Artistic Dialogue with Daniel Barenboim


Gautama with Beethoven:

The Cure of Suffering through Spiritual Art

Master Maitreya Buddha


First Movement

From the Depths of the Peak Knowledge (Satori), Buddhist Existentialism becomes accessible the spiritual experience that experienced the greatest artists in history to all human beings. It is always important to study the life of a composer, because that is where the spiritual essence that allows understanding his artistic work appears. Should not be forgotten that both Gautama and Beethoven, in the time they contemplated the possibility of their death, whether under a deadly ascetic practice or under the action of suicide (Heiligenstadt Testament) it was there where they produced their most spiritual works, as the discovery of the Middle Way and the composition of the Second Symphony. This shows that it is vital for a spiritual master -the same for a great composer- being able to experience the most traumatic aspect of the existence: the finitude. Therefore, the Maitriyana considers that an elaborate metaphilosophical study of Gautama and Beethoven must be provided in order to analyse their spiritual works.

However, the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) understands that the words cannot fully explain the spiritual nature of the message of classical music or the existential meditation. The Spiritual Art has multiplicity of meanings and significances, being able to be grasped according to the different moments of life. The Buddhist Existentialism, by being a poetic and metaphilosophical practice, links the Art with the Being, by affirming that music is Spiritual and that it is non-metaphysical, since its means of expression of what is Mystical it is purely and exclusively the physical world of sound. Precisely, the Maitriyana considers that the permanent coexistence of the spiritual message through the physical means of sound is where the contemplative synthesis of classical music resides. This is due to when the spiritual master tries to describe with words the practice of classical music or the existential meditation, actually he does nothing more than articulate his own emotional reactions, as he never reflects the experience of music or contemplation in themselves, since they are ineffable and are beyond the field of speech.

The spiritual importance of Gautama and Beethoven is something that is perceived in the revolutionary character of their sublimatory compositions, liberating to what is Mystical from the structural conventions of harmony which prevail in religion and culture. In fact, according to the Buddhist Existentialism, the last works of Gautama and Beethoven show the will to fade all the signs of continuity, breaking with the gradualism and showing how the subject can reach his intrinsic Liberation in the poetic experience of the here and now. Concordantly with the Op 111 by Beethoven, the last Sutras of Gautama show a spiritual aesthetics that is apparently abrupt and disjointed. The Gautama-Beethoven articulation clarifies that the sublimatory expression of the spiritual master is not limited by the weight of cultural convention, because a Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) has bravery and courage, which are essential qualities for the analytical-existential understanding and interpretation of what is Real. That attitude of audacity is an exigency for the apprentices of the existential meditation of Gautama and for the classical music of Beethoven, as their metaphilosophical or artistic compositions demand to the subject to give samples of valour and intrepidity in the use of the dynamics of imperfection, impermanence and insubstantiality. The spiritual technique of Beethoven of ascending the energetic volume of the classical music with an intense crescendo to then abruptly continue with a soft passage, it was something that had only been used by the great spiritual masters who taught their apprentices to practice a contemplation able to produce a sudden Awakening (Bodhi). In this sense, Gautama and Beethoven request to the listener that shows existential bravery, not fearing to reach the edge of the abyss of Vacuity, which is the line of greatest resistance of the subject before his True Being which is the Nothingness.

Despite the fact of being great masters of silence, Gautama and Beethoven were profoundly metapolitical beings, because although they were not interested in daily politics they were both concerned about issues of the ethical conduct and how the liberty can be developed by the whole of society. For the Maitriyana, the maximum level of contemplative and artistic practice is related to the fulfilment of human rights, by defending the freedom of thought and expression along with the search that the apprentice realises he is responsible for his own existence. In contrast to the concept of liberty of the Capitalist Discourse, related to the economic functioning of the market, the strategy of Buddhist Existentialism became known in the existential meditation, which is the main way sustaining the relation between the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) and the world. In its condition of the most evolved Spirituality of the Earth (Gaia), the Purpose (Dharma) of Maitriyana is to extend the benefits of the Cure (Nirvana) to all living beings, by appreciating to others and helping them to reach the true Liberation which is the ability of choosing the Way of life.

