using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : March 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MArcH 2009 88 problem of the twentieth century is that everyone has become merchandised, ev- erybody is a mercenary, everybody has to have a label.... and the label of ‘artist’ is the biggest problem of all... because that means you are limiting yourself purely to artwork in the literal sense, as something very extraordinary and unusual. but from my way of thinking, and from what my training tells me, when you have perfected your art and developed your sensitivities, you cannot call yourself anybody at all!” true Perception “is not a book about how to make art. You have to start by pay- ing attention to reality,” trungpa states in the book’s opening pages, sounding the gong on the theme he will develop at length: how to approach living a life and expressing an art not conditioned by pov- erty, enmity, or regret—free of the static, panic, and cocoons that occlude our vi- sion. the key to such a life and its art is an inner alignment beyond the capacity of any artistic technique: once we stop rejecting the world, the world begins to pounce on us. symbol- ism is imposed on us. realizations and perceptions of all kinds of realities be- gin to take shape. there is symbolism right and left and front and back. for me, trungpa’s most revolutionary teaching on the making of art has to do with the surprising image-forming dynamics of a psyche not identified with its neuroses: we no longer regard a work of art as a gimmick or as confirmation, it is sim- ply expression—not even self-expres- sion, just expression. we could safely say that there is such a thing as uncon- ditional expression that does not come from self or other. it manifests out of nowhere like mushrooms in a meadow, like hailstones, like thundershowers. for decades i admired the street photog- raphy of Henri Cartier-bresson. i memo- rized his pictures and searched the streets for “Cartier-bresson moments”—and found not a single one. this taught me that shooting pictures was a profoundly per- sonal act. Cartier-bresson has described his working method by saying: “i do not take the photographs; the photographs take me.” i hear in these words the voice of dharma art. i am confident trungpa would agree. in true Perception he tells us, “i don’t think you learn dharma art, you discover it.” in the interview included in Drawing is thinking, Milton Glaser speaks with passion about developing artistic skills in students by training them early on in hand-to-eye coordination. trungpa rarely mentions art techniques; his focus is to de- velop mind-to-reality coordination. such coordination cannot be taught by rote: in relating with the world, there are some very tough questions: what is the world, whose world is it, and what does relating mean? the basic point is that this is nobody’s world, since there is nobody as such. the energy that is constantly taking place does not belong to anybody but is a natural, organic process. nevertheless, we function as if the world does belong to us, as if i have myself, as if i do exist. from this point of view, the nonexistence of ego—that primordial state of thisness or solid fixation—is not a philosophical matter, but simply a matter of perception. per- ception is unable to trace back its exis- tence to its origin. so each perception becomes sheer energy, without a be- ginner of the perception and without substance—just simple perception. the illusory existence of the ego has got to be the toughest of all nuts to crack. trungpa maintains it is best to do no more than hint at how to approach such a task. His way of hinting includes teasing and stretching and sometimes exploding ha- bitual modes of thinking—as when he de- scribes the big nipple that keeps us close to home, the spider/fly agenda of aggressive art, and the sitting bullfrog mode of being with perceptions without accepting or re- jecting them. He talks of the need to have a fool’s perspective in observing reality, and he describes the giant question mark that rots and dissolves into a period. He tells how arriving at square one may make one feel like a punched-out, cross-eyed, golden