Author Topic: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols  (Read 7740 times)

RedLantern

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Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« on: January 20, 2013, 03:38:38 PM »
Thich Tu Nghiem , a Buddhist monk from Vietnam came across museums and exhibition of Buddha's idols in
many Asian countries he went to,and decided that Vietnam needs one as well.
He is in his fifties and has been a monk since he was twelve and had made pilgrimages to around 10 countries.He feels that statues can tell the history and culture of Buddhism in each country.
He considered his whole collection something that was also destined to happen and he has never thought of
selling any statue for any reason.His biggest wish right now is to be able to be able to build a museum at the
Pagoda,to display the statues to all followers,so that they can understand and learn more about the different
sides of Buddhist cultures.

WisdomBeing

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2013, 08:20:09 PM »
i always think that the word 'idols' sounds derogatory, perhaps because of the long associated negative view of Christianity for idols. Anyway, I prefer to refer to them as Buddha statues or images but a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Anyway, i think it is great that this monk is thinking of showcasing his collection of buddha statues. Buddha statues with the correct iconography are all roadmaps to enlightenment and if he can display the statues he has collected together with an explanation about who the Buddha is and its relevant iconography, it would be very educational for both Buddhist and non-Buddhist alike.
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pgdharma

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 10:18:30 AM »
I think it is great that this monk is setting up a museum to display these wonderful statues which praise the divine image. Buddhist statues are more of a meditation guide than a religious icon. Statues of Buddha remind Buddhists to find their inner balance and to remember their serenity.To meditate upon Buddha's image is to become aware of our Buddha nature, which is nothing other than the complete realization of one's own original, immutable self. The museum will be a very educational place where people will be able to learn and know more about Buddhism. It is said that those we see an image of a Buddha will be planted with the seed of Enlightenment.

Q

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 11:48:12 AM »
I think it is good to have an Asian based museum for Buddhist arts. I know we do have quite a number in Asian countries, but a really sophisticated and historical type museum on Buddhist arts is really difficult to find. The only one I know is Rubin Museum in NYC that displays a wide variety of Himalayan arts and is very well known among Buddhists. Would be great to have something like Rubin Museum in an Asian country to document the historical growth of Buddhist culture in the East where it first took root.

Tenzin K

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 04:28:02 PM »
What a wonderful idea to share the great culture and teaching of Buddhism through the Buddha statues. I always believe that the fastest way to learn is through visual and combine with clear explanations.

A lot of people ask us “What does this Buddha statue mean?” What they are really asking is, “What does the posture of this Buddha statue mean?”, since the pose of the statue has a particular significance to an event in the life of the Buddha. You can see more examples of these poses by visiting our Photos of Buddha Statues page.

Also referred to as an asana or an Attitude, there are over 100 poses illustrating the life of the Buddha. And each posture will have a specific hand gesture, called a Mudra, associated with the posture. An example would be with both hands folded face-up, resting in the lap. This is the attitude of meditation. Meditation is significant in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha because the Buddha meditated under the Tree Of Wisdom (Bodhi Tree) to attain enlightenment.

In Thai statues, it is often common to see these statues with the legs in the “Single Lotus Pose,” meaning that one leg rests on top of the other leg. There is also a “Double Lotus Pose” where the heel of the bottom leg is then pulled up so that it is “locked” into the top leg.
You will find similarities between some of the different statue postures and many similar named yoga poses. The Protection Buddha depicted on the left is shown Raising the Right Hand so as to offer protection or to ward off fear.

There are many other common poses as well, with the most common pose you will find in Thai temples is with the legs crossed, the left hand in the lap, and the right hand pointing to the ground with the palm facing inward toward the Buddha. This posture is known as Calling The Earth to Witness, and it is the definition of the moment of enlightenment for the Buddha.

It is the story of how the Buddha meditated all night to overcome the fears and temptations sent by the demon Mara to defeat the Buddha. Instead, the Buddha called the Earth Goddess to witness that the Buddha achieved enlightenment in order to share with the rest of the world. Witnessing that, the Earth Goddess wrung her hair, releasing flood waters that swept away the Demon Mara and all the temptresses he had released. In general, the carvings of the Buddha that you can invite are representations of highly venerated statues that are enshrined at major temples throughout the world, or a reproductions of well known sculptures that were originally commissioned by royal patrons, and as such, their meanings and significance are similar to the original statues.

