He says -
“Hello from Saraha, I'm raising funds for a new and very special painting of the FWBO's Refuge Tree, to be painted by my friend Chintamani.
“The Refuge Tree of the FWBO was created by Urgyen Sangharakshita and shows the primary sources of inspiration we draw upon in the Western Buddhist Order and FWBO.
“Altogether there are 44 figures on the Tree, in the following arrangement -
“The tree is unusual and even unique in the Buddhist world, in that it places the Buddha at the centre and includes figures from the whole Buddhist tradition. It’s been painted before, but never on such a large scale.
"The project is going well. With some substantial help from Aloka, Chintamani has been researching all the figures, including discussing finer points of their iconography with Bhante. One intriguing issue has been deciding on the mudras (hand gestures) that would be appropriate for Bhante’s teachers.
“He has done most of the drawings although not yet started painting. Having started on a 6ft by 4ft canvas, he decided it was too small to give the figures the space that they deserved, and so now is working on a canvas measuring 8ft by just under 6ft. This allows room to keep the figures from overlapping, and gives each the space needed for conveying its own unique qualities. I'm really looking forward to seeing the image and prostrating to it.
“It’s clear from my conversations with Chintamani that he’s very keen to paint our refuge tree because of his love for our tradition, our Order and our connections with the wider Buddhist world. This is his motivation. He’s been an artist all his life and painting images for our Movement for 30 years now - his image of Padmasambhava (shown right) is known and loved by many of us.
“However he does need money to live, and our donations to him allow him to focus full time on this project. Currently he is living on a very tight budget, so I hope we can continue to raise money to ease the financial strain. Please click on my fundraising site www.justgiving.com/refugetree to see more photos of his work and to make a donation”.