Day of Buddhas

Went to Hobart yesterday to run a workshop. It was an excellent day.

I decided to go by public transport to the airport, and on the bus I had a great conversation with the man next to me about rock-climbing in New Zealand. I learnt that the rock in NZ is extra-special granite which is far superior to Australian rock which is really not rock at all, but sand. Australia, the country built of sand.

On the plane, the man sitting next to me was a senior official in the Chinese Embassy in Canberra who was part of a delegation visiting Hobart. We had an excellent conversation about the Universal Law and philosophy and something passed between us when we looked into each other’s eyes. I learnt there is a figure in Fujian province in China which once was a man who discovered the Universal Law. Although he died a thousand years ago, his body is sitting upright, in place, with flesh intact.

In the taxi from the airport I had a funny conversation with the driver about Pakistani politics and General Mushurraf who I learnt was not in prison for his overthrow of the government some years ago. I also learnt that one truly becomes an Australian when one has “the price of houses” conversation.

I had a couple of hours to spare before the workshop so I asked the driver to take me to MONA (the Museum of Old and New Art). I had coffee and cake in the sun looking at the spectacular view. Then I went into the gallery and saw great artwork, including the one below by Chinese artist, Zhang Huan.

It’s called Berlin Buddha. The artist shipped to Australia the huge aluminium mould for the Buddha which you can see on the right, along with a tonnage of incense ash which he had collected from Chinese temples.

Gallery staff then filled the mould with the ash, tamped it down and took away the parts of the mould to reveal the ash Buddha on the left.

So diligent were the gallery staff with their filling and tamping that the ash Buddha is only now starting to crumble away almost a year after its birth. I learnt from the attendant that the artist and gallery staff had expected the figure to last for weeks only. Soon, the Buddha will go the way of all Buddhas. It will be crushed and taken away so a new exhibition can go in.

After MONA, I delivered the workshop, went back to the airport and flew home.

What a happy day.

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14 thoughts on “Day of Buddhas

  1. Wait. The statue is made from ash? That’s super cool! 👌 Sounds like you had quite an enjoyable trip. I love meeting and conversing with ‘random’ people, especially on public transport. I always walk away feeling chuffed.

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    • ha, that’s how I felt. Chuffed (love that word). It was a really special day. Everyone and everything had so much to offer.

      Also, it wasn’t until after I wrote this post that I realised the connections, the man on the plane telling me about a Buddha made of flesh, over a thousand years old, and then at the gallery I see a Buddha made of ash who had far exceeded his allotted span. Maybe the ash Buddha had discovered the Universal Law too :) And then too the man on the bus telling me about a country made of granite and a country made of sand, and then later I meet a Buddha made of ash.

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  2. Your chance meetings and conversations sound fantastic and the ash Buddha is amazing. I wish I could have been there with you! I did see a ballet yesterday, though (“The Red Shoes”). Why is it called “Berlin Buddha”? Does the artist live in Berlin?

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  3. What a fun and informative day! Wish I could have been there too. As a sculptor, I can well appreciate the intransigence of Art. Working for days/weeks/months setting up a display only to have it fall apart. It’s like people though; in the case of the Buddha made of ash, it may symbolize the intransigence of man.

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