The Cycle of Sangsaric Phenomena

The Christian Bible and the Moslem Koran are oriented toward the enigmatic question of life after death. Their prophets and devotees considered spiritual experiences as unswaying truths inspired from God. At no time did either believe these experiences a form of hallucinatory vision.

The Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Book of the Dead) accepts every vision without exception -- spiritual beings, gods or demons, paradises or places of torment -- as illusionary, being based upon what is known as sangsaric phenomena. The Bardo Thodol views the problem of the after-death state as psyche-physical; its aim is to instruct the Dreamer to awaken into Reality and thus free himself from the obscurations of sangsaric illusions. The alternatives of the psyche in Buddhism, based on the Bardo, are Nirvana (liberation) and Sangsara (existence of unending change and becoming, the cycle of birth to death to birth.) Sangsaric illusions are equated to what the Hindus call the grand illusion -- Maya.

My intention in the Cycle of Sangsaric was to evoke images from the concept that the psyche functions after death. The series is a journey of the mind from death to rebirth.

The work of art and the viewer are microcosmic images of this same phenomena. As death reflects life in the past tense, life also mirrors the image of death in the present. The artifact reflects the artist's mind in the past tense and lives when observed by the viewer who mirrors this reflection in his own mind. They are part of the universal duality of reflecting imagery (hallucinatory visions) experienced by all living and non-living forms -- the endless cycle of sangsaric existence.

Although the Bardo Thodol is the inspiration for the series, there is no direct tie. The prints are not illustrations. To approach them as such would be a misunderstanding of their intent.

Charles Klabunde