The Passing of Buddha

by Bertram J Chatham May. 07, 2008 3100 views

My goal of doing a weekly photoblog - total props to all of you 365ers! - has inspired me to look at my hometown with new eyes. I??m constantly in search of new and interesting subjects to photograph. Boy, have I found one!

Welcome to Wat Dharmararam, a Cambodian Buddhist temple located just south of Stockton, in California's great central valley. At this little known sacred site, we find over 50 giant statues, mostly depicting scenes from the life of Siddhartha Gautama, who would become Buddha. They represent artifacts of faith and culture for a refugee community whose religion was battered under communist rule in Southeast Asia.

The outdoor statues are larger than life, constructed mostly with wire and cement. The centerpiece is a 75 feet long Buddha on his deathbed. I??m not exactly sure what is happening in most of the scenes. There is literature near every statue (explanations, I??m sure) but it??s not in English. I assume Cambodian. So, most of what I know (which isn??t much!) comes from internet research.

What I do know is that the statues?? super-sizes and super-bright colors evoke, for me, a feeling of childlike wonder. It??s almost like being in a religious theme park with Buddhist super heroes. I mean no disrespect, this is simply a place with very few cultural anchors for me - or most westerners I would guess. I??ve traveled the world and have never seen anything like Wat Dharmararam. In this colorful retreat, the mind boggles and the imagination soars!

According to tradition, the following words are said to be the last that the Buddha uttered to an audience of monks, just before he died?

“Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All worldly things are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own liberation. Do your best. ”

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There are 7 comments , add yours!
Lotofoto 11 years, 6 months ago

Wow! Such color!
Great captures :)

11 years, 6 months ago Edited
Oldbabe 11 years, 6 months ago

How different this temple seems to be from temples I have known. Yet we are all working towards the same goal, I think. In my younger days I liked studying different religions and then I found my own peace (or was it liberation?)

Thanks for bringing this to us and good luck on the weekly thing. It's very difficult to do the 365!

11 years, 6 months ago Edited
Christelle 11 years, 6 months ago

wonderful shots with fantastic colours !!!

11 years, 6 months ago Edited
Anca Tudosa 11 years, 6 months ago

living colors...thanks for sharing that!

11 years, 6 months ago Edited
Shruti 11 years, 6 months ago

great colors
nice shots

11 years, 6 months ago Edited
Dragana Jurisic 11 years, 6 months ago

wow, these are interesting. great colours

11 years, 6 months ago Edited
Leocheung 11 years, 6 months ago

Wonderful color and texture!
Too lazy to do a weekly blog haha....just joking !

11 years, 6 months ago Edited