Monday, December 2, 2019

Vortex 2019

I participated in the Graphics competition of Vortex IV with this image, Vajra Samadhi:
Vajra Samadhi
It placed 4th out of 6.
Prints are available on RedBubble.
The backgroud is made in Processing, while the image itself is composed in Gimp, of elements made in Inkscape and Flame Painter.
The translation I read renders Vajrasamadhi as "the Single-Taste, Definite, Signless, Beyond-Creation, Absolute Reality of Self-Enlightenment". Vajra, directly translated, means "diamond" or "thunderbolt", and is used to allude to indestructibility and irresistible force, respectively. "Samadhi" I've seen translated as "absorption", meditative consciousness more broadly, a state of trance and jhana in particular. The "Diamond Absorption" of Vajra Samadhi is "void and calm, motionless, non-abiding, non-creating, non-projecting, free from either this or that, untainted, non-arising and non-doing". In this way, it has a lot in common with The Fifth Jhana: Infinity of Space. Although the Buddha remained silent on whether the universe was finite or infinite, we can experientially know or at least conceive of an infinitude of space. When considering how much of even dense matter is "emptiness" as in empty space. How much more so the cosmos, where matter is so sparsely spread!
Contemplating this kind of emptiness, the emptiness of space, can lead to some understanding of a more profound emptiness, Shunyata. This is why I chose the starry space as the background. Even the Buddha likened the calm mind to empty space. The streak is supposed to be reminiscent of the Milky Way and other galaxies, but also of electromagnetic, gravitational and other invisible forces and even string theory. String theory is interesting in that it is a theory of everything that seemingly could work. I don't actually approve of it, nor do I disparage it, because, as the linked sutra says, "the mind that fabricates nothing neither clings to nor rejects anything". This is freedom of thought.

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