HEALING THE LAND – A Buddhist perspective on aesthetic renewal

By Jayarava.

A ‘scavenging assemblage artist’ brings a Buddhist perspective to the aesthetic renewal of the Windhorse plot in Cambridge… This article first appeared in the Arts News section of Urthona Issue 19, Winter 2003.

In mid 2002 I travelled to England to further my ordination into the Western Buddhist Order – to live and work with other Buddhists. Our large importing business has recently moved to new premises on the outskirts of Cambridge. The warehouse is sited in an old chalk pit, next to an old landfill. The landfill has been covered and is now being left to settle, but scattered around the surface of it are reminders of its previous use – broken concrete fence posts, strands of wire, bricks, odd bits of metal and wood lie half buried amongst the flourishing weeds. For a scavenging assemblage artist it was like stumbling into paradise!

The recent history of this land is one of violence – first being used as a dumping site and them being bulldozed and left to rot. Scattered around are gas pipes which collect the gas produced by tonnes of rubbish decaying, and send it to be burned off. One of my strongest feelings about this patch of ground is that it needs love, it needs care and perhaps after all this brutality it needs redemption…  more…

The rest of this essay can be found on Jayarava’s own website


Jayarava is a member of the Western Buddhist Order, and has written articles for several Buddhist journals as well as his own blog containing more than 100 short essays on Buddhist texts, philology, ethics, psychology, and practice. He is also the author of Visible Mantra, an expert web resource on Buddhist Calligraphy. Jayarava currently lives in Cambridge, UK.

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