Archive for the 'South-East Asia' Category

15
Mar
14

Latems creatief: When pictures become art paintings

Between the 31st of January and the 2nd of February there was an exposition of paintings at the “Hof Van Ryhove” in Gent, Belgium.

Monk with cat

Monk with pet

It was a group of art painters, grouped as ‘Latems Creatief’ who organized this exposition and who exhibited a large number of art works.

Young monk

young-monk-in-myanmar

Eight of the paintings were for sale, and all profit was foreseen for the Kalyan English Secondary School in Lalitpur, Nepal.

Touareg

Tuareg

These eight paintings were based on my photography, and I was very much honored by the request of their teacher Johan Morel to have some of my portraits selected to transform into art paintings.

Sadhu

sadhoe

Here you can see the transformations.

Inle Lake

rowing-during-sunset

To all members of the art group named ‘Latems Creatief’ I want to express my special thanks for their organization and for their donations to the Kalyan School in Nepal.

Red cap

red-cap

Monk with bowl

Ananda

Bandana

bandana girl

19
May
12

May 1st: a public holiday, named “Labour Day”

‘May Day’ is a name that relates to some public holidays that occurs in many different countries in the world, for some May 1st is ‘Labour Day’, for others 1st of May is ‘Workers Day’ but for many it’s also the day of the Lily of the Valley flower that is supposed to bring happiness to those who get a bunch of this lovely flower. To honor this holiday, I’m publishing some pictures of people at work in one of my favorite destinations in the world, the Republic of Nepal.

In many European countries, May 1st is ‘Labour Day’, which is a bank holiday. Workers will take part to ‘Labour Day’ parades, political demonstrations and special celebrations with Trade Unions.  Let’s take the example of May 1st events in Belgium, which is my home country. Christian and Social Union members will gather in the morning or in the afternoon. Their ‘Labour Day’ activities include walking down the streets, holding red, orange or green flags (colors of their Trade Unions or political parties), claiming more rights for workers, requiring solutions to overcome the financial and economical crisis. At the end of the day, they will end up drinking a beer and meeting some of our politicians.

In some other countries, May 1st is ‘International Worker’s Day’ instead, as their own ‘Labour Day’ occurs on another day of the year. But then again, political and union celebrations will take place. ‘Labour Day’ history is quite different in all countries but May 1st mostly celebrates workers and is internationally observed.

While ‘Labour Day’ is mostly a public holiday, some countries don’t allow their workers to take the day off. ‘Labour Day’ was born in the 19th century, when workers had enough of working too many hours and demanded a decrease of their working time. From a strike movement, it quickly became a popular holiday celebrated by and for the workers all over the world.

While some countries don’t celebrate ‘Labour Day’ on May 1st, it’s interesting to learn how some occidental countries celebrate this day. In the United Kingdom, ‘Labour Day’ occurs on the first Monday of May. Ireland also celebrates this day on the first Monday of May. The United States and Canada will celebrate their ‘Labour Day’ on the 1st Monday of September, however, they observe ‘International Workers’ Day’ on May 1st.

24
Mar
12

23rd of March 2012: ‘Vikram Samvat’ or Hindu New Year

Hindu New Year , also known as ‘Vikram Samvat’ is celebrated according to the Hindu Lunar Calendar. In the Indian Calendar, seasons follow the sun, months follow the moon and days both sun and moon. This era of Vikram Samvat began in 57 BC. To correspond with the solar calendar, 57 years are subtracted from the Hindu Year. Thus, the New Year begin with the first day of Kartik Maas following Deepawali Amaavasya.

“It is easy to talk on religion, but difficult to practice it.”

Ramakrishna

The origin of Hindu New Year relates to the legendary Hindu King Vikramaditya in 57 BC. According to the legend, King Gardabhilla abducted a nun by the name of Saraswati. She was the sister of the famous Jain monk Kalakacharya. The helpless monk looked for help of the Saka ruler in Sakasthana to defeat Gardabhilla. He was defeated and captivated by the Saka King. Though later released, but Gardabhilla retired to the forest where he was killed by a tiger. His son, Vikramaditya, who was brought up in the forest, later invaded Ujjain and pushed out the Sakas. Thus, to celebrate this event, he commemorated a new era called Vikram Samvat.

 

 

“The people, and the people alone, are the motive force in the making of world history.”

 

Mao Zedong
 

On this occasion people decorate their houses by lighting and flowers decorations of varied colors like pink, blue, yellow, red and purple, etc… People also designed rangolis. Rangolis are the main attraction of the decoration part.

 

“One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.”

Mother Teresa
 

On that day it is a tradition to wake up early in the morning. People take a bath and they wear new clothes. Prayers are offered to goddess Lakshmi and to god Ganesh. Flowers, fruits and Prasad are offered to God. After the worship, prasad and fruits are distributed among the family members and neighbors. Prasad is a material substance that is first offered to a deity and then consumed.

 

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”

Thomas Jefferson

 

The birth of a New Year is a whole new beginning and marks the time when the world awakens from its wintry slumber. So almost all the Hindu New Year festivals fall on the beginning of the spring months when nature turns bountiful and blesses the earth with fruitful greenery. The beautiful flowers that bloom in spring, the early bird songs, the fresh harvests which are the fruits of past labor and the commencement of a new agricultural cycle . All these symbolize the dawn of another year. Thus, every colorful spring festival of the Hindus, with all the expectations, apprehensions, hope and joy woven in the festivities, is essentially for a New Year celebration.

“The only source of knowledge is experience.”

Albert Einstein
18
Mar
12

Wisdom from Buddha

Siddhartha Gautama Buddha was a spiritual teacher from the Indian subcontinent, on whose teachings Buddhism was founded.  The word Buddha is a title for the first awakened being in an era.

