Tuesday, December 29, 2015

one of my boss's gifts to me

My boss, in a fit of generosity, gave me two gifts. One was a very nice, very sleek slow-cooker. The other gift was this, a mighty Dalma-do:

Given the seriousness of the lines in the brush art, both my boss and I think the artist was likely a monk. The artwork has a very direct, don't-fuck-around feel to it, which is the sort of state of mind you'd expect from someone who leads a life of abnegation and discipline.

In case you don't recognize the imagery, this is one of Bodhidharma's famous poses/scenes: the moment when he crossed the Yangtze River on a reed in a Jesus-like act of being one with nature. Ol' Dalma had no quarrel with the water beneath his soles.

This is why I made my boss those sandwiches. I had given him nothing for Christmas, and this Dalma-do is, frankly, a fantastic gift. So yeah, I felt guilty, and I don't feel I deserve this sort of present, especially after having worked at the Golden Goose for only four months.



Bratfink said...

A translation would have been nice. Just sayin'.

John from Daejeon said...

"I don't feel I deserve this sort of present, especially after having worked at the Golden Goose for only four months."

Maybe you don't know your own value to your boss or those at the Golden Goose, and what you actually bring to the table.

So far this season, my best gift has been to a special screening of "Room." One of my old students sent out free passes to friends and family that supported him on his road to a dream job on a nightmare (well, dream for him) of a virtuoso film masterpiece. After seeing this truly outstanding work of art, I sat with most of the audience lamenting the fact that so much of the world is enthralled with popcorn entertainment (Star Wars) for the sheer purpose of not having to think about the depraved and violent realities of the world--a world where those in places similar to "Room" are struggling mightily for their very own survival and sanity. "Room," and "Spotlight" to a lesser extent," are the meat of films that make you think outside your normal comfort zone. While not the most pleasant of which to sit through, they stick with you well after the viewing is over. Life-affirming and awe-inspiring are words that don't do "Room" justice.

Kevin Kim said...


Are you talking about a translation of the Chinese on the picture? Wish I could do that for you, but I can't read that particular calligraphic style—not for most of the characters, anyway. Sorry. I can say this: the huge character is "bul," i.e., Buddha. The two characters inside the square red stamps (dojang) are "seong" and "sae," i.e., "succeed/attain" and "world." So I surmise the artist's name, Seong-sae (could be a nom de plume, could be a monkish dharma name), is "Attaining the World." Beyond that, I really don't know what the other characters say. I'll let the Chinese-literate experts weigh in.

Bratfink said...

OK. I can accept that. Thank you. :)

wk said...

The quote "一切唯心造" is from 华严经 (華嚴經, Avatamsaka Sutra); it roughly translates to "All things are nothing but phenomena in mind."

Kevin Kim said...

Many thanks, wk. Do we know each other?