Sunday, 5 May 2013

With Someone Else's Voice

I just love quotations. They are like poems, compressions of someone's thought train; a distillation, a synthesis, a snapshot capturing more than the view, a look through a telescope into insight itself. A quotation we keep and make an acquisition of. There is a tone of authority in a quotation which gives off a scent of certitude. In this we can trust; because the writer went to the well for us, and drank there.

This particular quest started off as an attempt to find, 'My 10 Best Quotes". To list them in ascending order of impact, starting at 10. Some place I lost "My 10 Best Quotes", and ended up with this stew instead. Perhaps it's a useful lesson to remember for the future; some things cannot be ranked according to perceived importance in any meaningful way.

But I could probably make a list of  "My 10 Favourite Pens". But then that would be fetishistic.

Actually, I feel pleased that quotations cannot be so confined, pinned, or labelled. Really pleased that quotations have that kind of freedom. We have much to learn from them.

"The Centre is precisely the place where a break in plane occurs, where space becomes sacred, hence pre-eminently real. A creation implies a superabundance of reality, an irruption of the sacred into the profane world."

Mircea Eliade,
'The Sacred & The Profane'

"Think through the famous places of scenic beauty throughout the land, and by making your own (garden) after that which appeals to you most, design your garden with the mood of harmony, modelling after the general air of such places."

Tachibana no Toshitsuna
Complier, author 'Sakuteiki'  (The Book of Garden Making)
10th C 

The vision or conception of the mind is the primary thing. The work of the hand must be guided by the vision of the mind, not by exterior models."

Tung Yu
12th C 

"Mere nature is not nature in its purity.The impure must be kept away from it in order to yield its primary purity of form."

Toshimitsu Hasumi
'Zen in Japanese Art'

"A work of art functions as another person, with whom one unconsciously converses. When confronting a work of art we project our emotions and feelings on to the work. A curious exchange takes place; we lend the work our emotions, whereas the work lends us its authority and aura."

Juhani Palasmaa
'Eyes of the Skin'

"The landscape thinks itself in me, I am its consciousness."

Paul Cezanne

"One should not take outward beauty for reality. He who does not understand this mystery will not obtain truth."

Ching Hao
10th C

"Because mountains are high, the way of riding the clouds is always reached in the mountains. The infinite power of soaring in the wind comes freely in the mountains."

Dogen Zenji
Founder of Soto Zen School, Japan

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