Media = Art + Message No.10: Re-emerging like lotus flowers — purified by nature’s wisdom

Media = Art + Message No.10: Re-emerging like lotus flowers ー purified by nature’s wisdom

A lotus flower of Nara, sprouting from a 1300 year old seed   

As we come to grips with the speechlessness we feel from facing the terrible daily-occurring events around the world with deepening sorrow, a new era is poised to begin…

Amidst the Coronavirus Crisis when each and every one of us is pressed upon to have an even stronger sense of self-restraint, the great transformation the world is undergoing will surely leave a lasting effect, dividing everything into BC (Before Corona) and AC (After Corona) once we overcome this tragedy.

Similar to 19th century Europe after the Industrial Revolution where large-scale mechanization of the means of production advanced by leaps and bounds after epidemic-induced labour shortages, life as we knew it in the early 21st century is undergoing drastic changes with the accelerated and expanded digitization (including AI) brought on by the rapid spread of COVID-19.

On the other hand, as the toll of social distancing and isolation increases with xenophobic tendencies and isolationist desires being fuelled, there is a growing fear that an Orwellian controlled and surveillance society — in addition to regional segmentation and segregation— will be among the lasting legacies.

The spread of COVID-19 is now challenging our humanity and our human rights, in addition to our social life based on trust and cooperation, perhaps more so than the actual battle with the pandemic itself…

Lotus positon

Stone Bodhisattva statues, Mt. Ohmine, Nara Pref.

As it happens, statues depicting the enlightened Buddha Shakyamuni are seated in the padmasana position, the legs crossed and feet resting on the opposing thighs. 

Although an uncomfortable position, it is one of the most stable and even frequently used in Zen meditation practice as the lotus position.

The enlightened Buddha Shakyamuni compared the world itself to a lotus flower. Furthermore, he describes the universe as an infinite union of other universes wherein numerous small universes emerge from each constituent lotus flower within. This vista has been engraved on each gigantic petal of the lotus pedestal of the Great Buddha statue at the Todaiji Temple in Nara, Japan erected in the 8th century.

The lotus flower is a metaphor for the purified heart that emerges from the bottom mud of a pond. It symbolizes that a pure, untainted state of mind can emerge even from an earth tainted by worldly desires. Moreover, each and every one of us is an indispensable flower…

Awakening to the infinite from the confines of the finite. 

While the social freedom of so many people around the world is restricted by the Coronavirus measures, one effective method to keep your mind calm is meditation.

Sitting meditating in the lotus position, despite the physical confines of one’s body, one can open our mind to the infinite.  By releasing a sense of self toward the incomprehensible universe, about what to essentially do and where to be oriented towards, our answers will emerge in due course, as long as we earnestly seek the truth.

Beyond this, the great wisdom of nature —where everything comes and goes in an endless cycle in which we all are fellow travelers— can be perceived: nature itself, in which everything is interconnected and interdependent is the fundamental essence of our being.

Alongwith this awareness, may the new trend of self-restraint to protect the life of this planet— grow ever stronger!

 The earth –as the mother of all living things– is life itself

Making wise choices

This year again, a lotus flower that sprouts from a 1300 year old seed will blossom in Nara, my haven of the heart.

Our future could be likened to a lotus flower transcending time…

Life on our planet is poised to evolve in a wholly new way of globalization attaching priority to all living beings and their wellbeing instead of reverting to the previous one that prioritized ever greater efficiencies at all cost.

Both the spread of the COVID-19 and global warming are unprecedented crises in our lives. Ironically, the Corona catastrophe is showing us how our choices can actually make a significant difference to mitigate the pollution of the earth.

In the hope of ushering in a new era characterized by our co-existence with the wisdom of nature…

Miro Ito

Media Art League

East meets West, North meets South through “Media = Art + Message”

Photographs & Text by Miro Ito/Media Art League. All rights reserved.

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