Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lifestyle: the different faces of Zen

Snow in August
Nobel Laureate on Literature 2000 Gao XingJian (高行健) has been leading a life with adventure, an activist for freedom of expression in China resulting all his works being banned in China in 1989;  a misdiagnosis of terminal cancer resulting in a travel to the south of China, based on which he wrote his Snow Mountain (靈山) that eventually led him to the Nobel Price.  He became a French citizen in 1997. He continued his creative career in France thereafter mainly in avant garde drama, but it has been his Zen paintings his main source of income.

Amidst all these events, Gao has been able to keep a cool mind.  He advocates "Cool literature" and he painted only on Zen themes.  His play "Snow in August" (八月雪) was based on the Platform Sutra depicting the eventful life of Zen 6th Patriarch Hui Neng.

The first video is an animated treatment of Gao's Zen painting with contemporary music whereas the second is a more conventional treatment with traditional Chinese music.

Despite outside chaos, Zen can be found anywhere.  And Zen appears in different faces.

First video

Second video

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