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Author Topic: Icons in Eastern Orthodox Christianity and Tibetan Buddhism  (Read 3976 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: October 04, 2010, 01:02:46 PM »

Quote
"Embodying the Holy," a new exhibition at New York City's Rubin Museum of Art, brings to light striking similarities between Orthodox Christian icons and traditional Tibetan Buddhist painted scrolls.

Martin Brauen, the museum's Chief Curator, said that the exhibition will "provide points of basic understanding of what connects the so-called East and West on a spiritual level." Elaborating on this spiritual connection, he said that Christian icons and Tibetan painted scrolls are "both representations of a reality that is beyond our human realm. They are depictions of a divine state of being."

Referring to the aesthetic similarities between the two artistic traditions, Brauen noted, "In both cases the motifs and the general structure are prescribed in a clearly set canon of images. The figures on some of these paintings are shown frontal and axial, there is no vanishing point perspective, and often the names of single figures are inscribed."

"But there are also differences that can be explored in the exhibition," Brauen added. "These are related to the painting technique but also to the content."

[Some images.]

There's also a conference on Orthodox iconography and Tibetan Buddhist sacred representations, 8-9 October, at the Rubin.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2010, 01:03:12 PM by Jetavan » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2010, 03:37:40 PM »

Sounds like this could be very interesting.
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« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2010, 10:33:33 PM »

That is interesting.   
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« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2012, 12:21:10 AM »

*thread resurrection*

On an interesting side note, Tibetan Buddhism is the only tradition other than Orthodoxy where I've heard people talk about "canonical" images. The thangkas have to conform fairly precisely with the descriptions contained in the ritual practice texts. A big difference is that thangkas are meant to be aids to interior visualization- the practitioner is supposed to either imagine the Buddha or deity in front of him, or imagine himself as that Buddha or deity, surrounded by various other beings in a vividly described pure land. The Orthodox icons are not visualization aids- we directly apprehend spiritual realities through them, but we are not supposed to retain the images in our minds or engage in any kind of visualization meditation.
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2012, 01:04:10 AM »

Wow, comparing/contrasting the Holy with the unholy!

And what are we supposed to get out of this?
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2012, 01:22:29 AM »

Wow, comparing/contrasting the Holy with the unholy!

And what are we supposed to get out of this?

I'll share with you a passage from Elder Porphyrios' Wounded by Love:

One Sunday afternoon I was passing the Archaeological Museum and since I had some free time I decided to go in. I walked through the rooms looking at the statues. In one of the rooms there was a group of people with a guide who was explaining things to them. There was complete silence. I went towards them. When the guide saw me, however, she whispered to them:
'A priest's just come in.I can't stand priests, but this one doesn't seem to be like the others.'
I came up closer and said: 'Good afternoon.'
'Good afternoon,' replied the guide.
'May I listen to what you're saying?' I asked.
'Of course,' she said.
We went from one statue to another. At one point we stood before a statue of Zeus. Zeus was on his throne and was in the act of hurling a thunderbolt at mankind. Once the guide had finished telling them what she knew, she turned to me and said:
'What do you have to say about this, Pappouli? How do you see the statue?'
'I don't know much about these things,' I said. 'But as I see it, I marvel at the work of the artist and also at the human form, such a perfect divine creation. And I see that the artist who made it had a great sense of the divine. Look at Zeus. Although he is hurling his thunderbolt at mankind, yet his face is serene. He is not angry. He is impassionate.'
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2012, 02:01:59 AM »

Thanks, i like that but in this situation it doesn't really apply.
An artist i am, and appreciate art, all art.
but they are not being looked at as art?
They are being looked at for what they represent, at least that's what i thought, am i wrong?
Christian icons are of Holiness.
Buddhist (Tibetan) icons (most) are NOT.
they are abt demons, no?
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2012, 03:49:15 AM »

they are abt demons, no?
According to a Tibetan guide, the big blue one's function is to violently chasten wicked souls back onto the dharma wheel.
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2012, 07:16:10 AM »

This kind of thread is right up my alley ~ I've been interested in studies about Buddhism.
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2012, 10:06:27 AM »

Thanks, i like that but in this situation it doesn't really apply.
An artist i am, and appreciate art, all art.
but they are not being looked at as art?
They are being looked at for what they represent, at least that's what i thought, am i wrong?
Christian icons are of Holiness.
Buddhist (Tibetan) icons (most) are NOT.
they are abt demons, no?

