Where Do We Find the Buddhas?
In the sutra book, this particular quote is part of a larger rhetorical question regarding the existence of buddhas in all sentient beings. Yet, I frequently return to this part of the question, “where do we find the buddhas?” and meditate on the idea that we find the buddhas in our interpersonal relationships. Everyone, in their own way, is a buddha. But more than that, my story is made up of all the connections I’ve made to the other buddhas I’ve come in contact with. Each person I’ve encountered has played a part in my story and made a “mark” on the buddha within me.
In the painting “Where Do We Find the Buddhas?” I wanted to represent this interconnectedness. The different sections appear to look unique, but there is no color that is found in only one of the sections. Each color has been used in at least one other section. And yet each section still looks unique because it is made up of different colors and each color has been used to varying degrees.
"Where Do We Find the Buddhas?" is part of the Off the Cushion collection.
In March of 2021 I attended my first meditation service at the Green Bay Zen Center - part of the Hollow Bones Zen organization. A Google search gone awry, a curious mind, and a long standing interest in Buddhism led me to that first meditation sit on the cushion. In my relatively short time practicing with GBZC, I have heard numerous Dharma Talks about the importance of taking our meditation practice “off the cushion” and into our daily lives. For me, the natural place to take my practice was onto the canvas.
The titles and inspiration for these paintings come from four of my favorite lines from various pieces of the sutra book. I wanted to transform my understanding of the poetry of the words into something visual. When I first imagined this collection, I thought the color palette was going to be more neutral tones and the paintings would have a more somber feel to them. But that isn’t how I experience Buddhism and meditation. Sure, we are silent and wear black clothing, but there is an aliveness to the experience that couldn’t be captured except with bright colors. I ended up with a color palette that feels like Spring, playfulness, and being awakened.
I grew up Catholic, and from a young age, I was more entranced by the beauty of the space than by the Word. I would find myself lost in the brick pattern of the floor or the entrancing colors in the stained glass. Even though I am no longer Catholic, whenever I travel, I search out Catholic places of worship because the stained glass calls to my heart. Stained glass is a source of inspiration for me, and it is visible in these four paintings inspired by the Hollow Bones Sutra book.
Size Details: "Where Do We Find the Buddhas?" is a 36"x36" oil painting on stretched canvas. There is a hanging wire on the back.
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Special Shipping Note: Due to the size, this painting will ship rolled. Before shipping, I will remove it from its stretcher bars and carefully roll the painting. Once it arrives, you can take the painting to a professional framing shop to have it re-stretched. If you are within 250 miles of Green Bay, WI and would like to discuss drop off or pick up instead of shipping, please email me at email@example.com.
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Location: This painting is currently on display at Comedy City in De Pere, WI.