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Archive for May 10th, 2017

Conquer the angry one by not getting angry; conquer the wicked by goodness; conquer the stingy by generosity, and the liar by speaking the truth.

Gautama Buddha, The Dhammapada

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Looking at this new painting, a 12″ by 12″ canvas, I didn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to interpret it as its message comes through clearly for me.

The title, The Radiant Heart, had come pretty quickly from the radiating fields and the sunlight along with the deep red of the heart-like mound on which the house is located. In my mind, these things symbolized a generosity of spirit and a willingness to reach out to others with honesty and goodwill. Much like the qualities in the words of the Buddha shown above.

They are seemingly simple qualities that most people would no doubt assume apply to themselves.

But in the bright light of reality how many of us can say we truly live up to those qualities– goodness, generosity, truthfulness, and placidity?

I can say that I aspire to them and  hope to arrive at a time when I can claim all four as being truly part of who I am.  But I have often come up well short on all four accounts.  I have been less than good with my behavior and my intentions. I have been stingy and greedy.  I have lied and deceived. I have been angry and vengeful.

And that was just yesterday. God only knows what today will bring.

But, seriously, the only transcendent moments in my life have come when  I have been freed from those negatives, cut loose from greed, anger, and dishonesty. So, I must try to keep reaching that point where those better aspects are normal and always at hand.  It’s hard, especially in these times when we witness so much anger, so much avarice, so much outright dishonesty and lying, and so little compassion or empathy. It’s hardest to maintain composure and not explode in anger in reaction to these horrible, shameful actions you see taking place on a daily basis.

But perhaps the sheer difficulty of maintaining high aspirations in these days make it even more important that it be done. Because if we don’t get closer to a point where those better qualities guide us, then we will be living in a world unfit for and hostile to most of us.

And that’s not a world I can tolerate.

A lot of words for a small painting, huh?

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This painting is part of my upcoming solo exhibit at the Principle Gallery, “Truth and Belief,” which opens June 2 at the Alexandria gallery.

 

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