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One Thousand Arms of Compassion

Updated: Jan 8, 2022

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

One Thousand Arms of Compassion*

A collaborative piece with Earth One Thousand Arms of Compassion is an installation continuing my work that began in 1987 with Earth Water, Peace and the Alphabet. Working with the visible relationship between letterforms and nature, this project consists of thousands of forked branches in part installed in concentric circles in the tradition of the mandala.**

It all began with a powerful encounter with a tree some years back. This tree, shaped as a Y, spoke of arms raised in praise. Later, I looked at my wood pile and there was a small version of the Y-shaped tree. From that time on, I found this new 'material' (Ys) in my many hikes in the Santa Fe mountains. Earth generously supplies the forked branches that are perfect Ys in abundance. This is a message of importance that I must heed. The Earth is my teacher and guide. By providing material that doubles as a universal expression of prayer, She strengthens the connection I have for the metaphysical/poetic side of life: Y-shaped branches have become a deep personal symbol of meaning and healing. In forms reaching across art and the spiritual, this project celebrates the wonder of creation while mourning what has been lost or destroyed. One Thousand Arms of Compassion offers the deep reconnection with the wondrous miracle that is our planet. By standing within the circles of branches, by placing our center in the center of the greater circle of Nature, we open ourselves to receiving Nature's creative force through her tree emissaries. We can expand our understanding of life to include more of the infinite circle that is the Universe. If we stand under, we understand. Art is a prayer supported by the Earth. * One Thousand Arms of Compassion refers to Avalokiteshvara, the Boddhisattva of Compasion in the Tibetan tradition, who is represented by a thousand arms with which to help the suffering multitudes. ** In the present struggle of the planet the mandala presents itself as the seed-symbol of a more harmonized world-order. Mandala by Jose & Miriam Arguelles.

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