Monthly Archives: February 2017

Vasudhara in art :Goddess of prosperity

              Vasudhara is the Goddess of wealth in Buddhism. Vasudhara literally means stream of gemsVasudhara is the Buddhist giver of wealth, similar to the Hindu Goddess Lakshmi.

 She is usually depicted seated in lalitasana (royal posture of ease) on a lotus with one foot tucked in towards her and the other hanging at the lotus base but resting on a small treasure.Her right hands make a gesture of generosity and holds a spray of gems. In her left hands she holds a manuscript,the Prajnaparamita-sutra, a sheaf of grain, and a water-pot. She can have two, four or six arms. She is a goddess of fertility and prosperity, and a consort of the wealth-god Jambhala. She is highly revered among the Buddhist Newars of the Kathmandu valley in Nepal.In this region she is a common household deity and it is believed that her worship brings wealth and stability. In Tibetan art she appears more commonly with two arms.

    She has been depicted as a beautiful woman in Buddhist art and can be identified as the bodhisattva with the elaborate head-dress and jewellery. Her skin has a golden hue in sculpture and painted images.This colour is related to  precious metals and symbolises opulence and fertility. Vashudhara had varied depictions; yellow Vasudhara (solitary) Dharani Tradition, yellow Vasudhara (solitary) Vajrapanjara Tradition, yellow Vasudhara (solitary, standing) Jamari Tradition, yellow cow-herd  Vasudhara (solitary, standing), red Manohara Vasudhara (solitary), red Vasudhara (solitary) Sakya tradition, yellow Vasudhara (six hands, solitary) Vasudhara with five deities and Vasudhara with nineteen deities.

Vasudhara, gilded copper sculptrure inlaid with semiprecious stones, 11th century, Nepal,Arthur M. Sackler Gallery,Washingfton,USA.

By Daderot – Own work, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26697696

        When Goddess Vasudhara is two armed and single  faced, she has a golden hued body, representing the earth element, Ratnasambhava in her crown, sometimes two eyes or sometimes three eyes which represent perfect awareness, understanding, compassion, wisdom and insight into the past, present and future.

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Vasudhara, copper alloy sculpture with gemstones, late 12th-early 13th century,Nepal,LACMA,USA.

 

Attribution : http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark6mauno

           With her three left hands she holds a small treasure-vase, for long life and wealth,  a tuft of grain, for abundant harvest and a sacred text to grant wisdom. In her hands, Vasudhara holds a variety of objects attributed to her. Her first right hand makes the gesture of charity or the varada mudra,an another can be seen holding jewelled lotus buds.

 

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Vasudhara,copper alloy sculpture with gemstones ,12th century,Nepal, LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Vasudhara Mandala, 14th century, Nepal.

By Jasaraja Jirili (Sotheby’s) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Vasudhara, 14th century, Nepal,CSMVS Museum, Mumbai.

By G41rn8 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.
  • http://www.himalayanart.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Avalokitesvara images : varied depictions

       Avalokitesvara or Lord who looks down, is  a bodhisattva who embodies the compassion of all Buddhas. This bodhisattva is  depicted differently and described.In Chinese Buddhism he becomes the somewhat different female figure Guan-yin.  Avalokitesvara is also referred to as Padmapani ,holder of the Lotus or Lokesvara or Lord of the World. In Tibet, Avalokitesvara is Chenrezik. In Cambodia, he appears as Lokesvara. Avalokitesvara remained popular in India until the 12th century.

       In Mahayana Buddhism,as per the Karandavyuha sutra, the sun and moon are said to be born from Avalokitesvara’s eyes, Shiva from his brow, Brahma from his shoulders, Narayana from his heart, Saraswati from his teeth, the winds from his mouth, the earth from his feet and the sky from his stomach and he is an attendant of Amitabha. He is also mentioned in the Lotus sutra, Heart sutra, Nilakanthi dharani sutra and few others. From the 15th century, the Dalai Lamas are held to be his incarnations.

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Padmapani(Avalokitesvara), cave painting,6th century,Ajanta caves, Maharashtra.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Water-Moon Avalokitesvara (Musee Guimet).jpg

Water moon Avalokitesvara,painting,10-14th century, Goryeo dynasty,Korea,Musee Guimet,France.