Frequently the contemplation of Gautama and the music of Beethoven, such as the first Noble Truth and the Heroic and Fifth symphonies respectively, are considered as nihilistic and dramatic although this struggle with the existence represents only one level of their works. This proves the third Noble Truth of Gautama and the Pastoral Symphony of Beethoven, whose works are more optimistic and express the contact with feelings that welfare and Nature produce. According to the Buddhist Existentialism, the Gautama-Beethoven articulation incessantly juxtaposes the qualities of introversion and extraversion, at the same time it dispenses all kind of superficiality or shyness. The word of Gautama and the music of Beethoven have a personal and intimate expression that is in harmony with a transpersonal element and which is of grandeur, as in the Noble Eightfold Path and in the Piano Concert No. 4 or in the Ninth Symphony. In the perspective of the Gautama-Beethoven articulation, the spiritual master attains a paradoxical-dialectical balance between the vertical pressure of the artistic form and the horizontal flow of the experience of Emptiness harmoniously combining the factors of tone, accent and tempo along with a great sense of liberty, rigor and fluency. For the Maitriyana, the issue of balance and the overcoming of the opposite poles is a concern within the higher and amplified state of consciousness (H-ASC) of the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva), as it is evidenced in the Ethics of Detachment by Gautama and in the Fidelio by Beethoven. The existential meditation, at the same as the composition of classical music, contains a constant dialectical-paradoxical movement between the opposite poles, sailing from darkness to light, from what is negative to positive, from unconscious to conscious, and vice versa. Thus, the contemplative practice, whether in the form of mental serenity or in the form of True Art, is incapable of any superficiality, since in this practice good and evil coexists with what is beautiful and what is ugly.

For Buddhist Existentialism, the teaching of Gautama and the music of Beethoven are dissipative structures since they pass from Chaos to Order, such as it happens in the derivatives of the Second Noble Truth and the introduction of the Fourth Symphony. Thus, the spiritual master feels and expresses on each moment that the Order is an imperative of the existence, guiding the subject towards a Way of poetic Sublimation (Nirodh) from the suffering generated by the imperfection, impermanence and insubstantiality of what is Real. For the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva), the existential Order is not derived from the repression of problems of life but from the overcoming of these. The Order revealed by the contemplative practice of Gautama and the classical music of Beethoven is an absolutely necessary event to achieve the Awakening (Bodhi), which is nothing less than the ideal of Serenity and Evanescence (Ataraxia-Nirvana) which the Maitriyana apprentice transmits. Therefore, the Second Noble Truth and the Funeral March does not occupy the last movement of the Gautama-Beethoven articulation but rather the second of their four respective movements, which makes possible that the suffering not be preponderant or definitive. Although Buddhist Existentialism summarizes the work of Gautama and Beethoven with the statement that suffering is inevitable, certainly it also raises the existential meditation and the classical music as the attitude of courage to combat the suffering and to make life be valuable.


Second Movement

The Gautama-Beethoven articulation is an approach that experientially rediscovers the Truth of life without the necessity to adhere to any dogmatic word. This is because the background of this perspective is the contemplation and the music, which are practices that are beyond the ordinary words. Through this Way the spiritual master teaches to the subject to understand his anguish, drop his attachment, carry out the evanescence and cultivate the ethics. The great artistic works are able to capture the vision of the resolution of anguish, such as the sonatas by Beethoven and the sentences of Proust and Basho.[1] Such works are successful in the dialectical transcendence of anguish because they accept the paradoxical relation of Being and Nothingness, transmitting to the learner a way to experience the Emptiness without being overwhelmed by the Liberty that this implies. The existential meditation, at the same as classical music, provides the dignity and depth that involves the mind which overcomes the adversities and the anguish inherent to the process of living. The Maitriyana states that an evidence that every human being has a latent Buddha nature is the fact that Beethoven could compose such a sublime and revolutionary music despite the fact of being deaf. The Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) has a will and an unwavering attitude towards the difficulties, by having the idealistic vision of the spiritual master who continually traverses into the new territory of Buddhist Existentialism. This is how Maitriyana transforms each genre with which it is related.

