Wheel of Life - Bhutan Dreaming

The design is based upon the Wheel of Life thangka format. Many of the source images are from Bhutan. It is a commission for a teaching image - didactic in intent - concerning sustainable living. The assignment was to put such "modern" information into a framework (design) that would be easily recognized and read by a typical Bhutanese viewer.

The parts of the Wheel are are follows:

The inner circle shows the cock, the snake and the wild boar symbols - symbols of lust, bodily needs, ego. The inner ring shows "good karma" and "bad karma" effects - with the good karma leading to eventual Buddhahood.

The middle ring (consisting of 6 large slices) traditionally shows scenes for the 6 realms. In this case, I have shown realms relating to ecological living: green sustainability vs. out-of-control development & resulting pollution. Starting at the top running counter clockwise: a view of Bhutan today with mountains and lake; the landscape with sustainable energy (windmills and solar arrays); a waterfall and pristine glacial river with prayer flags; mountain poppies in a meadow; a view of lake/river pollution and uncontrolled discharge; a view of air pollution from factories and burning forests.

Around the Wheel's outer ring is Yama - Lord of Death / Karma.

I also placed some local fauna (birds and leopard) around the outside along with a traditional offering symbol.

So, this is my first attempt at creating a didactic visual that can be used to tell a specific story (contrasting two possible approaches / outcomes -> sustainable vs. current madness). Which path will Bhutan take into their future?

They talk of GNH - Gross National Happiness, so I imagine they will maintain the beauty of their land and the stewardship of it by continuing in a sustainable approach to living.


Kara said...

Wow! That is fantastic! Your work is so deep.

Keep creating!!


-mg- said...

MY brother came back from his trip to Bhutan where he took this image to hand out to folks he met along the way - villagers, towns folks, Monks and so forth.

Funny thing is, that rather than viewing this image as instructive - "lessons to be learned", the first reaction of the vast majority of Bhutanese was to press the image to their foreheads in an act of devotion!