Author Topic: The Ultraman Buddha controversy  (Read 769 times)

Offline Johnnie F.

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The Ultraman Buddha controversy
« on: September 12, 2019, 09:39:07 AM »
National artist defends student after Ultraman Buddha controversy


One of four paintings by an art student at Nakhonratchasima Rajabhat University that uses Ultraman to represent Lord Buddha. (Photo supplied by Prasit Tangprasert)


Renowned artist Chalermchai Kositpipat has supported a student under fire for painting Lord Buddha as Ultraman, a famous Japanese superhero protecting the world from evils.

Mr Chalermchai on Sunday said the art pieces painted by the student at Nakhonratchasima Rajabhat University show a courageous creativity that represents the thoughts of the young generation about Lord Buddha.

"What is happening shows a problem in our society. When young generations have creative ideas and use their imagination with a courage that reflects change, they are always criticised so that they do not want to do something new," Manager Online on Sunday quoted him as saying.

"Many kids can paint Lord Buddha as he was perfectly, but how many of them can think out of the box? This student can and she has done nothing wrong," the outspoken artist said. "Ultraman is the best character to represent Lord Buddha as far as her idea is concerned."

Mr Chalermchai is best known for the creation of Wat Rong Khun to show his dedication to the religion. The temple draws worshippers and tourists to his home province of Chiang Rai.

The art student, whose name was withheld, came under attack after two of her four paintings were shown in public at an exhibition at Terminal 21 in Nakhon Ratchasima last Tuesday. The images were later shared on social media.

The organiser later removed them from the show.


Another painting with the same concept of the student. (Photo supplied by Prasit Tangprasert)

On Saturday, the student was accompanied by provincial governor Wichien Chantharanothai and university vice rector Thawat Trachu and officials of the Buddhism Provincial Office and the Culture Provincial Office to call on Nakhon Ratchasima chief monk Phra Thepseemaporn.

She apologised to the monk and public for creating the paintings. But the student said she had no intention to ridicule or look down on Lord Buddha and the religion.

"I just wanted to show that Lord Buddha is a hero like Ultraman, who can stay calm among the temptations surrounding him and also protect human beings from evil to keep the world at peace," the student explained in tears.

Phra Thepseemaporn advised her to think thoroughly about religious issues due to their sensitivity and impact on worshippers.

The governor ordered all educational institutions in the province to check all work by students before presenting it to the public.

Bangkok Post

Offline Johnnie F.

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Re: The Ultraman Buddha controversy
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2019, 09:43:11 AM »
'Ultraman Buddha' paintings banned from sale

University cites 'social pressure on student'


The controversial paintings depicting the Japanese superhero character Ultraman as the Lord Buddha have been banned from sale by their painter's university.

Offers have been made to buy the paintings from undisclosed parties. However, the Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University where the painter, whose name has been withheld, is studying in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, has banned the sale of the images, reasoning that they would pile more pressure on the student, according to Kittichai Treeratwicha, the student's supervisor.

If sold and displayed outside the country, the images would trigger a social outcry, which was not the student's intention in producing the art, Mr Kittichai said.

The student would be subject to even more social pressure in that case, he added.

Meanwhile, Samat Jabjon, the university vice rector, said the institute should step in and solve the problem quickly, and not let the student face pressure alone.

The student should be commended for the "artistic courage" to create the painting, which was bound to stoke discontent in some quarters of society.

He said there should be a middle path, where the students can enjoy their freedom to express themselves artistically while also taking social sensitivities into consideration.

The student came under attack after two of her four paintings were shown at an exhibition at Terminal 21 in Nakhon Ratchasima on Sept 3. The organiser later removed them from the show, but not before the images had already been shared on social media. On Sept 7, the student apologised for the paintings.

Bangkok Post

Offline Johnnie F.

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Re: The Ultraman Buddha controversy
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2019, 09:50:37 AM »
Ultraman Buddha painting up for auction


Buyers show the controversial Ultraman Buddha paintings; one is to be auctioned off for charity. (Photo supplied)

A buyer of one of the controversial Ultraman Buddha paintings has decided to auction it off for charity as a hardline Buddhist group seeks legal action against the student who painted it.

Pakorn Porncheewarakun, the buyer, said in Phetchabun province on Wednesday that he bought the painting for 4,500 baht and would not bow to attempts to recall it for destruction.

