Buddhism is a set of beliefs and practices that follows the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, a young prince who lived in northern India or Nepal around 2,500 years ago. Stories passed down through generations tell of how Siddhartha gave up his comfortable life at the royal palace and wandered the land, living among the common people and witnessing much human suffering. This experience led him on a quest to find release from the cycle of suffering. He studied with wise teachers but still did not find the answer. Finally, he decided to meditate (sit in quiet thought) until the answer came to him. After 49 days he finally achieved enlightenment, or attainment of wisdom. Then he attained Buddhahood (“Buddha” means “enlightened one” in Sanskrit, one of the languages of India and Asia) and spent the rest of his life teaching what he had discovered. Since that time, Buddhism has spread worldwide.
The twenty-two pictures in this coloring book depict many figures important in Buddhism, from compassionate deities (gods) to humble abbots (heads of monasteries) to wise arhats (disciples of the Buddha entrusted with propagating and protecting Buddhist beliefs). The original artworks are shown on the inside covers. When you color the pictures, you can follow the colors used in the original works or choose your own. The last page of the book is blank, for you to draw your own spiritual guide. Would it be a person from your school or place of worship? Or perhaps an imaginary being who watches out for you?
- Guardian King of the West, 2002–2003. By Seol Min (Korean, b. 1966).
- The Buddhist guardian Skanda (Korean: Dongjin Bosal), 2008. By Myung Chun (Korean, b. 1962) .
- White-robed Water-Moon Avalokiteshvara, 2008. By Seol Min (Korean, b. 1966).
- The Diamond (Kongokai) Mandala, one of the Two World (Ryokai) Mandalas (detail), probably 1700–1800. Japan. Edo period (1615–1868).
- The monk Hva-shang and the Buddhist guardians Virudhaka and Dhritarashtra (detail), 1800–1900. Tibet. Thangka (first in a series of seven).
- The Buddhist guardian Gompo, 2003. By Pema Tenzin. Bhutan.
- Mandala with thunderbolts (detail), 1800–1900. Mongolia.
- The arhat Gopaka (detail). Khams region, Tibet, eighteenth century.
- The guardian deity Weituo. China, c. sixteenth century, Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
- The protective deity Yama (detail). Tibet, eighteenth century.
- The arhats Panthaka, Nagasena, Gopaka, and Abheda (detail). Tibet, c. nineteenth century.
- Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future, 1800–1900. Tibet.
- The Buddhist arhats Rahula, Chuda-panthaka, and Pindola-bharadvaja (detail), approx. 1800–1900. Tibet.
- The Buddha Amitayus, 1779. China; Chengde, Hebei province. Qing dynasty, reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736–1795).
- A vision of the great lama Tsongkha-pa as the deity Dombi-Heruka. Tibet, eighteenth century.
- The Buddhist deity White Tara. Tibet, nineteenth century.
- The Buddhist guardian king Vaishravana, c. 1650–1700. Tibet; Shalu monastery, Tsang region.
- Death of the Buddha, twentieth century. Tibet.
- The bodhisattva Samantabhadra (detail), 1779–1780. China; Xumifushou Temple, Chengde, Hebei province. Qing dynasty, reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736–1795).
- The Buddhist abbot Buton Rinchen Drup, c. 1650–1700. Tibet; Tsang region.
- A vision of the abbot Tsong Khapa as the bodhisattva Manjushri, c. 1700. Tibet.
- Portrait of Seosan Taesa (1520–1604). Korea, 1550–1700; Joseon dynasty (1392–1910).