Friday, December 23, 2005

B. Jones Archive: The Vision of God Laughing

Once again, as part of the B. Jones Archive Project (and I will cease with these prefatory remarks when I feel more comfortable with my role as "curator" here), I present one of his drawings from the Incarnations of God series, The Vision of God Laughing.

The Vision of God Laughing, B. Jones
Ink on Paper, 1994

B. Jones' notes indicate that the initial inspiration for this design was the "triadic (fourth implied) image" of Shiva Maheshvara at the Elephanta Caves in India.

Shiva Maheshvara, Elephanta

However, the final design, he once told me, was a "blatant rip-off" of an 18th century silk embroidery of Avalokitesvara. I believe he saw this in New York. Of course I do not have access to that, but I did find this image from

LSD Blotter Art of Avalokitesvara by Grey

The story was that Avalokitesvara vowed to save all sentient beings. Right when he thought he had completed his task, he found that there were still some unsaved beings. For an instant, he doubted his ability to fulfill his vow and his head shattered into a myriad of faces. However, the god to whom he had made the vow blessed him again and made him even more powerful, with all of the faces able to look in all directions, able to discern all unsaved beings and thus forever liberating Avalokitesvara from doubt.

Concerning the title, Jones told me that he first came across it in Kundera, but that it is an old Jewish idea: "What man calls thinking, God calls laughter". We had many discussions about this and there is much more to say in a later post.

B. Jones never posted any of his drawings here. I once asked him about this and he replied that he didn't see that they would be of much use to others, that they were like mirrors that only he could see into. I disagreed then and I disagree now.

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