Thursday, April 10, 2008

VIS '08 Video

Hey everyone. I set some video from the semester to music (All We Perceive by Thievery Corporation). Hope it works. ~James

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Otto Pierce--Emptiness

To be empty, truly empty, one can never be more full. When your mind is emptied of all wants, desires, greedy and needy thoughts, then it can be filled with everything else. It can be filled with understanding, empathy, love, and the ever-present Om. When you understand you can be made to care, which leads to empathy, which leads love. Love though, is not a skin-deep love, an artificial love, but a love that goes much deeper. Love is something that goes straight to the life force, the inner peace and calm and Nirvana.
When you are empty you do not dwell on what has happened, or what will happen, you simply are in the moment. Time has no hearing on you anymore because the passing of time means nothing if you are everywhere at once, yet completely in one place.
When you are empty you are everything, as well as part of everything. You are pain, suffering, love, knowledge, peace, and enlightenment. You are the smallest grain of sand, the graceful stag of the forest, the powerful and immovable mountain, and even the thumping washing machine in your back room.
To be empty is to be a glass full of superficial substance, as well as full of something that can’t be seen. What can’t be seen, what the glass is truly filled with is what truly matters. Inside the glass, behind the cover of substance, little bits of everything pile up upon each other until they flow over the top. Those little bits of everything are all separate, yet inextricably connected. Every action intimately affects every other piece. The whole of all the little pieces is called existence, and while one may dwell in the present, if they exist they are part of everything that is, was, and is going to be. Their thoughts may not reside in those realms, but their Om, their existence does. Whether it is our soul or our Nirvana or our just our indestructible sub-atomic particles that have existed since forever, it means that we have too.
Emptiness is to simply be aware of ones existence. Awareness is what we strive for, the banishment of ignorance. When ignorance is gone, then emptiness arrives.

Emma Gershun-Half

Ladakh is a place where the mountains are the size of dreams. They reach up past the sky, their tops dusted with snow and high-flying birds.
Ladakh is a place where the incremental creeping of the Indian subcontinent somehow results in a majestic collision of earth and stone and peaks three miles above sea level.
Ladakh is a place where weather worn faces smile from every direction and where young children look with wide eyes but never say a word.
Ladakh is a place where one can hike for miles with endless possibilities in sight, but never know the destination or what it will hold.
Ladakh is a place where dust settles and blows and is a general nuisance, but belongs just the same. It coats the nose and throat, but also is the stuff that mountains and stream beds, gompas and homes are made of.
Ladakh is a place where the day is greeted by the sun, and the night by the moon, both of which are so bright and vibrant that midnight and midday are equally inspiring and un-oppressive.
Ladakh is a place where the landscape is barren, yet full of otherworldly life. A place where it is possible to feel peacefully alone and part of everything simultaneously.
Ladakh is a place where it is possible to be.

Post 2, Tess Townsend

The following entry is a response to the prompt, “Emptiness.” In Buddhism, emptiness does not denote a lack of something, but rather is viewed as the ultimate wholeness and fullness. The goal of meditation is to empty one’s mind. To be empty is to recognize that the “self” is an illusion, merely the product of every other thing that exists. A tree does not exist independently. It is the result of air, water, earth and sun, as well as the result of whatever results in air, water, earth and sun.

emptiness emptiness emptiness emptiness fullness fullness fullness breakfast breakfast fasting fast fast running running running walking slowing-down sitting emptiness emptiness emptiness wholeness wholeness wholeness hole

hole in the center of a bagel
hole in the center of the earth
black hole in the center of the universe vacancy void
the universe itself is a hole of wholeness and emptiness

dogs barking in the abyss barking barking barking inconsequentially

emptiness emptiness emptiness

celestial twinklings
infinity and nothing
nothing for infinity
nothing forever
everything for eternity

no eternity no time no beginning no end fishbowls snow globes finite floor and ceiling try not to bump your head impossible existence of beginning and end within infinity there is no infinity there is not light there is no earth there is no basis no ground and no sky no floor and no ceiling

emptiness emptiness emptiness void vacancy abyss droning droning droning a flower roots bees air water soil no words complete collapse words inexpressible words illusions no separation no tangibility no strength and no weakness

