Unauthorized Heart: Incomprehensible

HEART SUTRA: Incomprehensible

This drawing is a stack of drawings. On each of 12 sheets of Chinese Silk Tissue I drew-traced the text of the Heart Sutra in different languages: None of which I could understand. With some I found the Sutra intact, particularly the calligraphies, for others I used google translate. These may be “creative” versions of the Sutra, but the Sutra nonetheless.

This piece is meant to morph. It can be viewed as the stack of 12, with any of them on top (and most legible). It can be shown as a series of 3 or 4, dividing the 12 among them. It is intended to be stacked though, not 12 separate gossamer drawings.

12 x 18 inches. Languages: Japanese spiral calligraphy, Chinese Seal script, Sanskrit Siddham, script, German, French, Polish, Tibetan, Korean, Spanish, Czech, Dutch

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...