Eastern Philosophy & Western Art

In Phillippa Plock, Leeds Buddhist Centre has an Art History expert in its midsts! In this article she explores two books that have had a positive impact on her Dharma practice. For keen eyes that regularly scan the library shelves, you may have noticed recently the addition of two books in the art section: Smile of the Buddha: Eastern Philosophy and Western Art From Monet to Today by Jacquelynn Baas and The Sight of Death by T. J. Clark. I have donated these to the Centre, and I’ve also sent copies to Adhisthana for their library, and I wanted to write a short article explaining why I decided to do this. I was prompted to donate the books after reading Sangharakshita’s books The Religion of Art and In the Realm of the Lotus. Like these books, the two books I have donated have been really inspiring for me in thinking about how to bring together my love of Western art – I have been lucky enough to study art history to PhD level and continue to work with art in my job – and my Buddhist practice, and I wanted to share them with the Leeds sangha. It was my love of western art that made me receptive to Sangharakshita’s writing about the Buddha¬† I’ll start by explaining why I like the book by Jacquelynn Baas, The Smile of the Buddha. I found this book a couple of years ago when I was searching for books to do with how Western thinkers who had come into contact with Buddhist ideas (like Jung) may have influenced 20th century artistic culture.... Read more