emptiness emptiness emptiness

books class time passed ineffable

students screaming into the void
dogs barking into the abyss
beggars begging bits of illusory sustenance
addicts addicted to dream-creations
painters painting reflections of mirrors

look into the void see the void reflected infinitely
see it reflected not at all

Ladakh is a place where...Duncan

Ladakh is a place where…
Duncan Nelson

Ladakh is a place where time has seized to exist, a place in which humans do not revolve around the fourth dimension, a downward spiraling death trap. It has not yet been invented here. A river, has no sense of its own fate, it doesn’t abide by time’s suzerainty. It exists everywhere, always. People here embody a river, omnipresent in all realms of existence. To have the gift of this wisdom is something humanity secretly strives for. Part of this wisdom means that you do not have to search, you do not have to tread down a beaten path to find it. So, one thing I have learned is that a river not only is the universe, but it is also nothingness. Can anyone melt into the river? Be warned, it pours into lush valleys, screams down rapids, carves out stones, stumbles through grassland and disperses into the ocean, again, again, forever. Some people end up in the ocean, others remain dust. To let go, to be like a river is easier said than done. We are only human, and only humans let their lives get in the way of living. Only Humans abide by time’s cruel restraints. I can only hope that someday, We can finally deem time antique, old, wrinkly, and place it in a red collapsing barn along with other useless trinkets and melancholy memories, where it collects dust and mice use it’s confines to make their nest. One day, I can only hope Ladakh can be a model to the world, a representation of simplicity and meaning. Only then will the na├»ve idealist hopes of total peace and happiness come true. A day when time dies of its own fate, never to be dusted off and given back to humanity, that is my hope. Ladakh is a place where time cannot pierce through eight thousand meter peaks, it cannot breathe the blood boiling air, and it cannot put wrinkles in the soul. Ladakh has been untouched by time, and will remain that way for eternity.


Ladakh is a place where I see my “other life” contained in an invisible snow-globe. I hold the globe very still in the palm of my hand and watch the pile of plastic flakes grow. That which was previously hidden by the swirling snow is now revealed as the flakes settle.
Ladakh shelters me, shrouds me in a sky full of stars. In Western Mass. these same stars cower behind a veil of artificial light. In Ladakh I drink in their presence until a heavy wind throws sand into my face and I stumble back into fluorescent reality. Conventional reality.
Ladakh is a white screen. Steep, eroding mountains are projected onto the blankness. Packages and postcards arrive through a small door on the lower left hand corner of the two-dimensional landscape. Ladakh is so fantastic it can’t possibly be real.

No longer am I wedged in that glass snow-globe staring out at a distorted truth. Ladakh is a place where I no longer know what “truth” is.


Ladakh is a place where I never feel rushed or stressed or scared. I can sit on my greenhouse landing, put off my homework and soak in the sun. It doesn’t matter what I do because it is always well worth my time. The days go by in a daze of enjoying each step. We trekked through Sham stopping each day to stay and live with a Ladakhi family each as welcoming as the last. Showering us with sweetly overpowering milk tea and cookies and watching us eagerly as we forced down a cup of butter tea and instantly refilling it. Once in a while there are day hikes that take us to spectacular views and cascading glaciers. We’re never quite sure what we’ll see each day.
Ladakh is a place where every morning it takes my breath away, and not just the altitude. I walk outside to see the Indus River to my left and towering, snow covered peaks surrounding me from every direction. I take time to walk down to a footbridge about three miles off campus. I sit by the river, watching the water rush by. Occasionally I throw a small stone in to hear that wonderful plop sound. Thoughts flow freely in and out of my mind as I sit on the shore.
Ladakh is a place where I lose myself in the sights and sounds of my surroundings. At night as I wonder aimlessly in the dark, I can hear the wild dogs barking and howling close by. I look up at the star strewn sky and feel as though I am falling upwards into the black abyss of the universe. The bright star, Sirius that represents the black dog who follows Orion through the sky follows me as I travel across the world. At night as I sit awake reading the wind beats heavy on the greenhouse plastic. It reminds me of hot summer nights when a storm begins to brew. When the plastic smacks loud against a beam it is as though a bolt of lightning has struck.