What would it feel like if you could, after years of working hard at understanding life, sit under a tree and vow not to get up until you truly grasped the deepest most authentic nature of how reality works and how the mind operates in that reality? What would everything in the world look like to you at that moment? What would you look like to everything in the world?
Buddhist art has for over 2,000 years tried its best to depict an answer to those questions. Sometimes friends ask me why there are so many images of the Buddha when the Buddha himself asked people not to turn his image into a thing to be worshipped.
Do not be confused. The Buddha image is not what is to be revered. The Buddha experience, as suggested by all images as forms of art, is what we seek. Such artwork encourages us, and we take that encouragement to heart.
Here is the inspirational image from the main hall of my friends’ Sakya Pema Ts’al Monastic Institute at the base of the Himalayas. I will enjoy visiting and seeing this up close and personal.
And yes, I acknowledge it will be easier seeing that image than it will be seeing what that seer saw.