Sunday, January 11, 2009

May on Ryoan-Ji

"The Zen rock garden at Ryoan-Ji (is) one of the greatest masterpieces of world art and...the only place on earth where the sacred cannot be abused. Everywhere else where the sacred manifestly lives there is latent power to justify fanaticism, self-righteousness, contempt for those outside the magic circle.

"Who would kill in the name of fiteen irregularly shaped rocks with no agreed - or even definable - meaning? Who would justify a murderous idology on the basis of their enigmatic spatial relationships and their furry tufts of moss? Who would be inspired by a sea of raked white gravel to dehumanize and subdue foreign peoples?...there is nothing here to inspire violence, hubris or condemnation." (Atomic Sushi, Simon May, p.197-198)

I wish I could take my family there. I wish the bosses of the IDF and Hamas and maybe Obama himself could spend some time with the rocks. I'm sure there'll be many lessons learnable, not least that there're alternatives to philosophies like 'Kill (the innocent, if necessary) Or Be Killed.'

1 comment:

Derek L. said...

Speaking of family... Happy birthday to my nephew!