Jizis Reflections on Art
While the quote itself (Chinese: wu sui xin zhuan) is attributed to the Buddha in The Lankavatara Sutra (compiled in the fourth century CE), the philosophic idealism expressed in this quote is also a principle of the Consciousness-only School (weishi lun) that flourished in the Tang Dynasty.
This quote, in Chinese xin sui wu zhuan, is the authors play on the words of the above quote: wu sui xin zhuan (the material world is changed by mind).
When the form of a physical image is changed, although it forfeits its significance as an object, nonetheless, it symbolizes the artists expression of an inner mystery. Although unrestraint leads to exaggeration, and eccentricity produces abnormal forms, these are all different expressions of the artists mind. When the special features of the physical image no longer exist, and colors also lose the effect of pure substance, then what emerges is a transformation in concepts. What the viewer feels is that the artist has completely exposed his inner mind. This is something about which the School of Modern Artists in the West has reached a fundamental consensus and, this being so, they use a special kind of painting language to convey the souls artistic expressions.
A painting is speech. If the painting reveals ones mind, then that mind is enlightened.
The Chinese word translated as enlightened is fo which literally means the Buddha; the original meaning of the word Buddha, and its original Chinese transliteration fotu, however, was the enlightened one.
Nature transforms creatively is the authors play on the Chinese term: zaohua, which, as a noun, can mean Nature and, as a verb, to create or to nurture.
Painting landscapes, the vulgar eye sees scenes but not realms.
If there are both scenes and realms, the painter is competent.
If there are no scenes but there are realms,
Then the painter is a Master.
The Chinese for follow the Tao is yuan dao, a term that also has the sense of going along with the Tao, being on the edge of the Tao, and because of the Tao.
What is called the scene is not the scene;
The non-scene is not the non-scene; it is the scene.
What is called the realm is not the realm;
The non-realm is not the non-realm; it is the realm.
What is called the method is not the method;
The non-method is not the non-method; it is the method.
As noted above, the word translated as instrument is qi, a word that means instrument, device, or tool. Qi is used in The Book of Changes in sharp contradistinction to dao (i.e. the Tao). Cf. Confucius remark in the Second Chapter of the Analects of Confucius that the princely man (i.e. the Confucian humanist ideal) is not a mere instrument (qi).
Speaking in a certain narrow sense (where art itself reflects consciousness), then art expresses culture.
Great music uses sound sparingly. Great images have no form. Great beauty has no adornment. But it is not that there is absolutely no sound, no form, no adornment. Rather, silence is not without sound; the formless is not without form; the unadorned is not without adornment; and this is the meaning of sound, form, and adornment. This kind of sound, form, and adornment are authentic truth, form, and adornment. If a painter does not thoroughly comprehend this principle, then that painter is a conventional artist painting conventional pictures.
A great brush leave no traces. No traces are not non-traces. There are the traces of creativity, of the real, of the original state; these are all traces. Traces are signs; signs that include: signs of the mind, the Tao, and the spirit.
Life -- the artist -- artworks (the eye)
The artist -- the cultivation of life -- artworks (the mind)
The universe -- mans life -- art (the Tao)
Reversal is the movement of the Tao.
Cf. Chapter 40 of Lao Zis Daode Jing.
This quote is from the Shishi Tongjian, a work compiled by the Korean Monk known as Caoyi Chanshi (the Grass Cape Chan Monk), (1786-1866).
These several quotes about how mind effects changes and transformations are typical of the philosophical idealism of such Buddhist schools of thought as Chan, consciousness-only,etc.
Materialized -- mindized-- Taoized
Eye objects -- mind objects -- Tao objects
Indicates the material word -- indicates mind -- indicates the Tao
Literally mindized (xinhua).
Literally Taozied (daohua).
Several basic processes produced the Tao of Ink Landscapes. The first step was to proceed to the macroscopic conception of the realm of the Tao. The second step was to proceed to the overall paintings macroscopic composition based on the requirements of the realm of the Tao. The third step was to create the image based on the needs of that composition, the so called laying hold of the Tao to create the image. As to the aspect of creating the image, I utilized a mode of thinking that allows for the creation of multidimensional images, sets of concrete images, abstract images, mental images, and so on. The fourth step was to paint a draft. In the draft, the painting should be guided by rationality but there should also be some irrational elements. There should be inevitable accidents, and accidental inevitabilities brought about by the learning and cultivating that is a convergence of artistic processes. This type of bringing about is unconscious, but there are also conscious elements so that by doing nothing, nothing is not done.Chinas spirit of the great Tao and the characteristics of Chinas nationalities are naturally embodied in this, and when we add individualized applications such as the relationships between brush and ink, false and real, complex and simple, black and white, and other such applications, then the the concrete artistic language avails itself of the Tao to come into being, and lays hold of the Tao to establish itself. In this there is a rational, meticulous creativity, and also some irrational randomness. There is a rationally transcendent epitome, but also the traditional unity of Heaven and man, a creative mood in which both the ego and objects are forgotten, and a state that transcends rationality in which Heaven, man, and earth are one and the Tao, objects, and the ego are fully comprehended. The fifth step was the last overall putting of things in order. From here, the Tao of Ink Landscapes are not just the traditional literatis poetic paintings,but the poetic mind of Heaven and earth and also of the philosopher. The artworks are awe inspiring and majestic and touch peoples heartstrings. They are a harmonious unity of the subjective and the ontological as well as the smooth assimilation of subject and object. They provide each individual with a different inspiration, and they are also the visual appearances of the spirit of the great Tao. They demonstrate that Chinese paintings striving for the highest spiritual realm are not only a creative state of mind but also, and more importantly, paintings of a realm directly perceived through the visual sense.
Cf. Chapter 37 of Lao Zis Daode Jing.
An allusion to the Song Dynasty poet and painter Su Dongpos (1037-1101) famous remark that in a painting there is a poem; in a poem, a painting.
A people that has experienced several thousand years, close to ten thousand years, of historical development, are a people whose cultural spirit has formed a deep seated memorial. This memorial, following historical developments, is an eclectic mix that synthesizes mankinds advances in every historical period, and these have both strengthened and enriched this memorial. Simultaneously, the people of Chinas cultural spirit is absorbed by other peoples consolidating even further the common pursuit of a human cultural spirit. Even if we engage in wishful thinking, and use a utopian style of education, thought, and behavior to the point of making it mandatory to make changes to this memorial, and even if we were to expend all our energies for several decades on this endeavor, ultimately we would have to admit defeat, and we would be guilty of impeding the progress of history.
At the convergence of the end of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty first centuries, Chinese painting, which is one method of demonstrating the people of Chinas cultural spirit, was criticized by some people who said that brush and ink paintings amount to nothing, and by others who said hold fast to the bottom line for brush and ink paintings, a confrontation that sparked heated debate. In essence, paintings are nothing but the expressions of forms. I believe that the most important matter is to uphold the people of Chinas cultural spirit, and that to improve and enrich their strength of character is of the essence. As to whether Chinese painting amounts to nothing or to whether we should hold fast to the bottom line, these both serve the people of Chinas cultural spirit.
The term translated as people of China is minzu, literally a people, a nation, an ethnic community. Because China is a composite of many different peoples, however, and because the author clearly refers to all of these peoples, I have used people of China rather than Chinese people, a term often mistakenly thought to refer only to the majority Han nationality.
The term is jiliang, literally backbone but by extension, and similar to its use in English, strength of character.
Artists must be deep thinking philosophers. Philosophers depend on language to expound their philosophic thinking. Artists depend on their own unique artistic schematic vocabulary to trace their own philosophic thinking; in other words, the deeper meaning of artworks.