The Power of Stupas and Statues
By Erik Pema Kunzang
It’s not everyone who can be helped by a Buddha’s spoken or written word. Animals (and most people) are more deeply affected by what they see, the visual impressions and the physical form of things. That’s one of the reasons for the many artistic representations within Buddhism, including buildings, painted scrolls, mandalas, stupas and statues. Take for example a likeness of Buddha Shakyamuni, said to represent the awakened state. Only a tiny percentage ever receive his teachings, but a Buddha statue can directly reach people who may never read a book on Buddhism or attend a teaching. It conveys the feeling of being at peace, equanimity and the freedom of being truly at ease.
Erik Pema Kunsang is a practitioner, meditation teacher and one of the most highly regarded Tibetan translators and interpreters working today. Erik has been the assistant and translator for Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and his sons since the late 1970s. He has translated and edited over fifty volumes of Tibetan texts and oral teachings, and is one of the directors of Rangjung Yeshe Publications.