Detail of “Ode to Tibet”:
“An ode is typically a lyrical verse written in praise of, or dedicated to someone or something which captures the poet’s interest or serves as an inspiration for the ode.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ode
Well, this is ode not of words but of images ;o)
Eventhough I never had much knowledge of either, both Tibet and, especially, Buddhism have captured my imagination for as long as I remember. The smiling faces of monks draped in orange robes, the compassion, the peacefulness, the statues of Buddha evoking inner peace and tranquility – all of these images stood and stand in sharp contrast to the black-clad nuns in the convent school I went to as a child in the very Catholic Ireland of the seventies.
The films “Seven Years in Tibet” with Brad Pitt and the film with Keanu Reeves – “Little Buddha” brought both Tibet and Buddhism a bit closer – albeit in a romanticised Hollywood way. Still I never went into much depth, eventhough I have read some texts by the Dalai Lama and these texts have led me to admire him very much.
And then the weeks and months leading up to the Olympic Games in China in 2008 were filled with reports and pictures of the Tibetans rebelling against Chinese occupancy and all the opression it brings and has brought with it. I was and am stricken by the plight of the Tibetans. And I was determined not to forget their plight even after the press had found other fields of intrest, as they must.
One thing often appears in pictures of Tibet and that is the prayer wheel: “Tibetan prayer wheels (called Mani wheels by the Tibetans) are devices for spreading spiritual blessings and well being. Rolls of thin paper, imprinted with many, many copies of the mantra (prayer) , printed in an ancient Indian script or in Tibetan script, are wound around an axle in a protective container, and spun around and around. Typically, larger decorative versions of the syllables of the mantra are also carved on the outside cover of the wheel.” Source:http://www.dharma-haven.org/tibetan/prayer-whee...
I really admire the way these prayer wheels play such an integral part of Tibetan life and that a prayer forms such an important part of life. In the book “The Wheel of Great Compassion” – a book about the practice of the prayer wheel in Tibetan Buddhism, the Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche writes that “When you turn the prayer wheel, recall: The purpose of my life is not just to offer happiness for myself and to solve all of my own problems; it is to free the numberless other sentient beings. The purpose of my life is to be useful and beneficial for other sentient beings…”. Compassion seems to hold very high regard in Buddhism and that really strikes a chord with me.
My prayer wheel is a prayer circle or disc. It is my own interpretation and completely free of any learning or in depth knowledge of Buddhism or Buddhist teachings. As the prayer wheel is turned while reciting the mantra, so is my disc circular and can spin. Many partitions are filled with the mantra , while others are filled with images of natural materials like wood (in my own home or with decorative elements (own designs, based on asian and Tibetan paintings). I have been working at this on and off for about a year, using ArtRage and Photoshop:
“This is the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, and it is recited continually by many Tibetans. …. Mantras are strings of syllabels empowered by enlightened beings to benefit others… Ultimately, the subject of mantras and of how they function in Buddhist practice is extremely vast and profound. What is important to understand here is that a mantra is not like a prayer to a divine being. Rather, the mantra – whether recited, written or spun – is the deity, is enlightenment, immediately manifest. …. Robert Thurman notes that when Tibetans recite the mani mantra, they are in effect saying, " All is well. Everything is perfect. Wisdom and compassion uphold every atom!" …With regard to the meanings of the mani mantra itself, it is said that not even a Buddha could expound them all!
from *Wheel of Great Compassion".
Thank you so much for looking and most especially for reading as far as this!!! ;o) There is no markup on this image, so purchase it if you like it and remember the plight of the Tibetans.
I wish you all well.