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Saturday, January 03, 2009

FWBO People: Shashi Kumar

Shashi's mum cutting the ribbon to open the new school, Shashi on the rightThis week's 'FWBO Person' features Shashi Kumar, a mitra from Bodh Gaya, India. Nearly ten years ago he was sponsored by two Dutch friends to begin a seven-year course in traditional Thanka painting, with a Tibetan monastery in Nepal. He graduated some two years ago and two weeks ago, after a long struggle, opened his first School of Thangka Painting. He’s very recently written to FWBO News to say -

“This is a very pleasant occasion for me - to give news to all my friends who have been encouraging me since I took admission at Shechen monastery to study thangka painting.

“Now I have opened a thangka painting school called BODHICHITRA, the Bodhichitra School of Thangka Painting. It’s in Bodhgaya, my home town, on the way to the Root Institute.

“As most of my friends know, I have had this dream from the time I first learned that thangka art originally came from Magadha, the area where Buddha was enlightened and spent most of his time in teaching and meditation. These days Magadha has disappeared and we know the area as Bodhgaya, Rajgir, Nalanda, Patna and Varanasi.

We’re offering a comprehensive 4-year program in the skills to create thangka in the Karma Gadri tradition, including theory, iconography, composition, and painting. We’re especially looking for local students, male or female, with the following qualifications:

* At least 15 years of age
* In Good health and of sound mind
* Secondary Education
* A strong sense of commitment to sacred painting

Students on one of the first coursesOf course we also offer short courses ranging in length from weekend to week-long – these will be of more interest to visiting Westerners. They will focus on specific content, such as painting a particular deity or mandala

Shashi ends by saying –

“Our students come to us with tremendous interest but few resources. The state of Bihar, in which Bodhgaya is located, is India's poorest. But because the area is so underdeveloped, even a small amount of money can go a long way.

“For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per day, you can support a student at the Bodhichitra school of Thangka Painting for one year. Prayers are said daily for the sponsor and all of the sacred art work the student produces is spiritually dedicated to the sponsor. Once a year the student will send a thangka painted specifically for the health and long-life of his or her sponsor. We are currently operating out of rented facilities and are seeking friends to help us move into a more permanent home. If you are interested in helping seed great merit, please mail me or see our website for more details on sponsorship and other ways offering support.”

They have a beautiful new website,, and you can also contact him by phone on +91 99319 33838 or email

Sadhu, Shashi!

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