Baqâ’ (بقاء) is a Sufi term describing the station of “abiding in God” that comes after the Annihilation of Fanâ’: a return to the world, to “chop wood, carry water”. Ibn Arabi describes it as “life with God, through God, in God, for God.” In the Zen Ox-herding Pictures, it is described by the final picture quoted above.
In an older version of this design, I had made the word solid against the background. It became clear to me recently that this wasn’t right: in this state, one is not an entity self-contained and separate from all else; life flows through.
Watch the making of this piece: