Supermarket Series by Edward M. Fielding
This series of humorous pop artworks are inspired by the hand lettered, butcher paper signs one sees in local independent grocery stores around the world.
Also new this week –
Dainichi Nyorai (the supreme Buddha of Mahayana Buddhism as taught by the Shingon sect) represents the transcendent Buddha from whom all other buddhas and all aspects of the universe emanate. The sculpture shows him as an Indian prince in a pose similar to traditional painted depictions, in which he sat at the center of a mandala (cosmic diagram) surrounded by other buddhas and attendants. This meditating Dainichi was the focus of worship in a temple hall. Visitors prayed, made offerings, lit incense sticks, chanted, and performed rituals particular to the Shingon sect. The symbolic gesture of the Buddha’s hands indicates pure meditation and the attainment of spiritual perfection.
Unknown artist, Japanese, Japan
Buddha Mahavairocana (Dainichi Nyorai), ca. 1150-1200
Mahayana Buddhism emerged in the first century CE as a more liberal, accessible interpretation of Buddhism. As the “Greater Vehicle” (literally, the “Greater Ox-Cart”), Mahayana is a path available to people from all walks of life – not just monks and ascetics.
Mahayana Buddhism is the primary form of Buddhism in North Asia and the Far East, including China, Japan, Korea, Tibet and Mongolia, and is thus sometimes known as Northern Buddhism. Mahayana Buddhists accept the Pali Canon as sacred scripture with the Theravadans, but also many other works, the Sutras, which were written later and in Sanskrit.
Theravada and Mahayana Buddhists differ in their perspective on the ultimate purpose of life and the way in which it can be attained. As discussed on the last page, Theravada Buddhists strive to become arhats, or perfected saints who have attained enlightenment and nirvana. This is considered to only be possible for monks and nuns, who devote their entire lives to the task. The best outcome the laity can hope for is to be reborn in the monastic life.