Zen Spot #27 — Mindfulness, meditation and a Christian mystery in Bologna June 4, 2018 00:00

Hundreds of cathedrals?

I recently returned from a trip to visit my son in Bologna Italy. The city is amazing — cozy, warm, delicious and friendly. His apartment was on the fifth floor of a wonderful building with a kitchen window that overlooked the surrounding homes’ red clay roofs for what seemed like miles. The angles and juxtapositions of the roof lines  were sublime. Perhaps fifteen cathedral bell towers could be seen from his bedroom window, maybe more. 

Bologna has dozens.

Cathedrals are temples

It is impossible to walk through Bologna with an inquisitive mind without finally passing through the front door of a cathedral. They are all the same. They are all different. 

Murals and icons bring the story of the Christian spirit to life. Each has an altar and pews,  with ceilings that soar eight or more stories above an exquisite marble floor. Too, awe-inspiring bell towers project the sound of God's voice into the surrounding streets. It is, however, the quirks that make each church fascinating.

Above, find a photo of scissors — about eighteen inches from handle to point — embedded into a stone or concrete wall. Nearby, there is a relief sculpture of a saint. Both the scissors and relief populate, along with other artwork, the walls of a central courtyard. I found no explanation for how the scissors support a Christian thesis but they can’t be ignored.

The courtyard was warm at 2 p.m. that afternoon. The time I took to sit quietly — in a quiet that is requested, in writing, by the fathers and brothers who inhabit the cathedral — was a cooling respite. Sitting next to the scissors, under a portico surrounding the courtyard's central lawn, I took a breath and tried clear my mind., never forgetting the scissors were inches away.

I'll never go back. I'll go back every day.


About DharmaMechanic

An artist, entrepreneur and writer walking the Buddhist path, his art focuses on the Dharma Wheel. The four wheels shown above are among over 600 DharmaMechanic has created over the course of his career. Each has a unique story. If you’d like to read the story of these wheels or purchase a framed 20" x 20" ready-to-hang print, visit SilkDharma.com.

What are The Four Noble Truths?

  1. The truth of suffering
  2. The truth of the origin of suffering
  3. The truth of the cessation of suffering
  4. The truth of the path to the cessation of suffering

What is The Noble Eightfold Path?

  1. Right view
  2. Right intention
  3. Right action
  4. Right speech
  5. Right livelihood
  6. Right effort
  7. Right mindfulness
  8. Right concentration

What is a Dharma Wheel?