By Ty H. Phillips
Shambhalas’ presentation of The Pure Joy of Being, by Fabrice Midal is a visual and spiritual masterpiece.
Midal explores the story of Buddhism not only in itself but culturally and artistically within the cultures that it touched. Midal shares the visual wonders of Buddhist art in stone, metal, paint and more. The tomb is beautiful to behold and touch and pulls one into the essence of Buddhism.
While the pages offer us a sense of Buddhism through the ages and the lives of the countless millions it has touched, it also brings one closer to our own perspectives by offering the meaning and representation of each piece. We see the connection of human experience and realize Buddhism as more than just a distant teaching, but as part of the human condition.
The creative aspect of humanity that is shared within the pages offers not only a glimpse of the teaching but of the importance of art within culture and the evolution of humanity. From the dawn of human awareness we have been expressive creatures. Art has been a part of our history longer than the written word and according to some, longer than the spoken word.
As we have struggled to make sense of our place within the universe, to understand the how and why and wrestle with the existential questions that haunt us all, art has been there. We have painted and carved our ideas, hopes, fears and gods into every niche of the known world; Buddhism has been no exception to this. Each culture that has been touched by the dharma has used its own unique expressive culture to share and understand it. It has left a mark on the psyche of us all and Midals’ selection, while by no means exhaustive, offers us a glimpse at just how profound the Buddhist influence has been.
This wonderfully written and stylized tomb deserves a place in every collection. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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