Sunday, August 20, 2006

This morning I spent reading about Daoist painter and poet Chen Rong and his ink scroll painting called Nine Dragons Appearing Through Clouds and Waves, painted in 1244 and some 9 feet by 135 feet. It took me awhile to find his work online since I was remembering his name as Ronin, which means something entirely different, as I found out on Wikipedia, the mother of all these wikis (see below).

I was thinking about the swirling mist of Takakkaw Falls in Yoho National Park we just visited in Canada. The way the mist swirls in circles in the second cascade reminded me of Chen Rong's painting, the dragons appearing and disappearing in clouds of mist, a symbol of Dao practice of meditation, with monks able to achieve meditation only fleetingly. Interestingly, the painting was made while he was drunk, a common practice to achieve higher levels of meditation, much like drinking strong tea. Critics today praise his spontaneous flow of lines.

On Takakkawa Falls in Yoho National Park

The Cree Indians say Takakkaw: "It is wonderful!"
We watch as waters, fed by the Wapiti ice field 350 meters above,
these waters cascade down,
the first full surge a massive torrent,
hitting the rocks so hard
a second cascade flumes out in Chen Rong circles,
swirling mist of chaos
out of which dragons come.

Note from Wikipedia:

The word ronin literally means "wave man" - one who is tossed about, as on the waves in the sea. The term originated in the Nara and Heian periods, when it originally referred to serfs who had fled or deserted their master's land. It is also a term used for samurai who had lost their masters in wars.

Read a little more on Chen Rong and to view Nine Dragons at the Boston Fine Arts Museum, you need to use the search feature there.