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.