The Gautama-Beethoven articulation expands the Art of Philosophy and the Symphony, transforming the word and music into a more and more contemplative level, because it is about a position within the field of the unknown. The quality of accepting and overcoming the anguish of the experience of the Empty Being is something that can be explicitly perceived in the theories of Gautama and in the Op 110 by Beethoven, being experienced in a clear manner in the vision of the insubstantiality and in the slow movement of the Arioso Dolente, whose honesty persists in a direct underpinning of the traumatic features of what is Real. Buddhist Existentialism can profoundly capture that life is valuable despite the fact that this entails the expression of certain moments of sadness. The Gautama-Beethoven articulation even considers that limitations such as deafness can be considered as a blessing instead a curse, because the Sublimation (Nirodh) allows that any negative experience can favour the creativity. The Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) improves his poetic abilities before the conflicts, since they allow a full concentration on sublimatory compositions. In this way the Maitriyana explains that both Gautama and Beethoven were capable to transform painful and sad experiences into something positive, since the asceticism and deafness produced in them a reclusion from the world which opened them to new ways of experiencing life by liberating them from the intrusive sounds of the social environment. Although the existential meditation does not necessarily imply a turning away from society, certainly it requires a base of Liberty in order to recombine the experiences of reality in accordance with the Desire and Purpose (Dharma) of Being. The contemplative adagio of the third movement of the Op 110 by Beethoven is one of the examples of this artistic structure of mind which forms an innovative compositional style along with the fugue. At the same time, through the existential meditation and the Op 110, the Gautama-Beethoven articulation teaches to the subject a model of how to overcome the melancholy: the first movement of the beauty of life, the second movement of the confusion and anger (scherzo and trio), the third movement of desolation (arioso dolente), and the fourth movement of acceptance and return to the Way of Life (fugue). The spiritual master poetically shows the apprentice a creative Way that transcends the limitations of space-time and that it has the powerful effect to reconcile him with the transcendent experience of the here and now, which is where the anguish is unified with the qualities of patience and the contemplative reflection. From here the experience of the Cure (Nirvana) from suffering appears as a gradual process of unconcealment of the bright light of Being, understanding that the most exalting and beautiful experience occurs many times in dramatic moments, since the overcoming of desperation grants to the subject a sense of confidence in the Order of the Spiritual Path. This is what Buddhist Existentialism discerns when it studies the Gautama-Beethoven articulation, stating that this is the first movement which has proposed an integral and reconciling composition between Being and Nothingness in the history of Philosophy and Music, by uniting happiness and drama within a same sublimatory work. In this sense, the poetic word of Gautama and the classical music of Beethoven are a Return to the Source of life and death within the mystical process of the eternal present. The life and teaching of the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) is a constant demonstration that beyond the uncertainty that the existence generates, the sun is always shining behind the clouds. The existential meditation and classical music are a complete celebration of the world as it is, accepting imperfection, impermanence and insubstantiality as that which actually gives value to life. The Maitriyana is a spiritual guidance in order to continue living despite all the suffering that being in the world involves, by choosing the Serenity face the adversities, being this quality of fluidity a primary attitude which also appears in Daoism or in the second movement for piano Concerto No. 23 by Mozart. The resolution of the anguish is a bright way of being, because the event of Detachment is the key to the Awakening (Bodhi). When the reactive domain of Ego is vanished, a twist in the mind is produced and the apprentice stops creating unnecessary suffering, being able to learn the teachings of the Cosmos that are manifested in the multitude of the everyday signs. The compassionate wisdom is the answer to all mysteries by developing an infinite Will facing all the painful moments, as entails the depression inherent in the loss of a loved one. This is the secret which lies in the Op 110 by Beethoven and in the contemplative practice of Gautama. The Buddhist Existentialism states then that both were two of the most inspiring persons in the history of humanity, showing in act how it can deeply experiencing the dignity and beauty even before the inevitable tragedy of life. Perhaps the Flower Sermon and the Op 27 No 2 Moonlight are the two most extraordinary artworks in order to express this spiritual teaching without resorting to the words.


