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Paintings > Thangka > Towards an Aesthetic of Wisdom
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Towards an Aesthetic of Wisdom

Towards an Aesthetic of Wisdom

Towards an Aesthetic of Wisdom

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Tibetan Thangka Painting

12.5" X 18.5"
Item Code:
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Towards an Aesthetic of Wisdom

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Viewed 3497 times since 2nd Oct, 2008
Considering the fact that wisdom is one of the most significant principles stressed upon by Buddhism, it comes as no surprise that monks and artists' whose primary efforts have been directed towards giving visual forms to abstract truths should discover a suitable aesthetic for the 'physical' portrayal of wisdom.

As we find our way along the way to enlightenment, trying to follow the path of wisdom we have heard about, we begin to make out an area ahead which is distinctly lighter. At first it is dim and unclear, but as we approach it becomes brighter. After a while, as we move more confidently and sure-footedly, it becomes a great light like the sun. Increasingly, this light seems to banish our ignorance like the sun dispelling dark clouds.

The light becomes even more golden and brilliant, until finally we can see its source. It is a figure, completely composed of golden-yellow light. It is a young man, perhaps sixteen years old, though there is a timeless youthfulness about him. He is sitting on a blue moon mat on a lotus throne. His well-proportioned body is adorned with precious jewels and colorful silks. He is handsome and smiling. With his right hand he gracefully and effortlessly wields a two-edged sword, around the tip of which can be seen dancing tongues of flame. The sword is there to cut off (and burn) the fetters of ignorance. The left gently grips the stem of which flowers into a pink lotus at his shoulder. This lotus supports a book (of wisdom) and over it stands another flaming sword.

Thus, following the path of Dharma, we have managed to come face to face with Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom. Each and every aspect of his glowing countenance reverberates with the radiance of spiritual significance:

a). He is youthful, because wisdom is ever new and ever fresh.

b). He is handsome because wisdom involves aesthetic appreciation.

c). He is well-built because wisdom engenders true strength.

d). His face is smiling an intoxicated smile of self-absorbed bliss because with wisdom comes self-sufficiency and total contentment.

A Buddhist stupa in the upper left corner, modelled on Swayambunath stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal, clearly indicates the painting's provenance from the same area.

Click Here to View the Thangka Painting along with its Brocade

Of Related Interest:

The Path to Wisdom

Manjushri: The Bodhisattva of Transcendent Wisdom

The Union of Wisdom and Art

Discriminating Wisdom

The Patron Deity of Dance, Music and Wisdom

Imaging Wisdom (Seeing and Knowing in the Art of Indian Buddhism)

Buddhist Wisdom: The Mystery of the Self

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