Cultural feast in Lismore for the Thai New Year

CELEBRATION: Chalee Kotsu, of Eureka, participating in the blessing by the Monks for the Thai New Year celebration in Lismore.

CELEBRATION: Chalee Kotsu, of Eureka, participating in the blessing by the Monks for the Thai New Year celebration in Lismore.

6th Apr 2015 5:00 AM

Mireille Merlet-Shaw

SIZZLING satay sticks, Buddhist monks and plenty of colourful dancing all helped to create Lismore’s celebration of the Thai New Year – Songkran Day.

The New Year celebration in Thailand is all about friends and family coming together, according to Petcharat Moss, from the Northern Rivers Thai Community Association.

“What we want to do is say thank you to Australia, and our Australian friends and family, because we have a great life here,” she said.

“We have been supported by the people here, and we love to give back to the community,” she said.

The day included religious and spiritual ceremonies, cultural dancers and music as well as Thai boxing demonstrations.

Buddhism was the key religion of Thailand and Buddhists monks play a key part in New Year celebrations, Ms Moss said.

“We invite the monks to come here to pray for blessings,” Ms Moss said.

Visitors to the festival were invited to take part in a water blessing ceremony to convey their best wishes to the elderly and the monks, she said.

“When people put the water in the palms of the monk and the elderly, they give them their best wishes, and then the monks and the elderly give the wishes back to them as well,” she said.

It is all about showing respect and gratitude to the seniors, she said.

Thai New Year marks the start of the northern spring and the passing of the solstice, she said.

Songkran in Lismore has been held at the Rous Hall for many years, but this year it took over the Goodman Plaza at the Southern Cross University. Continue reading

Cultural Artifacts Bear the Brunt in the Island of Treasure Hunters

The reclining Buddha at Danagirigala which lost an eye and suffered other damage in 2005/photographs by Department of Archaeology Sri Lanka / dpa

The reclining Buddha at Danagirigala which lost an eye and suffered other damage in 2005/photographs by Department of Archaeology Sri Lanka / dpa

New Indian Express
By Doreen Fiedler
Published: 15th March 2015

The reclining Buddha statue in Danagirigala, Sri Lanka, now only has one eye. Treasure hunters pulled out the other one. The stone pillow that the Buddha rests his golden, curly-haired head on even has a hole in it.

“The perpetrators were hoping to find gold, silver, precious stones or ivory,” says Senarath Dissanayake, director general of Sri Lanka’s Department of Archaeology. Destructive treasure-hunting is a major problem

in the island country off the tip of India.

“Treasure hunting is based only on folklore about great riches. It has no scientific basis,” Dissanayake says.

The culprits in Danagirigala went home empty-handed, as did the ones who damaged a stupa (Buddhist burial mound) in Danowita or in Nurwarakanda where treasure-hunters drilled into the chest, belly button and pedestal of a seated Buddha statue.

Over the past two decades, police have come across more than 4,000 cases of such vandalism. The situation was particularly bad in 2012 and 2013 with the floors of caves dug up, the houses of former chieftains torn down and monks’ dwellings destroyed.

On average there was more than one such act every day. “The trend is a consequence of the fact that people no longer have morals and ethics,” Dissanayake says. Continue reading

Tibet 2.0

Tashi Norbu's Circle of Khataks suggests the performance of “Tibetanness.”

Tashi Norbu’s Circle of Khataks suggests the performance of “Tibetanness.”

Tricycle
April 01, 2015
A new contemporary art show asks what it means to be Tibetan.

Anne Doran

Art Benchung Buddhism China contemporary art Events Gade Gonkar Gyatso New York art News Review Tenzing Rigdol Tibet Tibetan Buddhism Trace Foundation Tibetan Social Justice Arts & Culture

Transcending Tibet
Through April 12, 2015
Rogue Space, New York

Organizing an art show around a geographic region or ethnic group is treacherous: it can easily result in a grouping of works that otherwise have nothing in common or, worse, reinforce unwanted stereotypes. Transcending Tibet—presented by the Trace Foundation in partnership with Arthub Asia—is alert to these dangers and does a good job of avoiding most of them.

