When I think of Buddhism, there are two things I immediately relate with: Enlightenment and Peace. India is known for its diversity is cultures and religions with an abundance of civilization which has thrived to its lands. Buddhism is one of those religions which depicts the ‘philosophy of life’ which originated about 2500 years back. Buddhism is an amalgamation of ‘Budhi’ which means ‘to awaken’.
I have met many who have either converted to Buddhism seeking meaning to life or practice things like chanting. If one goes deeper, its foundation holds the Four Noble Truths preaching that one can achieve enlightenment only by accepting these truths and by following the Eight Fold Path.
So, I thought if chanting or even believing in Buddhism could bring so much peace, would its presence in some or the other way in my personal spaces make a difference?
That’s a completely personal choice.
But as far as art and architecture are concerned Buddhism was the spur of most artistic effort. Several archaeologists believe that it came to Ladakh in the fourth century BC, during Ashoka’s time. The Buddhist paintings ideally revolve around these five Dhyani Buddhas that are celestial Buddhas to be visualized during meditation- Vairochana, Akshobhya, Amitabha, Ratnasambhava, and Amoghasiddhi.
All of these celestial Buddhas have significant relevance in depicting the Buddhist lifestyle. The biggest example stands as the Mauryan emperor Asoka, who was a devout follower of Buddhism and helped construct many Stupas and edicts dedicated to the religion and Buddha.
Buddhism isn’t just about a particular belief, rather it emphasizes on the way of one’s life. With its sacred hymns and divinity, Buddhism also came along with the concept of Monastic culture. No wonder places like Dharamshala, Ladakh and several other sections of Himachal Pradesh have beautiful monasteries built in for centuries. Undoubtedly, the style of Buddhist wall paintings has some kinship with Central Asia, especially with Kucha. Along with Buddhism, the Indian iconography seems to have adopted in the sitting asanas. Once can feel the Indian derivation by the adoption of terreverte colours (olive-green) in the paintings.
There is something beautiful about the paintings which depict the elements of Buddhism. Knowing people who have adorned their homes with a painting of the Buddha, have helped me further understand that the more you delve into the Buddhist culture the mind only seeks more serenity. The spellbinding compositions found in the traditional temples of Alchi or in the dark caves of Ajanta, Bodhisattva combines human minds and soul.
So whether it is a painting or a wallpaper if you believe in Buddha or even relate a bit, just adding an element can make your personal spaces a much amicable and tranquil place to live in.