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When Buddhist Art Smites You Featured

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When Buddhist Art Smites You Photography by Vida Mikalcius

When most of us think of Buddhist art, we picture Buddhas with their eyes closed in a meditating position. We see the world as one. But these two temples in southeast Asia throw out the traditional rules of religious art, and opt for a slightly more grotesque sense of humor to accompany their temple grounds.

Featuring the Golden City Temple (Wat Xieng Thong) in Luang Prabang, Laos and the White Temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Buddha Laos Temple the volunteer bay

The smell of incense stinks up the air, as men and women sit with legs folded beneath their thighs, butts resting on their heels, bowing a few times toward the large Buddha. They meditate and pray for peace in their lives. But outside the walls a mural with hundreds of small images depict something far from peace, but instead demonstrates the way life can bring you nothing but chaos and collosal pain. 

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In Laos they have more water buffalo than bulls roaming around. And a water buffalo ramming anyone? I seriously doubt it- unless it was rabid, of course.


So is this a realistic depiction? Probably not in quiet Laos, but in Spain definitely. This year in Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls festival some people got seriously gored. The link directs you to a website in Spanish, but don't worry about the language barrier since the photos speak for themselves. PLEASE BE WARNED. THESE ARE VERY GRAPHIC AND DISTURBING PHOTOS. But if you can handle a real life photo of the above image, click here.

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Lets not forget about murder! Perhaps he caught his woman with another lover, or sibling rivalry finally got the best of him. My brother once did chased me around the house with a butcher knife. Can't remember why. Maybe it was because I finished off the entire cheesecake by myself, or I cut up his favorite t-shirt up to make a tank top. But this guy looks like a rich psychopath gleefully killing off a poor homeless folk like in American Psycho.

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When I was volunteering with elephants, we were told right away not to 'play' with the elephants. These highly respected creatures could seriously mess you up. Check out this short twenty second video where an ostrich learns a lesson after pecking an elephants trunk.

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Here's another lovely Buddhist scene.

I feel worse for the monkey in the tiger's jaws.

The monkey in the man's arms is pathetic. Monkeys are not so complacent to let someone slowly skin them. They are natural thieves with wicked tempers. Whenever I come across them in my travels across southeast Asia, I stay the clear. In Ulu Watu, Bali, our driver's final words to us before stepping out of the car to watch the sunset were, “Take off earrings, leave your bags here, and tuck in loose clothing. The monkeys will grab anything they can.” We followed his advice. Some woman didn't. When we walked up the stairs, she ran down clutching her bleeding ear. The other ear adorned a dangly chandelier silver earring.

thailand chiang rai white tmeple buddhism art culture

So let these two Buddhist temples in Laos and Thailand remind you that death and destruction is constantly coming for you.