The beautiful, mysterious images you see here are known by a variety of names: "The Eyes of Bodhnath" ,"The Eyes of the Buddha", "The Bodhisattva's Eyes", and many other names. They are generally associated with the Buddhist stupas or shrines of Nepal, though they appear in many different spiritual traditions throughout the world.
Though their origin is Buddhist, their significance need not be restricted to any one spiritual tradition. Personally, I find them to be numinously powerful in a way that is hard to describe. One friend remarked that one is initially taken with their archetypal and mysterious force, but after a time, one sees the enduring kindness emanating from these eyes, a celebration of the tradition of Wisdom and Compassion from which they come.
I believe the "curl" in the center of the image is a stylized conch shell, an important icon in many eastern philosophies. But personally, I have chosen to see it as a question mark as well: a reminder of the "cloud of unknowing" in which we find ourselves, and the need to make an intelligent, authentic "sacred wager" if we are to approach the Divine (if there be such a thing, as I am convinced there is.)
Another friend also observed that, when viewed at a distance, this image looks a bit like a butterfly, with the two eyes resembling colorful wings. An interesting insight!
All the images you see here are in the public domain. The central image is based on a hand-painted scroll of the Eyes of Bodhnath that has come into my possession. The creation of the images themselves was my own work. I hope you will find them beneficial. Please feel free to use them in any respectful way.
To save any specific image to your computer, simply RIGHT-click that image, and from the menu that appears, select "Save Image As..." (or, within MS Internet Explorer, select "Save Picture As..."); then, browse your way to an approprate folder/directory, and click "Save". (If you are using a web browser other than one of the Mozilla / Netscape / Firefox or MS Internet Explorer browsers, the method that will work within your browser is probably quite similar.)
For comparison, here are a few images of the Eyes of Bodhnath that appear at different places on the Web (the second image gives you a nice sense of how large the image is on the stupa, since you can see people walking by at the circle of the dome):
Web Image #1
Web Image #2
Web Image #3
This may seem a bit odd: but I am not a Buddhist in any "official" sense. I have, however, drawn significant benefit from many Buddhist ideas (I believe), especially the "Bodhisattva Ideals" of Wisdom and Compassion (perhaps most fully expressed in the Mahayanan lineages of Buddhist thought.)
Should you wish to explore the Buddhist tradition and the philosophical thinking that has come from it, I encourage you to visit two different websites:
1) A fine presentation of the Dhammapada online [click here to visit]. The Dhammapada is a central text of many Buddhist traditions. Its focus is primarily ethical, not metaphysical. I regard it as a work that is surprisingly ahead of its time.
2) BuddhaNet.net [click here to visit]. A popular, well-done website which presents ideas and information from many Buddhist traditions.
That being said, I now return to my own peculiar melange of philosophical seculo-humanist-buddho-vedantan-judeo-christio-freethinko-skeptico-mystico-lacto-vegetario-unitarianism :) (Being cautious about organized religion, I have opted for the vastly disorganized variety! :)
May all sentient beings find true, lasting happiness!
David Brett Richardson
Berkeley, California, USA
February 07, 2006
Please feel free to leave me a voice message with your thoughts about these images:
[in the United States] Phone: (510) 558-9567
Thank you for stopping by! :)
P.S. A few other sacred images are posted below, which you might find interesting. These are also in the public domain, so you are most welcome to use them. The basic image is the "Eye of Horus" from the ancient Egyptian tradition, which appears in many forms and variations. Please click this link to learn a bit more about the "Eye of Horus", courtesy of Wikipedia.
You might also find my idea to ERASE poverty from the Earth worth considering -- it is called the "Forever Funds" concept, and it is described at this link:
Your feedback on this idea is most welcome!