Category Archives: Buddha

Ajanta Caves : some glimpses of sculptures

          Deep cut or excavated caves in the Aurangabad district of Maharastra in Western India are the now well-known Ajanta Caves. Made into a 75 metre wall of rock, between 2nd century B. C and 5th century A.D these caves are a marvel in art, sculpture and rock-cut architecture. The earliest caves are believed to have been excavated during the Satavahana period and belong to the Hinayana tradition of Buddhism. During the reign of King Harisena (r. 460-478 A.D)  of the Vakatakas, whose feudatories and minister supported the ”sangha”, the Mahayana Buddhists contributed to over 20 impressive cave excavations at Ajanta. These were embellished with mural art, sculpture and great architecture. The caves are cut into a mountain wall above the Waghora river.

Image result for ajanta caves art and architectureView of Ajanta Caves, 2nd century B.C to 5th century A.D, Maharashtra.

        The architecture of the caves were customised to the monastic needs of the Buddhists to include assembly halls, living quarters and spaces for meditation. A few caves are from the pre-Vakataka period. Some glimpses from sculptural marvels from the caves are showcased –

Cave 1 – Made under Harisena, this cave has an elaborate carved facade, with relief sculptures on the entablature and ridges, and most surfaces embellished with decorative carving. There are scenes carved from the life of the Buddha, animals, as well as a number of decorative motifs.

Frieze, Cave 1, Ajanta.

Cave 4 – This cave is squarish, with a large image of the Buddha in preaching pose flanked by bodhisattvas and celestial nymphs hovering above. It consists, of a verandah, a hypostylar hall, sanctum with an antechamber and a series of unfinished cells. This monastery is the largest among the Ajanta caves and it measures nearly 970 square metres.

Buddha and bodhisattvas, Cave 4, Ajanta.

Cave 6 – It is two storeyed monastery  made up of a sanctum, a hall on both levels. The lower level is pillared and has attached cells, the upper hall too has subsidiary cells. The sanctums on both level feature a Buddha in the teaching posture.  The Miracle of Shravasti  and Temptation of Mara is depicted in the lower level walls. Only the lower floor of cave 6 was finished. The unfinished upper floor of cave 6 has many private votive sculptures, and a shrine Buddha.

Buddha and bodhisattvas, Cave 6, Ajanta.

Cave 7 – a monastery of a single storey having a sanctum, a hall with octagonal pillars, and eight small rooms for monks. The sanctum Buddha is shown in preaching posture. There are many art panels narrating Buddhist themes. This cave has a grand facade with two porticos. The veranda has eight pillars of two types. One has an octagonal base with amalaka and lotus capital. The other lacks a distinctly shaped base, features an octagonal shaft instead with a plain capital. The veranda opens into an antechamber. On the left side in this antechamber are seated or standing sculptures, those of 25 carved seated Buddhas in various postures and facial expressions, while on the right side are 58 seated Buddha reliefs in different postures, all on lotuses.

Buddhas, antechamber, Cave 7, Ajanta.

Cave 19 –  This structure was completed during the Vakataka rule which which is grand chaitya hall. It has a courtyard with attached cells. It has an elaborate facade and a single entrance to the cave having a portico with pillars. It has a circular window  with lot of decoration around the opening. There are decorated pilasters and cornices. The grid has many sculptures, mostly Buddha figures. There is Naga group on the facade.

Entrance, Cave 19, Ajanta.

Naga group, facade of Cave 19, Ajanta.

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Entrance sculptures, Cave 19, Ajanta.

Cave 9 – This cave has a distinct apsidal shape. The aisle has a row of 23 pillars. The ceiling is vaulted. The stupa is at the center of the apse, with a circumambulatory path around it. The stupa sits on a high cylindrical base. It is a chaitya or worship halls from the 2nd to 1st century B.C, the first period of construction,  reworked upon at  the end of the second period of construction in the 5th century. Many sculptures adorn the facade, mostly Buddha images.

Cave 9, entrance, Ajanta.

Cave 9, Buddha with Ananda, Ajanta.

Cave 9, apsidal hall with stupa, Ajanta.

Cave 11-  It is monastery and the cave veranda has pillars with octagonal shafts and square bases. The ceiling of the veranda shows evidence of floral designs and eroded reliefs. The center panel is of the Buddha seen with votaries lining up to pray before him.

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Exterior, Buddha with a devotee, Cave 11, Ajanta.

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Elephant, Cave 16, Ajanta.

 

Cave 26 – It is  a worship hall or chaitya, with elements of a vihara design. The interior view of the cave gives a general appearance of a Mahayana vihara. An inscription states that a monk Buddhabhadra and his friend minister serving king of Asmaka, gifted this large cave. It has two upper stories and four wings of the cave were planned, but these were abandoned and only the carved Buddhas on the right and left wall were completed. The cave consists of an apsidal hall with side aisles for circumambulation . This path is full of carved Buddhist legends, three depictions of the Miracle of Sravasti in the right ambulatory side of the aisle, and seated Buddhas in various mudras. At the center of the apse is a rock-cut stupa with an image of the Buddha in front, 18 panels on its base, 18 panels above these, a three tiered torana above him. On top of the stupa is a nine-tiered harmika, a symbolism for the nine samsara in Mahayana cosmology. The walls, pillars, and brackets are intricately carved with Buddhist themes.

Entrance, Cave 26.

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Side shrines, Cave 26, Ajanta.

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Reliefs, Cave 26, Ajanta.

