Early Life of the Buddha

Buddhism, one of the world’s major religions, began over 2,500 years ago with the birth of a prince by the name of Siddhartha Gautama, or the Buddha as we simply know him today.  Gautama was born in a small kingdom of Kapilavastu to father King Suddhodana and mother Queen Maya.   Upon his birth many sages predicted his likelihood of becoming a Buddha.  When the King heard word of this he vowed to do everything in his power to keep his son within his palace so that he may never venture away.

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By the time Gautama reached the mature age of sixteen he was married off to a gorgeous princess and showered in expensive gifts and palaces by his father.  But Gautama dreamed about life on the outside, dissatisfied with life inside his confinement.  He proceeded to sneak out of the confines of the greater palace on multiple occasions and it was on these ventures outward that he witnessed four things that would change his life forever.

When he ventured out the first few times, Gautama saw for the first time to effects of old age, sickness, and death.  His lavish lifestyle in his princely world began to disgust him as he realized all the suffering happening elsewhere.  On his fourth trip out he came across an aesthetic monk who had renounced all his worldly possessions in favor of learning the secrets and meaning to life.  Siddhartha Gautama decided he wanted to do the same.  He left his kingdom walls one final time in order to become a wandering monk himself.

Assassination Attempts on the Great Gautama Buddha

It is little known that during Gautama Buddha’s life on earth, he was not completely free of dissenters and discord.  Despite his serene and patient practice, Gautama was not without threat.  Just as every great spiritual or powerful leader in earth’s history, he faced jealous followers wanting to take his place in the world.    It is said that Gautama’s cousin, a monk by the name of Devadatta, was the worst of them all, attempting to take Gautama’s life on multiple occasions.  Legend has it, out of jealousy, Devadatta tried to undermine the Buddha and declared that he be given the chance to lead the sangha.  When this proved unsuccessful he tried to kill the great teacher to claim his following for himself.

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His first attempt involved hiring a group of archers to shoot at Buddha during his meditations, but as they approached the Buddha, they became overcome and began laying down their bows.  Instead of shooting, the archers now devoted themselves to him instead.  As one might imagine, this only served to anger Devadatta more.  In his next attempt Devadatta himself rolled a great boulder down a hill directly in Gautama’s path.  Luckily, the boulder split in two along the way with one half only grazing the divine Buddha’s foot.  Again diminished, Devadatta let loose a violent elephant to trample Buddha and everyone around him.  As all his murderous plots proved unsuccessful, Devadatta began to form breakaway following, attempting to recruit the Buddha’s followers for himself.  Although he managed to claim a handful, they all eventually made their way back to the Awakened one.

It is hard to believe that the great Awakened One could be met with disdain by any.  But just as every great spiritual leader, there were those who threatened to undermine his teachings.

New Shipment of Thai Brass Buddha Statues from Bangkok

In an age of diluted markets in which lean manufacturing processes aim to flood the economy with low priced products, one-of-a-kind, Thai Buddha statues, like those of native Thai artisans, lay unseen to most of the world.  Lotus Sculpture gives local Thai artisans new life, sharing their priceless creative masterpieces with the world.

Upon first traveling to Chiang Mai, Thailand in 1995 Kyle Tortora recognized the need for these beautiful hand-made Thai Buddha statues to be shared on a global scale.

It became increasingly clear that unless traveling across Thailand in person, purchase of these unrivaled Buddha sculptures was nearly impossible to the outside world.  Lotus Sculpture was started to bridge the gap between local Asian artists and western tastes for these stunning works of Buddhist statuary.

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Kyle regularly travels to Southeast Asia to visit with local artisans and hand-pick Buddha statues to buy directly, sometimes a year in advance of production.  By buying directly from local Thai artisans, Lotus Sculpture is able to bypass any middle man and give struggling artisans the financial support they need to expand their businesses. Since making his dream a reality by founding Lotus Sculpture in 2002, Tortora has personally watched small two person workshops grow to employ over 35 artisans.

The casting techniques used to create Thai Brass Buddhist statues are a true art form that have been passed on for generations within local families.   Not only does Lotus Sculpture get to partake in giving an artistic platform to these irreplaceable works of Buddhist art, it is able to bring global enterprise to those without the resources to do so themselves.

In a world where quantity often reins champion over quality, it is the aim of Lotus Sculpture to give life to an industry that has often struggled.  With the arrival of its newest shipment of over a 200 Thai brass Buddha statues directly from Bangkok, Lotus Sculpture once again champions local Thai artists without the opportunity to share their creative visions on a mass scale.

Watch for all the newly arrived Thai Brass Buddha statues as they are added daily in our New Arrivals Section

 

 

King Jayavarman VII Builder of Angkor Wat

Cambodian King Jayavarman VII Statue 37"

Click here to view this stunning statue of Cambodian King Jayavarman VII Statue 37″

With regards to the arts, King Jayavarman VII was responsible for the construction of numerous temples in the Angkor region and in other provinces. King Jayavarman VII was further championed as the greatest king of Angkor for liberating and unifying the country. His legacy lives on today as many of the structures remaining today within Angkor Wat were built during his reign. At the center of Angkor Thom is the Bayon Temple, famous for its distinct 50 towers, each bearing the large faces of Bodhisattva Avalokiteshavara on all four sides. These faces are thought to be copied from the actual face of King Jayavarman VII, whose smiles are so gentle that it is often referred to as the Khmer smile. This great king was a devout Buddhist of the Mahayana sect.

The Origins of Budai: Commonly Confused with Gautama Buddha

Fat & Happy Buddha Statue by Lotus Sculpture

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Many Americans mistakenly identify the Budai as that of the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.  The Budai is often depicted holding a cloth sack and is commonly referred to as the laughing Buddha or the fat & happy Buddha.  It is believed that the Budai is an incarnation of Maitreya or the future Buddha form that will succeed the historic Gautama Buddha by appearing on earth someday in the future at a time when Dharma will have been forgotten, in order to re-teach the pure dharma.  He is said to appear on earth one day and achieve complete enlightenment, just as the historic Gautama, teaching the world his wisdom.

In Buddhist folk traditions it is said that the Budai is a man of good and loving character and is admired for his genuine happiness, plenitude  and contentment.  A popular belief is that rubbing his belly will bring about good luck, wealth, and overall prosperity.  Incorporate a Fat & Happy Buddha Statue from Lotus Sculpture into your life and rub his belly for good luck and happiness!