Images for Contemplation
If a word to the wise is
and a picture is worth a thousand words,
then is one-thousandth of a picture sufficient for a sage?
- Sri Abhidharma Satyananda
The image above, as well as the one that appears on our Welcome
Page (which you may view in large format by clicking here),
were created in November, 1999 by an Otterbein College
student, Susan Bennett. She received no extra credit for
these wonderful works of art, but built up very good karma.
A photo of a distant galaxy take by the
Hubble space telescope.
An assortment of images of the Buddha from around
all intended to carry nonverbal lessons about Buddhist virtues,
like peace of mind and compassion.
The Amida Buddha (Daibutsu) at Kamakura, Japan"
One of the two great Buddhas in Japan, and the
It is more than 700 years old, over forty feet tall, and weighs 200,000 pounds.
Click here for a closer look from a different angle.
Blind Men on a Log Bridge
Ink drawing by Zen Master Hakuin Ekaku.
One of two of Salvador Dali's great portrayals of
Crucifixion of Jesus, the Christ.
One of the many thousands images of Shakyamuni
found in Thailand.
The Great Spiritual Sea
Water imagery for Ultimate Reality is very common
all the worlds religions,
but especially those of the East. Hinduism especially likes to makes reference
to the Great Spiritual Sea -- encompassing and permeating all beings.
Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction, death,
dance, music, sexuality, and asceticism, seated in his teaching posture.
Visible are some of his key symbols: the parallel white lines on the
forehead (also worn by his followers), serpents, and the trident.
The Yogic Christ
A modern visual presentation of Jesus as a
in the meditative posture of a Hindu yogi or Zen Master. There
are ancient legends in the East, as well as some speculation in the
West, that Jesus traveled to India (or met travelers from India) and
learned there much of what he taught, including (1) reincarnation
("Ye must be born again."), (2) karma ("That which a person sows,
that also shall s/he reap."), (3) the locus of the Divine Presence within
("The Kingdom of God is within you."), (4) the four basic yogas or
spiritual disciplines ("You shall love the Lord your God with all
of your heart, all of your soul, all of your mind, and all of your
strength....), and (5) the essential unity and spiritual connectedness
of all sentient beings (". . . and your neighbor as your self." "I am
[literally "Jahweh"] the vine, and you are the braches."
"The Crucifixion" by El Greco
One of several crucifixions and many renderings
painted by the great 16th century Spanish artist, El Greco.
Shiva and Parvati
Hindu god Shiva and the least terrifying of his
Parvati ("daughter of the mountain"), the mother of Ganesha,
the elephant-headed god of good fortune. Click here to see a
whole gaggle of Ganeshas!
"Corpus Hypercubus" by Salvador Dali
The second of two very different crucifixions
the great surrealist
twentieth-century artist, Salvador Dali.
Shiva as Nataraja, "The Royal Dancer," who moves
the beat of
the cosmic drum that he holds in his right hand, while sporting
in his left hand the destructive fire that will consume the universe.
"The Last Supper" by Salvador Dali
Another famous and moving scene from the life of
painted in the later, Christian period of Dali's life.
Krishna is one of ten avatars (incarnations) of
Hindu god, Vishnu, and by far the most popular and venerated.
He is often portrayed as a child or a youth is a pastoral setting.
As an adult, he is often pictured with four of his most common symbols:
the mace, the discus, the conch, and the lotus.
Krishna and Radha
Radha is the very popular consort (mate) of
his favorite from among the cowgrils (gopis) who adore him.
Sarasati is the consort (mate) of the Creator
She is the goddess of music and writing
(and therefore of school children),
and is usually portrayed holding a sitar and a pen.
Durga is one of the many consorts (mates) of the
She is quite fierce in demeanor, for she devours evil. Her dress, therefore
is typically blood-red. She is often depicted riding a tiger.
The Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) Kannon
This is a Japanese line drawing of the
(called Kwan Yin in China) of the bodhisattva (Japanese bosatsu) or
"Enlightenment being" of compassion, Avalokiteshvara (who is
generally depicted as male). In popular Buddhist piety, her role is
not unlike that of the Virgin Mary among Catholic Christians.
For some images of the famous Sanjusangendo in Kyoto, Japan,
which boast 1,001 images of Kannon, click here.
His Holiness, The Dalai Lama
Tenzin Gyatso is, in fact, the fourteenth in the
Buddhist spiritual leaders, and one of the most widely recognized and
respected religious figures in the world. His followers regard him as a
living manifestation of Avalokiteshvara (see caption immediately above).
He has resided in exile with many followers in Dharamsala in northern India
since fleeing the Chinese occupation of his country in 1959, a dramatic
event that was the subject of two recent movies,
Seven Years in Tibet and Kundun.
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