Road to Nirvana - The Kunming Dharani Pillar
Pedro Ceinos - Arcones.
2019. 98 pp.
The main courtyard of the Kunming Municipal Museum houses one of the most original art-works from the time of the Dali Kingdom in Yunnan. It is called the Dharani Pillar of the Dizang Temple. It is a stone pillar a little over six meters high, in the shape of a pagoda, on whose surface some of the most beautiful Buddhist sculptures of China have been carved. It is a pillar full of symbolism that shows a distinctive spiritual conception of the universe, in which Buddhist devotees are expected to find a path that leads from ignorance to enlightenment, in the transit between life and death, especially the general Gao, for whom it was built.
We are convinced that the structure and elements of the pillar are much more than a magnificent work of art. When they are framed in the Buddhist beliefs of the time and in the artistic traditions of the Buddhist world, they will convey separate sets of secret communications that will appeal to sages, nobles and laymen, providing paths to enlightenment, transcendence and the salvation of the soul. When the study of this pillar is explained in the light the religion and politics of the ancient Yunnan, 800 years ago, it will reveal interesting aspects of the nature of the Kingdom of Dali, of its ruling elite and of the religion they practiced.