Rashid’s ink drawings: “Every drawing is a different sort of failure. I offer them as milestones on the Way of Meditation.”
There is a tattered photocopy of a Buddha statue always on my wall. Is it from a Burmese or Cambodian sculpture? Is it third or fourteenth century? I still don’t know. It touches me at some point that I can’t locate, in a way I can’t describe.
Some half-forgotten story comes to me about a Buddhist master staying overnight in a temple by a river. He liked to honour Buddha by making little carvings of him everywhere he went. There was insufficient wood around and in the morning when he went his way, the local monks were horrified to find their temple statue had been carved into a thousand wood-chip Buddhas and floated down the river.
I trained and lived and practised as an artist/painter. On meeting Osho, all that dropped. My ego was too much identified with Art. For fifteen years I kept on drawing but I never painted – I remember in the fire tower on the Ranch in Oregon I filled up seven sketch books in one summer.
Some years ago, I thought to make as many drawings of this photocopy as it took to reach the source of inspiration. I would work quite small and use just black and white to narrow down the field, to focus the intent, to frame the koan.
So in Mallorca, all day and every day, I drew for weeks until I had to go and build a straw bale house, the work I lived by at that time. The drawings followed no particular pattern and no rules. I would draw with miniature precision or with absolute abandon. I would draw left handed or with brushes in each hand, I would draw at night, I would draw with scissors, I would draw from inspiration and from no-inspiration.
Every drawing is a different sort of failure. I offer them as milestones on the Way of Meditation.
Images thanks to Osho Viha, who has been publishing the drawings regularly in Viha Connection – oshoviha.org
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