What were statues of Zeus for?
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2012, 10:29:35 AM »

Thanks, i like that but in this situation it doesn't really apply.
An artist i am, and appreciate art, all art.
but they are not being looked at as art?
They are being looked at for what they represent, at least that's what i thought, am i wrong?
Christian icons are of Holiness.
Buddhist (Tibetan) icons (most) are NOT.
they are abt demons, no?

What were statues of Zeus for?

exactly...same thing, they are not comparable.
Zeus and the like were idols, ie;demons the people worshipped before Christ!
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2012, 10:32:12 AM »

Thanks, i like that but in this situation it doesn't really apply.
An artist i am, and appreciate art, all art.
but they are not being looked at as art?
They are being looked at for what they represent, at least that's what i thought, am i wrong?
Christian icons are of Holiness.
Buddhist (Tibetan) icons (most) are NOT.
they are abt demons, no?

What were statues of Zeus for?

exactly...same thing, they are not comparable.
Zeus and the like were idols, ie;demons the people worshipped before Christ!

My point is that elder Porphyrios was able to look at this statue of Zeus and find something edifying about it for Christians. We can do the same thing with Tibetan thangkas.
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2012, 02:42:39 PM »

Thanks, i like that but in this situation it doesn't really apply.
An artist i am, and appreciate art, all art.
but they are not being looked at as art?
They are being looked at for what they represent, at least that's what i thought, am i wrong?
Christian icons are of Holiness.
Buddhist (Tibetan) icons (most) are NOT.
they are abt demons, no?

What were statues of Zeus for?

exactly...same thing, they are not comparable.
Zeus and the like were idols, ie;demons the people worshipped before Christ!

My point is that elder was able to look at this statue of Zeus and find something edifying about it for Christians. We can do the same thing with Tibetan thangkas.

Yea, i get wht you are saying.
I still say its best to stay away from stuff like that, be it Zeus or buddhist art.
Im not as enlightened as elder Porphyrios, and that makes it dangerous to involve yourself in these things.
A little opening and next thing you know your gona wish you never even thought abt these things.
Hope you see what im trying to say. It comes from first hand experience!
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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2012, 03:38:19 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2012, 03:45:59 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.
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« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2012, 03:49:29 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.

What's a "graven image" in this context? Any sculpture? Any religious sculpture?
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« Reply #16 on: September 29, 2012, 05:55:20 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.

What's a "graven image" in this context? Any sculpture? Any religious sculpture?

Yea, a sculpture, if u wanna b strict. Or a sculpture that is worshiped, if u wna b lenient.
hope I'm not misinformed but that is what i believe it its.
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« Reply #17 on: September 29, 2012, 06:00:13 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.

What's a "graven image" in this context? Any sculpture? Any religious sculpture?

Yea, a sculpture, if u wanna b strict. Or a sculpture that is worshiped, if u wna b lenient.
hope I'm not misinformed but that is what i believe it its.


IMHO, those things only have power if you give it to them. You just have to have faith that the Sign of the Cross can conquer all Evil.
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« Reply #18 on: September 29, 2012, 06:35:20 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.

What's a "graven image" in this context? Any sculpture? Any religious sculpture?

Yea, a sculpture, if u wanna b strict. Or a sculpture that is worshiped, if u wna b lenient.
hope I'm not misinformed but that is what i believe it its.


IMHO, those things only have power if you give it to them. You just have to have faith that the Sign of the Cross can conquer all Evil.

Absolutly!
And even better, dont assosiate with such things in any way. The devil is alot smarter than us, and can decive us in ways we would not even imagin.
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« Reply #19 on: September 29, 2012, 07:46:49 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.

What's a "graven image" in this context? Any sculpture? Any religious sculpture?

Yea, a sculpture, if u wanna b strict.


Where do you get this rule from? There have been Orthodox Christian statues in the past.
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« Reply #20 on: September 29, 2012, 08:32:53 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.

What's a "graven image" in this context? Any sculpture? Any religious sculpture?

Yea, a sculpture, if u wanna b strict.


Where do you get this rule from? There have been Orthodox Christian statues in the past.

it was jst mentioned in the Crucifix thread. technically according to the old testament we should not have a cross with a graven image (statue like image of Christ) on it. just a plain cross or with etchings on it.
but like i said that is a Little extream, especially since its the old testament.
and i thought i was clear I'm not 100% sure on this. i was hoping someone could come by and give a definitive answer on this.
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« Reply #21 on: September 29, 2012, 08:35:59 PM »

Is it Orthodox doctrine that all pagan gods are in fact demons?

All graven images, no? I believe it is doctrine.
As far as Tibetan Buddhism is concerned, they themselves say they are demons (not all but most). even though they are not graven images just images, in this case.

