Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The wheel would scar the earth ...

In today's UK budget, the chancellor Gordon Brown raised taxes for gas-guzzling vehicles, with the worst offenders now attracting a vehicle excise duty of £210 ($380). The move has been coupled with a zero rate for a small number of cars with the lowest carbon emissions, and £40 duty for cars with low emissions.

The only wheel in constant use in old Tibet was the prayer wheel: either the huge fixed prayer wheels, embossed with sacred mantras that were spun by pilgrims at monasteries, or the miniature handheld prayer wheels. The monks were none too keen on seeing the wheel, or close replicas of it, used elsewhere for purposes such as barrelling along a road. An ancient prophecy held that the use of the wheel would scar the surface of the earth, releasing evil spirits and destroying the social fabric of Tibet (and that may yet prove correct). From Heartlands - Travel in the Tibetan World by Michael Buckley (Summersdale ISBN: 1840242094)

Now playing: Lou Harrison's La Koro Sutro scored for 100 voice chorus with American Gamelan, harp and organ, conducted by Philip Brett. (New Albion Records NA015). Lou Harrison (below) was a practicing American Budhist, and in September 2005 His Holiness the Dalai Lama attended a performance of the late composer's 'Peace Piece One' at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, with Patrick Gardner conducting the Rutgers Kirkpatrick Choir. An accompanying exhihibition featured Tibetan sculpture, paintings, masks, and musical instruments in conjunction with an audio-video installation of Patrick Gardner conducting La Koro Sutro.

Image credit - Gridlock from Grinning Planet. Lou Harrison from Jinhair.com. Image owners - if you do not want your picture used in this article please contact me and it will be removed. Report broken links, missing images and other errors to - overgrownpath at hotmail dot co dot uk
If you enjoyed this post take An Overgrown Path to Chinese puzzle

2 comments:

Garth Trinkl said...

Pliable, given the focus of this post both on 'sustainable economics' and the late American [Californian] composer Lou Harrison, I thought that you and readers might want to read about the ecologically- sustainable "composer's cave-retreat" [2002]that Lou helped design and build for his own use and as a composers' and environmentalists' retreat for future generations.

Here is one link (perhaps Richard Friedman has fuller information):

http://www.harrisondocumentary.com/content.php?area=harr

Pliable said...

Thanks for that link Garth.

A 'cave-retreat'eh?

That will do me, where do I sign up?