Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Friday, March 18, 2011
She Who Hears The Cries Of The World
I received a wonderful treat in the mail today, a White Tara With Deer" painting by friend and amazing artist, Lasha Mutual who is working her way toward 108 White Tara paintings. Sharing our Buddhist practice and art, we decided to do a little trade. The piece is exquisite, full of delicious detail. Someone has called her a modern, Canadian Thangka painter and I think this is quite apt. I even got a sneak preview of her beautiful paintings as a "Tara Deck", an amazing presentation for her paintings.
I have been turning this lovely Tara into Goldilocks, taking her around to try every room in the house. She has not complained once about the porridge or the chairs. I am like a kid with a new toy. I am reminded of my daughter as a small child, who loved some new running shoes so much, they needed to sit at the end of the bed at night! (Tara is a bit too delicate for that and I fear her fate in this case would be quite distressing!)
Thinking about this beauty I headed off to the great library in cyberspace to read about Tara and what I found seems strangely appropriate for the world these days, making me feel doubly grateful for her presence.
The word Tara itself is derived from the root 'tri' (to cross), hence the implied meaning:' the one who enables living beings to cross the Ocean of Existence and Suffering'. Her compassion for living beings, her desire to save them from suffering, is said to be even stronger than a mother's love for her children. Suffering seems to be in great abundance around the world these days so Tara's help is needed on so many fronts.
White Tara, specifically is often referred to as the Mother of all the Buddhas. She represents the motherly aspect of compassion. Her white colour indicates purity, but also indicates that she is Truth, complete and undifferentiated.
She has seven eyes: the two usual eyes, plus an eye in the centre of her forehead and eyes in each of her hands and feet. These indicate that she sees all suffering and all cries for help in the human world using both ordinary and psychic or extraordinary means of perception. They thus symbolize the vigilance of her compassion.
May her compassion emanate out to you and to all corners of the world. And now what room will I take her to next?
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.