Compassion and Wisdom

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November 5, 2012 by smithartonline

Compassion and Wisdom, 2012
Mixed Media on Paper with Silver Leaf
15 X 22 inches

Compassion and Wisdom is a mixed media piece which has silver leaf applied to various areas: the moon phases and a few lines joining the red forms to the left. It is not apparent in the photo, but there is texturing in the moon forms, so a well-defined circular area is contained within the larger silvered area.

The work title references the Tibetan symbols of the male and female representing the unification of wisdom and compassion bringing balance to the universe. In her book Reading Buddhist Art, Meher McArthur writes:

 “In Buddhist philosophy, the two most important forces in the universe are  wisdom and compassion. Both must be present for harmony to exist in the universe and for enlightenment to be possible. In visual terms, particularly in the Buddhist imagery of Tibet and Nepal, compassion is represented by a male being…while wisdom is represented by a female deity, shown a his consort.” (McArthur, 2002, page 109)

Interestingly, in Tibetan culture, the male represents compassion while the female represents wisdom, something of a reversal of what one from the West might expect.

I still seem to insist upon throwing in some Kitsune figures; guess I just can’t get away from them. The form is nice and compact, so visually I like them. Another big plus for me, on a philosophical level, is that they come from religions and mythologies which find their gods in many places and in many forms. Finding a messenger dog as a go between with a god is rather comforting…at least to me.

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