What inspires you? What helps you get up in the morning and attack the day? What keeps you going when all the odds are against you?
Art and ancient culture is deeply inspirational for me. We had the good fortune of getting to see the Mogao Cave Temples exhibit at the Getty. I studied the Caves when I was at University, and I feel deeply connected to the beauty and power of the ancient art left behind.
The Caves sit along the Silk Road near Dunhuang in the Gansu province of China. This was an area of the ancient world where people of all different religions and ideologies traveled, traded and met.
It is said that a Buddhist monk, Lè Zūn, was traveling along the Silk Road when he came to the cliffs of Dunhuang in 366 CE (the Common Era). When he saw the cliffs, he had a vision of a thousand Buddhas bathed in golden light. This vision inspired him to dig a cave and honor the energy of the place. Other monks began to join him, ultimately carving out 492 temples in the cliffs. The Caves now contain some of the most detailed and preserved examples of Buddhist art spanning a period of 1,000 years.
As we stood in the recreated Caves at the Getty, a sense of wonder and kinship blossomed in my heart. I envisioned monks spending countless hours sitting and carefully creating their devotional art. I imagined the frustration, anguish and transcendence that must have filled them as they carved, painted and sweated over their great work. It filled me with inspiration to re-commit to my daily devotional practice, create more art, access the divine through physical labor.
You can check out the recreated Caves here: