Help restore Samten Monastery!

By Marie Renaud

$ 350 Raised

of $ 4,203

5 Donors

in 98 days


Latest Update

A little bit about traditional Himalayan Tibetan thangka painting.

Thangka often overflow with symbolism and allusion.  As the art is explicitly religious, all symbols and allusions must be in accordance with strict guidelines laid out in Buddhist scripture. The artist must be properly trained and have sufficient religious understanding, knowledge, and background to create an accurate and appropriate thangka.  Tibetan art exemplifies the 'nirmanakaya', the physical body of Buddha, and also the qualities of the Buddha, perhaps in the form of a deity.  Art objects, therefore, must follow rules specified in the Buddhist scriptures regarding proportions, shape, color, stance, hand positions, and attributes in order to personify correctly the Buddha or Deities.

The composition of a thangka, as with the majority of Buddhist art, is highly geometric. Arms, legs, eyes, nostrils, ears, and various ritual implements are all laid out on a systematic grid of angles and intersecting lines. A skilled thangka artist will generally select from a variety of  items to include in the composition, ranging from alms bowls and animals, to the shape, size, and angle of a figure's eyes, nose, and lips. The process seems very methodical, but often requires deep understanding of the symbolism involved to capture the spirit of it.

At Samten Monastery, the caretaker monk Shri Pasang Lakpa Lama will guide the thangka artists toward a design that will include:

- the Lotus flower representing purity of the body, speech and mind as, while rooted in the mud, a lotus blossoms on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire; 

- Alligators representing prosperity and self sufficiency; and,

- Dragons as protectors of the temple.

This traditional art form is a living example of the Buddhist philosophy at work.  By donating to our campaign not only will you forever be a part of the monastery's history,  you will also contribute to ensuring this ancient art form continues into the future.



Namaste from Samten Monastery!

On the 25th of April, 2015, a 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Nepal and its peripheries. This disastrous event destroyed numerous buildings in the Himalayan regions and took many lives. The majority of Samten Monastery - located near the village of Rimbick in northern West Bengal, India - was destroyed during this catastrophe.

With very few financial resources, the caretaker of the monastery - Shri Pasang Lakpa Lama - biked across the Himalayan regions to study how other monasteries were being rebuilt.

Some renovation funds were granted by the Chief Minister of Bengal, Madam Mamata Banerjee, allowing renovation work to begin in November 2015. 

The local community along with international volunteers have since been working on the construction of the monastery. Thanks to local and international donations along with dedicated volunteering, the monastery rose again within a year. 

The caretaker of Samten monastery is now painting the newly constructed building. Many of the traditional thangka paintings need to be repainted as they were badly damaged in the earthquake. This requires hiring professional painters as these paintings require a lot of knowledge and skill.

That's where you can help! We are currently trying to raise money to buy paint and pay professionals to restore these beautiful and meaningful paintings, so that the monastery can once again carry the traditional messages that help inspire and educate the local community and all of the monastery's many visitors.

We thank you so much!


Campaign Details

About Campaigner
Marie Renaud
About Beneficiary
Samten Monastery

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