In a public talk about dharma art, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche described how the ruling monasteries in Tibet were funded before the Chinese took over. He refutes the assertion that peasants were flogged and forced to work for the monks. Instead, he says that land and resources were set aside to support certain festivals enjoyed by monastics and lay persons alike. The purpose of his economic digression during an art lecture was to raise the basic question: How are we to organize our life so that we can afford to produce beautiful things, not at the expense or suffering of others?
I have chosen a funding model typical among artists and writers I know; I am an educator. Teaching seems to be the common method for artists to support themselves so that they may continue to practice their craft, not at the expense or suffering of others . While this isn’t ideal, the alternatives are no more attractive. I would not enjoy being subject to the whim of a wealthy patron or working within […]