THE BUDDHA AND THE TREE OF LIFE

Based on Buddhist stories about the life of the Buddha, Siddharta Gautama during the period of his life when he was in deep meditation prior to achieving enlightenment. The work is performed in front of visual images, including unique Video taken in Tibetan monasteries and spellbinding Images of Buddhist holy sites and including striking Masks, Costumes and Poetry



While deep in meditation, The Buddha is attacked by Mara, Lord of Death and Desire, who is repulsed. Next, Mara's three daughter's, delight, desire and discontent try to tempt the Buddha, to divert him from his path. Finally, Mara challenges the Buddha to provide proof of his virtue. The Buddha summons Mother Earth to witness his past charities. Amid storm and earthquake, Mother Earth arises and wrings out her hair, from which flows all of the water that has been offered in gratitude by recipients of The Buddha's generosity in earlier lives. Mara is washed away and The Buddha resumes his meditation that will lead him fibnally to release from samsara.

Om Tare Tutare Ture Soha

Choreography: Anjali

Music: original recordings made in India and sound collage by Anjali and David Bignell; Dancers: Anjali, Melanie Masks: traditional Seraikela Chhau, modified by Andrée Pouliot; Poet/Narrator: Tony Gaston.

Dance of the Seeker

The seeker acts as our guide. The wonder of creating new life and the joy of experiencing the world through the eyes of a child is followed by the inevitability of old age, suffering and death - which are the reality of samsara.

Dance of the three animals

The centre of the Tibetan wheel of life portrays three creatures symbolising destructive mental states. Insatiable greed is represented by the pig, anger and hatred by the snake, pride and lust by the rooster. These give form to the causes of our suffering and the destruction of the planet.

Dance of Tara

In his compassion for those trapped in the wheel of samsara, Avalokitesvara weeps. From his tears is born Tara, the Goddess of kindness and compassion, who assists Avalokitesvara in his task of leading humanity towards enlightenment. In times of adversity, the Tara mantra "Om tare tutare ture soha" brings relief and happiness. The cycle is completed by a dance symbolizing release from the cycle of existence.

Mara

While seated beneath the Bodhi tree, on the brink of achieving enlightenment, Buddha attracts the attention of Mara, Lord of Death and Desire who attempts to frighten the Buddha and divert him from his goal.

Mara's daughters

The Buddha remains unmoved, so Mara despatches his three daughters, Delight, Discontent and Desire. Their task is to seduce the Buddha and thus destroy his resolve to attain enlightenment. They too, fail to divert him.

Mother Earth

Finally, Mara challenges Buddha to prove that he has earned merit in earlier lives. The Buddha summons the Goddess Sthavara (Mother Earth) who rises from the ground and wrings out her hair, from which flows all of the water offered in thanks by recipients of Buddha's charity in earlier lives. The flood carries away the hosts of Mara and Buddha enters the meditative state that will take him to enlightenment. Mother Earth returns to her subterranean home.