Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Kong Xin's Portfolio

Floor installation for Within, exhibition at Northeastern Illinois University, Ronald Williams Library, August 25 - September 5, 2008

In portraying this one human being, I am portraying all sentient beings.
In one organic form live other organic forms.

In one leaf live noses.
In one nose live prayers.

In one Bodhidharma live all sentient beings.
In one nature lives the nature all phenomena.
In one phenomenon lives emptiness.
In emptiness lives all existence.

Floor Installation

May your prayers be answered.
May your heart generate warmth, peace, and harmony.

Outdoor installation, Northeastern Illinois University
Peace Garden

Peace is within you and me

Wall hanging

Within a profile of a sitting meditating figure seeing one stroke of Chinese calligraphy
Within one stroke of Chinese calligraphy seeing one island
Within one island seeing noses

Within one nose seeing we are all breathing the same air
Within one breath we see al life in birth, illness, old age, and death

Am I a leaf?
Am I a nose?
Am I a prayer?
Am I a human?
Am I a creature?
Am I living?
Who am I?

Within one cup
Is the total amount you can fit in.
Empty your cup and you are free.

Free Standing

Awakening occurs in any situation
any setting
Awareness of dripping water
Enlightenment is here
Here I am!

Lotus arises within the mud of ignorance and darkness
Has no attachment to the mud

The figure in the middle stands out as different and taller than the others.
When Bodhidharma came to China, the Emperor and the Buddhists rejected his Zen teachings and meditation.
He was forced to hide in a cave behind the Shaolin temple where he meditated for nine years
while waiting for someone who could accept his teachings.

I have felt like an outcast in America.
Caught between two cultures, East and West,
Between generations,
Between the religious and secular world,
Between traditional and non-traditional,
Between different mind states.
I am a piece of sandwich.

When I came to United States,
my meditation teacher, Ven. Chi Chern, gave me a carved wooden sculpture of Bodhidharma.
On the back of the sculpture I wrote in Chinese,
“I will carry him with me wherever I go.”

Everything has a function
All beings to become enlightened
This piece is an incense holder.

Tears are warm
Unexpressed feelings are internalized
Unexpressed experiences are internalized.

Unexpressed mind states are internalized
Tears become cold

Removing the mask
Seeing the real features
Revealing the original face within the mask.

Urban life is one shoe within ourselves.
Being a monk is being a one-shoe beggar.

In his time, Bodhidharma was often seen carrying one shoe on a stick over his shoulder.
One day a messenger met the Bodhidharma and asked, "Great Master, where are you going?"
Bodhidharma simply said, "I am going to the west."
The messenger reported his meeting to the Emperor and was told that the Bodhidharma had died.
The Emperor ordered that Bodhidharma's grave be opened, and they found the coffin empty except for one shoe.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Kong Xin's Gallery II

One Shoe, 2008

Within, 2006

Here I Am, 2007

Friday, July 4, 2008

Kong Xin's Gallery

One Heart One Boat


Within: Art Exhibition Aug.25, -Sept. 5, 2008


Sculptural gratitude to the Bodhidharma

Rev. Kong Xin (SLim)

August 25 - September 5, 2008

Ronald Williams Library

Northeastern Illinois University

5500 N. St Louis Avenue

Chicago, Illinois, 60625

Artist Reception: September 3, 4-5:45 p.m.


Lecture by Ven. Chi Chern

President of Malaysian Buddhist Institute

September 3, 2008

9-11 a.m.: Meditation Workshop, Golden Eagle Hall, Student Union

6-8 p.m.:Lecture, “Zen Meditation and Art: An Oasis Within a World of Stress,” Golden Eagle Hall, Student Union Building.

September 4, 2008

12:30 - 2:30 p.m.: “Tea and Zen Same Taste” Chinese tea ceremony, Village Square



(773) 248-2926

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Artist Statement

Seeking tranquilization within tranquilization.

Building self within no-self

What is the meaning of life?

Searching and Searching

Asking and Asking

Before I was born, who is my original face?

Days through days

Years through years

What is my original face?

Over half of my life, I have been following the spiritual path of Chan (Zen), the path that the Bodhidharma brought from India to China 1500 years ago. When I came to the U.S., my heart was suspended in a sandwich between two cultures, Eastern spirituality and Western humanism. And I have been searching for a medium for beings in the West to have a heart-to-heart connection with the spirituality of the East.

Through art I have found this connection, art that coveys spirituality in human terms, humanistic spirituality. In my art, I take spiritual concepts and figures that have been frozen in formal Buddhist tradition and give them an organic form and a human face. As a practitioner as well as an artist, I plant the seed for an understanding that all beings have the seed of enlightenment embedded within them. All organic forms are beings, and all organic forms contain beings. Leaves become noses and noses become figures prostrating in prayer. Leaves breathe. Noses breathe. And in prayer we all breathe the same air. All beings have consciousness, Buddha nature. All beings are equal. All beings have an equal opportunity to be enlightened.

My recent work has consisted of sculptural images of the Bodhidharma. Starting with traditional forms, I then give him a variety of human expressions and place him in unconventional settings and forms in a variety of media. Humanistic spirituality is from a human perspective to look at all sentient beings. I work from a human perspective seeing that all sentient beings have consciousness and can be enlightened in any place at any time. “Pop! Enlightenment is here! Here I am!”

The path of Chan is the path of meditation to know our original face. This is the face of compassion and wisdom. This is the face of enlightenment. This is the face of all beings breathing the same air in peace and harmony.