Curators David Quadrio and Paola Vanzo accomplished this by commissioning all new pieces for the show. They asked 26 Tibetan artists—living both in and outside Tibet—and four non-Tibetan artists influenced by Tibetan culture to respond to the question “What does it mean to be Tibetan today?” On view at Rogue Space in Chelsea are 30 different answers.

For both the curators and the artists, “Transcending Tibet” means transcending the image of Tibet as both a mysterious Shangri-La (an image embedded in the Western imagination since the time of Marco Polo and energetically promoted by Chinese tourist boards) and as a political cause (for groups promoting human rights and democratic freedoms in the Tibetan region, since 1951 a part of the People’s Republic of China [PRC]).

Transcending Tibet also means, in many cases, transcending tradition. Most of the artists included in the exhibition struggle to find a balance between preserving Tibetan culture (which is also primarily a Buddhist culture) and addressing the contemporary realities—such as modernization, urbanization, and the secularization of Tibetan culture—of those living in Tibet and its diaspora.

Many of these artists, including Rabkar Wangchuk and Tulku Jamyang, update the forms of traditional Tibetan Buddhist thangka paintings, prayer scrolls, and folio scriptures. Others adopt the tropes of Western Pop Art, as in the case of TseKal, or Communist Socialist Realism, as does Pempa (who, like many Tibetans, uses only one name). Although some Tibetan contemporary artists produce abstract paintings, and while much Tibetan traditional art, from sand mandalas to textiles, features reductive images or geometric designs, the show does not include any nonobjective art. Even Pema Rinzin, an artist known for abstraction, is represented here by a painting of stylized, but recognizable antelopes. The omission constitutes one of the show’s few missteps—some examples of non-illustrational art would have helped balance its occasionally didactic tone.

Of the artists employing traditional Buddhist imagery, some retain its original meaning in works meant to express their faith, while others repurpose it to convey a social or political message. In the former category is Livia Liverani, an Italian who has studied classic Tibetan sacred art. Isolating visual elements from traditional thangka paintings, she presents them as delicate appliqued and painted images. Her work for this exhibition depicts the blue, three-faced, six-armed Vajrayana deity Guyasmaja engaging in sexual intercourse with his consort. Representing the union of wisdom and compassion necessary for full enlightenment, the couple—flanked by flowering plants cut from Japanese textiles—floats on a pure orange ground.

Other devotional artworks include Puntsok Tsering’s calligraphy spelling out the words for “butter lamp”—a ritual object used to make the traditional offering of light—and Chinese artist Lu Yang’s digital animation Wrathful King Kong Core, which advances the practice of analytical meditation by explaining scientifically how the brain can become wired for anger (and rewired through mindfulness). More ambiguous is Jhamsang’s depiction of the Buddha of long life, Ushnishavijaya. Trained as a thangka painter, Jhamsang here employs a traditional technique of fine black lines on a gold ground but presents the deity as a robot, invoking the language of anime to indicate the goddess’s superhuman powers—or perhaps comment on contemporary society’s devotion to technology.
Continue reading

Academia.edu Roundup

Some articles of interest recently posted on Academia.edu:

“A Votive Prayer and Dedication on an Early Thangka of sMan bla”
by Amy Heller
Study of a thangka of the Buddha of Healing from western Tibet or the Western Himalayas, attributed to late 11th to 12th century, in the context of a review of the development of the iconography of the Buddha of Healing from Dunhuang to the earliest representations in mural paintings of Western Tibet. This painting is part of a corpus of several paintings attributed to Western Tibet/ Western Himalayas, now conserved in the Pritzker Collection, which exhibit specific techniques of preparation of canvas similar to Indian antecedents according to a painting conservator. This article also… [more]

Review of: Amy Heller & Giacomella Orofino. Discoveries in Western Tibet and the Western Himalayas: Essays on History, Literature, Archaeology and Art
by Christian Luczanits
Piats 2003: Tibetan Studies: Proceedings of the Tenth Seminar of the International Association for Tibetan Studies, Oxford, 2003. Brill’s Tibetan Studies Library, vol. 10/8. In: Journal of the American Oriental Society 129 (3), no. 3 (2009): 503-5.

