Anna Hightower

The idea of oneness is central to the Buddhist practice. What is Oneness? Harmony among all people is Oneness. Equality regardless of race, sex, or where you’re from is Oneness. Compassion for those in need is Oneness. Buddhist Oneness goes beyond these ideals. Buddhist Oneness is the truth of life. What is Oneness? "Do you see a cloud in this paper? You must see the cloud in the paper because without a cloud there is no rain, and without rain, there are no trees, and without trees, there is no paper. Do you see a steel mill in this paper? You must see a steel mill in this paper because without a steel mill there will be no steel. Without steel there would be no ax or saw, no ax or saw to cut the tree! No tree, no paper. Do you see Oatmeal in this paper because if you don’t see Oatmeal or a good breakfast in this paper, for the loggers, the people that cut the trees, without a good breakfast, the loggers would not have the energy to cut the trees. No trees, no paper!"  First, nothing is alive free of outside environment. Second, no single part is more important than another.

The oral history of the birth of Buddha says that he took seven steps and cried "Above the heavens and below the heavens I alone am most noble." This is the "birth cry of the Buddha."  He is not saying he is better than anyone; rather he is recognizing that all people are unique, that we are all noble by birth. This individual uniqueness is Oneness.

With this thought, I want to share these Notes and Quotes from my friend’s art room:

Think… imagine… create… The most we can do is our best. Take advantage of the unexpected. Think about things.

Observe the world around you, because observation is at the heart of your work. Celebrate mistakes. Be kind. Be respectful. Share your work to help teach others. Copying is OK. Be inspired by music. Draw and write what you think, feel, observe, learn and discover. Try new things… and try your best. It's OK to fail; you can always try again. Think big, think bigger… Imagine your art will change the world. Find your own pace, take risks, be receptive to new ideas.

It's special to be you.

Reference: Buddhist Temple of Chicago Bulletin, May 2018, The Nature of Oneness by Bill Bohlman.