Our order was initiated by the Venerable Sangharakshita (pictured) in 1968, after he spent 20 years as a Buddhist monk in India where he was engaged with all main Buddhist traditions before he returned to the West with the clear awareness that, though its essence remains the same, Buddhism always expresses itself anew in each new culture and era. With this knowledge Sangharakshita founded Triratna as the response of the Buddhist tradition to the circumstances of the modern West. Since it’s inauguration Triratna has become an increasingly widespread movement with 200 centres and groups around the world.
One could say that the small selection of Aloka’s Buddha rupas assembled here similarly communicate a new expression of the Buddhist tradition and it’s core values. Since the early 1970s along with a community of like-minded individuals Aloka as well as his contemporary Chintamani started shaping an artistic language that visually express the Buddha’s teachings in our particular Western era and culture. Both have done this with the vision that images and rupas of Buddhas and Bodhistattva are doorways to, and beyond, the divine.
Aloka describes the importance of images as: “... crucial, because human beings 'image' their desires. This is a very basic exercising of our imagination - the ability to project ourselves into a 'situation' we do not currently inhabit. At its least helpful it can be mere passive compensatory fantasy - but at it's best it inspires and motivates us to change and expand.”
Aloka writes: “That image in our hearts needs to be compellingly attractive - something that both inspires confidence and an overwhelming desire to constantly move into closer communication with it. A very tall order for a painting or sculpture! which is partly why an iconographic 'language' is necessary that can convey meaning and values not entirely dependent on the skill (or otherwise) of the 'artist’.”
...and … “Gaining access to the world of undefined and undefinable meaning - as Sangharakshita puts it - is not particularly difficult its just that usually people find it difficult to make the time and space available for it. Everyone is just so busy with things.”
Other projects i'm involved in https://buddhism-tokyo.com/
All art is (among other things) expression. But not all expression is art.