The father mother symbolism ("yab yum") is not an example of erotic art but is considered by the devout to be a manifestation of the Buddha's highest spiritual essence. It is concrete evidence presented in a most striking and graphic manner of the existence of enlightenment, denoting the highest stage of yoga in which there is no polarity, no discrimination and the truth is indivisible. There in meditation in the presence of this artistic revelation, one can discover infinite bliss and ultimate self-realization.
The feminine symbol (mother) represents transcendent wisdom, the direct awareness of reality as experienced and taught by the Buddha. The masculine (father) represents compassion for all beings which is the natural expression of such wisdom. Their sacred union is believed to generate waves of bliss and harmony, turning the world into a mandala and showering a rain of nectar that satisfies the spiritual hunger in the hearts of humankind.
Today, statues and paintings of "yab yums" are sought by collectors and boldly displayed in museums, while traditionally in Tibet they were created and meant to be seen by only the initiated. The arcane rituals associated with their display were also not for public consumption. Modern depth psychology has recognized that this imagery represents the deepest archetypes of the unconscious, integrating powerful instinctual energies of life into a consciously sublimated and exalted state. As a result, we are fascinated by this beautiful art form, wanting to possess it whether we are Tantric Buddhists or not!
Nadean O'Brien, Huntington Beach, CA Member Since December 2006 Artist Statement I WAS BORN CREATIVE, but as a child showed little interest in drawing or painting. My parents who had met at an art gallery sustained hope I would follow in the footsteps of my talented aunt noted for her lovely landscapes. I, however, had other worlds to explore before discovering the beautiful and sensuous meditative art of Asia and Tibet as well as the work of Carl Jung who introduced the "personal mandala" to the western world. Here was art with power, passion and purpose, the art of self-realization and enlightenment, an art form that caught my imagination and gave my life focus almost two decades ago!
As I picked up my brush and began to paint, I became caught up in my own transformation to artist/healer and teacher, expressing this metamorphosis on canvas in Tibetan Tantric Buddhist symbolism depicting the sacred union of our inner masculine and feminine. The mystical "yab yum" (literally father mother) is often mistaken to represent human sexuality, but instead portrays graphically the inner wholeness or balance we must first achieve to realize our highest human potential. This ancient message is still relevant today.
More recently, fate and fortune have provided for expression of my particular talents and skills via digital painting rather than acrylic paint and canvas. With great joy and excitement, I watch a new generation of my unique mandalas evolving in a medium that is ideally suited by its added depth and dimension to spiritual art. I will continue to share my love and passion as before.
My artwork has been displayed at Mills College, Esalen, Agape International Spiritual Center in Los Angeles, and Chopra Centers throughout the United States as well as in private collections and corporate settings the world over.