Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monks At Work: Sculpting Buddhas

It was one of my most treasured experiences of the trip. I had the afternoon to myself - no group excursions, no pending critiques for which to prepare - just a blessed few hours to explore on my own. I took to the streets of Luang Prabang with no destination or activity in mind, just wandering. In my meandering, I came across this small group of monks at the back of a temple, working on sculpting new Buddha statues. There was one main artist and several young apprentices. While the artist meticulously sculpted the faces or small details, the younger novices were mixing clay and filling molds for what would become additional adornment on the statues (details like the curlicues of hair). They worked in concentrated silence, but were open, receptive and friendly when I respectfully asked if I could watch and photograph them at work. I stayed for quite a while, just observing. I thought it was quite special, and an experience on the trip that was unique to me.

"Treasure silence when you find it, and while being mindful of your duties, set time aside, to be alone with yourself. "

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