“A dog is not considered a good dog because he is a good barker.”

Buddha

In most Buddhist traditions, Siddhartha Gautama is regarded as the Supreme Buddha of our age, “Buddha” meaning “awakened one” or “the enlightened one.”Siddhartha Gautama may also be referred to as Gautama Buddha or as Śākyamuni. The Buddha found a Middle Way that ameliorated the extreme asceticism found in the Sramana religions.

“Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.”

Buddha

The time of Gautama’s birth and death are uncertain: most early 20th-century historians dated his lifetime as 563 BCE to 483 BCE.

“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon and the truth.”

Buddha

UNESCO lists Lumbini, Nepal, as a world heritage site and birthplace of Gautama Buddha. There are also claims about birth place of Gautama Buddha to be Kapilavastu in Uttar Pradesh, or Kapileswara in Orissa. He later taught throughout regions of eastern India such as Magadha and Kośala.

“The wise ones fashioned speech with their thought, sifting it as grain is sifted through a sieve.”

Buddha

Gautama is the primary figure in Buddhism, and accounts of his life, discourses, and monastic rules are believed by Buddhists to have been summarized after his death and memorized by his followers. Various collections of teachings attributed to him were passed down by oral tradition, and first committed to writing about 400 years later.

“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”

Buddha
11
Mar
12

Wisdom from Confucius

Confucius (28 September 551 BC – 479 BC) was a Chinese thinker and social philosopher of the Spring and Autumn Period.

“The more man meditates upon good thoughts, the better will be his world and the world at large.” 

 Confucius

The philosophy of Confucius emphasized personal and governmental morality, correctness of social relationships, justice and sincerity. These values gained prominence in China over other doctrines, such as Legalism or Taoism during the Han Dynasty. Confucius’ thoughts have been developed into a system of philosophy known as Confucianism.

 “I hear, I know. I see, I remember. I do, I understand.”

 Confucius

Because no texts are demonstrably authored by Confucius, and the ideas most closely associated with him were elaborated in writings that accumulated over the period between his death and the foundation of the first Chinese empire in 221 BC, many scholars are very cautious about attributing specific assertions to Confucius himself. His teachings may be found in the Analects of Confucius, a collection of aphorisms, which was compiled many years after his death.

 “Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.”

Confucius 

Confucius’ principles had a basis in common Chinese tradition and belief. He championed strong familial loyalty, ancestor worship, respect of elders by their children (and, according to later interpreters, of husbands by their wives), and the family as a basis for an ideal government. He expressed the well-known principle, “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”, one of the earlier versions of the Ethic of reciprocity.

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Confucius
07
Mar
12

Thank you for the 25.000 page views

At the occasion of the 25.000th visitor to my blog, I want to take up the thread again by publishing some new articles. First of all I want to thank all of you for the many visits and reactions that I could receive in the past year. It’s always nice to find out that the published articles and pictures are read, viewed and  sometimes also commented.

For today I want to share a happy picture that I have taken during my latest Nepal trip in Langtang area.

Situated in the Central Himalaya, Langtang National Park is the nearest park to Kathmandu. The area extends from 32 km north of Kathmandu to the Nepal-China (Tibet) border. Langtang was designated as the first Himalayan National Park in 1971. While the main reason for the park is to preserve the natural environment, an equally important goal is to allow local people to follow traditional land use practices that are compatible with resource protection. Culturally the area is mixed, the home of several ethnic groups . The majority of people are Tamang, an ancient Nepalese race. The Tamangs, traditionally farmers and cattle breeders, are especially well known for their weaving. Their religion is related to the Bon and the pre-Buddhist doctrines of Tibet. Today this religion has merged with the newer teachings of Tibetan Buddhism. Especially the Helambu area, immediately north of Kathmandu, has many scenic villages inhabited by Sherpas and Tamangs who emigrated from Tibet.

It was in one of these villages that I noticed this old Nepalese lady who was very happy with the company of a playful young cat.

Image

“A cat does not want all the world to love her, only those she has chosen to love.”
Helen Thomson
17
Apr
11

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in Shigatse, Tibet: The Panchen Lama’s seat

Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is seat to the Panchen Lama, the second most imporant leader of Tibet. It is one of the Six Big Monasteries of The Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in Tibet.

Also called the Heap of Glory, the monastery is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara’s Mountain) in Shigatse. Founded by the First Dailai Lama in 1447, the monastery’s structure was expanded by the Fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. Tashi Lhunpo Monastery covers an area of nearly 300.000 square meters (3.229.779 sq. ft.). The main structures found in the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery are The Maitreya Chapel, The Panchen Lama’s Palace and The Kelsang Temple.

Standing on the entrance of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery, visitors can see the grand buildings with golden roofs and white walls. The remarkable Thangka Wall which is nine floors high was built in 1468. The wall displays the images of Buddha on the 14th, 15th and 16th of May every year following the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. The images are so humongous that one can easily see it from Shigatse City. Visitors can find The Maitreya Chapel by strolling into the monastery on the west side of Tashi Lhunpo. You can tour the upper floors of the chapel using a wooden staircase to appreciate the superb skill of the Tibetans.

The Kelsang Temple is one of the oldest and biggest buildings in Tashi Lhunpo. It is a colossal compound. The Main Chanting Hall is a place for lamas to learn the sutras and listen to the Panchen Lama’s sermon.  Besides the grand palace and gigantic statues, the Tashi Lhunpo Monastery also treasures characteristic wall paintings. Because of the variety of shapes, resplendent colors and exquisite painting, the murals are considered to be another masterpiece of Buddhist art.