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Address to the Dalai Lama


O Great Lama!  We are your most faithful servants.  Direct your light on us in a language our contaminated European spirits can understand and, if need be, transform our Spirit, make for us a spirit entirely turned towards those perfect summits where the Spirit of Man no longer suffers!

Make for us a Spirit without habits, a spirit truly frozen in the Spirit, or a Spirit with purer habits - indeed your own, if they truly serve for freedom.

We are surrounded by coarse popes, literati, critics, dogs.  Our spirit is among the dogs, who think always with the ground, who think hopelessly in the present. 

Lama, teach us the material levitation of the body and how we may no longer be held by the ground!

For you know full well, O Acceptable Pope!  O Pope in the True Spirit! to what transparent liberation of the soul, to what freedom of the Spirit in the Spirit, that we refer.

It is with the inner eye that I look at you, O  Pope, at the summit of interiority.  It is inwardly that I resemble you: self, impulse, idea, lip, levitation, dream, cry, renunciation of ideas, suspended between all forms and hoping for no more than the wind.

Letter to the Schools of the Buddha

You who are disincarnate, who know at what point in its carnal trajectory, its insensitive coming and going, that the soul finds the absolute verb, the new speech, the interior ground; you who know how one returns to oneself in thought and how the spirit can save itself from itself; you who are interior to yourselves; you for whom the spirit is no longer on the carnal plane: here there are hands for whom taking is not everything, brains that see further than a forest of roofs, the glare of façades, cog-wheel people and the workings of fire and marble.  Advancing is this people of iron; advancing are words written with the speed of light; advancing towards each other with the force of bullets are the sexes: what will change in the avenues of the soul?  in the spasms of the heart?  in the despair of the spirit?

So hurl into the water all the blank white men who arrive with their little heads and well-behaved minds.  It is necessary that these dogs hear us; we are not speaking of ancient human ills. Our spirit suffers from needs other than those inherent in life.  We are suffering from corruption, from the corruption of reason.

Logical Europe endlessly smashes the spirit between the hammers of two terms.  She wrenches it open and shuts it down.  This strangulation has gone far enough; for too long have we been suffering beneath the harness.  The Spirit is larger than the spirit, the metamorphoses of life are manifold.  Like you, we abhor progress: come and tear down our houses!

While our scribes still continue to write, our journalists to natter on, our critics to drone away, our politicians to hold forth and our judicial assassins to hatch their crimes in peace, we know what life really is.  Our writers, thinkers, doctors and scribblers know exactly how to make a mess of life.  While all these scribes drool upon us, whether from habit or compulsion, spiritual emasculation or a failure to apprehend nuance, in this dull sludge, on these turning grounds where the highly esteemed spirit of man is endlessly shifting around, we have harnessed thought the best.  Come.  Save us from these worms.  Invent new houses for us.

Antonin Artaud

La Révolution Surréaliste,  no.3,  15 April, 1925

Antonin Artaud’s Adresse au Dalai-Lama and Lettre aux ecoles du Bouddha were first published in La Revolution Surrealiste no.3, on 15 April 1925 in Paris.  In the same issue were an Address to the Pope and a Letter to the Directors of the Insane Asylums. The issue was subtitled: “1925: End of the Christian Era,” and was illustrated by Giorgio de Chirico, Paul Klee, Andre Masson, Man Ray and Dede Sunbeam.  Editorship of the following issue, no. 4, was taken over by Andre Breton.  (Translated by Stephen Batchelor, 1993.)


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