Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds
What is a Buddhist Aesthetics? What is the dharma of aesthetics? Is it meaning? truth? experience? expression? beauty? pleasure? is it conceptual or intuitive?
Is a dharma of art better than just “art”?
We can’t explore the possibility of developing a new aesthetic until we answer the question of what, if anything, will be the unifying philosophy of our age. If we are destined to be a culture that measures success through a tally of Facebook friends and blog hits, then we have no impetus to collectively tap an undercurrent of meaning and truth. We will be content to live in a world of appearances, virtual successes and hollow forms. (Adbusters 152: Big Ideas of 2025)
The clay had been dug from the hill at the back of the house; the glaze was made from the ash from the hearth; the potter’s wheel had been irregular. The shape revealed no particular thought; it was one of many. The work had been fast; the turning was rough; done with dirty hands; the throwing slipshod; the glaze had run over the foot. The throwing room had been dark. The kiln was a wretched affair; the firing careless. Sand had stuck to the pot, but nobody minded; no one invested the thing with any dreams.
More than anything else, this pot is healthy. Made for a purpose, made to work. Sold to be used in everyday life. If it were fragile, it would not serve its purpose.
Soetsu Yanagi, The Unknown Craftsman—a Japanese insight into beauty
After the crash, there will be fewer resources, fewer products, less advertising … and fewer designers. There will be no more sumptuous coffee table annuals, no more mass-mailings on creamy paper inviting members to attend gala events in distant cities. Phone messages will be left unanswered, email unreturned, websites unsurfed. There will be less paper and more trees, fewer cars and more walking, less airtime and more air. People will feel less assaulted by images and products and more attentive to the spaces between them. And they will begin to call these undesigned spaces “nature.”
— Barry M. Katz, “Endbegin,” Metropolis