Sunday, July 19, 2009

Reflections: Existence Is a Trip

You may be aware that my profile avatar is a portrait of the great Japanese haiku master, Bashō. In the "Translator’s Introduction" to his translation of Bashō’s classic spiritual travelogue, Narrow Road to the Interior, Sam Hamill gives us these thought-provoking words :

Bashō knew well the Samantabhadra-bodhisattva-sutra and its primary teaching: “Of one thing it is said, ‘This is good,’ and of another it is said, ‘This is bad,’ but there is nothing inherent in either to make them ‘good’ or ‘bad.’ The ‘self’ is empty of independent existence.”

Later in the same introduction, Hamill gives us this advice of Bashō on the nature of creativity:

“Learn the rules well, and then forget them.”


“When a great act presents itself, it does so without rules.”



brandon field said...

“Learn the rules well, and then forget them.”

But so many people try to do the second without the first...

Rodak said...

How does one "forget" a thing one never knew?

You might take an artist like Picasso as illustrative of what Basho is talking about. You can see early apprentice pieces by Picasso in which the draftsmanship is excellent and realistic. Only after he learned to draw, did Picasso allow himself to branch out into the experimental forms for which he became known as "great."
One should not let rules squelch inspiration and creavity.