Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Vesak/Buddha Day 2009!

The celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama...

Yeah, this picture would be more appropriate for the holiday in December which celebrates the enlightenment of the Buddha, but I didn't have any pics that are the equivalent of the Buddha's nativity scene. The reason he looks skinny is because at this point in the story of his life he has spent years studying every spiritual practice he could find, every method of earning salvation, every trick for attaining liberation. This included the idea of extreme fasting and mortification. But none of it worked. He mastered every religious ritual, every liturgy, but he still couldn't practice his way into enlightenment. He has just given up fasting and all such methods in the days prior to this image, but he is still emaciated from these techniques. It isn't until he finally lets go, until he finally realizes all his efforts are just expressions of his self-centered worldview, that he cannot ever "achieve" salvation, that he finally has his epiphany. The smile of serenity indicates this has moment has already occurred, so the painting represents the period right after he becomes the Buddha.

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