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sporadic quotes and inspirations
The Nine Progressive Stages of Mental Development According to Shamatha Meditation Practice (Tibetan Thangka Painting).
 The practice of Shamatha meditation develops the ability to focus the mind in single-pointed perfect concentration and is a prerequisite for the development of vipashyana or analytical insight meditation. Shamatha meditation should ideally practice in an isolated place and one should seat in meditation posture of Vairochana Buddha. The object of concentration is usually the image of the Buddha or a deity. The illustration of the development of mental tranquility is brilliantly depicted in this thangka in nine progressive stages of mental development which are obtained through the six powers of study, contemplation, memory, comprehension, diligence and perfection. The first stage is attained through the power of study and or hearing. The monk fixes his mind on the object of concentration. Here a monk chasing, binding, leading and subduing elephant whose colour progresses from black to white. The elephant represents the mind and its black colour the gross aspects of mental dullness. The monkey represents distraction or mental agitations, and its black colour, scattering. The hare represents the more subtle aspect of sinking. The hooked goad and lasso which the monk wields represent clear understanding and mindful recollection. The progressive diminishing along the path represents the decreasing degree of effort needed to cultivate understanding and recollection. The five sense objects represent the five sensual source of distraction.

The Nine Progressive Stages of Mental Development According to Shamatha Meditation Practice (Tibetan Thangka Painting).
The practice of Shamatha meditation develops the ability to focus the mind in single-pointed perfect concentration and is a prerequisite for the development of vipashyana or analytical insight meditation. Shamatha meditation should ideally practice in an isolated place and one should seat in meditation posture of Vairochana Buddha. The object of concentration is usually the image of the Buddha or a deity. The illustration of the development of mental tranquility is brilliantly depicted in this thangka in nine progressive stages of mental development which are obtained through the six powers of study, contemplation, memory, comprehension, diligence and perfection. The first stage is attained through the power of study and or hearing. The monk fixes his mind on the object of concentration. Here a monk chasing, binding, leading and subduing elephant whose colour progresses from black to white. The elephant represents the mind and its black colour the gross aspects of mental dullness. The monkey represents distraction or mental agitations, and its black colour, scattering. The hare represents the more subtle aspect of sinking. The hooked goad and lasso which the monk wields represent clear understanding and mindful recollection. The progressive diminishing along the path represents the decreasing degree of effort needed to cultivate understanding and recollection. The five sense objects represent the five sensual source of distraction.

Buddha sitting in bhumisparsha-mudra posture (calling the earth to be his witness). Birmany. White marble with traces of polychromy. Gallo-Roman museum of Lyons.
The “earth witness” Buddha is one of the most common iconic images of Buddhism. It depicts the Buddha sitting in meditation with his left hand, palm upright, in his lap, and his right hand touching the earth. This represents the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenment.

Buddha sitting in bhumisparsha-mudra posture (calling the earth to be his witness). Birmany. White marble with traces of polychromy. Gallo-Roman museum of Lyons.
The “earth witness” Buddha is one of the most common iconic images of Buddhism. It depicts the Buddha sitting in meditation with his left hand, palm upright, in his lap, and his right hand touching the earth. This represents the moment of the Buddha’s enlightenment.

Rare acrolithic marble sculptures of Demeter and Kore, from the extramural S. Francesco Bisconti sanctuary, Morgantina, central Sicily.
An acrolith is a composite sculpture made of stone and other materials, as in the case of a figure whose torso is made of wood, while the head, hands, and feet are made of marble. The wood was concealed either by drapery or by gilding; only the marble parts were exposed to view. This type of statuary was common and widespread in Classical antiquity.

Minotaur in Labyrinth, Roman mosaic at Conímbriga, Portugal.

Minotaur in Labyrinth, Roman mosaic at Conímbriga, Portugal.

King Minos and The Labyrinth, silver coin from Knossos, 200 BC.
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth (probably derived from the Lydian word labrys ) was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, a mythical creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it. Theseus was aided by Ariadne, who provided him with a skein of thread, so he could find his way out again.

King Minos and The Labyrinth, silver coin from Knossos, 200 BC.
In Greek mythology, the Labyrinth (probably derived from the Lydian word labrys ) was an elaborate structure designed and built by the legendary artificer Daedalus for King Minos of Crete at Knossos. Its function was to hold the Minotaur, a mythical creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus. Daedalus had so cunningly made the Labyrinth that he could barely escape it after he built it. Theseus was aided by Ariadne, who provided him with a skein of thread, so he could find his way out again.

Sacred Minoan symbols: Bull and Labrys.

Sacred Minoan symbols: Bull and Labrys.

An ornamented golden Minoan labrys.

An ornamented golden Minoan labrys.

Libation scene on the famous painted sarcophagus (dated to 1400 BC) found at Haghia Triada (ancient Minoan settlement in south central Crete). The priestess and her handmaiden are pouring the content of conical vessels on an altar adorned with double-axes (labrys).

Libation scene on the famous painted sarcophagus (dated to 1400 BC) found at Haghia Triada (ancient Minoan settlement in south central Crete). The priestess and her handmaiden are pouring the content of conical vessels on an altar adorned with double-axes (labrys).

Colossal statue of a hero, ‘Gilgamesh’, plaster cast, original in Khorsabad,late 8th c. BCE © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / photo: Olaf M. Teßmer

Colossal statue of a hero, ‘Gilgamesh’, plaster cast, original in Khorsabad,late 8th c. BCE © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / photo: Olaf M. Teßmer

The ceremonial vase from Uruk (copy), Original end of 4th millennium BCE © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / Olaf M. Teßmer

The ceremonial vase from Uruk (copy), Original end of 4th millennium BCE © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / Olaf M. Teßmer

Discovery of the statuette of a “high priest” in a vessel from Uruk/Warka Excavation
© Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient Abteilung

Discovery of the statuette of a “high priest” in a vessel from Uruk/Warka Excavation
© Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Orient Abteilung

Reconstruction of a clay cone mosaic from Uruk facade in the Vorderasiatischen Museum © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / Olaf M. Teßmer

Reconstruction of a clay cone mosaic from Uruk facade in the Vorderasiatischen Museum © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / Olaf M. Teßmer

Terracotta relief: Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight Humbaba, beginning 2nd millennium BCE © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / Olaf M. Teßmer

Terracotta relief: Gilgamesh and Enkidu fight Humbaba, beginning 2nd millennium BCE © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Vorderasiatisches Museum / Olaf M. Teßmer

A list of Sumerian deities, ca. 2400 BC. Each list entry is prefixed by the DIĜIR determinative. 
The Sumerian sign DIĜIR  originated as a star-shaped ideogram indicating a god in general, or the Sumerian god An, the supreme father of the gods. Dingir also meant sky or heaven in contrast with ki which meant earth.

A list of Sumerian deities, ca. 2400 BC. Each list entry is prefixed by the DIĜIR determinative.
The Sumerian sign DIĜIR originated as a star-shaped ideogram indicating a god in general, or the Sumerian god An, the supreme father of the gods. Dingir also meant sky or heaven in contrast with ki which meant earth.

Pegasus with the foal Equuleus next to it, as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. The horses appear upside-down in relation to the constellations around them.

Pegasus with the foal Equuleus next to it, as depicted in Urania’s Mirror, a set of constellation cards published in London c.1825. The horses appear upside-down in relation to the constellations around them.