first sketch: Quan Yin
I tried, I really tried….. There is a most wonderful statue of Quan Yin, the female Buddha of Compassion, at the Kauai Soto Zen Temple in Hanapepe. Elegant and serene, she stands facing outward towards the open temple grounds and the grey vein of traffic that is the highway. Her back is towards a baseball field, rimmed with poles and lights and power lines and all those amazingly in your face items that somehow disappear from sight in the comings and goings of daily routine.
I am not a Buddhist practitioner but I’ve been moved to paint this statue for a long time. The first inclination was to frame the statue so there was minimum of intrusion and thus the painting would be mostly of Quan Yin. I took a lot of photos for study and although they were fine as photos, they were not translating well to the canvas in preliminary sketches. So looking at my library of photos once again and I found some I had not even considered because were fairly poorly taken. But they stood out- power lines and all, fallen, crooked sign and all, baseball field lights and all.
And there stands Quan Yin, surrounded by the banality of the power grid highway- the least elegant backdrop for a gesture of blessing you could find. And that is what makes her Compassion Transcendent. It is not a rote practice of generating positive feelings but a radiance of a state that doesn’t deny or grasp at all the manifestation of life around her. She is a tangible communication of deep ocean, rested below choppy waves of fractured light. Nothing needs to be done to the waves for there to be calm. Their seeming separateness is just forgotten, out-shined by That which is not separate.
Quan Yin wired it is.
Thanks for taking some LIP from me,