Practice of Buddhism & World Class Statue Artisans of Nepal
Statues have always played an important role in our life. We may follow different path of religion but we believe in same kind of ethical values that motivates us to follow the right course in our life. Everyone has different imagination of god and that beautiful imagination give results to wonderful creation of statues. Whether we follow Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity or any other religion, we all are worshipping statue with our own values.
Nepal is one of the countries in the world where people never fight for any religious belief. Though I am a Hindu, but for me every religion is equal and I respect it from the core of my heart. And it may surprise the world that in Nepal the two religions, Hinduism and Buddhism go together. We visit Syambhunath, also known as monkey temple, Boudhanath stupa very often because these places really have amazing feelings of peace. The environment itself is calm with soothing background music and the good aroma of incense.
I have been brought up in a culture where we worship the statues of god and goddess every day. We believe that when we worship the statue, god will definitely hear our prayer and show us the right path to accomplish our zeal and destinations.
However, the practice of Buddhism is different where followers believe in path leading to approaching into the true nature of reality. They do not directly worship Buddha statue rather they follow the philosophy that focuses on personal spiritual development.
I have always been amazed by the fact that what inspires the people who work so hard to create statues of god and goddess even without seeing them. There must be some kind of motivations or factors that persuade the artist to bring their imagination into beautiful statues.
The statues are not the object we buy for the decorative purpose. They have got their own importance and meaning. It is believed that even we cannot see god, but if we create a statue and offer these object as a symbol of god, that is equal to seeing the god.
Statues making process has started in Nepal since a very long period of time. In Nepal, Malla period is known as the golden period for sculpture history. Statues of Ganesha, Lakshmi, Shakyamuni Buddha were created during this period. Shakya family has always given an important contribution to the creations of the finest statues since the long period of time. They have been committed to excellence in the creation of Buddhist and Hindu statues throughout the Asia.
Artist Bodhi Raj Shakya (1920-1990) was a well know name and considered as one of the best sculptors in the valley. He belonged to the family of metal casters from Uku Bahal, Patan, Nepal. He had worked for both Hindus and Buddhist statues for national and international dealers. His passion for work made him one of the most renowned people in the history of art and sculptors.
Another important name in the Nepalese sculpture is artist Babu Kaji Bajracharya, from Uku Bahal, Patan, Nepal. He got training from his uncle Bodhi Raj Shakya for 8 years. His statues are small in size but extremely precise and fine. He has given his contribution in monasteries and temple.
We cannot forget artist Sanu Raja Bajracharya from Patan, Nepal who is considered as one of the finest carvers especially in face carvings. His works are extraordinary and his finest carving skill brings life to the statues.
The reason behind the popularity of Nepalese statues is that they are handmade by our artist with full dedication and passion. Artists have to work really hard to give statues a meaning so that people can truly worship them. Statues making is like a culture in Nepal, the art is transformed from one generation to another.
Buddha statue is famous all around the world. The statue can be seen with a Buddha’s hand in number of different gesture also known as mudras. Each posture signifies different qualities personified by the Buddha. Many people keep Buddha statue in front of them while doing meditation to disciplined their mind and soul. The gestures of Buddha also influence the selection of the statue.
A seated Buddha statue with the right hand raised and facing outwards is believed to protect and fight off fear. This gesture is called Abhaya. Likewise, in Medicine Buddha statues the right hand of Buddha is held facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing outward toward the viewer, a bowl of herbs rests in the left hand upon the lap. This symbolize that Buddha is delivering the knowledge of medicine to the people of the world and believed to heal the physical and mental illness and sufferings.
Likewise, Shakyamuni Buddha statue shows the Buddha in Bhumisparsha mudra where right hand point towards the Earth, hanging over the knee, palm inward. The left hand in this Mudra rests in the lap, palm upright. This symbolize the moment of Buddha's attaining enlightenment.
Statues of Buddha in different mudras remind us to make an effort to develop peace and love within ourselves and within the environment where we live. Keeping Buddha statue is an expression of appreciation for teaching the meaning of life.
“The practice of Buddhism itself enables people to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness and wisdom so that they can realize the true meanings of life”
The statues of Buddha are the symbols of Buddha’s teaching and his meditational practice to overcome the negativity of life and focus on attaining the spirituality. Buddha statues have also been associated with peace and there is a belief that when you keep these statues at home or your desired place you may feel the inner peace which creates positive vibes.
To deeply understand Buddha’s principle and posture, detailed explanation and research is must. I am making an effort to learn more about Buddhism. I would definitely share my findings about Buddha statue in the coming days. Learning is a continuous process and my research is still going on.