Buddha Nature in a Geode: Student Digital Scholarship

[The following post is by Brooke Reiche, a student in Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan’s Fall 2015 class, “Introduction to Buddhist Traditions.”]

During my Introduction to Buddhist Traditions class, we were introduced to Scalar as a platform for creating polished and unique group projects. One main focus of these projects was the work of the Japanese artist Iwasaki Tsuneo. He painted visually stunning representations of Buddhist teachings, often integrating script from the Heart Sutra into his pieces in interesting and creative ways. The images he used, which were often nature based, were chosen to illustrate certain characteristics of Buddhist concepts, such as lightning bolts in reference to sudden enlightenment.

Lightning, by Iwasaki Tsuneo
Lightning, by Iwasaki Tsuneo

While working on this project I found myself inspired by Tsuneo’s work, and I was curious to see if I could create my own image using his method of representation. I also wanted this image to relate to the project that I was working on, which focused on Buddha nature. After some thought, I arrived at the idea of a geode. My intention was for the geode to display the hidden nature of Buddha nature in every being through the crystals inside of the formation. I also added an English translation of the heart sutra in gold along the rim, in an attempt to represent how the power of Buddhist teachings could break through the plain rock of relative reality to reveal the crystals of ultimate reality.

"Geode" by Brooke Reiche
“Geode” by Brooke Reiche

Scalar was a great platform for this, as it allowed for stunning image quality and freedom of design that let me see my piece in beautiful detail on the same scale as that used by Iwasaki. It was a very enjoyable process that was rewarding to complete.