Luminous Mind

Forests & Woodlands

Luminous Mind

Luminous Mind. 2021.

In the Early Buddhist texts there are various mentions of luminosity or radiance which refer to the development of the mind in meditation. In the Saṅgīti-sutta for example, it relates to the attainment of samadhi, where the perception of light (āloka sañña) leads to a mind endowed with luminescence (sappabhāsa). According to Analayo, the Upakkilesa-sutta and its parallels mention that the presence of defilements “results in a loss of whatever inner light or luminescence (obhāsa) had been experienced during meditation”. The Pali Dhātuvibhaṅga-sutta uses the metaphor of refining gold to describe equanimity reached through meditation, which is said to be “pure, bright, soft, workable, and luminous”.

One of my recent works, this image was created during a solo retreat in the South Cape area at a wonderful place called Bodhi Khaya Nature Retreat. Milkwood dominated hills surround the retreat, and many short and medium hikes are available through these hills. I jumped at the opportunity to be alone in nature every morning and evening, and the experience was just so fulfilling and rejuvenating.

Woodland and forest images are surprisingly difficult to get right. A lot of factors have to align for those memorable images, and without those alignments, creating a gorgeous woodland image, especially with sunny conditions, is extremely hard.

I walked away with one image that I’ve processed to achieve something I would be happy to print. Not for lack of subject matter, but sometimes there is only one image that stands out. One image from a weekend of morning and evening hikes, of gorgeous light conditions, of beautiful experiences. One image after carrying a heavy backpack with gear and a tripod through kilometres and kilometres of wooded hills, through bogs, and lots and lots of spider webs.

One image that just so happened to be the first image I took during this weekend.