Unauthorized Heart: Abaca Drawings

“Gate, Gate, Paragate. Parasamgate. Bhodi Svaha!”
[Gone. Gone. Gone Beyond. Gone altogether Beyond. Oh what an Awakening!]

Abaca Drawings

All drawings on 11 x 14" Abaca Paper handmade by Carriage House Paper in Brooklyn, New York

HEART SUTRA: Inverse + Reverse

Does 'incomprehension' have levels, or is it an 'all or nothing' sort of state?  I have again copied the essential mantra of the Sutra over and over, but it is in a language I don't speak, Japanese, that I wrote upside down and reversed.  Maybe this challenging sutra is easier to take in if it's veiled in other layers of opacity... The drawing is flipped and displayed verso so that we see the mantra ‘correctly’ presented, with my drawn linework behind the sheet, soaked into it.

HEART SUTRA: Over & Over & Over

This drawing, is sort of Sutra Copying gone awry. The Heart Sutra Mantra is copied in Chinese Seal Script over and over and over… but done on the same sheet, in the same place. So instead of multiple calligraphies, each aesthetic and separate, manifesting “an enlightened mind,” I produce evidence of my messy, obsessive repetition. Hardly enlightened, but real and mine.

HEART SUTRA:  My Tiny Voice

Another approach to "Devotional Mark Making,"  Each of the dots that create the background to the Seal Script of the mantra signify one utterance of the mantra.  Sort of marking instead of bead flicking on a mala. {Images to come.}

About Unauthorized Heart  :  Heart Sutra Drawings

In Buddhism, the Heart Sutra is revered and chanted daily by thousands of practitioners. It is famous for being brief, yet cutting to the heart of ‘true wisdom.’  As a westerner using Asian spirit practices, the calligraphic Heart Sutra is a sort of symbol of the cultural opacity in my practice.

It holds the “exotic beauty” of foreign traditions, but this needs to be resisted… And it is Old and Powerful and Big… too much for someone “Less Authorized” to practice or truly understand.

The awareness cultivated in meditation can clear feelings of this extra distance, but it is also helpful to look into personal tendencies and patterns. So I investigate—in my own way—this incomprehensible, perplexing key to unlocking such wisdom.

These drawing projects take the practice tradition of “Sutra Copying” to different places. There isn’t really a correlation in western writing, except perhaps the repetition of the rosary. Sutra Copying is a way to refine one’s calligraphy while cultivating spirit and focus. It’s also an act of devotion and written proof of artistic skill and mental clarity.  Following Asian calligraphy traditions, I used upright posture (connecting Heaven and Earth) trying to maintain a "Right Mind" of clear presence while working... Trying...