Vietnam: Exploring Meditation and Painting

artist meditating

With ideas of Buddhism and Zen art, Vietnamese artist Le Manh Hung has discovered a separtate discipline in showing his art to pursue painting.

Late afternoon, the hall of the Trang Tien Exhibition Centre as visitors depart, we still see a woman standing inside pensive meditation Enlightenment picture of artist Le Manh Hung.

This is a painting of a man standing on a lotus pond, holding lotus flowers and walking on a space indefinitely.

According to the artist, several days later, the woman had contact with him. She confided: “When I saw her picture I feel my heart become calm and I have serenity”.

Acceding to the wishers of the woman who was a stranger, he sent her picture Enlightenment. Since then they have a regular exchange of knowledge with each painting, along with Buddhist knowledge through email or phone.

“Now she is a big fan of my work,” Le Manh Hung painter smiled, confided.

This woman’s story and picture of enlightenment is probably one of the unforgettable memories for the Zen artist Le Manh Hung.

Le Manh Hung considers the art of painting as a meditation, producing works of grace. As a teacher in the Fine Arts (Ministry of Construction), he was assigned the task of teaching Buddhist writing systems in Vietnam.

Artist meditating

Vietnamese Artist Le Manh Hung meditates in a gallery

To get material for the work, in addition to regular visits to temples in Hanoi, he undertook studies in order to attain sufficient knowledge of Buddhism.

Then, as it happened, he was invited by his brother to learn meditation. Through meditation, qigong, and coordination, he realized many things that he did not know.

He felt the transformative, calming benefit of meditation. In the state of meditation, he found his mind more relaxed, calm. Releasing his mind to the meditative state he felt escape from everyday life, just the smallest change, a change which is not visible. With insight, he came back to more research on Buddhism.

Drawing energy from the art of meditation and Buddhism, he boldly applied his artistic painting. He took a retreat to experience stillness, to take the ideas of Buddhism apply them to the idea of the painting.

“The art of meditation and Buddhist thought has changed all of my thinking about art,” he said Hung.

Previously in his work always featured glowing with gold-tone colors because he liked this stream of energy. But since taking up the art of meditation, and entering into Buddhist thought, he took the truths experienced into the art of painting; his works became more harmonious, more vivid.

“Earlier works were created out of a rigidity in discipline; applying the art of meditation and Buddhist thought, the work has exposed the way of the soul”, artist Hung told.

In particular, with meditation and Buddhism, he experienced life become more beautiful, more intimate. “Coming to meditation and Buddhism, I felt light in the heart of every holy character. It’s like the wind to dispel the clouds occasionally rising from everywhere to the moon emitting friendly light, the most pure.”

Buddhist artist painting by hand

To portray feelings, Le Manh hung paints by hand

When he falls into a state of meditation, feelings about a work do not come slowly, but rhythmically; intense and billowing, like waves.

The paintbrush does not meet the surge of inspiration; he decided to paint with his own hands. “Only with hands does the leather feels good enough to flesh out the emotions of myself into each piece,” Hung confided.

In the past, in order to produce a work of art, it took a long time; but now, with art as meditation with hands the brush, each work he paints only takes 30 minutes to 1 hour.

7 years to contemplative art sketching paintings by meditation is also a long time; but with Hung, that is just a way of discovering the original combination of meditation, Buddhism and painting.

Just as rice farmers wait for the paddy to grow, so also, the artist must wait for the deep creative urge to emerge from the soul and express itself via artistic media.

After two exhibitions, Hung told, “I intend to take a trip cross-country, to see temples from north to south, in order that I might be inspired spiritually by temples and architecture that I have not yet reached”, Le Manh Hung artist confided.

Source: Phat tu Vietnam

Photo Credit: Phat tu Vietnam