By Goryeo-Dynasty artist (http://tayler.tistory.com/679) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

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Padmapani, Nepal, 14th century, gilt bronze,Berkeley Art Museum,USA.

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

        Avalokitesvara is highly revered in Tibetan Buddhism, and is regarded in the Vajrayana teachings as a Buddha. He is depicted on a lotus pedestal in yogic control and with differently numbered arms and multiple headed too. In thangkas, the sun and moon emblems can be seen on top. It is believed in Tibet that Tara was formed from a teardrop of Avalokiteswara which became a lake which revealed her in a lotus opening.

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Chenrezik (Avalokitesvara), thangka, Tibet.

Attibution : http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane

       Avalokitesvara has number of manifestations in different forms; Aryavalokitesvara,root form of the Bodhisattva,Ekadasamukha with  ten additional faces to teach all in ten planes of existence,Sahasra-bhuja Sahasra-netra thousand-armed, thousand-eyed sees and helps all beings. Chintamanichakra holds the bejewelled chintamani wheel; Hayagriva is a wrathful form. Cundi is a woman portrayed with many arms. Amoghapasa is with rope and net .

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 Avalokitesvara, brass sculpture, 11th century, Tibet,LACMA,USA.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin), China, c. 1220-1300 AD, gilded bronze - Östasiatiska museet, Stockholm - DSC09614.JPG

Guanyin( Avalokitesvara), gilded bronze, 13th century,China,Östasiatiska Museet, Stockholm.

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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Avalokitesvara, probably Padmapani Lokeshvara,  Newari painting by Anandamuni Shakya,1940s,Kathmandu, Nepal.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/8630165611

     There is a belief that Avalokitesvara had taken a vow to free all beings suffering in samsara, and his head splits into eleven pieces struggling  to understand everyone’s misery; Amitabha helps him to get eleven heads to hear and react to the cries of the suffering. However his hands are shattered too, Amitabha then gives him a thousand hands to reach out to help the needy.

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Avalokitesvara,sculpture,Le or Nguyen Dynasty,18th century,Vietnam.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dalbera/15517356585..by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra

 

 

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Tara in Buddhist art : various depictions

      Tara is a female Bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism. Mahayana and Theravada are the two main forms of Buddhism.Tara is the mother of liberation and represents the virtues of achievements and success in work. In Tibetan Buddhism she is regarded as the bodhisattva of compassion and action. She is the female aspect of Avilokiteswara, an important bodhisattva in Buddhism and it is also believed that she originated from his tears.

Picturesque Nepal (1912) (14801528783).jpg

Tara,sculpture,Nepal.

By Internet Archive Book Images – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14801528783/Source book page: https://archive.org/stream/picturesquenepal00browuoft/picturesquenepal00browuoft#page/n87/mode/1up, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43914726

Green Tara. Sumtsek hall at Alci monastery, Ladakh, ca. 11th century.jpg

Green Tara,11th century,Alci monastery, Ladakh.

By Unknown Artist – Sumtsek hall at Alci monastery, Ladakh, India., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=44076245

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Tara, sculpture,12th century,Bihar.

By I, Sailko, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17563844

        Tara is the generic name given to a set of bodhisattvas of a similar quality. There are many known forms of Tara. Green Tara or Syamatara is known for enlightened activity, while White Tara is known for compassion, healing and serenity. Red Tara or Kurukulla is the fierce aspect, Black Tara represents power, Yellow Tara for wealth and prosperity, Blue Tara for transmuting anger, Chittamani Tara of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Khadiravani Tara who appeared before Nagarjuna, Buddhist philosopher of the 2nd century, in the predominantly acacian forest of the same name in South India. Tara was a well-worshipped deity in India and Tibet during Pala period in the 8th century.She was likened to the Mother Goddess in India. She is popular in Tibet,Mongolia,Nepal and Bhutan.

Presently Green Tara and White Tara are popular representations of Tara. Green Tara is associated with protection form fear, White Tara is associated with longevity; she counteracts illness and helps in having a long life. She is full of compassion, and is likened to the moon as being white and radiant.

A Very Fine Gilt Copper Alloy Figure Depicting Tara.jpg

Tara,gilt-copper sculpture, early 15th century, China.

