.

He'll sit here touching the Earth forever and ever. He'll outlive  the Earth and he'll outlive you and he'll outlive me. Indeed, he'll outlive all of us - he'll even outlive his creator. And if you allow him to, if you let him in, if you listen  intently enough to what he's silently saying (which is to say, if you listen intently enough to what he's not  saying), what you'll get from him is the you  who will outlive you. In other words, what you'll get from him is the you he really is.

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