Book Gallery: reading as a path to enlightenment


© Peter Y. Chou, Peter's Books(1995) using Sketcher 1.0

Peter's Books—This drawing shows love of reading as my path to cosmic illumination. While I do most of my reading indoors at home or in the libraries, I've placed the books outdoors to show that the spirit of those who wrote the books are at one with nature and the universe. I'm sitting on a rock reading a book of poetry with an illustration of a compass pointing due north. Five books are illustrated— a fairy tale about an elf in a magical forest, a mathematics book showing geometry and calculus, a chemistry book showing Kekulé's dream of the Uroborus (serpent biting its tail) that led to the discovery of the ring structure of benzene, a science book with DNA, proteins, and our solar system, and a book of philosophy with the Tao circle of Yin & Yang. A dove is shown flying out of the inspired lines symbolizing mental leaps during reading & contemplation. The sun & moon represents the duality of day & night, male & female, creative & receptive principles operating in the cosmos. The Big Dipper (Ursa Major) is shown high in the sky and also inside the cave, where the Great Bear hibernates deep within us. In the foreground is a grassy lawn with a bird, a flower, a snail, baseball bat & ball. These are the worldly delights which could slow us down in the spiritual journey, represented as the path across the desert to the mountainous cave beyond. I've placed the stars inside the cave to show that the cavernous depth need not be dark, but is a source of inner light.

Visual Composition:

The composition of this drawing may be divided into three vertical sections: The grassy lawn with the reader on the rock (earth), the sky with sun, moon, and stars (heaven), and the path leading to the cave mountain (vertical ascent linking heaven with earth). The drawing of the Big Dipper inside the cave shows my belief that heaven is attainable here on earth, but we must make the heroic journey to conquer our fears and explore our inner self. The mountain range moves from the sharp peaks at the left to the smooth hills at the right. This represents the steep ascent at the start of the spiritual quest which has been compared to as the razor's edge. But as one proceeds with patience & courage, the path becomes delightful & invigorating to the body & mind. Peace is found when we realize that the path between heaven & earth is not in space but within ourselves. Pythagoras was insightful when he said "From earth to heaven, every step along the way is heaven." We can then rejoice that heaven is right here on earth here & now, and every moment is an occasion for celebration.

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