Saturday, February 12, 2005

Art and religion...

Joe Carter has an interesting post today on "Christian art."

He writes "When did art stop being important to evangelical Christians? How did we go from Rembrandt to Kincaid?"

Well Joe, I guess your qualifier is "evangelical."

This church is St. Ignatius of Loyala, at East 84th St. and Park Avenue in New York.

This is the church were Jackie O. had her funeral. Probably John Kennedy Jr., too.

It's a rather wealthy parish. But I digress, except to say I guess they can pay for good arts.

The church is built in the style of the Jesuits- all Jesuit churches are built more or less on this style. Unlike some churches the acoustics inside this church are awesome.

And that's good, because despite the over-arching Catholic nature of this church, parish, etc. (it is, after all Catholic), it's gotamazing modern liturgical music- unlike any heard elsewhere. It's sacred, solemn, accessible, and not pop-ish.

So within Christianity, even today, there is a tradition of outstanding art. But, like all good art, it's got a subversive, non-conservative element to it. The Jesuits, of course, are the most liberal of Catholic orders.

Within the Buddhist tradition, art has been important since the Buddhists met the Greeks somewhere in or near Transoxiana all those centuries ago.

For example, there's Tiantong (Heaven Child) temple, near Ningbo, in Zhejiang province in China...

Tiantong Temple [Tiantong Si] (The Temple of the Heavenly Child) is one of the most important Chan (Japanese: Zen) Buddhist temples. Originally built during the West Jin Dynasty around 300 AD (some date it precisely from 265-316), it ranks second among the five sacred Chinese Zen Buddhist mountains. A very large complex of buildings, its one time total of 999 rooms has now shrunk to a "mere" 730 today arranged in twenty groups of buildings rising up the mountain slope. As one might imagine it is also one of China's largest Buddhist temples. Located in Zhejiang Province, about fifteen miles east of Ningbo and very near the Ayuwang (Asoka) temple [see on this site], Tiantong Temple is set into the sacred East mountain in the Tiantong Forest Park amidst thick woods and numerous famous scenic spots.

I might add, if you want to see an absolutely stunning example of feng shui (風水) this is the place to go. Trust me (I've been there, and if anyone wants to go at some point my wife and I might arrange a tour), this image doesn't come anywhere near doing the place justice. The whole temple complex is set perfectly among local mountains as though it were the focal point in a convex mirror. It is simply amazing to behold, and the monks are very lucky to have survived the Cultural Revolution with their lives and this treasure intact.

Within the Zen/Chan tradition of Buddhism, the Zen arts are very important- they are a means of practicing Zen, as well as self-expression. While Catholics may say, "To sing is to pray twice," in the Zen tradition, one only plays the instrument once, and plays it as though it is the last time you ever play it. This is true of all Zen arts: writing, tea, archery, etc. Needless to say it makes for high quality art, especially given the continuous practice and cultivation of attention.

Which brings us back to Carter, and, by implication "evidences" for Buddhism: Cultivation of attention and proper breath so as to cultivate attention and tranquility are very important in Buddhism, and give rise to an ability to create art. So does the emphasis on individual self-expression- which is inherently subversive, and the counter to "theologically correct." It's why Sogen Oki can do a scroll that induces curiosity and wonder at existence itself, and Thomas Kincaid makes a painting to try to make you forget a wall is there.

It's also why there's no evangelical Leonard Cohen...


Anonymous said...

new england journal of medicine avandia

avapro nose bleeds metformin

a href buy soma a

tricor dizziness

ultracet powered by vbulletin version 2.3.3

valium online euro

valtrex valacyclovir

drinking beer and taking xanax

zetia for colestrol

muerte por sobredosis de zolpidem

zyrtec love that hair

topamax for chemical dependence treatment

sun pharma generic plavix

how do come down off oxycontin

nexium chapest

maxalt rebound headache

free samples of lunesta

lipitor elderly stopping medication

levaquin wiki

hyzaar avilide equivalent

does femara cause blod clots

exelon and stomach upset

clarinex lexapro

purpose for benicar

avodart recall

Anonymous said...

page rank tool
seo org
[url=]backlinks service[/url]

Anonymous said...

military dating site dating online dating adults magazines

Anonymous said...

mechanics of fluids shames ebook download ebook to kindle [url=]loving sex ebook[/url] e-ditor ebook compiler v 3.0

Anonymous said...

ebook the gamble the princetta ebook [url=]ebook 2.1[/url] free nateral beauties magazine ebook

Anonymous said...

blackberry bold 9000 software bitter software [url=]wind movement around building software[/url] xp64 environmental control software
[url=]Business - Software Store[/url] best free software to download music

Anonymous said...

dvd to zune converter free software p168 update non software [url=]book collection database software[/url] smartboard presentation software
[url=]Zards Software Startup Defender 2.8 - Software Store[/url] windows standard software audio drivers

Anonymous said...

word 2007 free software ziox call accounting software [url=]workflow management software spatial[/url] open source voice recognition software
[url=]SecurityCam 1.1 - Software Store[/url] acrobat writer free software

Anonymous said...

panda software online scanner palm desktop software for clie peg-tj37 [url=]sentemental software[/url] dvd copy video software
[url=]Hamrick VueScan Pro 9.0 Multilingual x32 - Software Store[/url] active credit card security code software

Anonymous said...

philadelphia lawyer pharmacy negligence healthy options medicap pharmacy [url=]excell pharmacy[/url]
dutch pharmacy cannabis ponchartrain pharmacy [url=]cardizem[/url]
certified pharmacy technician average salary for a pharmacy technician [url=]armed robbery wayland brooks pharmacy natick[/url]
pharmacy doctor medical consultation order cheap ranitidine pharmacy [url=]confido[/url]

Anonymous said...

catholic dating guidelines [url=]brown eye myspace comments[/url] dating sites astrology
russian dating blacklist sugar mamas dating website
scott terry fort pierce fl dating [url=]sex dating in lanark illinois[/url] when to be exclusive dating