Sculpting Buddha – A Meditative Exercise in Laos

On a shady street on which we regularly strolled during our stay in Luang Prabang, Laos, we watched a sculptor as he gradually turned rustic concrete into a smooth likeness of Buddha.

I wonder what the man pondered on those quiet afternoons — as he was overlooked by other Buddhist figures in progress — in a sun-kissed courtyard garden.

Perhaps he took lessons from the Buddha himself, whose quotes are featured so prominently on objects for sale in boutiques in the vicinity of the quiet lane.

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

“There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth; not going all the way, and not starting.”

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.”

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”

Man sculpting Buddha Statue in Laos

“I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.”

“It is better to travel well than to arrive.”

“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.”

“The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows.”

Sculpting Buddha in Luang Prabang Laos
What are some of your favorite inspirational quotations? What thoughts cross your mind as you revisit a special project, day after day? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Where in the World?

Photography & text © Tricia A. Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

Published by Tricia A. Mitchell

Tricia A. Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. Born in Europe but raised in the United States, she has lived in Valletta, Malta; Heidelberg, Germany; and Split, Croatia. An avid globetrotter who has visited more than 65 countries, she has a penchant for off-season travel. Tricia has learned that travel’s greatest gift is not sightseeing, rather it is the interactions with people. Some of her most memorable experiences have been sharing a bottle of champagne with distant French cousins in Lorraine, learning how to milk goats in a sleepy Bulgarian village, and ringing in the Vietnamese New Year with a Hanoi family. She welcomes any opportunity to practice French and German, and she loves delving into a place’s history and artisanal food scene. A former education administrator and training specialist, Tricia has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in international relations. She and her husband, Shawn, married in the ruins of a snowy German castle. They’ve been known to escape winter by basing themselves in coastal Croatia or Southeast Asia. Her writing has appeared in Fodor’s Travel, Frommer’s, and International Living.

9 thoughts on “Sculpting Buddha – A Meditative Exercise in Laos

  1. Wonderful post! I love it – the meditative aspect really comes across with your black and whites, and the quotes. I would have loved to see this sculpture being created – you’re so fortunate. I agree – it is better to tarvel well, than to arrive.

  2. This is wonderful, Tricia – I love the photographs of the scupture being created, and love the Buddhist quotes even more. They work beautifully together, thank you.

    1. Thank you, Sarah! I just checked in on your adventures the other day and saw that you were headed to Thailand. I’m envious of all the scrumptious fresh pineapple & mango you must be devouring – enjoy! :)

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