on the needles

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Lovely Things: Buddha

Welcome to my new blog topic: "Lovely Things".

There are so many lovely things in my life - I thought I'd share some!

Today my lovely thing is this:

I got this Buddha last month. Isn't it beautiful? It's a large, solid block of mahogany, hand carved by an artist in Indonesia. Buddha has one hand in the meditation position

and the other holds a lotus flower.

He sits on an antique cupboard that I inherited from my mother. It was serendipitously a perfect fit - especially since this sits in the entryway of our house and next to a flight of stairs. So it feels like everyone gets a blessing in this house, coming and going. :) It's such a tactile piece - sometimes I can't resist giving him a little pat on the head as I go by.

And no, I'm not a Buddhist. I'm not a religious person, but I do consider myself a spiritual person. And I've always been attracted to religious art. I love Catholic Madonnas, Islamic script, Hindu gods and goddesses, the Star of David, crosses, and Buddhas of all kinds. I appreciate it all. Religious art is always making a statement. From the most delicate medieval carvings to the six foot high plastic Jesus lawn ornament - it's all trying to tell us something. And since religion has played a huge part in shaping every aspect of human society, looking at people through the lens of their religion is fascinating to me. Especially because religious art tends to be so coded, so symbolic. I love the detective work of deciphering a religious painting. It's like peeling an onion. But ultimately I find - that although the actual symbols are different, the form of expression is different etc - the need, the meaning, the inspiration behind all religious art is pretty much the same. And it is that difference and that sameness that makes up the human experience, isn't it?

Well - those are some of the things I think about every time I walk past my Buddha. But mostly, isn't it just a lovely thing?



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