To the newbies who may not know but before I joined Tsem Ladrang, I was in Kechara Saraswati Arts Department. In the year 2007, Kechara Saraswati Arts was officially born and branched out to its own premise a few doors away from Kechara Paradise SS2. I am forever grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity and thank Rinpoche for making me a part of Rinpoche’s vision of an art department that brings blessings and benefit to many people. I also wish to thank Rinpoche for actually believing in me, who knew nothing about setting up a department, and to trust me enough to set up an art studio, renovating it and run this department. I will always treasure this experience because I learnt so much from it and made me the Buddhist artist I am today.
Kechara Saraswati Arts department (KSA) was a huge learning curve for me. It’s not just about Tibetan traditional art and the Buddhas’ sacred iconography, but it was a chapter on learning how to be responsible, taking charge, being skilful, communications, marketing and most importantly how to benefit others through Buddhist art all rolled into one. Getting volunteers in was a huge challenge at that time because we were so new and Kechara House was just established not too long ago. There weren’t many KH members yet. However, KSA was no ordinary art studio; it was a place that gave many art lovers an avenue to express their spirituality. For some it was healing through the therapeutic ways of painting a Buddha image. I was one of those who benefited from this healing experience. It was perhaps the best way to calm one’s mind down as it is another form of single point meditation; the plus point is… you’re meditating on an Enlightened Buddha image. Some came just to enjoy the fun, warm, cosy, chill out environment, and went away with blessings of Dharma imprints.
Whether you know it or not, the very fact that you saw a Buddha image, even a glimpse of it, plants seeds of Buddha’s enlightened qualities in your mind stream. This seed can be triggered in future for one to become an enlightened because in Buddhism, we believe that everyone has the potential to become an awakened Buddha. A Buddha image or statue represent a Buddha’s body, hence cleaning, painting, adorning it with jewels, anything we do to beautify a Buddha’s body, helps to purify our own body karmas, to have good health and long life. It’s a great way to collect tremendous merits as well as create the causes for us to have a beautiful body in our future lives. So anyone who comes in to KSA will surely be blessed in these ways.
KSA is the only Tibetan art studio in Malaysia, where our very own Malaysians are the ones who learnt this traditional Tibetan statue painting from actual Tibetan artists. In this way, it’s a place that is preserving the lineage and tradition of Tibetan Buddhist art and at the same time it’s a place where artists get creative. They are constantly exploring new ideas to enhance the beauty of a Buddha image. Rinpoche mentioned that for every Buddha image we painted, adorned and decorated with jewels, after it’s being invited home by the person it belongs to, each time when the person prays or does any offerings to the Buddha image, those who created it, who painted it, decorated it, also received the same merits as you we the cause for creating that Buddha image. All this is made possible because of Rinpoche’s vision in creating a Tibetan art studio with home-grown Malaysian people as artists.
Thinking back, it is was an amazing experience and I owe it all to Rinpoche. It is definitely a privilege to play a small part in the manifestation of a Tibetan art studio in South East Asia. I will always treasure and remember this part of my spiritual journey, the many challenges and fears faced and conquered. One of the biggest lessons I learnt is to never say or think you “cannot” because “Fear of failure is natural, but never trying, you fail anyways.”~#Tsemtulku.
Although KSA is now under the fantastic leadership of Mr. Paul Yap, it will always have a very special place in my heart. Thank you Rinpoche, you gave me purpose in life.
- Check out this amateur video we made when we just started KSA team. This was before we found a premise for KSA department and we were squatting in
Kechara Paradise SS2.
- Also thank you to all those who were our first few volunteers, none of this could have happened without them. You know who you are, see pictures here…
- A brief teaching by H.E. Tsem Rinpoche on the importance of creating Buddha images, mantras, consecration and it’s many benefits.
- A volunteer’s experience on the opening of KSA