By Tibeto-Chinese, Yongle period (1403—1424) – Sotheby’s, lot.86, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51782138

     Below are depicted  two Taras  seated on lotus thrones. White Tara, represented with the multiple eyes of omniscience, sits in the dhyana or  meditation posture, while the Green Tara hangs one leg slightly;both lower one hand in varada-mudra of boon-giving.

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White Tara and Green Tara, 15th century,distemper on cloth,Tibet.

By Unknown – http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/78194 direct link, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39107123

Different Taras,Tibetan thangka, 18th century.

By Anonymous – Rubin Museum of Art, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3580148

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org
  • Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Symbols of Buddhism : ashtamangala depictions

         There are eight auspicious symbols which are revered  in  Buddhism. They are represented together in an ashtamangala. The symbols in early Buddhism included: throne, swastika, hand-print, endless knot, vase of jewels, water libation flask, pair of fishes, lidded bowl. In Buddhism, these eight symbols of good fortune represent the offerings made by the gods to Buddha immediately after his enlightenment.Depictions in art are found in Asian countries wherever Buddhism flourished.

The ashtamangala in Chinese,Tibetan and Nepali Buddhism are  conch, endless knot, two goldfish, lotus,parasol,vase dharmachakra , dhwaja or victory banner.

File:Colossal Parasol with Eight Auspicious Symbols - Circa 1st Century CE - Gita Enclave - ACCN 00-72-5 - Government Museum - Mathura 2013-02-23 5570.JPG

 Eight symbols,1st century,Mathura Museum,Uttar Pradesh.

Biswarup Ganguly [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Four of the Ashtamangala symbols, Thimpu,Bhutan.

By Christopher J Fynn – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39168187

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Four of the Ashtamangala symbols, Thimpu,Bhutan.

By Christopher J Fynn – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39168185

File:Ashtamangala.jpg

Ashtamangala,Hall of Fame, Leh,Laddakh.

By Redtigerxyz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The symbols represent various concepts ; the right turning conch shankha represents the  sound of the dharma, which awakens followers from the deep slumber  of ignorance.

The endless knot Srivatsa is the symbol of the ultimate unity of everything;the intertwining of wisdom and compassion.

The two goldfish or gaurmatsya symbolise the auspiciousness of all beings in a state of fearlessness without danger of drowning in samsara.In Buddhism, the fish symbolise happiness as they have complete freedom of movement in the water.

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Temple window with symbols,Bhutan.

©Christopher J. Fynn / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons

The lotus or padma symbolises purity and renunciation. The lotus flower has its roots in the mud at the bottom of a pond, but its flower lies perfect and unaffected  above the water.

The jewelled parasol or chatraratna represents the protection of beings from harmful forces and influences.

The  vase of treasures  or bumpa represents abundance  health, longevity and  prosperity; similar to the Kumbha or Kalasa in Hindusism.

The dharmachakra or wheel of law represents the Buddha and  the  Dharma teachings.

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Dharmachakra, ceiling, Global Vipassana Pagoda, Mumbai.

Joe Ravi [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

       The dhwaja or flag was a military standard of ancient Indian warfare. The symbol represents the Buddha’s victory over the four maras which tried to disturb him on his path to  enlightenment. These hindrances are excessive pride, desire, disturbing emotions and the fear of death.

Door with the ashtamangala symbols,Nepal.

By Christopher J. Fynn (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Decorated tent with symbols,China.

By Popolon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Bowl with eight symbols in fencai enamel,Hong Kong Museum of Art,Hong Kong.

By Mk2010 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Ashtamangala symbols,wedding card,Nepal.

See page for author [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Auspicious symbols,wood carving,Tibet.

Source and copyright owner: Tibetan Museum Society [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Bodhisattvas in art : painted images

    Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit term for anyone who has generated bodhichitta, motivated by great compassionwhich is an intense wish to attain buddha-hood for the benefit of all. Bodhisattva is a being who has not attained enlightenment, and may refrain from nirvana in the hopes of aiding others to reach it. The term is applied to hypothetical beings with a high degree of enlightenment and power. Bodhisattvas are an important subject in Buddhist art.