What's a "graven image" in this context? Any sculpture? Any religious sculpture?

Yea, a sculpture, if u wanna b strict.


Where do you get this rule from? There have been Orthodox Christian statues in the past.

it was jst mentioned in the Crucifix thread. technically according to the old testament we should not have a cross with a graven image (statue like image of Christ) on it. just a plain cross or with etchings on it.
but like i said that is a Little extream, especially since its the old testament.
and i thought i was clear I'm not 100% sure on this. i was hoping someone could come by and give a definitive answer on this.


There is no flat ban on sculptures. If that were so, the cherubim on the ark would be a problem.
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« Reply #22 on: September 29, 2012, 09:05:58 PM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?
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« Reply #23 on: September 29, 2012, 09:08:59 PM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?
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« Reply #24 on: September 29, 2012, 09:14:11 PM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.
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« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2012, 09:18:17 PM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.

What makes you sure statues represent demons? (I'll be nice and assume you mean pagan religious statues). Is it actually Orthodox teaching, is it contained somewhere in the Deposit of Faith, that Zeus is a demon?
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« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2012, 09:32:40 PM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.

What makes you sure statues represent demons? (I'll be nice and assume you mean pagan religious statues). Is it actually Orthodox teaching, is it contained somewhere in the Deposit of Faith, that Zeus is a demon?

OK this has gotten a bit convoluted.
we were talking Tibetan religious art. that's what i was saying represents demons (mostly) not all. this is fact.

as far a statues representing demons, its in the bible, old new I'm not sure i think old testament. I'm not one of thous ppl who quotes bible passages with page and number of paragraph. all i know is it says not to make any graven images-to be worshiped as gods. and somewhere it says that the graven images created and worshiped are actually demons deceiving man.

now as far as Zeus being a demon, i dnt know but according to the above it should be, no?
and yes I'm referring to pagan religious statues.

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« Reply #27 on: September 29, 2012, 10:51:41 PM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.

What makes you sure statues represent demons? (I'll be nice and assume you mean pagan religious statues). Is it actually Orthodox teaching, is it contained somewhere in the Deposit of Faith, that Zeus is a demon?

OK this has gotten a bit convoluted.
we were talking Tibetan religious art. that's what i was saying represents demons (mostly) not all. this is fact.

Fine.

as far a statues representing demons, its in the bible, old new I'm not sure i think old testament. I'm not one of thous ppl who quotes bible passages with page and number of paragraph. all i know is it says not to make any graven images-to be worshiped as gods. and somewhere it says that the graven images created and worshiped are actually demons deceiving man.

If you can think of just a few words from the passage, a quick Google search will locate the exact reference. I've read most of the Bible and don't recall that last part, so if you find it, please let me know.

now as far as Zeus being a demon, i dnt know but according to the above it should be, no?

Yes, according to the above, as yet unsubstantiated, claim that either pagan gods or statues of the same (I'm not quite sure which you meant, maybe both) are demons, Zeus and/or his statue would be a demon.
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« Reply #28 on: September 30, 2012, 12:11:52 AM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.

You're actually projecting modern sentiments onto the past. Pagans didn't think statues represented their Gods the way we now think statues represent things, they thought their Gods actually lived in them and sometimes even animated them. They bathed statues, dressed them, even arranged them for "banquets" (all very similar to what modern Hindus still do). Which is why the East ended up so leery of 3d representations in church, because the "Gods" that they used to think were living in statues could be nothing but demons in the Christian paradigm.

The whole 'represent' thing that we take for granted is a development of Platonism.
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« Reply #29 on: September 30, 2012, 12:24:12 AM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.

You're actually projecting modern sentiments onto the past. Pagans didn't think statues represented their Gods the way we now think statues represent things, they thought their Gods actually lived in them and sometimes even animated them. They bathed statues, dressed them, even arranged them for "banquets" (all very similar to what modern Hindus still do). Which is why the East ended up so leery of 3d representations in church, because the "Gods" that they used to think were living in statues could be nothing but demons in the Christian paradigm.

The whole 'represent' thing that we take for granted is a development of Platonism.

thanks! i did not know that.
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« Reply #30 on: September 30, 2012, 12:31:33 AM »

And a fun note: In countries untouched by our western heritage offending images is exceedingly serious. If you step on an image of the Thai king you will be treated no better than if you had actually assaulted him. Pointing your feet at images of the divine, saints or secular rulers can even be dangerous depending on where you are.
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« Reply #31 on: September 30, 2012, 12:34:42 AM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.

