Buddhist crafts for the Holidays.

Via John Pappas
on Dec 21, 2009
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I am not, by genetic disposition, a crafty person. I am sneaky and slightly conniving but in no way skilled with my hands enough to be crafty. Unless of course you consider wringing my hands menacingly or twirling my mustache bars to be crafts…

my holiday Jizo

My wife, however, is crafty as hell. She always makes handmade cards for my birthday and various fancy multi-media chatskies for my various annual days (birthday, anniversary, Christmas and so forth). So this holiday season I have watched her make these delightful handmade gifts (and helped with the simpler tasks). Just enough where I was actually helping without getting in the way or mucking up the works.

But the time spent cutting clay and making cookies got my wheels turning to find some Buddhist mindful crafts for the holidays.

Handmade Jizo Statues

Jizo is the bodhisattva, especially well-known in Japan, that is known to plunge into dangerous situations in order to rescue those individuals suffering.  He is known as a protector of women, children, travelers and those with inflictions.

I attempted a few of these Jizo mini-statues as gifts using Sculptee and some air dry clay.  This video worked wonders on getting me started.  Many will be multicolored and quite ridiculous. An example is pictured above.  It took me about 45 minutes to finish two of these but I am sure with practice I can pound these out like a factory-worker.

Check here and here for some nice examples that seem simple to make.

Jizo Origami

How to make a folded paper Jizo (from Jizos for Peace)

Tibetan Prayer Flags

How to makePrayer Flags from Instructables.com

That is all that I have. If you can think of a few more please add them into the comments. I have been troubled slightly this year in attempting to align the holidays with my practice. Largely it has been a failure and I find myself more stressed over the holidays than is healthy.  My goal is to add to my family’s Christian tradition in ways that will not supercede their beliefs or undermine my own.



Sculptee Ganesh!

John is a failing and stumbling Zen Home-Practitioner that drinks far too much home-brew, engages in pagan rituals, read the Necronomicon (and quotes it to evangelicals) and spends far too much time on the Dharma and his personal blog www.zendirtzendust.com


About John Pappas

John Pappas is a struggling Zen practitioner with a slight Vajrayana palate (but he won't admit it) stumbling between the relative and absolute through the Buddhist Purgatory otherwise known as the Great Plains of South Dakota. Emerging writer, librarian and aspiring hungry ghost, John spews his skewed perception of the dharma all over his personal blog, Subtle Dharma Mouth Punch as well as on the ephemeral Elephant Journal and occasionally (while having no artistic ability to speak of) on Dharma/Arte. John also loves tacos, homebrew, yoginis and obscure Cthulhu references. You can follow him on twitter under the handle @zendustzendirt


5 Responses to “Buddhist crafts for the Holidays.”

  1. nancy a says:

    did you do the Ganesh yourself? you also made a Thor? OMG the coolest. going to do those w/ my kids this wk! thanks for the tips. great great ideas!!

  2. John says:

    Thanks for posting this here, Nancy! Much appreciated. Ganesh and Thor weer quite easy compated to the Thousand-Handed Kannon Bodhisattva that I am trying to work on….and no it will not be posable.



  3. Tee says:

    Beautiful work…absolutely inspired.

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