Aesthetic appreciation ~ Chögyam Trungpa

The next bodhisattva action is meditation. In this case, meditation is almost, we could say, aesthetic appreciation. this means awareness of body, awareness of colors, awareness of things around you, awareness of people’s different styles. There’s always room for everything that comes up. Everything is treated reverently, respectfully. Nothing is regarded as rubbish. Even the garbage heap is a work of art. Things have their own place, and you appreciate this, which is meditation in the broader sense. Both the relevant and the irrelevant are respected, so you don’t have to economize on your time and energy. Because of that, everything becomes an object of meditation, of greater awareness, panoramic awareness. You take tremendous interest in different styles, people’s different approaches, and the different physical situations of objects around you, and the different emotional states within yourself. For the bodhisattva, the whole thing is constantly meaningful and workable.

Aesthetic appreciation does not mean looking for beauty alone. It means looking at things with space around them. When things are seen with space around them, they have their own pictorial quality, so to speak. Things are seen in perspective rather than as representing demands or expectations. So bodhisattvas make a wonderful audience for the theater of life and death. This is meditation. But at the same time, the bodhisattva takes part in this theater, so the whole thing does not become merely a matter of impersonal observation.


Chögyam Trungpa

from the book The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume 4


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