Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Lotus and the Buddha

Mister Crafty Bitch got a gift today, a table. "Why would you give your loving boyfriend a table?" you may ask, for religous purposes duh! He is making a small shrine to house his buddha and make a nice place to sit and chant, Nichiren style - nam myoho renge kyo - which translates roughly to "it's all about the lotus sutra yo! So I went searching to find what makes lotus so special? The lotus was a sacred symbol in Asia before the spread of Buddism, and to Buddist is represents the enlightened mind rising above, as the flower blooms from the mud.
What better place to start then Origami? Not just any Origami, fabulous yellow and orange chirogami washi lotus hair flower. Swoot! MissManatee has carefully folded this for your hair, then shelaced it for postarity. The first uses of paper when it was invented in Asia was for religious ceremonies, usually folded and sometimes worn. It took a while for someone to think of marking on it, but let's be glad they didn't forget how to fold!

If you fancy candles for you worship, perhaps one of these lotus shaped pure soy wax pieces from LotusSfyn is the one? An awesome candle and awesome use of one of Asia's other treasure, the soybean. But that is a collection for another day... In the mean time light up and chill out!

Take one look at BeadStyle's photo of a blooming lotus and it's not hard to see why the flower was revered in Asia. Glowing pale pink over undulating green, even the spent bud on it's way to seed is a lovely thing. The root of the lotus plant is also edible, called renkon in Japanese, it has holes in it that look much like the pods, as though the tubes run the entire length of the plant.

Nichiren is of course a Japanese school of buddism, so I was looking for very Japanese style depictions of a lotus. This kanzashi made with real chirimen fabrics is both cute and traditional. Petalmix has a number of Japan inspired kanzashi which are the traditional hair acuterments of the Geisha and Maiko. They had a different flower for every month to show the seasons, now that is classy!

How about a great bag to ride to and from the temple with? This one truly caught my eye, and as you all know I love making things with lots of fabrics and applique. GypsyTree's messenger bag is sleek and petite, just right for small trips around town. Or if you are going for the ascetic minimalism it's just right for a spiritual pilgrimage.

If you don't want any rice paper blowing around, or you just want help holding a scroll open, how about this sweet glass paperweight from LucidOpticLab. The roundness is harmonious, the glass brings clarity, and the look evokes images of old-style hand stamped batiks.

And here we have the lotus and the moon, shimmery glowing moon stone and sterling silver by AnnaArtiste. Like the parable where the moon and the... Ok, I'm making it up, I don't know any buddist parables, but they like parables, so it seems like there ought to be one right?
One more fun fact about the lotus, it's seeds have the longest shelf life of any known plant. Botanist have germinated seeds discovered in caves that had been laying around a few hundred years. The wisdom of the Buddha has been around for 2400 years, so perhaps this is a good comparison ^.^
Here's the link from our visit to the Joenji Temple where they practice this type of Buddism.

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