The Art Institute of Chicago has one of the finest collections of art that has enlightened and strengthened my understanding in my personal art experience. The Museum itself is an artistic architectural structure that graces Michigan Avenue in Chicago Illinois. Entering inside, I sensed myself going back into an era, into a past where people traded ideas and learned from each other. It is a past, where I still find their works of yesteryears vividly within my grasp, to be remembered and shared as if their reflections of works were cast for the modern devoted learner. .
Walking into the Hall of the Buddhas, there was a sense of peace and guidance lingering inside me. The seated Bodhisattva, of the Northern Wei dynasty (386-534), CA.480, from the Yungang, Cave xv, Shani Province, made of sandstone, guarded the entrance. At first, I thought it was a time to be disciplined, but the transcending smile from the statue was a delicate fixed gesture that offered a feeling of welcome. It was not a place to confess your wrongdoings; neither was it a place for me to say, "Buddha I have sinned." It was a room to purify the mind, the mind that we take for granted without giving it harmony. There was a large mural decorating the main wall called "The Paradise of Bhaishajyaguru"(916-1125). I sat down wandering if the artist of the portrait knew that his work would one day be shared on this side of the world, in my time. Much like Jesus Christ and his followers, the mural is a painting of healers and saviors. It was a large figure of the Buddha of medicine, (Bhaishajyaquru) surrounded by followers of Bodhisattvas, Avalokiteshvara, and Mahosthamaprapta with twelve guardian generals who have pledged to disseminate the Buddha's teaching (Tradition of Liao 916-1125, Metropolitan Museum wall plaque). .
On the other side, I noticed a standing statue called "Quan Yin" that I have often encountered. It was an Avalokiteshvara from the Sui dynasty (581-618) made of limestone (Metropolitan Museum Plaque).