BBEP Image Map ProtoType
The Monastery
The Ching-Ming Monastery is located in the southern suburbs of Luoyang in present day Henan Province. It was established by Emperor Xuanwu between 500-503. On the seventh day of the fourth month, all images in the capital were assembled here, numbering more than one thousand. On the eighth day, the images were carried one by one into the Xuanyang gate, where the emperor would scatter flowers in front of the Changhe Palace.
Buddhist Flags
The Buddhist flag contains several symbolic color bands which represent the following virtuous qualities:
Blue - Universal Compassion for all beings
Yellow - Choosing the Middle Path (moderation)
Red - Blessings
White - Purity and Liberation
Orange - Developing Wisdom
The Emperor
As the ruler of the Northern Wei capital of Luoyang, China, Emperor Xuanwu (circa 500 C.E.) embraced Buddhism as his religion. To celebrate Buddha's birthday, 1,000 local temples paraded their finest statues through the city on specially designed carriages, carts, or litters. In our triptych mural, Emperor Xuanwuis shown offering long-stemmed lotuses to each carriage as it passes by his palace.
Lotus Flower
The lotus has a special symbolic meaning to Buddhists and is often shown in temple art and statuary. Just as this flower emerges clean and beautiful from swampy waters, people of all backgrounds can aspire to purity of spirit and behavior through the study and practice of Buddhism.
Incense Burner
The burning of fragrant incense is a lovely tradition in many religions. For Buddhists, the transformation of dried plant material into smoke symbolizes the "impermanence" of all people and things in this world. It reminds us to make good use our time by seeking truth, developing wisdom, and helping others.
Chanting Beads
Chanting beads are used by Buddhists during ceremonies and at home to keep count of prayers. Longer strings contain 108 beads, while wrist bracelets usually contain a multiple of this number, such as 18, 27, or 54 beads. Wearing a "mala" of prayer beads dignifies the appearance and is also useful in making prayer offerings to the Buddha.
Buddhist temples and monasteries are attended by a religious order of monastics who vowed to serve others through selfless wisdom and compassion. They have spent a great deal of time studying the truths spoken by Buddha more than 2,500 years ago and now serve as our teachers. The Mahayana Buddhist tradition ordains both males (monks) and females (nuns) to do this important work.
Triple Gem
Buddhist practitioners agree to honor three "treasures" which form the foundation of the religion and keep it relevant in today's world. The three jewels that comprise the Triple Gem are:
1) the wisdom of the Buddha,
2) the truths of his spoken Dharma, and
3) the Sangha of monks and nuns who serve as present-day teachers.
One of the figures represented in our triptych mural is Bodhidharma, the Persian monk who is credited with bringing many of the Buddha's teachings from India to China. He is known as the First Patriarch of Ch'an (Zen) Buddhism of China.
The apsara shown in our triptych mural is one of many legendary celestial dancers who strews golden petals over those entering Luoyang to celebrate the Buddha's birthday.
The Buddha's Birthday Education Project uses a 6-tusked white elephant as our logo. It reminds us of a similar elephant that visited Queen Maya in a dream some 2,500 years ago to announce the birth of her future son who would become the Buddha.
Artist - Nancy Cowardin

TIMELINE: Begun in May/June 2011 and completed October 1, 2011
FINISHED DIMENSIONS: 3 x 6 feet, opened; 3 x 3 feet closed

Stretched canvas panels
Sketching pens/pencils
Acrylic art paints
Flat and round brushes
Metallic paints & Markers

Door Panels
Liquid and hot glues
Plywood panels
House and spray paints
Wooden knobs
Lion head door pulls, glitter

68 Human Figures , 10 Statues, 12 Animals