Our Lady of Enlightenment

As I began to explore feminine archetypes further east, I was very impressed by the feminine symbolism found in Tibetan Buddhism.  These figures are of great antiquity and are still currently honored and revered. Studying them has enhanced my own spiritual understanding and has been very meaningful to me.

Three in particular resonated with me:  the Female Buddha, Arya Tara;   Prajna Paramita, the symbol of transcendent wisdom;   and the Dakini, a mysterious tantric figure prevalent in Vajrayana Buddhism.

These three Archetypes are still venerated today.  I have studied these three archetypes: their stories, their iconography, and the beautiful Tibetan art about them.  Then I created my own personalized images of them.  First I want to discuss Tara.  I will discuss the other two in succeeding posts.  I have titled her “Our Lady of Enlightenment”

Our Lady of Enlightenment

Arya Tara is a female Buddha typically associated with Buddhist Tantric practice as preserved in Tibetan Buddhism.  Tara represents Buddha Karma or enlightenment energy/activity, and because these phenomena are limitless in forms of expression, there is no limit to the number of aspects of Arya Tara that can appear in the world. Her different forms are each tied to different colors and energies, and each offers some feminine attribute, of ultimate benefit to the spiritual aspirant who asks for her assistance.   The Tibetans have developed different spiritual practices of meditation and mantra related to Tara.  The most common form seen in artistic representation is Green Tara.  The Twenty-One Taras are also very important, as well as the Eight Taras Who Protect from the Eight Dangers, and the White Tara, known for compassion, long life, healing and serenity. Tara remains very popular in Tibet and Mongolia, with both the common folk and for monastics as an entryway into understanding compassion and mercy as part of one’s evolving path.

I have cast her in a different material than the paper pulp I usually use –Cold Cast Bronze with Blue Green Patina.  I have been experimenting with using Cold Cast Bronze — a process in which finely ground particles of bronze are held in a matrix of resin and cast in the mold.  The particles of bronze sink to the bottom of the mold, which becomes the front of the finished art piece and thus creates a bronze surface, which reacts to patina chemicals.  It is extremely difficult to detect the difference between this method and the more expensive and labor-intensive foundry process. This process is more expensive than my paper pulp medium, but not as exorbitantly out of reach as the traditional bronze processes used in a foundry.  I plan to create editions of Our Lady of Enlightenment in both the cold cast bronze as well as in hand cast paper.

This entry was posted on Friday, July 1st, 2011 at 10:58 am and is filed under Misc. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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