They’ve got spirit

by Jamie, Khoo, The Star, December 30, 2007

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia -- Let’s face it: very few young people are willing to take a year-long retreat, be vegetarian or join a monastery.

That’s why James Long jumped at the chance to serve his spiritual needs by joining Kechara Saraswati Art (KSA).

“I don’t really like to sit and meditate, chanting ‘Om’ for hours. When we paint a statue or do art work, our body is focused on that, our minds are focused, and we recite mantras while we work. We at least refrain from idle gossip and bad thoughts,” he says.

It is a strong Buddhist belief that merely looking at an image of an enlightened being creates a strong connection with it and enables the viewer to pursue a higher spiritual path and lasting happiness. That being the case, KSA’s young artists can certainly count their blessings every day!

The youngsters’ work also spreads spirituality, says Joy Kam.

“Ultimately, our work serves to provide people with beautiful images that will be used for prayer or meditation, and this benefits both the artists and recipients

“The recipients have an object that will inspire them spiritually and the artists gain a better understanding of the deeper spiritual meaning behind each traditional art form, icon and stroke of the brush.

“The statue that you paint or the tsatsas (small clay or resin statues traditionally made out of earth and relics) that you make does not belong to you. It is made with the thought that someone who sees it or takes it home will experience a ‘piece’ of spirituality that may change his or her life. You encourage or indirectly create the path so other people can seek enlightenment.’’