The Noble Eightfold Path

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After achieving enlightenment, one of the first teachings of the Buddha was what he referred to as the Noble Eightfold Path or the Wheel of Dharma.  For those not yet familiar, this concept can be envisioned as a great wheel containing eight distinctive spokes.  All 8 spokes lead into one central hub in the middle just a a wheel on a bike.  The spokes represent the teachings and practices that will lead to this one central core, or enlightenment, and therefore the end to suffering.  These 8 central teachings are as follows:

1-      Right View- One must try to see the world through the same lenses of the Buddha, with compassion and deep rooted wisdom.

2-      Right Thought- One must live by the notion that every thought affects our well-being.  We must train our minds to think clearly and with the intention of doing good in order to build strong and resolute character.

3-      Right Speech- We must speak kindly and lovingly to every living being.  We must speak to every living being with respect and trust, regardless of their position or current state.

4-      Right Conduct- We must conduct ourselves in a manner of extreme integrity.  Our behavior should stand as mirror to our character and our intentions must match our actions.

5-      Right Livelihood- We must choose a profession that does good upon others, not harm.  We must not engage in activities that do not benefit the greater good of society.

6-      Right Effort-  We must put our best foot forward at all times and make a sincere effort to do our best in everything that we aim to accomplish

7-      Right Mindfulness- We must make it a constant habit to be aware of all our thoughts, words, and actions.

8-      Right Concentration- We must try to put our full attention on only one thing at a time, paying undivided attention to everything we do.

It is said that if one follows these eight noble truths we may learn the way to enlightenment just as the Buddha once did.  By doing so we have a chance at everlasting and complete happiness.

“However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?” Buddha

The Five Precepts of the Buddha

As with all the major religions, Buddhism provides some basic principles to follow in ones everyday living.  These principles need not solely apply to practicing Buddhists, but can be beneficial for every living being to keep in mind as they interact with the world.  After enlightenment, the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama,  wrote out some basic rules to be followed in daily practice which he called “The Five Precepts”.  The five precepts are as follows:

1)      No Killing- One must always have a divine respect for every living being.  Life in all its forms is something to be cherished and respected.  As the Buddha said:

“Life is dear to all beings.  They have the right to live the same way as we do.”

This even applies to those pesky mosquitoes that may spoil our outdoor activities.  Even the smallest being has a right to life.

2)      No Stealing- One must live their live with superior integrity with respect for every living beings property.  We would not want others to steal from us, so following the same principle we should not take from others what is not our own.

3)      No Sexual Misconduct- We must try to live with a pure intentioned nature, valuing our bodies and those of others with the utmost care and respect.  Our bodies are our temples and a gift from our ancestors.  Virtue is something to be cherished.

4)      No lying- We must always speak with right speech, as the noble eightfold truths hold.  This means speaking with honesty without blemishing the truth.  The Buddha believed if we all spoke only the honest truth, the world would be much more peaceful.  This even applies to correcting others when a misunderstanding may occur.

5)      No Intoxicants- The Buddha held dearly living a life of pure mind, body, and soul.  Subjecting oneself to intoxicants would obviously taint both our minds and bodies, therefore we must try not to put anything into our bodies that may hinder us.

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For practicing Buddhists, following the precepts to the tee can sometimes be a difficult task.  We must learn to put our best intentions forward and give them our best effort.  The precepts are not supposed to be easy, but challenge us in our paths to enlightenment.  For many this is a lifelong struggle, and learning experience.  The purpose of the precepts is not to enforce perfect behavior, but to learn from our mistakes and put forth our best effort to follow his teachings.  In doing so, we can grow ever closer to our most awakened selves.

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



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