In each of us
Despite being a Hindu throughout my life, I have a very high regard for Buddha and Buddhism. I regard Buddhism as the highest pedestal of all other existing religions and philosophies in the world, because Buddha was always humble even after his ‘Enlightenment’.
He conveyed to his disciples and followers that he was no God, no teacher, no preacher, and asked them never to worship him as the Almighty, but rather to follow the path of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Sangha’.
I love this philosophy to the utmost. With the exception of Buddhism, other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam believe in a Creator, the Almighty Lord positioned and crowned high in Heaven, and the concept of ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’.
In these religions, the human beings on Earth are behind a ‘Laxman Rekha’, a concrete and unbreakable barrier between ‘Man’ and ‘God’. In Buddhism, there is no such term as ‘Heaven’, ‘Hell’, ‘Man’ and ‘God’.
Everyone is equal. In sharp contrast to other religions, even an ordinary man can, in his course of life, attain ‘Enlightenment’ and become a Buddha.
My love, passion, respect, and dedication to Buddha and Buddhism inspired me to paint and spread the Buddha’s message through paintings entitled Faces of Buddha and Reincarnation of Buddha. My seventh solo painting exhibition was recently accomplished under the aforementioned themes at National Art Council, Babarmahal, Kathmandu.
While painting portraits of Buddha, I visualized the elements of Buddha in each individual. It is just a matter of degree. Given that Buddha is a union of a particular state of mind and of action, each individual is capable of adjusting the extent of Buddha in him/her.
Buddhism is a fusion of religion and philosophy. Buddhism is a religion to the extent that it is characterized by devotional practices and ritual devotion to the Buddha or Buddhahood. However, it neither involves belief in a creator God who has control over human destiny, nor seeks to define itself by reference to a religious belief. In addition, Buddhism has been described as a philosophy, a way of life, a code of ethics, and science of mind.
Its path is driven by the goal of attaining self-knowledge and freedom. A Buddha is a fully awakened being who has completely purified his mind of the three poisons of desire, aversion, and ignorance, and has ended the suffering which unawakened people experience.
In the series of paintings ‘Reincarnation of Buddha’, I attempted to portray the Buddhist monks who are marching their ways to the path of world peace, hope, faith, freedom and enlightenment. What all these monks have in common is they all originate in Nepal, the place where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born. Each of them has taken a different route, but each and every track merges at the same point, the point of attaining the enlightenment (‘gyana’).
It is interesting to note that ‘Reincarnation’ represents a group and society, and not an individual. Each Buddha is representing a group of people, a society covering a broad geography. The reincarnation series of paintings have depicted the fact that elements of Buddha exist in ordinary people, and that each one is capable of marching towards the path of Enlightenment and transforming herself/himself into Buddha. In fact, the paintings portray Nepal as a source of peace, where the reincarnation of Buddha has also been taking place.
The message I wish to convey through the series “Reincarnation of Buddha” is that besides Siddhartha Gautama, it is believed that other Buddhas have existed before, and will continue to come to the world in the form of human beings for the welfare of mankind and the establishment of world peace.
Each Buddha is and will be an enlightened teacher like Siddhartha Gautama, who shared his insights to help people overcome suffering (“dukkha”), to eliminate ignorance (“agyana”) and finally to put an end to all the sufferings and attain the sublime state of “nirvāņa” (Mokshya). Nirvana is a state of extreme peace and happiness that a person achieves after he has given up all personal desires, materialism, and worldly affairs. This is just one example of the reincarnation of Buddha. Such reincarnation of Buddha is believed to take place in different parts of the world, in different places, and in different times.
These days, campaigns are going on all over the world to highlight the fact that Buddha was born in Nepal. I have emphasized that Buddha was not only born in Nepal, but is also being reincarnated in Nepal in different forms, irrespective of gender and religion. This is the initiation of a broad mission with a nationalistic touch, and its radiations should spread far and wide to safeguard the purity of humanity. I wish the paintings make the viewers feel warm. I wish they tempt the entire world to crave such wonderful multiple reincarnations, ultimately leading to a supreme sense of universal relief from ever-expanding anxiety and suffering.
The author is an artist, engineer and literary writer.
Source: myrepublica.com (Sep. 7, 2013)