In Indian Buddhism, the term bodhisattva referred to the Buddha in his former lives. The Jataka tales, which are the stories of the Buddha’s lives, depict the various trials of the bodhisattva to develop self-sacrifice and imbibe high moral values. In fact Mahayana Buddhism is based on the path of a bodhisattva.  It is believed that this term is synonymous with Bodhisattvayana. The list of Bodhisattvas include AkasagarbhaAvalokitesvara, Ksitigarbha,Mahasthamaprapta,Maitreya,Manjusri,Nio,Padmasambhava,Samantabhadra,Sangharama,Sitatapatra,Skanda,Tara,Vajrapani and Vasundhara. Suryaprabha and Supushpachandra are other bodhisattvas.

Bodhisattva Akasagarbha is related to space, Avalokitesvara is the bodhisattva of compassion and the most universally acknowledged bodhisattva in Mahayana Buddhism.  Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha is  revered in East Asian Buddhism and  depicted as a Buddhist monk. His name may be translated as Earth Womb. He is the guardian of children and patron deity of deceased children and aborted fetuses in Japanese culture. Mahasthamaprapta represents the power of wisdom.Maitreya is regarded as the future Buddha. Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will appear on earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment, and preach pure dharma or religious righteousness. Gautama Buddha before being born on earth was a Bodhisattva having attained this position by taking a vow for enlightenment, and then went through various births and was in Tushita heaven as the reigning Bodhisattva.

Manjusri is a bodhisattva associated with prajna or transcendent wisdom. Nio are two muscular guardians of the Buddha standing today at the entrance of many Buddhist temples in East Asia. Padmasambhava or Lotus-Born, also known as Guru Rinpoche. Samantabhadra is associated with action and he has made ten great vows .Sanghrama are revered in Chinese Buddhism and Taoism, a group of devas who guard viharas. Sitapatra or the white parasol is a protector against supernatural danger. Skanda is regarded as a devoted guardian of viharas and the Buddhist teachings. Tara is a female bodhisattva, or set of bodhisattvas, in Tibetan Buddhism. She represents success in work. Vajrapani is protector of Gautama Buddha and rose to symbolize the Buddha’s power.Vasudhara means stream of gems in Sanskritand she is the bodhisattva of wealth, prosperity, and abundance, similar to Goddess Lakshmi in Hinduism.

   The Bodhisattva path is an arduous, difficult monastic but glorious path one can take, as described in Buddhist texts. The bodhisattva has to take vows to work for the enlightenment of all beings by practising six imperfections.A bodhisattva is one liberates beings from samsara, cycle of death, rebirth and suffering. A bodhisattva’s mind is known as the bodhichitta or awakened mind .

Hinayana Buddhism recognizes only Maitreya.The painted images of Boddhisatvas have been made in countries wherever Mahayana Buddhism has  flourished.

Mural depiction of worshipping bodhisattvas, Wei Dynasty,6th century, China.

By unknown ancient Buddhist artist(s) – Cave 285. Wei Dynasty (535-556 A.D.), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9557200

Cave mural of Avalokitesvara, worshipping bodhisattvas,Tang Dynasty,618-907 A.D.

By unknown ancient Buddhist artist(s) – Cave 57. Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9557135

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Amitabha with  bodhisattvas,10th-14th century, Tokugawa Art Museum, Japan.

By Goryeo-Dynasty artist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Painting of Akasagarbha, 13th century, Kamakura period,Japan.

By unknown artist – zAHGDjCz55_mHg at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=22564534

Avalokitesvara painting,palm-leaf manuscript ,12th century, India.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. – http://asiasocietymuseum.org/region_object.asp?RegionID=1&CountryID=2&ChapterID=10&ObjectID=479, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12596710

Ksitigarbha painting,  late 14th century,Goryeo, Korea.

By Unidentified artist – http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/ho/07/eak/hob_29.160.32.htm, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2826252

Mahasthamaprapta.jpg

Mahasthamaprapta,painting,13th century,China.

By China, Tangut State of Hsi Hsia, Khara-Khoto, 13th century – http://www.arthermitage.org/Painting/Mahasthamaprapta.html, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7754845

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Maitreya ,illustration,manuscript,early 12th century, India.