What makes you sure statues represent demons? (I'll be nice and assume you mean pagan religious statues). Is it actually Orthodox teaching, is it contained somewhere in the Deposit of Faith, that Zeus is a demon?

OK this has gotten a bit convoluted.
we were talking Tibetan religious art. that's what i was saying represents demons (mostly) not all. this is fact.

Fine.

as far a statues representing demons, its in the bible, old new I'm not sure i think old testament. I'm not one of thous ppl who quotes bible passages with page and number of paragraph. all i know is it says not to make any graven images-to be worshiped as gods. and somewhere it says that the graven images created and worshiped are actually demons deceiving man.

If you can think of just a few words from the passage, a quick Google search will locate the exact reference. I've read most of the Bible and don't recall that last part, so if you find it, please let me know.

now as far as Zeus being a demon, i dnt know but according to the above it should be, no?

Yes, according to the above, as yet unsubstantiated, claim that either pagan gods or statues of the same (I'm not quite sure which you meant, maybe both) are demons, Zeus and/or his statue would be a demon.

did a google search and so far came up with this, here is the link  http://freeinthelordministries.com/SecondCommandment.htm
cant find exactly where i read it but this is close, for now i keep checking.
and a exerpt:

"This commandment holds people responsible for any false image(s) claiming to represent God. False images lead to false concepts. False images of God give false concepts of God and thereby deceive people about God. No wonder that the Bible refers to demons using images to deceive people about God: false images accepted as images of God are the perfect instrument for deceiving people."
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« Reply #32 on: September 30, 2012, 01:09:03 AM »

Quote
"Embodying the Holy," a new exhibition at New York City's Rubin Museum of Art, brings to light striking similarities between Orthodox Christian icons and traditional Tibetan Buddhist painted scrolls.

Martin Brauen, the museum's Chief Curator, said that the exhibition will "provide points of basic understanding of what connects the so-called East and West on a spiritual level." Elaborating on this spiritual connection, he said that Christian icons and Tibetan painted scrolls are "both representations of a reality that is beyond our human realm. They are depictions of a divine state of being."

Referring to the aesthetic similarities between the two artistic traditions, Brauen noted, "In both cases the motifs and the general structure are prescribed in a clearly set canon of images. The figures on some of these paintings are shown frontal and axial, there is no vanishing point perspective, and often the names of single figures are inscribed."

"But there are also differences that can be explored in the exhibition," Brauen added. "These are related to the painting technique but also to the content."

[Some images.]

There's also a conference on Orthodox iconography and Tibetan Buddhist sacred representations, 8-9 October, at the Rubin.

I'm just curious:  Why no vanishing point perspective on icons?
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« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2012, 08:46:36 AM »


I'm just curious:  Why no vanishing point perspective on icons?

Because icons are painted to represent not what is earthly, temporal and eathbound, but what is heavenly, perfected and spiritual. The "inverse perspective", the absence of shadows, and the flatness of the compositions in icons are all ways of expressing what is not of this world.

It is a common misconception that the iconographers of the early Christian period “couldn’t draw or paint”, that this was a primitive or naïve art form. In this regard, it must be remembered that the Byzantines were the descendants of the Greeks and Romans who gave the world the physical perfection of Classical sculpture and murals (such as the sculptures of Praxiteles and Pheidias, or the frescoes of Pompeii), and where the development of geometry allowed the refinement of linear perspective in depicting three dimensions on a flat surface.

By contrast, icons attempt to express the opposite of earthly "realism".
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« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2012, 10:25:33 AM »

OK, yes that's why i gave both examples, the strict and the lenient.

sounds logical what yo just said. so then it must just be IDOLS--that are worshiped as gods!?

Or maybe statues aren't demons at all?

WOW!

a statue is not a demon. It represents one. Like a icon of st. Nikolas is not st. Nikolas it represents him. Like a pic of your mama is not your mama it is just an representation of your mama.

ha ha i said your mama 3x.

You're actually projecting modern sentiments onto the past. Pagans didn't think statues represented their Gods the way we now think statues represent things, they thought their Gods actually lived in them and sometimes even animated them.
I think there's a wide variety of ways in which non-Abrahamic traditions view the relation between their Holy Persons and material objects. The Jains, for one, have statues, but do not see the Enlightened Ones as living in those statues. Theravada Buddhists have a similar perspective. Sri Ramakrishna, a devotee of the Goddess Kali, did -- like many Hindus -- see Kali as "living" in the Kali murti ("statue"), but Ramakrishna was also clear that Kali was not different from Brahman, the formless, bodiless, infinite, unbounded Reality.
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« Reply #35 on: September 30, 2012, 10:59:35 AM »

When we say "pagan" re: idols in the bible, usually the pagans encountered by the Hebrews are meant, or so I assumed.

