25 December 2015

Christmas and Enlightenment

In my family, we draw names and really splash out for one person at Christmas This year, my cousin Heidi was "my" person. I had a list of things she would like to have, plus a few ideas of my own, but as Christmas approached, I realized that I had accumulated quite a few little gifts, but nothing that felt truly special.

She collects Buddha statues, and I always keep an eye out for new and unusual ones, but now her collection is big enough that it's hard to find one sufficiently different from those she already has. I looked, but didn't find anything this year that I liked.

I was looking online at photos of various aspects of the Buddha, and was inspired to paint her a picture instead. I found a photo of a rather beautiful stone statue holding a (stone) lotus blossom, but instead of doing that, I thought it would be cool to replace it with a real one while still painting the Buddha as a statue.

I found a photo of a lotus that I liked--it was mostly pink, but with some yellow, gold, and ivory in its petals. I found out on buddhists.org (yes, really) that different lotus blossoms bear different meanings. First of all, the general meaning is that the lotus grows from mud and water, rising above the murk to achieve enlightenment. Then, the colors change the meaning too: White is purity of mind and spirit; red is compassion and love; blue is common sense; purple is spirituality and mysticism; pink is the historical legends of the Buddha; and finally, gold represents achievement of all enlightenment. So (although I chose the colors before I knew the significance) this one is wishing Heidi knowledge of the Buddha, with dawning of all enlightenment!

I think she liked it--I hope she did! I had a good time painting it.