By Metropolitan Museum of Art created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. – http://www.nysun.com/arts/oases-of-color/83047/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11608769

Manjusri,illustration, palm leaf manuscript,Nalanda,700-1100, Bihar.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. – http://asiasocietymuseum.org/region_object.asp?RegionID=1&CountryID=2&ChapterID=10&ObjectID=479, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11441578

Padmasambhava,wall painting,14th century,Bhutan.

By Baldiri – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2164202

Brooklyn Museum - Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.jpg

Samantabhadra,painting,late 18th-early 19th century.

By Unknown – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1993.192.2_transp4510.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10967395

Skanda as portrayed by Zhao Mengfu,Yuan Dynasty,13th-14th century, China.

By Prajnyaapaaramitaa_Hridaya_by_Zhao_Meng_Fu.JPG: Zhao Meng Fuderivative work: Tengu800 (talk) – Prajnyaapaaramitaa_Hridaya_by_Zhao_Meng_Fu.JPG, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9608296

White Tara, Tibet, 1644-1911 AD - Sichuan Provincial Museum - Chengdu, China - DSC04498.jpg

White Tara,painting,1644-1911,Tibet, Sichuan Provincial Museum,China.

By Daderot – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51626216

Vajrapani, painting on one side of the Buddha, Cave 1,Ajanta,7th century,Maharashtra.

By Indischer Maler des 7. Jahrhunderts – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=153071

Vasudhara Mandala, by Jasaraja Jirili, Nepal, dated 1365. Sotheby's.jpg

Vasudhara mandala,14th century,Nepal.

By Jasaraja Jirili – Sotheby’s, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15195963

 

 

 

 

 

 

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

 

© author

 

 

 

 

 

Buddha in art : images of enlightenment

      Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha or the enlightened one, was born in the sixth/fifth  century B.C. and was the founder of Buddhism, a religion based on his teachings. He was Siddhartha Gautama and also Shakyamuni Buddha. He lived and taught mostly in Magadha and Kosala in eastern India of ancient times. He attained Enlightenment or full Buddhahood as  understood in Buddhism.

     He preached a middle path between over-indulgence connected with the senses and severe asceticism.He shared his insights to help sentient beings end rebirth and suffering. His discourses, monastics and various accounts and incidents of his life were summarised by his disciples and followers. The knowledge was passed on through oral tradition and written accounts were made 400 years later.   The sources for the life of Siddhārtha Gautama are a variety of different, and sometimes conflicting, traditional biographies. These include the Buddhacharita, Lalitavistara Sutra, Mahavastu, and the Nidanakatha . The Jataka tales tell tales about his previous births.

      Gautama was born as a Kshatriya, the son of Suddhodana,  chief of the Shakya clan whose capital was Kapilavastu, Gautama was the family name. His mother was Maya-devi.

      At the age of 29 Siddhartha left his palace,his wife and son, despite his father’s efforts to hide from him the sick, aged and suffering. Siddhartha was said to have seen an old man,a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. All this depressed him, and he tried to overcome ageing, sickness, and death by living the life of an ascetic sage. However Gautama realised that meditative dhyana was the right path to awakening, but that extreme asceticism did not neccesarily  work.

          Gautama meditated  under a pipal ( variety of fig) tree or Bodhi tree at Bodh Gaya where he vowed to meditate until he had found the truth. Evil demons like Mara tried to disturb him along with his army. He raised violent storm and rain. He even sent his daughters to seduce him. After  49 days of meditation, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained Enlightenment, and became the Buddha or Enlightened one. He realised the Middle Way, a path of moderation or the Noble Eight-fold Path is the right way. Thus he attained liberation from samsara or the cycles of birth or death.At the age of 84, the Buddha announced that he would  reach Parinirvana, or the final deathless state.He abandoned his earthly body soon after having his last meal.

File:Four Scenes from the Life of the Buddha - Enlightenment - Kushan dynasty, late 2nd to early 3rd century AD, Gandhara, schist - Freer Gallery of Art - DSC05124.JPG

Enlightenment of Buddha,schist, 2nd-3rd century,Kushana,Freer Gallery, USA.

