the summer before i moved to japan i was intensely researching mahayana buddhism, which brought me to different stuff by ALAN WATTS, SHUNRYU SUZUKI, HIS HOLINESS THE 14th DALAI LAMA, NAGARJUNA and eventually 8th century indian monk SANTIDEVA and his text BODHICARYĀVATĀRA or translated in english "A GUIDE TO THE BODDHISATTVA'S WAY OF LIFE."
now if you are unfamiliar with buddhism, the fundamental idea is that life is suffering and suffering is rooted in desire. all texts and concepts thereafter are basically defining and extrapolating on those two ideas and how to go about limiting desire to avoid suffering both for you and those around you. escaping desire entirely is a state of grace called NIRVANA that only an enlightened being, or BUDDHA can accomplish.
in the mahayana vehicle of buddhism practiced in nepal, tibet, china, korea and japan the there is a belief that a person can obtain this state of grace in a single lifetime, as there is another core belief in SAMSARA, or a beginning-less cycle of rebirth. having no desire or ego allows one no need to return for another go around as life is kind of a drag with suffering and death guaranteed.
what made this 1200+ year-old text compelling to me was the idea of the boddhisattva, or a being that has reached nirvana but has opted not to recede from the cycle of somsara in order to assist others.
i was raised roman catholic, a religion and moral philosophy i rejected soundly in my teens, and the idea of heaven and retribution always seemed odd to me. why do good if you are only motivated by rewarding yourself by being in the grace of god. or something like that.
always seemed shallow to me to do something for a reward. the idea of someone helping another for no reward BECAUSE it is the right thing to me seemed much more compelling. especially combined with the buddhist concept of sunyata, or emptiness. essentially in this tradition there is no sense of self, ego, personal identity or as we like to say in the west, a soul. if you believe in causality than you can deduce that we are not the end point of all the atoms in our body, but rather part of a fluid continuation of the re-appropriation and reassignment of what CARL SAGAN deemed "star stuff." we are just a part of a larger narrative as told through our physical being and all the building blocks of matter than produce it.
so to do good for others with no reward and no sense of ego (literally) makes the whole idea of charity in the buddhist sense more immediate and tangible and ultimately more compelling in my estimation. thus why i have reread parts of this text several times.
watch HERE for the latest episode of THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW on MAKERPARKRADIO where hosts Vince and Reed play more modern synth music in preparation for TODAY's BLOCK PARTY where both will be guests DJs.
as always, you can access past episodes of THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW via the DEER GOD website as well as those of MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST and DEER GOD RADIO.
i look at female musicians these days and i feel terrible.
its cliche to say that musicians that function in today's media structure have mastered the art of marketing and social media, which largely feels like a race to the bottom. condense anything thoughtful and intelligent into a 5 second video clip or picture that likely will only be glanced at in passing to other more immediately stimulating (and more-than-likely intellectually stultifying ) content.
to me PATTI SMITH represents unimpeachable, uninhibited, undiluted artistic authenticity on par with any of her heroes such as WILLIAM BLAKE, PAUL VERLAINE, ARTHUR RIMBAUD or CHARLES BAUDELAIRE. her first memoir JUST KIDS is required reading as it parses through in detail her troubles and insecurities that she ultimately transcended through her work and indomitable spirit to survive, quite literally. dealing with issues surrounding abortion, poverty, growing up a jehovah's witness, abuse, self-worth and losing friends to HIV/AIDS, it is really quite captivating both her ambition and the depth of her lyrical content.
her inspiring biography aside, she challenged men head on. now that may reveal something about me, given that i am a privileged white male, but from my vantage point her artistry was her selling point. she wasn't presenting herself as palatable to the male gaze. if anything it was her gaze that mattered.
it is problematic to compare her to different eras of female artists, but kind of inevitable. there is a part of me that really appreciates it when artists challenge their audience. when i hear past and present artists like BILLIE EILISH, PJ HARVEY, ADELE, FKA TWIGS, BJORK or transgender artists like ANOHNI and LAURA JANE GRACE, or even male artists like PERRY FARRELL, PRINCE, DAVID BOWIE, LITTLE RICHARD and LOU REED challenge normative prescriptions of beauty it makes me smile. it makes me think there is hope from all these anemic, hollowed-out contorted space alien disfigured bodies that many of these celebrities inevitably become as time paces ever slowly forward.
just accept your humanity. even if your audience doesn't. that to me is what PATTI SMITH represents as a cultural figure.
photo by nacrowe
check out this performance of by JERSEY CITY indie rock outfit LONG NECK recorded recently at TRANS-PECOS as part of our ongoing OFF THE M series. all OFF THE M performances are recorded live in concert at either MARKET HOTEL and TRANS PECOS in NYC.
if you dig this than definitely seek out their 2018 LP WILL THIS DO? We'd also like to congratulate the band on their recent signing to BIG SCARY MONSTERS. onwards and upwards.
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over the next few weeks we are excited to introduce each member and provide an overview of their expertise and experience. we are proud of our team and look forward to showcasing their immense diverse strengths and capabilities to the greater public.
until then check out our video and studio pages to get a better sense of our past output.
listen in HERE to the latest episode of NOWHERE FAST as TOM spins vinyl influenced by memories of horrible summer NYC weather.
think mud pits. big scary mud pits at randall's island music festivals. that's the vibe.
past episodes of NOWHERE FAST as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like DEER GOD RADIO, MAKE HER SPACE, and THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW are available here at the DEER GOD website.
tonight's episode of DEER GOD RADIO at 8PM on MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC will keep it 100 with a playlist solely consisting of classic and modern WEST COAST HIP HOP.
past episodes of DEER GOD RADIO as well as other MAKERPARKRADIO.NYC shows like MAKE HER SPACE, NOWHERE FAST, and THE SYNTHESIZER SHOW are available here at the DEER GOD website.