He said that he planned to auction off the painting and give the proceeds to a hospital in Nakhon Ratchasima, where the student lived, so that her Buddha-related work would benefit society in accordance with her inspiration for the painting portraying Buddha as a superhero.

He said he would also credit the student for the proceeds to be donated.

Mr Pakorn said he and his friend bought four Ultraman Buddha paintings by the student. On Wednesday afternoon a bidder offered 500,000 baht for one of the paintings.

In Bangkok a group of Buddhists asked the Crime Suppression Division on Wednesday to prosecute the student and other people who supported her paintings depicting Buddha as the Japanese superhero Ultraman.

Leading the group, Charoon Wannakasikanont said that Suparat Chaijanreed, the Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University student, and three other people who supported her idea had insulted Buddhism and violated the constitution and the criminal law requiring the protection of Buddhism and other religions.

Prime Minister's Office Minister Tewan Liptapallop on Wednesday said that the student did not have any ill intention, might have simply exercised her creative urge and already apologised; therefore, concerned parties should forgive her.

Aside from the student, the group targeted national artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, Papichaya na Nakhonphanom, director of the Terminal 21 shopping centre where the paintings were exhibited, lawyer Decha Kitiwithayanant and the student's advisor.

He also called for the destruction of all such paintings.

Bangkok Post

Offline Johnnie F.

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Re: The Ultraman Buddha controversy
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2019, 05:12:50 PM »
Freaking out over art

The Ultraman/Buddha controversy seems to be spreading as a group of people calling themselves Chao Buddha Palang Phaen Din, or the Force of Buddhism, filed charges against the student who painted Lord Buddha as the 1970s-era superhero.

The self-proclaimed Buddhist protection group alleged that by painting the Lord Buddha in such an unconventional way, the student -- who is studying at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University's Faculty of Humanities -- has offended Buddhism.

The group also filed charges against National Artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, who is a devout Buddhist; the lawyer who came out to support the student; the student's teacher; and the management of Terminal 21 in Nakhon Ratchasima, where the work was displayed.

The extremist group accused the student, whose name is withheld, of "sabotaging Buddhism, destroying the national heritage as well as hurting Buddhists across the country".

The group also said the painting may taint the image of Buddhism, one of the things that draws millions of foreign visitors to Thailand.

They also condemned Prof Chalermchai and others for lending support to the student and her works, which they deemed "unforgivably inappropriate".

The controversial painting was eventually removed from the show as several parties condemned the student, who was compelled to offer apologies to Nakhon Ratchasima's chief monk. The university, however, blocked the painter's plan to auction her work for charity, reasoning it would pile more pressure on her.

The painting saga has created a divide on social media. One side applauds the student's courageous creativity, while the other condemns her.

Note that this is not the first time that Buddhism-related artwork has caused controversy in this country.

In 2007, Anupong Chantorn's award-winning painting Bhikku Sandan Ka (literally, "monks with the nature of crows") which depicted monks' misbehaviour and greed, was removed from an exhibition at Silpakorn University. The prominent artist faced the same condemnation as the student.

The Ultraman/Buddha painting saga should trigger deep reflection about what Buddhism really means, and what it means to become a real Buddhist. Lord Buddha encouraged his disciples to study his teachings to the core, and use reason to get rid of ignorance, attain enlightenment, while freeing themselves from sins -- at least those mentioned in the Five Precepts. The Lord also taught his disciples to avoid extremism in whatever form, and to embrace the middle path.

Any self-proclaimed defenders of the Buddhist faith should understand that no paintings, artwork, or any other material can destroy Buddhism as long as the followers truly understand Lord Buddha's teachings, instead of obsessing over ceremonial rituals. Ignorance, in fact, can precipitate the religion's decline.

The fact that some senior university administrators have shown maturity throughout the painting saga was a welcome sign. Samat Jabjon, the university's vice rector, lauded the student's "artistic courage" and at the same time encouraged the institute to step in so the student won't have to face public pressure alone.

The vice rector also encouraged students to follow the middle path, where they can enjoy the freedom to express themselves while taking social sensitivities into consideration.

The ability to forgive and let go is an important part of being a good Buddhist. Those who condemn the student and her painting should be aware of this.

Bangkok Post

I don't think, it's Buddhism itself that draws foreign visitors but rather the impacts of Buddhism, the way people live in their pursuit of eternal happiness. I fully agree with the editor's opinion, that tolerance and appreciation are essential parts of Buddhism. To me they seem violated in this controversy.

