Monday, April 21, 2014

Blueprint for Enlightenment II

Blueprint for Enlightenment II
ingredients: vintage book cover, vintage ephemera, woodblock prints, image transfer, Derwent Inktense watercolor pencil, vintage game pieces, metallic gel pen

I had lots of fun with this piece, just allowing myself to play with materials without giving much thought to what it all means.  I called it Blueprint for Enlightment II, mainly because the bright blue pencil I used reminds me of the color in a cyanotype/blueprint, and because the drawing is of the Tibetan Buddhist bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. He is often depicted woth 1000 arms and 11 heads, but I left off most of the arms as well as some of the heads in my version.

"According to Mahāyāna (Buddhist) doctrine, Avalokiteśvara is the bodhisattva (enlightened being) who has made a great vow to assist sentient beings in times of difficulty, and to postpone his own Buddhahood until he has assisted every sentient being in achieving Nirvana.... [The Chinese version of] this bodhisattva is variably depicted as male or female, and may also be referred to simply as Guanyin."  (Wikipedia)

"It is said that the personification of perfect Compassion, Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) Bodhisattva (a great being who aspires to help all sentient beings be free of suffering before entering the bliss of Buddhahood), in the beginning of His/Her Bodhisattva career of helping sentient beings, vowed that "Should He ever become disheartened in saving sentient beings, may His body shatter into a thousand pieces." This might seem extreme, but it was symbolic of His overwhelming great Compassion and determination.

One day, while helping beings in a higher realm, He looked down into the hells which He had emptied through the teaching of the Dharma, and realised, to His dismay, that countless beings were still flooding into them. In a moment of exasperation, He became so disheartened that true to His vow, His body shattered in great agitation and despair. Despite this, He did not just give up — His consciousness beseeched the Buddhas for help. Of the Buddhas who came to aid Him, one was Amitabha Buddha, who became His Guru (personal teacher) Buddha. With the Buddha's miraculous powers, He attained a new form — one with a thousand helping hands of Compassion coupled with the eyes of Wisdom in each palm. With this, He renewed His vow to saving not just limited sentient beings, but all sentient beings."  (Buddhist Studies)


  1. The bright blue pencil is a wonderful part of the imagery as is the way this piece is composed ... a way to read the story of the Guanyin.


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