Graphite and pastel on paper, 40 x 26 in.
The umbrella that provides protection in
daily life can also be a symbol of supreme
shelter as it is in this work. Then instead
of casting a shadow, the umbrella creates
a refuge of shining light. Here the
umbrella’s realm of light encompasses a
Buddhist monk and the young boy who is
his acolyte. The concept of taking refuge
is central to Buddhism, where it is known
as the Three Refuges or the Three Jewels.
They are: I take refuge in the Buddha; I
take refuge in the Dharma; and I take
refuge in the Sangha. Although these are
religious precepts, they can also been
seen psychologically. Taking refuge in the
Buddha, who is a great religious leader,
would be accessing our highest self, while
taking refuge in the Dharma, which is the
religious law would be acting ethically
according to our greatest moral principles,
and taking refuge in the Sangha, which is
a community of enlightened individuals
would be joining with others who also
want to bring benefits to the world.