Professor Jim Hagan has spent the last 43 years exploring Buddhist art and has prepared an exhibit in the Fine Arts Center to benefit earthquake victims in Nepal.
Buddhism is a foreign religion to many Castleton University students, but a small dose of Buddhist art might just force them to appreciate one of the most historical and treasured forms of art in human history.
At 6 p.m. on Nov. 5, Hagan will give a speech at Castleton about the disaster and will look to sell his photographs on display to benefit victims. All proceeds will go directly to a small area in Nepal that lost 80 percent of the village in an earthquake last April and whose people are currently living in tents in the Mount Everest Region, according to Hagan.
Jade Blodgett, a senior at Castleton who traveled with Hagan to Tibet, said Buddhist art “expresses their religion and their faith.” Blodgett went on to say that simply seeing the art displayed in the Fine Arts Center “brings back flashbacks.”
“Buddhist art is cherished by many people cross-culturally because just by looking at an image of the Buddha, it communicates to us a man who has attained perfect peace and serenity, something we all strive for. You do not have to be a Buddhist to realize this,” Hagan said.
“I have grown a great appreciation of different cultures and people. It was astounding to experience how peaceful and happy a population could be,” said Adam Enes, a Castleton student who has traveled to Central Tibet, Nepal and Eastern Tibet.
Although Buddhism is an ancient religion, Hagan does not believe that it is losing popularity.
“Buddhism and Buddhist art have been around for more than 2,500 years and shows little signs of disappearing,” said Hagan. “In fact, it is growing and becoming very popular in America and the Western world. If you investigate Buddhist philosophy, you will discover how very scientific it is. I predict someday there will be something called ‘American Buddhism.’”
Hagan plans to sell his larger photographs for $100 and the smaller ones for $50.
“These are one-of-a-kind from one of your professors at Castleton,” says Hagan. “But the main thing is the money really goes to a great cause.”