Conception Of Self

Conception of Self: Mixed Media Prints

Cognitive, conative, and the affective; I've always been interested in the concept of self especially living in a world full of Me Me Me-ism manifested by over-abundance of selfies. I want to explore the concept of self not through Freud or Jung or even Kohut's perspectives, but something older and more profound: what the Buddha said 2500 years ago and recorded in the Diamond Sutra.  


Samjna 我相 ( 18" x 24") 

Samjna is self-awareness to put it in layman's terms. It's the awakening moment of I am Me, I am who I am, and I am what I think I am. Following this line of logic, I use  mixed media of iphone photography, oil painting, and digitally applied textures all wrapped up in one to create a sense of Me, which is multi-layered with super fine details and visual complexity. A perfect representation of my struggle with the meaning of self: real, unreal, and hyper-real. 

According to the Diamond Sutra, we start with Samjna or the awareness of oneself, and because I have a concept of myself now, I will also become aware of other's individual existence outside of myself.  Since you are different from me you cannot be my Samjna, therefore you must be a totally different entity.


Pudgala 人相 ( 24" x 18") 

Pudgala: In the sutra the individual entity is called Pudgala or in laymen's term: he, she, and they.

This artwork is a series of questions I have in regard to the concept of Pudgala. For instance, what is the impetus that makes us exclaim: " Yes, I'm me and you are you!" And can it be possible we truly are not that much different from each other?

What if that moment of "Ah ha" never happened and Samjna never came into existence? Can it then be possible to experience sameness with one another, and discard the external variations that we use to differentiate one another? 

Food for thought. 


Sattva眾生相 (24" x 18")

Sattva as described in the Diamond Sutra. In the simplest term Sattva is the multitude of selves that populates our world. It includes the conception of self from human beings and non human beings such as the animals, and I guess you would call them "supernatural beings."

According to Buddhist belief, who we become depends on the karmic experience we accumulate through each life we are reborn to. No matter who you are reborn as, the awareness of one self (Samjna) will always be there, therefore creating a collective awareness of selves: Sattva. 

To create Sattva, I use the first print I did which is the Samjna print, and add layer upon layer of paints, patterns, textures, and masks to represent the idea of different conceptions of self from animals and supernatural beings. 

I just wonder, once you pry away all the external layers of disguises, will you find the same concept of self underneath?

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