Tuesday, February 14, 2012

the bodhi tree

the bodhi tree
24x24" acrylic on canvas

Today is valentines ❤ my most favorite of all days because it is about LOVE.  I am in love with LOVE. (not just the romantic kind but rather all kinds...a general love for everything and  everyone in the world - kind.) To mark this day I have finished a very special painting I am calling « the bodhi tree ».  I am reading the book, Buddhism a very short introduction, by Damien Keown.  I have always been interested in philosophy and I am thinking more and more about the ‘middle way’.  The Buddha in his search for the most productive course to live his life decided that it was best not to indulge our appetites to excess nor to deny them but rather to seek moderation. This makes sense to me. 
During the Buddha’s travels and studies he spent three nights meditating under a bodhi tree.  On the first night, he acquired the power to look back over his previous existences.  On the second night, he attained the clairvoyant power to see the decease and rebirth of all beings in the universe and their good and bad deeds.  On the third night, he attained the complete state of awakening (known as enlightenment) and was able to eliminate his spiritual defilements. Rooting out craving and ignorance he was able to attain NIRVANA  and put an end to rebirth. 
Nirvana is the state of perfect happiness, an ideal or idyllic place. I think this space might be it for me! The bodhi tree is a fig tree from India and Southeast Asia and is regarded as sacred by Buddhists.  It originated in the19th cent.: representing Sinhalese bōgaha ‘tree of knowledge’ (Buddha’s enlightenment having occured beneath such a tree), from bō (from Sanskrit budh ‘understand thoroughly’) + gah ‘tree.’

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