Cynthia Moku


Stupa Medallions

acrylic, gold, copper on canvas

The eight stupa medallion paintings exhibited are inspired by the smooth round river stones that travelers carried nearly 2000 years ago when they made pilgrimage to Buddhist sites in India. Inscribed with outlines of the stupas visited at these places, and often including bits of precious substance such as gold or copper, these tokens were etched with prayers for auspiciousness and world benefit. Journeyers would receive them at major pilgrimage locations such as Lumbini or Sarnath and at sites such as Sanchi Stupa, Kushingar Stupa, or the Bodhgaya Stupa. These stupas honored Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment, and his subsequent teachings known as “Turning the Wheel of Dharma.” They became formalized into The Eight Stupas, marking distinct periods in the Buddha’s life. The Buddha’s elegant gesture in each of these medallion paintings is that of Touching the Earth. This was his response to the final challenge of Mara, the possessor of doubt and unwholesome compulsion. With this simple sign, the Buddha demonstrated the fundamental liberating action for our present aeon –the mudra acknowledging wakefulness.

The Tibetan letters encircling each medallion read:

Tak Tu Palden Nyen Tsen Tashi Shok

May the Continuously Glorious Day & Night Be Auspicious.