Saturday, 11. February 2006
The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art
The four-armed, golden form of Prajnaparamita has a specific role in Newar Buddhism. She personifies the Dharma aspect in the symbolic representation of the Three Jewels of Buddhism: the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.
This offering tray is actually a two-dimensional map of Mount Meru, the sacred mountain that represents the entire universe and exists conceptually in the heart-mind of every practitioner.
| In the popular imagery of this triad, a Buddha (most often Shakyamuni) represents the Buddha, Prajnaparamita to his left embodies the Dharma, and Sadakshari Lokeshvara on the right signifies the sangha, or community. This iconographic convention is widespread in Nepal and is often depicted on toranas of Buddhist monasteries and in independent sculptures or paintings Thus, in Newar Buddhism, one takes refuge in a personified version of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This exquisite image of Prajnaparamita from Nepal would have been part of the Buddha-Dharma-Sangha group.|
The center circle contains a vajra, made of rubies and turquoises, that defines the sacred space of the mountain. Gem flowers and bejeweled symbols of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism “float” in a cosmos composed of tightly wound wire spirals symbolizing the surface of the water. The lavish beauty of this jewel encrusted Guru Puja Mandala clearly demonstrates that both the known patron and the artist were seeking to give new meaning to the transcendent beauty and celestial splendor of Mount Meru.
The Circle of Bliss
|Known as “Beautiful Creation Lord of the World,” Shrishtikanta Lokeshvara is a form of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara that is unique to Nepal. Depicted in this modern painting is his “universal form,” in which Shristikanta emanates the entire Brahmanical pantheon for the benefit of all sentient beings. To express his all-pervading altruistic compassion, he is shown with one hundred and twenty-one heads, arranged in the shape of a pyramidal tower and surrounded by vast hood of nagas (serpent beings). His one thousand hands also express the vastness of the reach of his compassion for living things and the myriad deities around him emphasize his significance as a generator of all things sacred.|
: Buddhist Meditational Art. Exhibition by Professor John C. Huntington and Assistant Professor Dina Bangdel. (English)
Tibetan, Nepalese, Mongolian, Indian and Chinese paintings, manuscripts, sculptures, textiles and ritual implements illuminating the ideals and teachings of Buddhism.