“Nothing is Everything!” (Sowon Park – Team Meeting 3)

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In 1447, Grand Prince Anpyong (Anpyong daegun, 안평대군, 安平大君), the third son of the Great King Sejong, Korea (then called Chosun), had a dream. He narrated his dream to Ahn, who painted the dream vision (image above). Reality is depicted on the left of the picture while the dream utopia is to the right. This piece generated 23 poems at the time and many others since.

Ahn’s ‘Dream Utopia’ manifests a deeply-held belief in Buddhist cultures that there is an ultimate, underlying reality independent of human perception and that dreams can offer a privileged and mystical access to the ‘true world’ that is beyond phenomena. In my presentation, I would like to approach dreams from this ‘Eastern’ perspective and trace a series of its recurrent presences in European and American minds, focussing, in particular, on American New Age Buddhist literature and today’s scientized meditation literature.

My focus is on the function of dreams as a source of mystical and/or immanent meaning. I take a cross-cultural and historical perspective and my aim is to navigate through the hazardous field that seeks to give conscious rational explanations of the mystical. Possible relevant clusters are Narrativity, Immersivity and Permeability (as well as Presentationality as noted by Marco in our first workshop and in our first Guest lecture by Prof Wolfson).

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22-10-20 @ 16:00 to


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