Third Movement

All music which is understood as something that emerges and ends in the silence of Nothingness is in itself a practice of Mindfulness, as it helps to keep the mind on the present moment without any kind of superficiality. Actually, the True Art does not come from outside or inside, but from a transitional space that is transcendent and that it Cures (Nirvana) the consciousness. When the subject contemplatively listens to classical music something magnificent happens, by becoming aware that every sound and physical element emerges from the Emptiness. This is what is found implicit in the mystical silence of the spiritual master, who provides the apprentice with the space needed to overcome the dualism, given that the silence embodies the essential Buddha nature of a subject. Actually, the sound and the phenomenal world emerge, live and die in the silence of Nothingness. The existential meditation and the classical music are hosts to the experience of life as it is. The Awakening (Bodhi) is then a process of perception –vision and listening, of what is Real, self-realising the Purpose (Dharma) of existence in the everyday life. Therefore, for Buddhist Existentialism the contemplative practice of the Music of Beethoven is as effective as the monastic training, by enabling the consciousness of the apprentice to pay full attention (Mindfulness) on the saddest and most beautiful aspects of life and death. This vanishes the neurotic distractions of the mind –as concerns about the past and future, without eliminating the experience of pleasure and dissatisfaction, since the Gautama-Beethoven articulation uses the Art as a Spiritual Path that transforms any experience into an aesthetic and ethical learning. Thus, the subject who practices existential meditation on the basis of classical music can focus his mind in a way that this helps him to achieve the Cure (Nirvana) of his existence. In the case of Siddharta Gautama he felt the imperative need to begin his spiritual journey after hearing a dramatic melody performed by a woman. Furthermore, the Awakening (Bodhi) of Gautama was produced by means of the Ethics of the Middle Way which he learned after hearing some simple lessons on how should be played a musical instrument: if the string is played too soft it will not produce sound, while if it is played very strong it will break.

The Maitriyana states that the Gautama-Beethoven articulation remains contemporary because it is a Spiritual Art which is related to the ethical integrity and the essential nature of the human condition, by bringing to the apprentice to a limit experience which does not refuse from the extremes. According to the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat- Bodhisattva), from the conflict and Chaos a new order emerges. The contemplative practice consists of pursuing this structure which links everything, because life is like a great artwork and not a collection of individual variations. Therefore, the spiritual master teaches multiple practices of existential meditation, such as perceive the mystical relationship that should exist in the tempo, consider the effort as an integral part of the sublimatory expression, understand that the distancing is an expressive gesture, and change the speed in order to reach stillness and Serenity. As long as it is performed with compassionate wisdom and with a sublimatory Purpose (Dharma), according to the morality of classical music and the ethics of Buddhist Existentialism, there is no rule that cannot be broken.

In this sense, the existential meditation can operate as a stolen time (tempo rubato) although everything what has been stolen it must be returned to society at some point. In the contemplative practice of classical music the ideal stolen time (tempo rubato) involves a chaotic moment which then miraculously or mystically returns to the original harmony. This is the ethical definition that the Buddhist Existentialism makes about the stolen time (tempo rubato) which should not be so focused on whether going slow or fast but rather on how much time must be performed. However, given that the stolen time (tempo rubato) is out of synchrony from the objective time, obviously that is possible to do it slowly or quickly, although the apprentice tends to interpret it by going slower. But despite this is more difficult, the Awakened Being (Buddha) imperceptibly masters the art of the stolen time (tempo rubato) by going faster, always by returning when he reaches the original harmony, which gives him the possibility of something very creative, which is not found in the existential movement of most of the people. But when the subject returns the stolen time (tempo rubato) to society, whether it is slowly or rapidly, this provides a sense of rectitude that is only expressed through Liberation.

The Gautama-Beethoven articulation considers that the most important and difficult issue, when it pays full attention (Mindfulness) on the artistic state, is that the subject must be able to be permanently in a state of contemplative transition, in the sense that he must not be attached to his Ego, to the memories of his past and the expectations of his future. Really being in the here and now involves Detachment from what is being done or from what is happening, fundamentally because everything is impermanent. This is why that Maitriyana supports the practice of silence facing the conflicts. The Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) shows that the most important thing that happens in life is the same thing which occurs before the first sound and after the last note of a musical piece: silence. This relationship between sound and silence is the characteristic that conferred to the classical music its spiritual dimension because just as life, the sound has a tragic natural impulse toward death and silence. Therefore, when the apprentice is fully contemplating in the here and now he is basically fighting against the death of the present. So according to the Gautama-Beethoven articulation there are many similarities and commonalities between the spiritual life and the classical music, that is to say, between the world of silence and the world of sound. This is easy to understand when it is studied the teachings of a Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva).

In accordance with human life, the sound emerges and ends in the silence of Nothingness. When silence harmoniously is expressed in existential meditation or classical music then the event of rectitude occurs, so that the silence may sometimes be louder than the music, by serving as an element of continuity or as an element of deconstruction of rhythmic patterns. Just like human life the sound has a beginning that comes from Emptiness, a space-time duration and a death in the silence or a resurrection into another new sound. The inevitability of impermanence is the very condition of human being and it is also the tragic and the spiritual element of classical music.

