Demons of distraction

It’s a sunny afternoon in Brooklyn with a lovely, cool breeze.  The windows are open, the laptop fired up, books and notes spread around me, and I’m all set to write… but, outside, cars, trucks and fire engines keep blasting their horns and instead of coherent thoughts taking shape, this image fills my mind.  And it does so make me smile. the detail shows the Buddha sitting in full lotus, one hand reaching down to the earth while two demons, one on either side of him, blow trumpets right into his ears. It is a detail from a painting I saw recently at the Rubin Museum of Art: made around 1850, it is so far my favorite depiction of the famous episode in the Buddha’s  life when he is meditating and reaching enlightenment despite demons trying to distract him.

It is on view as part of “Nepalese Seasons: Rain and Ritual” — for those who can’t get to the show, there is an image at  Himalayan Art Resources (No. 89010) and my review in the WSJ.

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