Return to Shangri-La- Heaven
"All day long I looked in vain for a sign of Spring
My grass shoes raising clouds from the dust of all fields
Returning home, smiling I pick a plum-blossom and sniff it
And look Here on the Sprig is Spring in its fullness"
This is a poem written by a Bhikkhuni (a fully ordained female Buddhist monk) in the Song Dynasty when she achieved enlightenment, which also represents my present insight of art. For all these years I have sought after the “Shangri-La of the Heart”, and to paint the ideal state of art I walked through all the Shangri-Las in geographical terms, was touched by their landscapes, humanities and religions. Still they were not the “Shangri-La” that I sought. Looking back, I become suddenly aware that “Shangri-La” is in fact everywhere: in the innocent smiles of children, in every white cloud upon the blue sky, in the blossoming branches of spring, in the winter snow. Shangri-La is in each and everyone’s heart, in the present when we are enjoying life, in the present when we meditate over a pot of tea, in the present when we are strolling leisurely, in the present when we feel joyous and grateful.
These few years in Yunnan, from the subtropical Xishuangbanna to the frosted Shangri-La, my feet have walked the ancient tea-horse road. At the courier stations remain fragments of the ancient culture, prayer flags upon the frozen sacred land, Mani stone piles, practicing monks from different traditions, and people from various backgrounds. All these humble ink trails of life, travel and experience of practicing Buddhism are for me a form of sharing the joy.
There is no form beyond form. Choosing pure brush and ink, through the material world, I concentrate on the internal feeling of that particular moment. Sometimes outrageous, sometimes subtle, sometimes graceful, sometimes intense, they are all the effect the outside world has on the heart, and are also the reflection the heart casts upon the outside world.
We all have in our hearts our own “Shangri-La”. It is possible that we can never attain it in this life, and yet it is the lighthouse of our lives, keeping us from hesitation and confusion in our journey of life. It is also our soul’s homeland. Its existence frees our souls from ever wandering, provides our spirits with a home, and frees our lives from loneliness.
Be grateful to the gifts of life!
Be grateful to every tree and every grass blade, the mountains and the earth for the nurture they give us!