Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance
I’m looking for images of Buddha and Buddhism, drawings and paintings, that are modernist and post-modernist. For myself I would like to create new images of Buddha and Buddhism that speak to the modernist situation that I practice in. This begs the question: what is a Buddhist image? what elements make it Buddhist? is there some way to meaningfully distinguish between a “buddhist modernist” image and a non-buddhist image? It makes me think of Stephen Batchelor’s latest book, After Buddhism. The cover of the books is a pathway of stones, probably the most common image on the cover of Buddhist literature. There are thousands of Buddhist books covered with this image. It does not offer anything new in the way of thinking about Buddhism, which is supposedly what Batchelor’s book is about. It is branding the book as “Buddhist”. Similarly, Zen books are covered with the not-quite-closed black circle. This is mere branding and suggests conformity and uniformity of thought, rather than breaking new ground with new ideas that address our modernist situation.