Dorje Pakmo

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2013, 01:07:01 PM »
Quote
“My biggest wish right now is to be able to build a museum at the pagoda where I can display the statues to all followers, so they can understand and learn more about different sides of Buddhism culture.” - Tcich Tu Nghiem


I hope his wish will come true because it can really be a great way to introduce and educate people about Buddhism. By having the chance to see a Buddha statue, one is already very lucky and blessed. When his museum opens, Thich Tu Nghiem can allow his people to learn about the history of Buddha by showing them different Buddha statues from around the world which are of different time and and each has it's histories and story to tell. By understanding the stories behind the Buddhas statues, may many more be inspired buy the qualities of the Buddha and start transforming to become better people.

http://eyedrd.org/2013/01/buddhist-monk-thich-tu-nghiem-dedicated-to-collect-buddhas-statues-buddhism-found-in-vietnams-first-dynasty.html
DORJE PAKMO

buddhalovely

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 04:24:03 PM »
Nghiem keeps a full set of three Holy Mountain Buddhas of the Chinese Qing Dynasty from more than 200 years ago that was collected over two years. Among them, the Siddh?rtha Gautama statue was fished out of the sea in Da Nang, and two meditational deities Mañju?r? whose name can be translated into “Gentle Glory” in Sankrit were bought from Ho Chi Minh City and the third one was found in the Central Highlands town of Da Lat.

“The statues are one unit but they were separated and lost. Then, thanks to their destiny, they found each other again,” said Nghiem.“My biggest wish right now is to be able to build a museum at the pagoda where I can display the statues to all followers, so they can understand and learn more about different sides of Buddhism culture.”

Jessie Fong

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2013, 11:17:24 AM »
Thich Tu Nghiem is on the right track to start a museum to display his collection of Buddha images and at the same time to have a relation to the different sites of Buddhist cultures.

It would be great to have the statues with correct iconography all located within the same premise, making it more convenient for people to view and study.

Big Uncle

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2013, 11:51:20 AM »
This is interesting. I actually found an actual article that has a picture and explanation on the passion of this monk. It is interesting that he has images from all the major Buddhist cultures. It is interesting to read about the associated history affecting how the Buddha is portrayed. One thing is undeniable is that the Buddha is inextricably linked to eastern culture and history.

Monk destined to collect Buddha idols
Thanh Nien News, January 1, 2013


Hanoi, Vietnam -- Thich Tu Nghiem, a Buddhist monk, came across museums and exhibitions of Buddha idols in many Asian countries he went to, and decided that Vietnam needs one as well.
He started his collection more than ten years ago and now has nearly 300 statues, most of them between 300 and 700 years old. He is now considered by researchers as having the biggest private collection of its kind in Vietnam.

Some of the statues are on show at the first exhibition for local private collectors in the central city of Da Nang. Some were displayed at two Buddhism festivals in the city years ago.

But Nghiem is still looking forward to a grand display for the entire collection.

Now in his 50s, Nghiem, a monk since he was 12, has made pilgrimages to around ten countries. Many of his statues were brought back from China, India, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Japan, while others were gifted by local collectors or Buddhism followers.


 Nghiem feels the statues can tell the history and culture of Buddhism in each country.
“For example, although it all started in India, Buddhism has received different adaptations when it was brought to China and Vietnam, compared to Thailand or Cambodia.

“They integrated Buddhism with the distinctive local culture,” said the monk from Pho Da Pagoda in the central city of Da Nang, who took up collecting statues as his second interest after reading Buddhist books.

His collection statues, made of different materials including bronze, wood, silver, pearl and terracotta, also reflects different cultures.

One rare statue shows a Buddha in loincloth and a hat with bird feathers, which is a typical costume of Vietnamese people during the reign of the Hung kings, Vietnam’s first civilization dating back to between 2879 and 258 BC. Nghiem said that might suggest Buddhism came to Vietnam thousands of years ago.

Nghiem also has a Chinese statue of Siddhartha Gautama lying awake on a couch made in the 18th century, and an Indian statue of the Gautama Buddha with black hair.

The collection also shows Buddhism at its nadir during Tay Son, a period of peasant rebellions and decentralized dynasties between 1788–1802, when Confucianism was promoted more heavily than Buddhism.

It includes many Buddha statues from Champa, an Indianized kingdom that ruled in what is now parts of southern and central Vietnam from around the 7th century to 1832.

Among the collection is an epony statue of Maitreya – the smiling bodhisattva who is typically portrayed seated on a throne in simple dress; a 500-year-old bronze statue of Vairocana – celestial Buddha often interpreted as the Bliss Body of Siddhartha Gautama – from the Chinese Ming Dynasty; a relief of a devotee dating back a millennium ago; and a 700-year-old bronze statue of Amitabha who is said to possess infinite merit resulting from good deeds over countless past lives.

One of the most notable items in his collection, according to Nghiem, is one of Guanyin, known in Asia as the Goddess of Mercy who has the power to deliver the dead to Nirvana. This Buddha was carved on a piece of fossilized wood nearly a thousand years ago.

