Salvation; Art as Hindrance; Renunciation; Wisdom and Compassion
The article traces Wagner``s preoccupation with the problems of human destiny and his search for a final solution to its dilemma, especially after he became acquainted with early Buddhism and its message of renunciation. His artistic nature stood in the way, though, and drew him back into passionate involvements. He even developed the idea of redemption through the unique beauty of overwhelming love between man and woman, thus, in a way, unwittingly anticipating the Tantric solution without ever learning about it. All this is expressed in his operas by his legendary and mythical librettos and, most eloquently, by his poweiful music. The article draws on most of his operas, his autobiography, prose works, his wife Cosima``s diaries and his letters. The circumstances surrounding his long cherished plan of composing a Buddhist opera and the reasons why he failed to accomplish it are also illuminated.