Zen Sculpture Park (Lotus Island)

禅宗雕塑艺术品

客户需求

因为当今世界最大的观音道场——普陀山,就在莲花岛东面1600米的海面上,当设置世界最大观音(佛)的时候,必须要有佛的氛围和群体作为项目的内容,使其丰富、饱满。佛教一般认为:佛——菩萨——罗汉——比丘比丘尼——居士——信众,是一个上下的启承,所以,有佛必须有菩萨,有菩萨必须有罗汉。当莲花岛大观音没有得到建设许可前提下,将500罗汉建立在莲花岛海面上是一个唯一的好办法。他既能延续项目,完成原政府批文的重要部分,也能丰满普陀山的佛教圣地,因普陀山没有大体量的罗汉群,也能为当地千岛佛国的建设目标尽一份力量。同时为这500罗汉的建立,我又不能建立大观音的情况下,我们在岛上设立小型的观音堂。又因总体项目的暂停而500罗汉不属于暂停的内容,所有我们可以在这里建立五百罗汉海上雕塑公园。

 

设计挑战

本项目是凭我们知道的目前世上最大体量的500罗汉群,并且是在涨落潮变化较大的台风口上,海底的打桩和膜拜旅游的展开都是极其重要的挑战,我们借用莲花岛的平缓大陆架,蜿蜒至海上几百米。涨潮时,海底与海面高差2-4米,退潮时全然裸露海面,将500罗汉设置在这里,能使雕塑和海浪涨落产生无限的动感,人在其间旅游膜拜,寻找自己每个人的属相,非常带有参与性、趣味性和归一感。但是我们在海上打桩建罗汉具有很大的季节性和时段性,海水一日两次潮,四次涨落,我们必须利用好时间和用最高标号的水泥。

因为岛上没有码头、航线,交通,我们在预算中增加很大的资金,在整个建设中,会比在大陆建同样的项目多上5-8倍的预算,在我们批不下码头、航线之前,基本上我们都靠原始人工木滚、轱辘起吊,基本安装开始没多久却又逢当地政策围海造田拓展城市,将海岛填没,海上500罗汉的项目只能终止,无奈中搁置于800米填海长堤上,却也歪打正着,也形成了世上独有的海上800米500花岗石罗汉长堤,成为一条独特的海上禅宗文化风情线,让游客在这里永久免费膜拜、参观,成为莲花岛禅宗雕塑艺术公园的重要组成部分。(又因长堤搁置不下500尊罗汉,目前暂放230尊)

 

艺术设计策略

罗汉也叫阿罗汉,500罗汉是佛祖释迦摩尼身边的信奉者、得道者。历代庙宇中都有供奉,尤其是苏州、云南、北京几处的500罗汉的造型成为全国样板。但当设计师作为一个艺术家应该带有强烈的时代责任和引领作用,每个朝代在禅宗艺术造型上都带有很大时代个性,禅宗发展到现在更应该与社会、艺术、哲学相融合,成为引领民众、弘扬善道的最大载体,我在该项目的文案上写上宗旨楹联:“我即佛,佛即我,广种福田,我于西方常驻。”“艺亦禅,禅亦艺,精研墨池,艺与三宝同辉。”从这一设计的宗旨出发,我将寺庙里的佛像、罗汉造型请下神坛,与民同乐,与时俱进,不要让民众再带着恐惧的心理膜拜菩萨。更不要在菩萨罗汉面前设置金钱的栅栏,建立永久免费的观赏、膜拜机制。如是,我开始作了几十年的创作,因为雕塑的设计者和创作者是同一作者,所我基本耗时十八余年,设计创作了这批作品。

 

执行

为这批罗汉的创作我必须为其建立专门的雕塑厂,也因为石材的价位问题,我必须在中国福建石材产地现场创作,这样有资金时加强创作,无资金时通常停顿一阶段。前后耗时十八余年,项目的难度深受天风海涛、水文气象、地理位置、资金情况和政策情况制约。又因每尊花岗石罗汉都千斤重量,要将这批罗汉千里迢迢运到海岛、卸货、转运,在无任何水电情况下是极其困难的,全靠人工用最原始的方法搬运、安装、建立。每辆二十吨的平板车只能载装15尊,500罗汉的装载经过多少时间的风风雨雨,并且要从山上穿过当地农民的庄稼地,下到海上,这个陡度和土地的归属权使我一直没办法营造车道,十几年间,全靠四轮驱动的吉普车拉着往下滑行的载重车,一点一点向海上滑放,当海岛没有交通和码头的时代能够在十几年中将这批罗汉矗立在这片海洋上,也算是个人间奇迹。

 

成本

因为罗汉是设计师自己创作,所以当时我耗费大量的时间研究罗汉造型,根据青铜、花岗石不同的材质设置了室内和室外两种罗汉,也因体量的关系和运输安装的难度,每尊罗汉的平均建造价格投入应在3万人民币左右,总计1500万左右。



 

Zen Buddhist Sculpture Artwork

 

Client Requests

Because the world’s largest Guanyin Buddhist site –– Mount Putuo, is located just 1,600 meters to the east of Lotus Island, when the largest statue of Guanyin (Buddha) in the world is installed, the rich Buddhist atmosphere and communal spirit must be included in the project.  Buddhism generally believes that: the Buddha —— Bodhisattvas —— Arhats (saints) —— Buddhist monks and nuns —— lay Buddhist scholars —— believers, comprise a hierarchy of commitment (on a spectrum of enlightenment--acceptance), therefore if there is a Buddha, there must be a Bodhisattva, and if there is a Bodhisattva, there must be arhats.  When we did not successfully obtain the requisite construction permit for the Lotus Island Grand Guanyin statue, erecting the 500 arhats on Lotus Island was the only way forward.  He can not only continue the project, completing the important parts of the original proposal, but can also enrich the Buddhist holy sites of Mount Putuo. Because Mount Putuo does not have a large number of arhat groups, he can also contribute to the construction goals of the local Thousand Buddhist Islands. When these 500 arhats were constructed, we couldn’t build a grand statue of Guanyin, so we set up a small Guanyin temple on the island. Due to the suspension of the overall project, and the fact that the 500 arhats were not a part of that suspended content, all we could build here was the 500 Arhats Marine Sculpture Garden. 


