Sunday, January 18, 2009

One Bright Pearl in Bronze

I sculpt.

A year ago when I was first exploring Buddhism I came across Harry's blog that was then (and is) titled "One Bright Pearl." Harry was going through Shobogenzo chapter by chapter and I happened to arrive when he was coincidentally discussing "Ikka No Myoju" (one bright pearl). It was here I made my first attempts at expressing what I thought this might all be about. And Harry, and others, very kindly entertained, riffed on (this is a good thing) and challenged my musings.

That experience, and what I was getting out Brad's books at the time, brought forth a sculpture that was then very important to me and still is. I regret that I am not a better photographer of sculpture. The snapshot does not carry the correct impact.

This is what I have to say about it now... but there is likely more lurking. This is me trying to interpret and express my work. This is not what I had in mind before sculpting. What I had in mind was an image of this and my task was to make the image real. Now that it is real, this is what I feel the image means.

The focus is the sphere. Of course resonating with "pearl" but black. It hovers a bit impossibly in mid air. It has finite dimension but is intended to feel infinitely small and large at the same time. It is a focus. A center of the universe that is clearly not center of the universe. It's the idea of the center. It's the idea of the whole universe.

The pillar is not just a stand. The pillar is a stream, a coalescing of all things. Like a miniature black hole, the sphere is drawing all material into the pearl. The pillar is that stream of mater. The pearl is drawing mater from the surroundings and it is about to become something. It already is something, it is already everything just as it is, now..... Created from the universal material that is the same in all 10 directions. In a blink it will be gone.

The base is part of the sculpture, not just a platform for presentation. If you notice the pillar is an elongated pyramid, a triangle, you will see the three classic Buddhist symbols of square (base) triangle (pillar) and circle (sphere).

I don't know what those symbols have meant or are supposed to mean in the scholarly Buddhist context, but I have always like that triad of symbols and this is what they mean to me in the context of this sculpture.

The square is the concrete materialistic world. It is matter and the laws of physics that govern it. It is the 4 basic elements fire, air, water and earth (yes, I know some cultures put forward 5 basic elements...o well). That is not to say the square is purely materialistic. It represents the concepts of materialism what we use. It is, therefore, also idealistic.

The sphere is reality as it is. It is perfection. It is "God.". And, of course, it can not escape being just the concept of these. It is the entire unified universe. The "all-ness" that we are all part of.

The triangle is the balance, the logic, the understanding that links the physical reality we are in with the cosmic realitiy of the all.

Okay, that's probably enough. I don't want to put of people with too many obscure musings.



Barry said...

Thanks for showing us your work!


Uku said...

That sculpture looks so innocent, so real, so pure! Thank you for sharing!

With palms together,