By Daderot (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Ajanta Caves in Aurangabad are 30 rock-cut cave monuments which date from the 2nd century B.C to 600 A.D. The caves include paintings and sculptures considered to be masterpieces of Hindu, Jaina and  Buddhist religious art including the Jataka tales.The caves were built in two phases starting around 2nd century BC, with the second group of caves built around 600 A.D.  A sculpture from Ajanta of Buddha in padmasana is depicted below, his hands in dharmachakra mudra.

File:Lord Buddha at Ajanta caves.jpg

Buddha, Ajanta caves, near Aurangabad,Maharashtra.

By Manu Jha (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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Buddha meditating while demon Mara tries to disturb him, painting, Lao monastery.

By myself (Painting in Laotian monastery) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

Sri Lanka, Buddha, Sri, Lanka, Statue, Religion

Buddha meditating, sculpture, Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka.

Source of image : pixabay.com/en/photos/buddha/(CC O, Public domain)

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Manuscript of a meditating Buddha being disturbed by Mara, the demon,Pala period, Nalanda.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. – http://asiasocietymuseum.org/region_object.asp?RegionID=1&CountryID=2&ChapterID=10&ObjectID=479, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11441827

 

Buddha,painting,Mogao caves, 4th-11th century, Dunhuang,China.

By AnonymousOriginal uploader was Евгений Ардаев at ru.wikipedia – Transferred from ru.wikipedia, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7855466

 

 

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Buddha Tanhankara, 13th century, Upali Thein temple, Bagan, Myanmar.

By Jacklee (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:Shakyamuni Buddha - Google Art Project.jpg

Thangka,Shakyamuni Buddha,18th century, Tibet,Rodin Museum of Art.

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Buddha, resisting the demons of Mara, Wellcome V0046085.jpg

Buddha resisting Mara,lithograph,19th century,Sri Lanka. (Wellcome images)

See page for author [CC BY 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

File:The Victory of Buddha.jpg

Victory of Buddha, painting, Abanindranath Tagore, Myths of the Hindus & Buddhists,1914.

Abanindranath Tagore [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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Buddha,acrylic on canvas,20th/21st century.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • wikipedia.org

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

 

© author

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raslila in art : celebration of divine love

         Raslila is a celebratory dance done in the form of a ras mandala by gopis along with Lord Krishna  Gopis are cowherd maidens who are smitten with Lord Krishna, Radha being the main among them.The Raslila is described in the Bhagavata-purana and Jayadeva’s Gita -Govinda. The word lila means play or act, whereas ras refers to emotion or essenceflavour/mood etc. It is difficult to find an exact synonym in the English language; raslila is a dance of  divine love.

       It is believed that one night, on hearing Krishna playing on his flute, all gopis of Vrindavan left their homes and joined him in a dance in the forest or grove where they danced through the night. Lord Krishna manifested himself in multiple form and each gopi believed that he was dancing with her. A unique circle is formed in the raslila called the ras-mandala. The Bhakti tradition followers believe that the earthly romantic love  between human beings is a dilute form and the intense love for Krishna felt by the gopis is like the soul searching for the ultimate , the God divine in the spiritual realm. The gopis are believed to be shadows of Lord Krishna’s own form.

     The Raslila is popular theme in many Indian dance forms like Kathak,Odissi,Manipuri and Bharatnatyam.

Krishna's Dance of Delight (Rasa Lila) LACMA M.75.66.jpg

Rasalila, Bundi,17th century, Rajasthan, LACMA,USA.

By Image: http://collections.lacma.org/sites/default/files/remote_images/piction/ma-31957887-O3.jpgGallery: http://collections.lacma.org/node/241131, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27286100

Brooklyn Museum - Rasa-lila (Drawing).jpg

Raslila, drawing, 19th century,Brooklyn Museum, USA.

By Anonymous (India) – Online Collection of Brooklyn Museum; Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 80.278.3_IMLS_PS4.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14620825

Raas Lila.jpg.jpg

Raslila,painting, probably 21st century.

By Raj441977 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47791760

 

 

References :

  • Thomas, P/Epics, myths and legends of India, Bombay : D. B. Taraporevala and Sons.
  • Dehejia, Harsha.V/Radha: Gopi to Goddess,New Delhi :Niyogi Books,2014.
  •  wikipedia.org

 

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author