Future of Dharma Arts in the West
Some time ago I was talking with my friend Gyempo who has custom painted some works for me. He lives in Bhutan. I had been messaging with Gyempo's brother Tashi who is a master woodworker who makes thrones and other decorative ornaments such as those in tb temples and monasteries. I couldn't reach Tashi so I asked Gyempo if his brother might be able to make me a big Mahakala mask. He seemed to chuckle to my question and replied that his brother is a woodworker, not a mask maker. How foolish of me to ask a woodworker to make a mask!
Asian dharma culture is abound with art. There is dance, music, woodwork, metal work, sculpting, painting, calligraphy, writing, poetry and probably other forms too. Dharma in the West is a completely new thing but it is somewhat established, and yet there is basically no training whatsoever available in any or most of these artforms. This is very much reflected with how places in the West look. They have way less expression. In fact, I could say that they look dull. Hmm, I wonder if this contributes to the fact that western buddhist groups feel kind of lifeless.
"Visiting Western buddhist centers felt like
I was back sitting in church. They were so puritanistic."
-Lama Vajranatha John Reynolds
I just wanted to bring this up just to bring your attention to this matter. I've spent my adult life, since 2003, studying buddhist calligraphy and painting (see links below) and I'm a keen collector of high quality dharma art that I buy from Asia.