Stories of Heaven Within the Arts






 

From a long time ago, humans have been dreaming about life in heaven. If we hear the word ‘heaven,’ we commonly think of religion or, otherwise, our own images in our mind that have been planted culturally. However, irrespective of religious or any other cultural background, ‘heaven’ is something that we yearn for all the time. That’s why it is not difficult to find stories of heaven from classic art.

 

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Le printempsou le terrestre, NicolasPoussin,17c

 

Most of the stories in classic paintings are based on the Bible. The story that the first of mankind lived in heaven, but started to live in pain as they ate the forbidden fruit and were banished from heaven, has been embedded in our mind, even beyond religion. The painting above portrays the first human beings– Adam and Eve – living the life of heaven before banishment, whereas the painting below portrays their life where they could no longer live in heaven.

 

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Adam et Eve chasses du ParadisTerrestre, GiuseppeCesari, 16c

 

At this point, we must understand the real meaning of this story. The fruit called ‘the forbidden fruit’ does not exist in the world. The expression that they ate the forbidden fruit only symbolizes that mankind first started to distinguish between good and evil. Humans, whose state used to be the ‘Origin,’ which the Garden of Eden symbolizes, have lost the original mind since the human mind started to appear, which distinguishes between good and evil. It fundamentally means that our ‘original sin’ is all kinds of false minds that we have made by ourselves in our own mind. We, humans, yearn to return to heaven as we got farther away from heaven. We always have a thirst to go back to our origin.

 

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Journey of the beatified, Dieric Bouts, 1468

 

Humans have a limited idea that heaven is vaguely somewhere in the sky. Countlessart pieces have also been created due to such imagination. Only by looking at the symbolic meaning, the way to heaven does not look that easy. In the picture above, humans are shown following an angel because they are full of longing for heaven, yet the way is neither smooth nor close. This would also be an abstract impression that we all feel about heaven. Where it is located… The way to get there… There is certainly confusion and uncertainty. We are sure that there is heaven but at the same time, we cannot be sure whether we can reach it.

 

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The Land Of Cockaigne, Pieter Bruegel le Vieux, 1567

 

Sometimes, human’s misdirected imagination creates a dream for their ideal heaven. To lazy people who are lethargic and tired of doing anything, heaven must be the place where they only play, eat and sleep. However, the real heaven would be the place where everyone does their work diligently, become one and live happily, wouldn’t it be so?

 

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Heaven, 15c

 

We have been farther away from heaven since we first started to have ‘human mind’ with discernments and distinguishability. If we throw away our mind’s frame that each one of us has, where we are at the moment, here, would be heaven. And a person who is right in front of me at this moment would be an angel.

 

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The Guardian of Paradise, Franz von Stuck, 1889

 

So far, we have created an imaginary heaven with our own imagination limited to our religious background and have been dreaming about it. However, unless your mind is in heaven at this moment, heaven would be a fantasized kingdom that exists nowhere. The answer is always near us, in fact. Let’s look at the world which the beautiful sunshine illuminates. Let’s feel how trees, grass and animals live. When seeing the world of the pure nature as it is, we can feel heaven.

 

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Le Paradis Terrestre, Paul de Vos, 17c

 

Because nature doesn’t have the mind that humans have, it lives as it is. Each member of nature does its role assigned to it, silently, according to nature’s flow. That’s how it lives. Not to have the mind of distinguishing this and that… that is the same as the key to creating heaven on earth.

Are you dreaming of life of heaven? Then, look into your mind first. When you empty your mind cleanly and become the mind like that of nature that is heaven – the place that exists originally – it would already be within your mind.