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The Mystery of the Stolen Buddha Statue.
A rare and valuable Buddha statue that was stolen from a Los Angeles art gallery has been recovered by the police, who arrested a suspect in connection with the theft. The statue, which is worth $1.5 million, is a 250-pound bronze sculpture that dates back to the 17th century Japan. It is believed to have been commissioned for a temple and represents the Buddha in a seated posture with his right hand touching the ground, a gesture known as the bhumi-sparsa mudra, which signifies his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree.
The statue was displayed in an outdoor space at the Barakat Gallery, which specializes in ancient art from various cultures and regions. The gallery owner, Fayez Barakat, said he acquired the statue more than 55 years ago and moved it to the gallery for visitors to enjoy. He said he was heartbroken by the theft and hoped that the thief would not melt down the statue for its bronze.
The theft occurred on September 18, around 3:45 a.m., when a man drove a moving truck into the gallery’s driveway, broke a gate, and used a dolly to load the statue onto the truck. The whole operation took about 25 minutes and was captured by the gallery’s security cameras. The thief did not take any other items from the gallery, which suggested that he had planned the heist beforehand and targeted the Buddha statue specifically.
The police launched an investigation and searched for clues and leads. They received a tip from an anonymous caller who claimed to have seen the statue in a truck. On September 25, they located the truck and found the statue inside. They also arrested Justin Livick, 44, who was driving the truck, on suspicion of receiving stolen property. Livick was later released on bail and has not been charged yet. The police said they are still looking for the person who actually stole the statue from the gallery and whether Livick was involved in any way.
The statue was returned to the gallery, where Barakat expressed his relief and gratitude. He said he was amazed that the statue was recovered so quickly and thanked the police and the public for their help. He also said he would increase the security measures at his gallery to prevent future thefts. He said he hoped that the statue would continue to inspire people with its beauty and history.
The Buddha statue is one of many examples of Buddhist art that have been created over centuries across Asia and beyond. Buddhist statues are not meant to be worshipped as idols, but rather to serve as reminders of the Buddha’s teachings and example. They also reflect the cultural diversity and artistic creativity of different Buddhist traditions and regions. The meaning of each statue can be understood by looking at its physical attributes, postures, gestures, and symbols. Some of the most common types of Buddha statues are:
• The reclining Buddha, which depicts the Buddha lying on his right side with his head resting on a cushion or his hand. This posture represents the Buddha’s final moments before entering parinirvana, or nirvana-after-death, which is the ultimate liberation from suffering and rebirth.
• The standing Buddha, which shows the Buddha standing upright with his feet together or slightly apart. This posture signifies the Buddha’s rising from his seat after attaining enlightenment to teach his first sermon or to perform miracles.
• The walking Buddha, which portrays the Buddha walking with his right foot forward and his left hand raised in a gesture of reassurance or blessing. This posture symbolizes the Buddha’s active engagement with the world after reaching enlightenment or his return from teaching a sermon.
• The seated Buddha, which is the most common representation of the Buddha. It depicts him sitting cross-legged on a lotus throne or cushion with his hands in various gestures or mudras.
Buddhist statues are not only artistic expressions, but also spiritual tools that can help one to cultivate mindfulness, wisdom, and compassion. By contemplating the meaning and symbolism of each statue, one can gain insight into the Buddha’s life and teachings and apply them to one’s own situation. By meditating in front of a statue, one can also connect with the Buddha’s presence and energy and receive his guidance and inspiration. By respecting and honoring the statue, one can also generate positive karma and merit that can benefit oneself and others.
Barakat Collection, 941 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069
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Sunday, 4 February, 2024
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