“Imperial Interest Made Manifest: sGa A gnyan dam pa’s Mahākāla Protector Chapel of the Tre shod Maṇḍala Plain.”
by Karl Debreczeny

Book Review of The Black Hat Eccentric (Indologica, October 2012) by M. Maria Przyjemska (Bonn University)
by Karl Debreczeny

An Inscription on the Pedestal of a Kashmirian Buddha Image
by Alexis Sanderson
The transcription and translation of this inscription from 7th-century Kashmir, prepared by Oskar von Hinueber and published with a photograph of the image in Ulrich von Schroeder 2001, are corrected here, providing in place of a text that made little sense without assuming that its author’s Sanskrit was wildly inaccurate and his thought disordered an elegant and fully coherent dedicatory verse in faultless Sanskrit.

Treasure Caretaker Training in Bhutan

 

 

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Those interested can contact annshaftel@me.com.

India keenly exploring possibility of extending TVoA to China: Union Tourism Minister

Travel Biz Monitor
Saturday, 04 April, 2015, 16 : 00 PM [IST]

By TBM Staff | Mumbai
At a recent meeting in New Delhi with a six-member delegation from China’s Ministry of Religious Affairs, Dr Mahesh Sharma, Minister of State with Independent Charge for Culture and Tourism and Minister of State for Civil Aviation, Government of India, said that the nation is keen to take forward its relationship with China and it is in this background that they are keenly exploring the possibility of extending the facility of Tourist Visa on Arrival (TVoA) to China. The Chinese delegation was led by Wang Zuoan, Minister of Religious Affairs of China.

The purpose of the visit by the Chinese delegation was to take the cooperation with India further, especially in the area of Buddhist studies and exchange. The Buddhist Forum is being held in China in October this year to promote research and Buddhist studies, he added.

Welcoming the delegation, Dr Sharma said that Buddhism is the binding force between the two countries, and India values the common cultural relations with China, especially those based on Buddhist links, as per a PIB release.

Both sides agreed to work towards holding a jointly-curated exhibition on Xuang Zang (Hsuan tsang) in India and China. India has also proposed to host Virtual Museums on Indian Culture on Chinese platforms.

DG, ASI and DG, National Museum will visit China for the purpose of academics and research on the cave murals of Aurangabad (Ajanta & Ellora), and Dunhuang (China). India also requested China to provide Buddhist texts, if any, in Chinese Temples to India for translation into Sanskrit.

Also present at the meeting was Ravindra Singh, Secretary, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, who informed that an exhibition on Buddhist Art was recently held in Shanghai and the same was visited by three lakh people. An exhibition of Modern Art will be organised soon in Guangzhou by NGMA of Ministry of Culture.

[link]

7 held with ancient Buddha statue

 The statute is believed to be around 300 years old The statute is believed to be around 300 years old Photo by : Post Photo

The statute is believed to be around 300 years old The statute is believed to be around 300 years old Photo by : Post Photo

Kathmandu Post
– RAJENDRA NATH

NEPALGUNJ, FEB 05 – Police arrested seven people, including two women, in possession of ancient statue of Lord Buddha believed to be around 300 years old, from Banke on Thursday.

The arrestees are Chhetra Bahadur BC, 36, of Salyan; Shiva Singh, 22, of Jajarkot; Nabaraj Yogi, 24, and Padma Chaudhary, 29, of Banke; Jit Prasad Chaurel, 28, and Laxmi, 24, of Okhaldhunga and Bikash Shahi, 26, of Humla. They had been staying at a Agaiya Bazaar-based hotel in Kachanapur-1 since January 27.

As per the statement of the arrestees, a police team from Area Police Office in Kohalpur recovered the idol from an animal shed belonging to Gurulal Chaudhary at Baijapur-2 in the district. The statue is 10 inches tall, 8 inches wide and weighs 11.89 kilograms.

Police suspect that the smugglers hid the idol in the shed in order to smuggle it to India through Nepalgunj border point. Police claimed the arrestees are members of an organised group of smugglers. “Preliminary probe shows that the arrestees are involved in idol smuggling. Further investigation is under way,” said a police officer involved in the investigation.

“We kept them under surveillance as they, hailing from various districts, were found living in the cottage for days in suspicious circumstances. During interrogation, it was revealed that they were involved in stealing and smuggling ancient statues,” Deputy Superintendent of Police Janak Shahi said, adding that they told police that they purchased the statue from Dolpa-based businessman Badal Thapa for

Rs 800,000.

[link]