The 16 Arhats statues project
The project was started in 2006 while the new public monastery building was under construction. Lama Zopa Rinpoche advised Venerable Jean-François Bergevin, Nalanda's director at that time, that having the statues of the 16 Arhats would be very beneficial for the community.
The 16 Arhats were the closest disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni. At the time of his Parinirvana, he requested them to remain in the world to protect the Dharma as long as beings will benefit from the teachings, and they vowed to stay in the world to preserve the Dharma until the time of the future Buddha Maitreya.
Visualizing Buddha Shakyamuni surrounded by the Sixteen Arhat creates a lot of merit and helps to develop insight into the Buddha's teachings. This is why it is very important and auspicious to have representations of the 16 Arhats in monasteries and in Dharma centers.
"We're inviting the Arhats to join… mainly in order to help the Dharma flourish. The Dharma teachings are the sole medicine, the sole salve for all sentient beings. It's the only medicine to eliminate the sufferings of sentient beings."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Nalanda's 16 Arhats are exceptional pieces of art due to the high quality of both the sculpture and the painting. The statues have been made by the Australian artist Jonathan Partridge at the FPMT Tushita Center in McLeod Ganj, in Northern India. After that, they were transported to Nalanda and had an incredible and emotional journey. Then the Spanish artist Cai Martinez worked on their restoration and made moulds to reproduce the statues for other FPMT centers. Now the Nepali painter Sonam Sherpa is painting the original 16 statues in a pure Tibetan style. Each statue takes roughly one full month to paint.
Today, this important project for Nalanda is in its final phase. The painting cost of each statue is around 2 000€. Helping Nalanda with a donation on this project is an amazing opportunity to create merit related to both the protection of Dharma and the flourishing of the teachings in our minds.
We thank you in advance for any contribution and extend our best wishes; may you have a long, healthy, and happy life.