Because reality is seen as dependently co-arising, or systemic in nature, each and every act is understood to have an effect on the larger web of life, and the process of development is perceived as being multidimensional. One’s personal awakening (purshodaya) is integral to the awakening of one’s village (granodaya), and both play integral roles in deshodaya and vishodaya, the awakening of one’s country and one’s world.
Joanna’s words seem an apt compliment to this photo of Buddhas from a temple in Laos. During the “secret” bombing of Laos by the United States in the Vietnam War the town of Luang Prabang was considered the spiritual capital of Laos and was not struck. Villagers and monks from the surrounding towns brought Buddha statues and other sacred relics to be stored for safety in temples in Luang Prabang.
When we visited several years ago sacred wooden statues were stacked many deep in Wat Winsunalat and the opportunity to photograph “relationships” between the Buddhas was impossible to pass up. The foreground figure in the photo above seems to capture the mind of the Buddha, peaceful no matter who is looking on.
I was thankful to be able to salvage a little beauty in a photo out of the results of a terrible war. These Buddhas appear to timelessly stand for teachings of wisdom and compassion passed down for over 2500 years.
The morning I discovered the many standing Buddhas stored in a temple in Laos I felt ecstatic. Sunlight streamed through the windows and reflected off the golden figures draped in orange cloth. They were glowing strength!”
Deborah Bowman, The Luminous Buddha
The Female Buddha: Words and Images of Wisdom
FREE Lecture & Slides Jan 31, 2014, 7 – 9, Naropa U., 2130 Arapahoe, Boulder, CO
Poetry suggests what prose cannot convey: the sublime and transcendent. We will look at quotes in The Female Buddha that open “doors of perception” including Niguma’s reference to the mind as a “wish fulfilling jewel”, the words of enlightened women at the time of the Buddha, the haiku of Chiyo-ni and modern day reflections by women teachers.
Paired with the quotes are moving photographs of Guanyin temples and statuary throughout Asia. We will explore the historical meaning of her vibrant presence across time and place and trace her spiritual influence to our lives today.
Deborah Bowman, Ph.D., is a psychologist, photographer and professor at Naropa University where she founded the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology Program and the Wilderness Therapy program. For 25 years, she has worked as a Gestalt and Jungian oriented psychotherapist. Passion for Guanyin guided her travels in Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan, Cambodia, China and Myanmar. She is author of The Luminous Buddha and The Female Buddha: Discovering the Heart of Liberation and Love.