Offline Johnnie F.

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Re: The Ultraman Buddha controversy
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2019, 10:11:58 PM »
Second Ultraman Buddha painting sells for B2m


Pakorn Porncheewangkun with the second of the four controversial Ultraman Buddha paintings. This one sold at auction for two million baht, he announced on his Facebook page. (Photo taken from Pakorn Porncheewangkun Facebook account)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: The second of the controversial Ultraman Buddha paintings was sold for two million baht at auction on Friday - with the seller promising to give the proceeds to charity.

Pakorn Porncheewangkun announced the result of the auction on his Facebook account.

"Closed this picture at two million baht," he wrote, posting a photo of himself standing beside the controversial painting.

He said the bidder had already transferred 500,000 baht in partial payment, and displayed the funds  transfer slip on his Facebook page.

The painting was put up for sale on Thursday, and by Friday morning had attracted a high bid of 1.5 million baht, an offer which was later exceeded.  The first of the four paintings to be auctioned off fetched 600,000 baht.

on Thursday, Mr Pakorn announced the second auction on his Faccebook page: "Let me continue by auctioning off this painting [one of the four Ultraman Buddhas] on this Hon Krasae talk show. This painting is now owned by a renowned photographer. He is busy with his work and asked me to auction it off. He bought it for 6,500 baht. Of the proceeds, 10% will be deducted to support the education of the student who painted it. The buyer wants to donate the rest to blind children and remote monk hospitals.’’

The Bangkok Post contacted Mr Pakorn on Friday morning and was told that a bidder had offered one million baht for the painting. He would close the auction at 3pm on Friday.

Mr Pakorn and other buyers bought the four controversial Ultraman Buddha works painted by a student artist at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University. On Wednesday, he auctioned off the first painting, which he bought for 4,500 baht, for 600,000 baht.

He said the two paintings had now raised 1.6 million baht, and the bidding for the second painting could still go higher.

Earlier, a group of Buddhists asked the Crime Suppression Division on Wednesday to prosecute the student and other people who supported her paintings, for depicting Buddha as the Japanese superhero Ultraman.

The group also targeted national artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, Papichaya na Nakhonphanom, director of the Terminal 21 shopping centre where the paintings were exhibited, lawyer Decha Kitiwithayanant and the student's adviser. The extremists called for the destruction of all such paintings.


The Ultraman Buddha painting auctioned on Wednesday. It fetched 600,000 baht. (Photo supplied)



Offline Johnnie F.

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Re: The Ultraman Buddha controversy
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2019, 07:46:26 PM »

Buddhist group withdraws charges over 'Ultraman Buddha' paintings

Says painting contains 'hidden symbols'

A Buddhist group has withdrawn the charges it filed against five people over controversial paintings that depicted Lord Buddha as the superhero Ultraman.

Jaroon Wannakasinanon,  of the Buddhists' Power group, went to the Crime Suppression Division and withdrew the charges pressed earlier against the artist, university student Suparat Chaijungreed, and her supervisor Veerayut (surname not given); Papichaya Na Nakhon, director of Terminal 21 shopping mall in Nakhon Ratchasima; national artist Chalermchai Kositpipat; and lawyer Decha Kittiwithayanant.

The group earlier alleged the five people had "tarnished Buddhism" by their roles in the paintings controversy.

Mr Jaroon said on Monday that the paintings appeared to contain hidden symbols and, as such, should not be considered ordinary works of art.

The group, he said, had determined that the people named in its complaint, except Mr Veerayut, were "tools of elements [within society] who are out to undermine Buddhism".

Mr Jaroon said the group knew of at least two other people who supported the public display of the controversial paintings, and was moving to file formal complaints against them.

"We intend to pursue legal cases against all wrongdoers to the fullest extent of the law, in order to prevent the image of Lord Buddha becoming a target of sacrilege," he said.

"If we allow this to go on, we might see pictures of the Buddha sprouting animal heads in the name of artistic expression."

The painter, a student at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nakhon Ratchasima Rajabhat University, came under attack after two of her four paintings were shown at an exhibition at Terminal 21 in Nakhon Ratchasima on Sept 3.

Mr Chalermchai was in the group's firing line for coming out in support of the student.

Two of the paintings have since been sold at auction, with one fetching 600,000 baht and the second 2 million baht. Proceeds from the sales will go to charity, according to the vendor.

Bangkok Post

 



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