Friday, June 29, 2012

Rothko Chapel

Sometimes Google Alerts gang up on me:  they conspire to implore me to post about a resource that I wouldn't otherwise rank as an immediate priority given this blog's primary focus, which is helping people to connect with the local nuts-n-bolts of the Buddhist and non-Buddhist meditation resources that they are seeking, mainly local Temples and lay groups. 

Such was the conspiring case this week with respect to the Rothko Chapel.  First, it was featured on June 22 by Houston Chronicle in a blog post titled "Things to do in Houston before you die".
Screengrab courtesy of Houston Chronicle.
Screengrab courtesy of Houston Chronicle.
As recommendations go, it seems an unlikely bedfellow to be joined thematically with visiting the Beer Can House and indulging in restaurant tours and sporting events, but there you have it.
And second, it was featured this morning in this HuffPost article titled "At the Rothko Chapel:  Art, Meditation, and Reverence".  This frontispiece quote resonated with me:
Courtesy of the Huff Post Arts online edition.
Screengrabbed from
Well said.  This is precisely why I have spent much of my life practicing photography as a hobby, and why I chose to produce Dhammapada Houstoniana (full blog publication to follow).  Contemplating art is a gateway to more comprehensive perception, whether that art be in the form of the masterful abstract renderings in Rothko, or in the form of the ordinary photography in which I engage.  It's easier to make headway in this business of perception when the scene has been conveniently frozen for the viewer - it's a baby step, in other words.  From practising raw perception in a still-frame mode, one then graduates to the more challenging task of being similarly effective in the dynamic stream of constantly-flowing moments. 

That said, let me summarize some of Rothko's logistical parameters for those of you who may wish to visit for meditative purposes.
Screengrab courtesy of Rothko Chapel Image Gallery
What strikes me about this image is the sense that the surrounding art is so much bigger than the meditator, yet at the same time, it's not belittling of the meditator, and not overpowering of the meditator.  I see this as reflecting how we should view our own egos: not reality's main event by any means, but something to be perceived and acknowledged as an integral part of that reality.
Rothko Chapel is located in Houston's Museum District
3900 Yaupon Street, Houston TX  77006...
...but sometimes presented instead with a Sul Ross address.
As of June 2012, Chapel hours were listed as 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, except during special events.  Check the Visitor Information tab on their website to confirm, and you can also check their calendar.

The Chapel has scheduled monthly noon-time public group meditations throughout 2012.
Screengrabbed from this page.
Individual meditation can be conducted at any time, however, and the Chapel maintains a diverse list of reference texts on hand for those who wish to study the wisdom directly during their visit.  The listed titles include (but are not limited to) the following, which will be familiar to many Buddhist practitioners:
The HuffPost author described Rothko as "one especially fine place in the United States where silent meditation in the presence of great modern paintings is encouraged".  We sure are lucky to have it in this place we call home. 
Screengrabbed from the homepage at

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