Today we take a look at the last of the volumes of the Complete Works of Sangharakshita to come out in July this year. Volume 26 is called Aphorisms, the Arts, and Late Writings, and it was edited by the seemingly indefatigable Vidyadevi.
Publishing this volume is cause to celebrate the arts in Triratna, so in the Community Highlights section, we’ll point you to two recent self-published books around Buddhism and the arts, from paintings to poetry and beyond.
Volume 26 Sneak Peek
This volume republishes The Religion of Art, written in the 1950s, as well as the visionary In the Realm of the Lotus, and interviews with Sangharakshita published in Urthona, the Buddhist arts magazine.
At the heart of The Religion of Art is Sangharakshita’s understanding of the relationship between the arts, in all their forms, and the Dharma. He suggests that making great art is linked to egolessness, an expanded consciousness and compassionate sensibility. Engaging with this kind of art is therefore a way to experience something of the state of mind of the artist, the transformative experience of self-transcendence.
Each of the Complete Works volumes includes a new foreword that introduces the topic of the volume by someone deeply engaged with it. Maitreyabandhu has written the foreword to Volume 26, taking us to his encounter with Buddhism as an art student, and his experience that Buddhism ‘seemed a natural extension of art’.
Even if you are already very familiar with Sangharakshita’s writings, there is a lot that is new in this volume. In addition to the art theme, it gathers together all his aphorisms and also a short piece by Ratnaprabha on how to read aphorisms, particularly those that provoke!
And then there are the essays and other musings written or dictated by Sangharakshita in the last years of his life. His Adhisthana Writings are published together in this volume for the first time. The late writings cover an astonishingly wide range of themes, from his childhood memories to the lucid reflections of his old age.
We will let you know when the new volumes are published, but if you subscribe to the whole Complete Works or buy a Choose-Your-Own bundle, you can include any new or forthcoming volumes, and they’ll be sent to you as soon as they’re published.
There are many creative people who practise in the Triratna Community who practise in the space created by Sangharakshita’s interest in the relationship between the arts, meditation, and the Dharma.
Painting above by Moksananda
Sangharuchi and friends have recently released Triratna Arts & Culture 2022. This is part of a project showcasing the work of artists who practise in this community. Usually published every four years, this edition was delayed by a year by the impacts of Covid.
It is a beautifully produced A4 volume which includes images and short artist statements or interviews from 42 artists, including Moksananda and his landscape image. Many are painters or photographers, both abstract and figurative. And there is also work in ceramics, sculpture, music, stained glass, film, creative writing and even gardening.
The whole project is done on a dana (generosity) basis. Ask at your local Triratna centre to get or look at a copy, or if you want to, you can buy one yourself through Lulu.
Please contact Sangharuchi if you’d like to contribute your work or make a donation towards the next edition.
And to end today’s newsletter, we have a volume of poetry by Srimala, writing from a lonely stone cottage on a wild Welsh mountainside.
Called No Toast, No Marmalade, some of her poems are short verses that evoke moments in that landscape; on an empty bench, or with an empty plate, the seasons and plants alive around her. The longer verses explore her experience of that landscape and her relationships.
You can get your copy by contacting Srimala.
With her permission, we’ll end with a little poem of blessing.
Go gently into the crazy world.
Make sure you have your wits about you.
Wrap yourself in a cloak of stillness
and don’t forget your shopping list.