on lin ran's works


The Valley of the Mind

Lin Ran


To all things in the universe: 

Everything begins and ends with one point, and everything expands and contracts on lines and planes; they are woven into an interlocking net of time and space between Heaven and Earth.

Inside this net is existence, outside this net is nothingness, but both existence and nothingness rely on this net. Body, mind, and spirit all intermingle with freedom, life, and death.

The mind is the point with everything begins and ends; the mind is meaning. Idealism and materialism create clearer minds and clearer objects respectively. The lines are created from dots and curves, the linking of the real and the illusory. Planes come from the closing and opening of lines. 

The cross-section of a line is a plane, and the edge of a plane is a line; lines and planes generate one another. They expand and contract at a single point, and begin and end in the mind. They can be divided and united, united and divided. "The Dao exists to be internalized, and the object exists to be used." A point hidden in a line can approach ±∞; these mathematical symbols reflect a desired treasure that comes from the spirits. When your mind roams with those spirits, it can be as empty as the universe, thereby producing its own time and space and escaping the net of Heaven and Earth.

This net from which your mind escapes is an intermediary, a definition, an equivalence, an inclination, an approximation, an example, a question, a road sign, a door, a window, a direction, a yes, a truth, a presence, an object. The net is formed by the division and unification of points, lines, and planes. Division is a way out, and unification is a way in. By dividing something, you understand it; by uniting something, you use it. When the net is used, existence or nothingness for a fish lies in its ability to escape the definitions of space. Similarly, symbolic expression produced language and form, but escaping culture produced the light of civilization. In this way, recognizing objects clears your mind and a clear mind recognizes objects. 

The meeting of my mind and an object produced Lotus Flower. When I am present, you see an object through me, and I influence this object. When I am not present, you see one object through another, so you cannot differentiate me from the object. Meaning approaches form and form is written in words, so those who use words can clarify form. In obtaining the meaning, you forget the form, just as in obtaining a fish you forget the net. 

In Chrysanthemum Stone, I used objects to obtain beauty and followed objects to freedom. Inspiration can be gained from landscape, and landscape seduces with its form, but when landscapes are dark and everything is covered in shadows, those seductive yet evil spirits become truly lost.

Thatched Cottage focuses on Daoist practice in a secluded valley. Far away from the noise of the world, you can find discipline amidst the mountains. From this discipline, the trees and flowers bloom, and meditation bears fruit. Happiness, darkness, and pleasure all float away…

In Clear Empty Steps, Calm Wandering Eyes, the body becomes lighter and 
the mind rises to the Way, and just as the mind becomes dizzy, the body reaches peace. 

When its form is formless and its sound is soundless, you can hear the Silent Plain. You might see its tranquility as emptiness, so how could words have form? Large sounds and images are intangible; voices and forms are physical objects. In the first case, the mind reaches for a distant place; the immense beauty of heaven and earth is indescribable. The four seasons have clear methods and everything has unspoken rules. The beauty of heaven and earth are the principles of nature. When you strike emptiness, you make a sound, but when you strike wood, you make no sound. 

The Mourning Hall witnesses life and death, worry and enlightenment. The emptiness of life and death contain the sun, moon, and stars; this emptiness only sees kindness. This is nirvana. 

Everything must bear yin and embrace yang. With yin and yang, eternal death and eternal life balance, just as Flowers Bloom and Flowers Fade. You choose stones, grasses, and flowers to build a nest, allowing your mind to rest in Deep Valley. Fish and nets are beautiful, good, and true. Is this nirvana?

If we bring experiential time and conceptual space back to a series of meanings and reference the road signs of these meanings, we obtain that for which we have been searching; points can be linked to form lines and lines can be closed to form planes, or virtual points can create virtual lines and planes. If you are weaving nets to catch fish, you need a net to see if you have a fish. Having a home allows your body and mind to rest. “Gaining meaning but forgetting form, and gaining a fish but forgetting the net” can still fall into experiential time, which creates an impractical conceptual space. 

"Phenomenology" is the study of related appearances, while the aesthetics of phenomenology are the different.