The Enlightenment of Buddha with All Creatures Great and Small: Handmade Sculpture
"This small hand-carved image of Buddha imagines him at the moment of his enlightenment accompanied by animals and other 'sentient beings': a cat in his lap, a deer, a goose, and the bodhi tree that gave him shade, all of these being some of his first witnesses. (Similarly, the Gospel of Luke describes Jesus being born in a manger, with animals looking on.) Buddhism is radical in its clear inclusion of all sentient beings in the scope of enlightenment. ('Every sentient being has Buddha nature'–the Dalai Lama.) In his 'Flower Sermon,' after all, Buddha transmits his wisdom by saying not a word and only holding up a white flower, a flower (it could have just as well been a napping kitten, a butterfly...) being a vehicle of satori, of awakening. The traditional story of Buddha: Born a prince, at 29 he, like St. Francis, abandoned his easy life and family and began a life of self-mortification. After six years of extreme asceticism, exhausted, he sat beneath a bodhi tree and determined he would not arise until he had understood how to overcome suffering in all forms. After 6 days, he arose, fully awakened to Reality and its 'thusness.' 'Wonder of wonders,' he stated at this moment, 'this very enlightenment is the nature of all beings,' thus indicating that all creatures participate in this holiness. This piece depicting Buddha awakening surrounded by creatures great and small was handmade at In the Company of Saints in Covington, Louisiana."
I designed and carved the original of the stupa/frame and cast it in glazed modified gypsum. I carved the original of the insert and cast it in lead-free pewter (see final photo). The piece comes boxed and with a history card stating the above text.
Dimensions of piece: 3.6 inches high x 3 wide x 2.5 deep.