When I first completed this painting last year, I titled it “Under the Bodhi Tree” which isn’t bad…but it didn’t feel like the name or completely recognize the actual theme of the painting.
That title does a great job of representing the broader location of the story, but a lot of things happened under that famous tree.
Most of them involved other ways Gautama Siddhartha (aka Gotama, Shakyamuni, Sakkamuni) pursued enlightenment until he finally found success simply by sitting and observing his breathing as he describes in the first discourse.
This painting on the other hand symbolizes the moment that Gautama defeats Mara and becomes the Buddha.
It is taught that after Gautama attained enlightenment, Mara challenged him, declaring that he too was enlightened and should be the Buddha. To show that Gautama could be shaken, Mara sent all forms of attacks and temptations to bring Him back into attachment and suffering. Finally Mara even sent their three beautiful daughters (known as Desire, Aversion, and Passion) to tempt Him.
Gautama Siddhartha reached out his right hand and with a single finger touched the Earth, and the Earth Mother herself acknowledged His imperturbable nature by lighting the Morning Star and Gautama became the Buddha.
The painting itself is Gouache on 18×24 Watercolor paper. 140 lb. It is not in print, but the original is available to the right owner.