When I am totally absorbed in drawing … and have become leaf or grass, when the split between I-as-subject and It-as-object is bridged … I am now in touch with the process of Life itself. The leaf’s budding, unfurling, wilting and dying are my own! For however short a span, IT – instead of Me – has become the center of my universe. It is no longer a thing observed: but an ever-changing, ever-fleeting mystery, which, like myself, flashes past at the speed of light. Then, in this flashing Now, I may glimpse Reality, I may recognize the Self, that Original Face I share with all that is; I may glimpse the Buddha Nature: the Pearl of Great Price.
– Frederick Franck
The Awakened Eye
frederick franck at the artisans’ gallery
the Face of faces
seeing-drawing as meditation
the 10 commandments
The meaning of life is to see.
Rather than artist, sculptor, writer, or philosopher, Frederick Franck liked to call himself an image-maker. He was a true Renaissance Man, writing books and creating images until his death at 94. His first book – The Zen of Seeing – was my introduction to drawing-as-meditation, as something much much more profound than the end product called an artwork. He went on to write over 30 books, including The Awakened Eye, to which the title of this website and blog pays homage.
Many years after that first introduction, I was blessed to attend a 4-day Easter Zen of Seeing retreat with Frederick Franck in Cornwall. Perhaps I’ll write about that in another post. But here I wish to bow deeply in gratitude to a man who knew what it means to be fully human, and who was able to awaken me to authentic seeing and drawing.
It wasn’t just any old seeing that he referred to in his quote above; he knew what it meant to encounter non-dual awareness. For him it was a direct impulse from heart-seeing to hand-scribbling with no loop through the labelling and categorizing part of the brain. It was seeing without the shadows of conditioning, and marveling at what turned up on the paper.
City: -5 degrees
Pacem in Terris – the official website for Frederick Franck.
Frederick Franck loved to quote Hui Neng: The meaning of life is to see. The raison d’être of this website and blog is to open up the view onto what it means to really see – to see without separation between the perceiver and the perceived. It’s a view described by artisans and sages, scientists and philosophers, all in their unique ways.
Homage and gratitude to them all, and especially to Frederick Franck.