The Maitriyana states that it is important that the subject recognises and is fully aware of the emotions of joy and sorrow, because only thus he can detach from those factors which alter the necessary balance for the existence. Therefore, the Mindfulness generated by classical music is one of the reasons why it gives pleasure to listen to it even when it expresses the pain of life and death. This is the phenomenological Spirituality of sound which Art provides to overcome the finitude associated with the human existence.

The Gautama-Beethoven articulation by means of the contemplative music creates an energetic wave in which the apprentice must have the ability to control the degree of release. When the spiritual master creates a wave of sound with the Purpose (Dharma) to increase the emotional intensity, it originates the ascent and then the descent of the wave. This principle of accumulation of intensity with a relative liberation is one of the features showing the wonderful Spirituality of the classical music. The essence of this process lies in that there is not a complete liberation, maintaining the Emptiness and the inter-existence, so that the subject can only experience the Cure (Nirvana) as a Way and never as a destination. The Awakening (Bodhi) provides a half response on the Sense of existence, and this half response opens the path towards a next question by placing the apprentice into a different harmonic area. The tension that is found in the existential meditation and in classical music is an effect of this feeling which involves the Emptiness and incompleteness that is something from which the subject shall never be released. That is why the Spiritual Liberation must never be understood as Completeness, because this is the death and absence of learning. In the process of Cure (Nirvana) it always remains an element that stays intensely awake and that it can only be released in part. According to the Gautama-Beethoven articulation, this is the extraordinary aspect of contemplative music: such as life itself it can never be fully perceived, by functioning as the dark side of the moon. Faced with this constant process of discovery, the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) states that the existential meditation and the classical music are not mundane practices, but rather they constitute a way of spiritual life. If the apprentice really perceives his life through the contemplative Art he will get a constant creativity, because boredom is a product of repetition and it can never emerge before the innovation which characterises the existential meditation and the classical music. Through these practices the spiritual master teaches the importance that the present moment is fundamentally unrepeatable and that it occurs only once. The Gautama-Beethoven articulation clarifies that just as in life in the contemplative music always appear new elements that can be appreciated, even if the same artistic pieces have been heard many times.

However, the Buddhist Existentialism asserts that the existential meditation requires that music always have a centre. On the aesthetics of Maitriyana the true beauty goes beyond the superficiality of colours and ornaments since it is transcended both light and darkness in pursuit of the depth and importance of that which is the essence of the Real: imperfection, impermanence and insubstantiality. Consequently in the contemplative music, a great melodic intensity is an integral part that paradoxically obtains a greater degree of repose and serenity. Certain combinations of sounds inspire emotional reactions such as happiness and sadness. This is due that the classical music -like existential meditation, is able to penetrate into the depths of the Buddha nature of human being.

Although the contemplative music is principally expressed through sound, this is not the only element, since it obviously has a hidden content that cannot be properly articulated in an objective and rational way. The content of the existential meditation and classical music goes beyond words, because it is a spiritual content linked to the subjective, intuitive and paradoxical. The practice of Buddhist Existentialism is the concretion of this mystical content which underlies the Gautama-Beethoven articulation. Clearly, the Purpose (Dharma) of the contemplative music, and possibly of all Art, is talking about the human existence by expanding the thought, feeling and character of the person, so that the apprentice experiences an enrichment or a transpersonalisation of his life when he feels the mysterious beginning of the Waldstein Sonata, when he warns the transcendent gesture of the Opus 111 or when he experiences the delicate beginning of the Opus 110. Maitriyana states that the subject who feels and understands to the contemplative works is far richer than that who has not done so, because the true richness and Liberty is related to that simple mind which is detached from what is material, but that is very close to Spiritual Art.

The existential meditation and the classical music are intended to integrate the apprentice with all the elements of Totality, so that they constitute organic practices which cannot be deconstructed into separate parts. This implies that it goes far beyond the mere interesting words or the beautiful sounds, working towards a work in which everything is integrated and because of that different elements may not be detected. The Purpose (Dharma) of the True Art is the contemplation, integration and reconciliation (Maitri), namely, the Spirituality. Therefore, it is a regrettable fact that there is no spiritual education in traditional schools, because children who learn to practice Spirituality -whether in the form of the existential meditation or in the classical music, they are actually learning about how be integrated with the cosmos by understanding how all the different elements are in constant interconnection and interdependence. This is the best lesson that the Art and the Free and Enlightened Being (Arhat-Bodhisattva) teach about life and death.


[1] Stephen Bachelor, Buddhism Without Beliefs.

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