The Lugal of Babylon at the time of the Assyrian conquest dragged a statue into the southern Iraqi marshes to avoid losing the deity to the conquerer.
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« Reply #36 on: September 30, 2012, 04:02:55 PM »

When we say "pagan" re: idols in the bible, usually the pagans encountered by the Hebrews are meant, or so I assumed.
Can we then assume that the belief that the "pagan gods are demons" does not necessarily refer to the Indian (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain) context?
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« Reply #37 on: September 30, 2012, 10:08:51 PM »

When we say "pagan" re: idols in the bible, usually the pagans encountered by the Hebrews are meant, or so I assumed.
Can we then assume that the belief that the "pagan gods are demons" does not necessarily refer to the Indian (Hindu, Buddhist, Jain) context?

Well, that quote is 'idols' in the Hebrew. They never met any Hindus while Israel the state was still powerful.
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« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2012, 06:28:40 PM »

The connection between the Tibetian images and Orthodox icons may be closer than some would think. Remember that Nestorian Christians settled all along the silk road. There were Christian communities (Nestorian ones) even in Japan as early as the 7th century. The greatest Buddhist temple in Japan in Kyoto is built on the ruins of the last known preEuropean contact temple in Japan. It ceased functioning around the 1100s. The Korean Hangul script itself likely has strong roots in the miss ionizing efforts of Nestorians in 8th century Korea.

It is in this time frame that one begins to notice Chinese and Tibetian Buddhist images have begun to incorporate some of the gestural language of Orthodox icons…like the thumb and two fingers together blessing…and I think also nimbi (halos). It also went the other way. Nestorians began importing Buddhist and Daoist motifs and symbols (angels that look like seated Buddhas, cross above a lotus) some time before the 14th century. It is also during this time that Buddhism developed the idea of bottisavas…savior buddhas…who hang behind to teach and save people who struggle to follow the way…likely a syncretism with Christian savior/saint motifs.
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« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2012, 06:57:16 PM »

Nestorians began importing Buddhist and Daoist motifs and symbols (angels that look like seated Buddhas, cross above a lotus) some time before the 14th century. It is also during this time that Buddhism developed the idea of bottisavas…savior buddhas…who hang behind to teach and save people who struggle to follow the way…likely a syncretism with Christian savior/saint motifs.
The bodhisatta/bodhisattva idea is present in the earliest Buddhist texts, written c. 100 BCE.
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« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2012, 10:50:36 PM »

Every Buddha has to start out as a bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is basically a Buddha-to-be.
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« Reply #41 on: October 14, 2012, 12:36:24 AM »

Every Buddha has to start out as a bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is basically a Buddha-to-be.

I thought a bodhisattva was one who voluntarily delayed his transition to nirvana to help other beings achieve enlightenment.
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« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2012, 12:45:53 AM »

Every Buddha has to start out as a bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is basically a Buddha-to-be.

I thought a bodhisattva was one who voluntarily delayed his transition to nirvana to help other beings achieve enlightenment.

Sometimes it is presented this way, but the general Mahayana teaching is that a bodhisattva is someone who vows to become a Buddha for the enlightenment and liberation of countless sentient beings. This is in contrast to the Hinayana ideal of the arhat, who attains a personal enlightenment.

There is no need to delay Buddhahood to help other beings achieve enlightenment, because that is what Buddhas do.
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« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2012, 02:14:20 AM »

Every Buddha has to start out as a bodhisattva. A bodhisattva is basically a Buddha-to-be.

I thought a bodhisattva was one who voluntarily delayed his transition to nirvana to help other beings achieve enlightenment.

Sometimes it is presented this way, but the general Mahayana teaching is that a bodhisattva is someone who vows to become a Buddha for the enlightenment and liberation of countless sentient beings. This is in contrast to the Hinayana ideal of the arhat, who attains a personal enlightenment.

There is no need to delay Buddhahood to help other beings achieve enlightenment, because that is what Buddhas do.

Wait...Buddhas do things? Clearly everything I thought I knew about Buddhism is wrong. I need to start another thread for this.
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« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2012, 02:17:38 AM »

There's a reason mahayana can absorb local deities like a sponge.

Afaik Chan Buddhism popularly confuses arhats and boddhisatvas. I could be wrong on that point.
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