On September 13, 2010 a few of us Tricyclers had the good fortune to be able to attend a conversation about contemplation and creativity between Matthieu Ricard and Philip Glass, moderated by Mark Epstein. While the event was really fantastic with many inspiring and interesting ideas discussed, it left me chewing on some thoughts. It left me wondering about the role of suffering in art and the archetype of the suffering artist.
At one point Ricard said something along the lines of, “If we can speak about creativity, I think that it comes out of the space and awareness cultivated through meditation.” However, if meditation is primarily a means for us to get a handle on our suffering, what about all of the beautiful art that comes out of suffering? If, for example, Edgar Allan Poe had become an adept meditator would he ever have written his great works? What about van Gogh?
Here is my question:
If Buddhists are seeking to end suffering, are they also ending art? From a Buddhist perspective, is art worth suffering for?
Please share your thoughts.
Image: Francis Bacon Self Portrait, artquotes.net
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