 

Design Challenges

This project is based on what we know of the group of 500 arhats, currently the largest in the world. It is located in an area prone to typhoons, where tidal fluctuations greatly vary. Seabed piling and the development of religious tourism both present important challenges for this project. Thanks to Lotus Island’s smooth, flat continental shelf, we have been able to extend into the sea a few hundred meters.  At high tide, the difference between the seabed and the sea surface is 2-4 meters. When the tide is low, the sea surface is completely exposed. The 500 arhats have been set up here, which gives the sculptures a dynamic sense of movement, as the waves rise and fall around them. When traveling here people also engage in religious activities, worshipping and seeking out their zodiac signs. The atmosphere is extremely participatory and fun, engendering a sense of belonging. However, when we built the pilings on the sea for the arhats, we were subject to limitations due to seasonality and timeliness. Every day the tide fluctuates four times, with two high tides. We had to make good use of time and use the highest grade of cement. 

Because there were no wharfs, shipping routes, or transportation on the island, we had to increase the budget substantially. Accounting for all of the construction, we would need 5-8 times more funds than if we built the same project on the mainland. Before we could get approval for the wharfs and routes, we basically had to rely on primitive methods to work, using logs as wheels to move objects. We had just started the installation process when we came up against the local government policy to reclaim land from the sea in order to expand the city. The island was filled, and the 500 arhats at sea project ended. We had no choice but to install them instead on an 800-meter long embankment. However, this turned out to be fortuitous. It became the world’s only 800-meter long embankment with 500 granite arhats, and a unique representation of maritime Zen culture. The embankment is permanently free to all who wish to visit and worship. This has become an important part of the Lotus Island Zen Buddhist Sculpture Garden.  (Due to the additional construction of the embankment the 500 arhats are not yet complete. At present, 230 are temporarily in place).

 

Art and Design Strategies

These 500 arhats are the Buddha Sakyamuni's attendants, believers who have attained enlightenment.  Historically, arhats have been worshipped at various temples, especially the groups of 500 arhats found in Suzhou, Yunnan and Beijing. These have provided a kind of prototype for arhat worship and design throughout the entire country.   However, when the designer is an artist, he should have a strong sense of historical responsibility and leadership. The Zen Buddhist art forms of each dynasty have exhibited distinct historical characteristics. Today, the development of Zen Buddhism should be more integrated with society, art, and philosophy. In this way, it can become a major vehicle for leading the people and promoting goodness. As I wrote on a copy of the project communications, “I am the Buddha, the Buddha is me. Cultivating a vast domain of virtue, I reside permanently in the Western Paradise.” "Art is Zen, Zen is also art. Precisely grinding the ink into a pool, Art shines with the glory of the “Three Jewels”-- the Buddha, the Dharma (law) and the Sangha (the community of monks)." "Starting from the purpose of this design, I moved the Buddha and arhat statues in the temples to the sacred altar, in order to provide an enjoyable experience for the people, and to keep up with the times. The public should not worship the Bodhisattvas with fear." I certainly did not want to charge admission to view the Bodhisattvas and arhats. Instead, the site is permanently free to enjoy and worship.  In this way, I started to create for decades. Because I acted as both designer and creator of these sculptures, this work took me more than 18 years. 

 

Implementation

In order to create this batch of arhats, I must build a specialized sculpture studio. Also, because of price issues with stone materials, I must go to a stone production site in Fujian to create these sculptures. This way when there is money I can create more works. When there is no money I usually halt that stage of production. All together, this project has taken more than 18 years. The difficulty of the project was constrained by the natural elements, the rough winds and waves, hydrological and meteorological issues, geographical location, financial circumstances, and political conditions.  Because each granite arhat is extremely heavy, it is very difficult to transport them the long distance to the island, unload them, and transfer them. This is exacerbated by the lack of any water and electricity, and so the project depends on the most primitive methods for transporting, installing, and setting up the statues.  Each 20-ton flatbed truck can only hold 15 statues. It takes a great amount of time and many difficulties for the 500 arhats to be loaded. Moreover, they must be taken from the hilltop through the fields of local farmers, and down to the sea. Due to the steepness of the hills and the ownership rights to the land, it is impossible to build transportation routes. For more than a dozen years, this has depended on four-wheel drive jeep trucks, dragging flatbed trucks down the hills little by little towards the sea. For more than a decade, the island had no traffic or docks. Installing these arhats on the island could be considered a personal miracle.

 

Cost

Because the arhats were my own designs and creations, I spent a lot of time researching arhat models. Based on the differences between the materials of bronze and granite, I produced two types of arhat, indoor ones and outdoor ones. This was also due to their size and weight, and the degree of difficulty in transportation and installation. On average, each arhat costs around 30,000 RMB to construct, amounting to about 15 million RMB in total.