Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Soul of Asia

On my first visit to Phuket I attended an art showing in town. Many local artists were on hand to show attendees their pieces. One piece in particular stuck with me- it showed 3 monks walking to temple. To my dismay the artists was not present, so I took a picture of the artwork in hopes to one day come back and buy it or at least find it online. That was in 2004. Unfortunately I had no luck finding the piece online and my husband even contacted several Asian art houses and they couldn't help us either. I decided to put the photo in a frame, hung it in my hallway, and get constant comments on how beautiful it is.

So when we decided to go back to Phuket, I was was determined to find this artist! We asked around and our hotel directed us to the Soul of Asia (SOA) gallery. There are 6 SOA galleries in Phuket, the main gallery being in the center of the old town. Jay and I decided we would rent a car for the day to check out the gallery and do a little sightseeing. Since Thai's drive on the wrong side of the road ;) and don't pay much attention to stop signs or lights, Jay was let's say a bit...trepidatious to drive. The alternative was to pay a tuk tuk driver to take us around for the day and that was more expensive. We had the car delivered to the hotel, hopped in the Honda Jazz (so fitting) and zoomed around town.

After almost 2 small panic attacks later we reached our destination. At first it looked closed, and I thought Jay was going to kill me, but luckily as
we reached for the door it opened. The gallery was filled with Buddha statues, antique furniture, and paintings. I made a B-line to the back where I noticed a painting that looked very familiar...not the one I have a photo of, but one similar. The artist is Nguyen Minh Phuoc, a Vietnamese artist who's work has been shown all over the world. His paintings show the daily lives of monks clothed in their infamous saffron colored robes. Along with being spiritual they are also luminescent and tranquil, a perfect piece to place in your meditation or yoga room. Here are some selected works from the artist.

You can find these and more @ Soul of Asia.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Art + Music @ Le Meridien

Not only do I love the comfortable beds at the Le Meridien hotel chains in SEAsia but I also love their fab promotions! From May-July of this year they offered one Free weekend night with every two stays. We racked up several free nights which saved us over $600 in hotel bills!

Le Meridien also launched an art and music initiative.
Unlock Art features commissioned art plastered on your hotel key. You can choose from 4 designs which not only get you into your room but also allows you to visit cultural centers near the hotel.

LM 100
features artists, musicians, and innovators that enhance your guest experience at the hotels. Below are some pictures from Le Meridien Bangkok, their newly-opened ultra modern

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Float Your Problems Away

One of the most beautiful traditions in Thailand is the Khom Loy. For those of you who have seen the infamous The Beach movie you will remember the scene where the islanders all lit lanterns and and watched them float away in the sky- this is Khom Loy. Thai people practice this throughout the country and is usually done during a special event or festival, however due to tourist demand some do it year-round. Khom Loy is a Thai word signifying the floating lantern- which is a large balloon made from a light bamboo frame covered with paper. It floats by means of hot air heated by a flaming torch.

Traditionally it is lit during Loi Krathong Festival, which is celebrated in the thousands in Northern Thailand. And although I admire the silent beauty of the tradition and the way the lanterns look as they float away, I really connect with its meaning. They believe that misfortune will fly away with the lanterns and happiness will return to their lives. It's one of those traditions I can't help but feel connected to. What a beautiful symbol to gain peace in your life.

I have wonderful memories of seeing several Thai people holding on to the lanterns, saying a prayer, and pushing the lanterns out to sea in Koh Phangan. The same goes for Phuket, where Jason and I would be having dinner on the coast and watch the lanterns go by. We would always wonder what misfortunes they carried and where they ended up after the light burnt out.

I have several videos of them but they didn't turn out great so I turned to YouTube where I found a beautiful video commemorating those who died and lost love ones in the Tsunami. I was in Phuket and on the Phi Phi islands 3 months before the tsunami hit. The cottage I slept in and restaurant I ate at every day were hit and carried out to sea. I am amazed at how resilient the Thai people are. As we were walking around Phuket in May of this year, I got to witness their ability to not only rebuild their land but also their lives. Their belief in Buddhism and in Khom Loy helped them through this major tragedy and I think would be a great tradition in my own family.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

There's a Buddha for You- Monday thru Sunday!

For every day of the week there is at least one Buddha statue assigned to that day. Most Buddhists believe that there is a connection between the day they were born and the Buddha statue assigned to that day. Each statue relates to a major event in Buddha's life. When praying in the temple people often go to statue of their day of birth to make offerings and pray.

As we traveled through Asia we realized that every country's Buddhist beliefs were a bit different from each other. The short answer to this was based on who introduced the practice to them. For instance, if it came from India it may have Jainism influences and if it came from Tibet it will have Tibetan Buddhist influences.

What Buddha Are You?
The Seven Buddhas

For Those Born on MONDAY
: This image represents Buddha performing a miracle by calming the ocean.
color: Black
Unlucky color: Orange

For Those Born on TUESDAY:
The 'Reclining Buddha'. This pose represents Buddha's death and entering his final nirvana.
color: Yellow
Unlucky color: White

For Those Born on WEDNESDAY Morning & Night:
Two images represent Wednesday- one for the morning and one for the evening.
The morning statue is Buddha holding an alms bowl which shows him as a monk and how monks, even in the present day, receive their food for the day.
Lucky color: Green
Unlucky color: Pink
The evening statue represents Buddha meditating in the forest. When the monks would argue he would retreat to the forest where he would meditate and worship with the forest animals.
Lucky color: White
Unlucky color: Yellow

For Those Born on THURSDAY:
The 'Meditating Buddha'. He was determined to meditate under the Bodhi-Tree until he achieved enlightenment and find the cause of suffering.
color: Orange
Unlucky color: Black

For Those Born on FRIDAY:
The 'Contemplating Buddha' symbolizes complete spiritual transformation.
color: Pink
Unlucky color: Light Green

For Those Born on SATURDAY:
While Buddha was meditating it began to rain heavily. The Naga-King rose from the earth and formed an umbrella with his 7 heads in order to protect the Buddha.
color: Blue
Unlucky color: Green

For Those Born on SUNDAY:
The Buddha contemplates his achievement of enlightenment that he achieved under the Bodhi-tree. After enlightenment, he looked at the tree for 7 days without blinking and realized the suffering of all beings, including that of the tree.
Lucky color: Green
Unlucky color: Blue
Related Posts with Thumbnails