Tibetan Master Artist Oshoe Sculpts Statue of Buddhist Deity Arya Tara in Pomona, CA

By Monica Rodriguez, Staff Writer

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POMONA - Kalsang Lodoe Oshoe has spent close to two months on Park Avenue working on a statue of Arya Tara, a female Buddha who represents compassion.

Oshoe is sculpting the clay statue at the Land of Enlightened Wisdom, a small monastery in the 1300 block of North Park.

Oshoe, a Tibetan master sculptor and painter, has worked around the world, including United States academic institutions and museums such as the Smithsonian and has completed works commissioned by the Dalai Lama.

In 1993, he sculpted a 12-foot-tall statue of Arya Tara for a monastery in northern India, said Geshe Tenzin Sherap, a monk and teacher at the Land of Enlightened Wisdom. Oshoe, who comes from a family of artists, was trained by his father and older brother to carry on the tradition of Tibetan fine arts, Sherap said. The statue that Oshoe is creating for  the Land of Enlightenment will be the first one of the deity that he is sculpting in the U.S.

Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer

 Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer


Tara, as she is also referred to, was once a princess who vowed that every time she was reincarnated it would be as a woman, Sherap said. Tara guides and protects people. “She purifies the poisonous” and protects people from danger, he said, and great masters and scholars pray to her.
Her gestures, Sherap said, indicate she will lead people to happiness and guide them to wisdom and knowledge. Tara helps people control emotions such as anger and jealousy.
The 3-foot-and-3-inch sculpture is being created to exact specifications that date back to the first Dalai Lama who lived in the 1400s, Sherap said. Within the statue are scrolls containing mantras, including one from the current Dalai Lama, Sherap said.
Oshoe said the statue is nearly complete and is in the process of adding a few details.
On Wednesday, Oshoe used a thin, pencil-like wooden tool to carefully shape some of Tara’s features removing tiny pieces of clay to achieve just the right look.
Once Oshoe is done with the sculpting portion of the process he will move on to the next step.
The next step involves painting the sculpture and finally painting the sculpture’s face and other exposed parts of her body with powdered gold and then covering the rest of the statue with a gold leaf.
Once the statue is completed the sculpture will be moved to the monastery’s shrine room, Sherap said.
Later this month, Sherap and other monks will gather to have a special ceremony asking Tara to bless the statue.Through a translator, Oshoe said even if someone doesn’t practice Buddhism, seeing Tara’s statue will be a positive experience.
Seeing her may remind someone that they knew of her in a previous life, Oshoe said. That may inspire someone to learn more about her.
“If you study she definitely helps you,” Sherap said.

Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer
Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer
This Saturday and Sunday, Oshoe will conduct a workshop at the Land of Enlightened Wisdom where he will share his knowledge of sculpture and work with participants in the creation of a Mahakala mask.
The workshop costs $55, which includes the cost of materials. “Mahakala Mask Workshop.
Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff Photographer