Acrylic on Canvas 24” x 30”, 2018
In the secret jungles of Java lies one of Buddhism’s greatest treasures. The largest Buddhist Temple in the world consists of seven layers atop a 370-foot cubed foundation of volcanic rock. The square walls are decorated with forms of weight, stability, consequence, movement and action, laced with impulse of the sacral chakra, desire and creativity.
Traded with cotton and spices, the spread of Buddhism, from India to China and down to Java, was the first unifying agent of the Asian continent. The voices of those who came before us call out the repeating struggles, of our human condition, through fourteen-hundred-sixty reliefs: all life is suffering, all suffering is a result of lust and desire, the removal of desire leads to the removal of suffering, the way to deliverance is through releasing attachment to this cycle of reincarnation.
For twelve hundred years, birds have been echoing the message, "Come from the East, West, North, and South." This holy pyramid calls for pilgrimage! Recognize how the spirit can overcome earthly desires, through awakening, control of ego, integrating the personality and soul, climbing the levels of consciousness. Rising above the four levels of squares, in purity of circular form, sixty-two stupas, bell structures, leave perforated windows to let the light shine on the bright one, buddha, presented with six different hand positions, mudras repeated in 504 sculptures throughout this temple.
The spirit dwells at the top of the mountain! Likewise, awakened beings from around the world are pulled to the radial symmetry of this sacred mandala. As I approach the upper floors of circles, I'm surprised to be welcomed with lines of Javanese tourists. These beautiful faces want to unite with me... the outsider, westerner, who has traversed from the far west to bring the message back to the land of the wanna-be-free. Communicating through gestures and hand motions, asking to snap a photo or selfie with me, I feel blessed. Together with their smiles and hugs. Even though their heads are covered and mine is not, The color of our skin does not divide us, nor do politics. We are choosing unity over difference.