Some local collectors said the monk was offered VND500 million (US$24,000) for the statue but he was not interested.

Nghiem keeps a full set of three Holy Mountain Buddhas of the Chinese Qing Dynasty from more than 200 years ago that was collected over two years. Among them, the Siddhartha Gautama statue was fished out of the sea in Da Nang, and two meditational deities Mañjusri whose name can be translated into “Gentle Glory” in Sankrit were bought from Ho Chi Minh City and the third one was found in the Central Highlands town of Da Lat.

“The statues are one unit but they were separated and lost. Then, thanks to their destiny, they found each other again,” the monk said.

He considers his whole collection something that was also destined to happen.

One time he went to Ho Chi Minh City for another set of three buddhas from 500 years ago – Siddhartha Gautama’s Bliss Body Vairocana, the Siddhartha Gautama and his successor Maitreya, who Buddhists believe will appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach people. The set represents the past, present and future.

When he found the shop, he learned that another buyer had previously offered VND30 million ($1,440) for the statues, but the seller turned it down. Nghiem only had half the money, but the seller agreed to part with it.

That other buyer returned when he was about to take the set. The man made no complaint about the statues being given to lower offer, but also gifted Nghiem a 700-year-old statue of the Buddha in Nirvana after hearing about his exhibition plan.

Firm in his belief that his collection was meant to happen, Nghiem said he has never thought of selling any statue for any reasons.

Most of the space in his room of less than 25 square meters is taken up by the statues.

Nghiem said he has his eye on many more statues, but has not been able to get his hands on them yet. So he has hired people to paint them, and hangs the drawings around the room.

“My biggest wish right now is to be able to build a museum at the pagoda where I can display the statues to all followers, so they can understand and learn more about different sides of Buddhism culture.”
« Last Edit: January 27, 2013, 11:54:39 AM by Big Uncle »

bambi

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2013, 12:08:27 PM »
Nice! A museum! That would be interesting! Imagine all the Buddha statues that people get to see and learn. And also circumambulate while in there. I strongly support because it is very important for the younger generations to learn in this degenerating times. They should have well written facts about the Buddhas on display and also 'sell' books if any of the visitors decide to learn more. By 'selling' the books, it can be one of the way to support the museum.

diablo1974

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2013, 10:10:48 AM »
There are not many museums which solely dedicate to Buddhism, i know theres one in singapore, they housed statues from different cultures and era from the history of buddhism.  http://www.neixuetang.org/
I applause this sangha who has the good motivation to benefit everyone who will be visiting the museum in the future. Personally i think correct iconography is very important in religious objects, but having said that, a Arya Tara statue might mot have the best workmanship but this doesnt make it not to be Tara. Its still Arya Tara in the form of a statue.

apprenticehealer

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2013, 04:05:07 AM »
What a great and beautiful idea - to have a museum filled with Buddha statues.
When opened to the public, many many people - Buddhists and non Buddhists will find this a most interesting place to visit.
For the non Buddhist, it will be an eye opener to the many statues that will be displayed, with a description of each Buddha , but most importantly, it will plant a seed into that person, that if not in the present lifetime, then in future lifetimes , he will be open to the Dharma.
For the Buddhist, it will be a wonderful opportunity to pay respect and even to be able to circumambulate the museum , whilst doing one's prayers.

WisdomBeing

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2013, 03:13:52 PM »
What a great and beautiful idea - to have a museum filled with Buddha statues.
When opened to the public, many many people - Buddhists and non Buddhists will find this a most interesting place to visit.
For the non Buddhist, it will be an eye opener to the many statues that will be displayed, with a description of each Buddha , but most importantly, it will plant a seed into that person, that if not in the present lifetime, then in future lifetimes , he will be open to the Dharma.
For the Buddhist, it will be a wonderful opportunity to pay respect and even to be able to circumambulate the museum , whilst doing one's prayers.

what a nice idea - that people can circumambulate the museum. Imagine circumambulating so many Buddhist images! The museum can be not only educational but a place to collect merits. Perhaps there can be a prostration area in front so that Buddhists can prostrate to all these 300 and growing Buddha images also, like how Tibetans prostrate in front of Jokhang Temple in Lhasa.

The Vietnamese government should support this project as it could be a tourist attraction and pilgrimage place.
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rossoneri

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Re: Monks destined to collect Buddha idols
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 08:29:21 AM »
Nice idea for this monk to have collected many statues of Buddha from different countries. If i have the chance i will go there and have a look see myself :) But i any case i hope that there will be an explanation of each and every statue with a description to prevent any misunderstanding and at the same time it can be very useful information to the public or tourists. This museum to be also can be served as an eye opener to the Vietnamese and foreigners for the fact that there are also many form and practices of Buddhism.