As a 22-year-old art student in London, artist Richard Long walked back and forth along a straight line in a grassy field in the English countryside, leaving a track that he then photographed in black and white. A Line Made by Walking (1967), above, was the first of many remarkable works he made on the theme of “paths”.

Richard Long


road_stone_line Richard Long
Richard Long

Small_White_Pebble_Circles_Richard Long Long_Tate_Modern_T07160-1
Richard Long

……It’s a theme we think about often, as it is at the heart of a very useful Buddhist teaching:

Whatever occurs in the confused mind is regarded as the path.  Everything is workable. It is a fearless proclamation, the lion’s roar.

      —Trungpa Rimpoche

So, there is “the path” —whatever we are doing that provides an opportunity for learning; it is all workable— and then there are “paths” so perfectly evoked in this haiku by Buson…

     Coming back—
so many pathways
       through the spring grass.


Both resonate with possibility…


If you’ve found illumination, joy, or inspiration in this post, please consider supporting Improvised Life. It only takes a minute to make a secure donation that helps pay our many costs. A little goes a long way towards helping Improvised Life continue to live ad-free in the world.

Support Improvised Life ♥

3 replies on “Useful Ideas about Paths We Find Ourselves On (Richard Long, Buson, Trungpa Rimpoche)

  1. Beautiful fotos,…
    great thoughts.
    Thanks Sally.

    When thinking of ‘paths’,
    I always like remembering,
    ..the etymology of the word,….
    is unknown(!).

    Cool,,.’our path’,
    ..but not knowing,..
    where it all begain!

    …it helps me come to terms,
    when worrying/wondering,
    about it’s outcome. ?

  2. A line Made By Walking is also the title of a truly wonderful novel by Sara Baume – a different kind of line perhaps but also a meditation of sorts, Baume’s first novel is Spill Simmer Falter Wither.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *