(Founder President, BH Foundation)
Published in My Republica on September 7, 2013
Despite being a Hindu throughout my life, I have very high regard for Buddha and Buddhism. I regard Buddhism the highest pedestal of all other existing religions and philosophies in the world because of the fact that Buddha always humbled himself even after his ‘Enlightenment’, and conveyed his disciples and followers that he was no God, no teacher, no preacher, and asked them never to worship him as the Almighty, rather follow the path of ‘Dharma’ and ‘Shangha’.
I love this philosophy to the utmost. With the exception of Buddhism, other religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islamism, believe in a Creator the Almighty Lord positioned and crowned high in Heaven and all the human beings down below on Earth creating a ‘Laxman Rekha’ a concrete wall and an unbreakable barrier between ‘Man’ and ‘God’, the concept of ‘Heaven’(Swarga) and ‘Hell’ (Narak). In Buddhism, there is no such term as ‘Heaven’ and ‘Hell’, or ‘Man’ and ‘God’; everyone is equal. In sharp contrast to other religions, even an ordinary man born, grown up, and lived as a human being can in his course of life attain ‘Enlightenment’ and become a Buddha himself.
My love, passion, respect, and dedication to Buddha and Buddhism genuinely inspired me to paint and spread the Buddha’s message through my paintings entitled 1) Faces of Buddha and 2) 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 started visualizing that the elements of Buddha exist 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 rituals 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 life.
In the series of paintings ‘Reincarnation Of Buddha’ I attempted to portray the Buddhist monks, who have marched and are marching their ways to the path of world peace, hope, faith and freedom and enlightenment. What all these monks have in common is they all have the origin in Nepal, the place where Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was born. Each of them has taken different route, but each and every track merge to the same point, the point of attaining the enlightenment (‘gyana’).
It is interesting to note that the ‘Reincarnation’ represents a group, a 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 reincarnation of Buddha has also been taking place.
The message I wish to convey through the series “Reincarnation of Buddha” is besides Siddhartha Gautama, it is believed that other Buddhas have also existed and have come and will come to the world in the form of human beings for the welfare of mankind and the establishment of world peace. And each Buddha is and will be an enlightened teacher as Siddhartha Gautama who shared his insights to help people overcome sufferings (the so-called “dukkha”), to eliminate ignorance (the so-called “agyana”) and finally to put an end to all the sufferings and ultimately to attain the sublime state of “nirvāņa” (the so-called Mokshya), 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 and such reincarnation of Buddha is believed to take place in different parts of the world, in different places and in different times.
These days all over the world, campaign are going on to highlight the fact that Buddha was born in Nepal. I have emphasized on the topic that Buddha was not only born in Nepal but also being reincarnated in Nepal in different forms irrespective of gender and religion. This is the initiation of a real big and broad mission with a nationalistic touch and its radiations should spread far and wide to safeguard the purity of humanity. I wish the paintings associated with it make the viewers feel warm enough to tempt the entire world to crave for such wonderful, multiple reincarnations, ultimately leading to a supreme sense of universal relief from the ever-expanding anxiety and suffering.