"Jizo is a bodhisattva...


...a divine being of infinite grace and compassion who forestalls his own buddhahood in order to help sentient beings to enlightenment. Since the 10th century, he has been portrayed as a young, itinerant monk who carries a pilgrim's staff and a wish-granting jewel. He is popularly believed to assist those condemned to the torments of hell, and the wayward souls of deceased children. This statue shows Jizo descending from the heavens, as suggested by the cloud that supports his lotus pedestal. The exquisite workmanship and extreme elegance of the figure, particularly the serene beauty of the face, are elements associated with the Kei school of sculptors active during the Kamakura period (1185-1336).” –the Minneapolis Institute of Art

As you might recall, my two years in a group marriage in Minneapolis were so hard that I can think of little good to say about them—the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the First Unitarian Society, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, and a few friends with whom I’ve lost contact, were about it. This 13th century wood and lacquer statue is but 26” tall, and I all but ran to it the first time I saw it. Those two years marked the only time in my life that I lived near preternaturally beautiful art from every age and every part of the world, and my only regret is that I wasn’t able to take better advantage of it.

After I put this post online just now, I sat looking at the statue and wondering if anyone would understand how beautiful it is. You might respond that beauty is subjective, and I would agree inasmuch as our species is concerned, but, as I see it, that's the problem. How can any species that considers the concept of beauty to be less than absolute (more real than real) be a terribly worthwhile species. When beauty screams at us so loudly, how can we not hear it? 

9 comments:

Helen said...

I lived in Minneapolis twenty-four years and miss all of the culture not available in a small city. Don't get me wrong, I love Bend ~~ but I do miss the Institute of Art, The Walker, The Guthrie, the Minnesota Orchestra (in dire financial straits right now)the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the simply amazing smaller theatres sprinkled throughout both cities and the SPORTS! I was in a "two person" twenty-two year marriage ~ which ended there. Lots of memories, Snow.

Lisa said...

I understand. I have a statue of Kwan Yin I feel the same way about. x

ellen abbott said...

It is most beautiful. I really like the Hindu pantheon.

Stephen Hayes said...

I enlarged the picture to get a better look at it and I agree with you that it is indeed beautiful. I love the feeling of serenity it exudes. As you know I frequently write posts about art and I'm always surprised at how differently people see things.

Elephant's Child said...

And yet so many people don't/can't/won't see beauty. In any of its myriad forms.

Marion said...

It is a beautiful statue and I love your quote. I have several Kwan Yin and Mary statues. The power of the feminine radiates from them all.

But one of my most powerful figures is the "weeping yogi". I found it at Marshall's for $5 many years ago. Here's a pic of him: http://www.buddhagroove.com/wooden-weeping-buddha-statue.html

xo,
Marion

Charles Gramlich said...

Some elements of our appreciation of beauty, such as symmetry, seem to have evolved right along with us as a species. So I certainly agree with you.

possum said...

How amazing to find this post today... Just yesterday I was searching for a statue of Kwan Yin for my yard and put a link on my desktop for the buddhagrove site. I remember seeing the weeping Buddha, but it filled me with such sadness, I quickly moved on. I feel the pain in that sculpture much too keenly.
I looked for Jizo, but did not get any hits. I do think it is a beautiful piece of work.
I guess it is good that we all don't "love" the same art and have different tastes. Each year I pass a yard in the Poconos where the person makes "sculptures" by sticking 50 or 60 plastic 2 liter bottles together - about 6 feet high - out in his front yard. His neighbor about a half mile away, sticks colored bottles on the branches of a small dead tree and calls it his sculpture... sigh.
We all see the world thru such different eyes.
I prefer Jizo, or my seated Buddhas, or my St Francis.

Robin said...

What a powerful image....with equally powerful words..we all do see *Beauty in the World* differently....but, the important thing to me, is that we recognise it in some form....

Love,

♥ Robin ♥