The contemplative researcher lives aloof from society, a silent and unseen example it would seem. How is he to share his refined sensitivities, his ascetic and indeed aesthetic findings in ways that reveal their hidden purpose? (The Sritantra Project)

Rene Laubies: tracing the non-figurative

We came across Pan Da'an (潘大安) and his valuable essay "Tracing the traceless antelope: Toward an interartistic semiotics of the Chinese sister arts" (College Literature, Feb 1996) while researching the theoretical underpinnings of the colonial French non-figurative painter Rene Laubies. This project requires an historical grasp of the Dhyana/Chan/Taoist contribution as stems from ancient Chinese players, with particular attention to Guo Xi (郭熙, ca. 1020-1090). We have tentatively applied Professor Pan's art-historical analysis of the fabled Chinese Chan/Zen narrative in a way that would hopefully bring into relief and support our own developing take on the "underpinnings of Zen philosophy" being largely retrofittings constrained by the neo-Buddhist fondness for the fabulous. We would also like to lay bare the following point: to effectively decode the neo-Buddhist Zen-myth one needs simultaneously to perceive the persona of Bodhidharma as essentially a Hindu theatrical device and to infer the heritage of Chan itself as of basically healthy Taoist stock.

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