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Column designs, Cave 26, Ajanta.

Chaitya hall with stupa, Cave 26, Ajanta.

The enshrined Buddha is sitting in the pralambapadasana posture, with his legs down, maybe representing Maitreya, the future Buddha.

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View, Chaitya hall with stupa, Cave 26, Ajanta.

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Stupa, Cave 26, Ajanta.

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Capitals, Cave 26, Ajanta.

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Aisle, Cave 26, Ajanta.

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Pariniravana of the Buddha, Cave 26, Ajanta.

 

 

References :

  1. The art of ancient India/Huntington, Susan,L,New York : Weatherhill, 1985.
  2. wikipedia.org
  3. Images from Wikimedia commons

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

 

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Buddhist sutras: some textual images

       Buddhist literature  is having many forms and has been produced from different cultures wherever Buddhism flourished and still does. The most important ones  are in the form of sutras which are the Buddha’s words or Buddhavachana, abhidharma concerned with analysis of phenomena, shastras or treatises. Initially it was passed down orally by monks. It was written down in different languages; mostly Indo-Aryan which were  later translated. The earliest manuscripts have been found in the civilisation of Gandhara dating to the 1st century B.C, near Taxila ( now in Pakistan).

     The Pali canon known as the Pali tripitaka is the most important collection of Buddhavachana in Theravada Buddhism. It was preserved in Sri Lanka and was written down in the first century B.C; the Theravada textual tradition developed there. The Pali tripitaka which means three baskets  which refer to vinaya, sutta and abhidhamma,  The Vinaya Pitaka contains disciplinary rules for the Buddhist monasteries. The Sutta Pitaka contains words attributed to the Buddha. The Abhidhamma Pitaka contain expositions and commentaries on the Sutta. The Taisho Tripitaka is the Chinese Buddhist canon. In Tibet the Kangyur is the Buddhavachana. It belongs to various schools of Buddhism and contains sutras, vinaya and tantra. From the Kushana period in India, Sanskrit has been used to write the Buddhist texts. In Mahayana Buddhism, the sutras , based on the idea that the word of the Buddha has been transmitted by supernatural beings like the nagas, or revealed directly by bodhisattvas, were written in Sanskrit. which were later translated to Chinese and Tibetan canons. In the Mahayana school of Buddhism there also exist shastras or treatises which outline the sutras and expand on them. The works of important Buddhist philosophers like Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu and Dharmakirti are called shastras written in Sanskrit. The class of Buddhist texts called tantras developed in the seventh century. The tantras describe ritual practices and the use of mandalas,mudras etc. These are important texts in Vajrayana Buddhism dominant in Tibet. Vinaya texts are about monastic discipline.

        The Sutras  are the discourses given by the Buddha or by his close disciples. Buddhavacana, the word of the Buddha.

          The sutras were delivered in forms like the sutra,prose discourses, geya,mixed prose and verse discourse, vyakarana,explanation, analysis, gatha,verse, udana, inspired speech, ityukta,beginning with ‘thus has the Bhagavan said’, jataka,story of previous life, abhutadharma, concerning wonders ,vailpulya,’those giving joy’,nidana,in which the teachings are set within their circumstances of origin,avadana, tales of exploits and upadesha,defined and considered instructions.

  Other well-known texts include the Dhammapada, a collection of sayings and aphorisms. the Udana, a collection of inspired sayings in verse, the Sutta Nipata, contains oldest of Buddhist practices,Theragatha, Therigatha; two collections of biographical verse related to the disciples of the Buddha and  Jataka or birth stories, which recount former lives of the Buddha are part of the Pali Khuddka Nikaya. The prajna texts deal with wisdom or insight, which refer to the ability to see reality as it is. The  Diamond sutra, the heart sutra are prajna texts.

        Other important sutras are the Lotus sutra, the Amitabha sutra, the Golden Light sutra, the samadhi sutras, kandavyuha sutra, Mahaparinibbana sutra  among others.

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Illustrated manuscript of the Lotus Sutra, 14th century,Goryeo dynasty (918–1392), Korea,Metropolitan Museum of Art,USA.

By Unidentified artist [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Preface to the Lotus Sutra decorated with Buddhas,9th century, Japan.

By Kukai ([1]) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Manuscript fragment , Buddhist Jatakamala, Sanskrit language in  Gilgit-Bamiyan-Type II Protosarada script, Toyuk, probably 8th-9th century , Ethnological Museum, Berlin.

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

         The image below  is the  frontispiece to the world’s earliest dated printed book, the Chinese translation of the Buddhist text of the ‘Diamond Sutra‘. This consists of a over 16 feet long scroll, made up of a long series of printed pages. It was printed in China in 868 A.D., it was found in the Dunhuang Caves in 1907 in China.

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Diamond Sutra,9th century,China.

Source : flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary/12459240784

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Lotus Sutra, chapter on Expedient means,10th century,Japan.

By attributed to Minamoto Toshifusa [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

File:Folio from Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita Manuscript - Sanskrit - Ranjani - Varendra Bhumi - Palm Leaf - ca 12th Century CE - Eastern India - ACCN At-72-101-G - Indian Museum - Kolkata 2016-03-06 1758.JPG

Folio from Ashtasahasrika Prajnaparamita manuscript ,Sanskrit (Ranjani  Varendra Bhumi), palm leaf – 12th Century, Eastern India, Indian Museum, Kolkata.

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

File:Eight Title Pages from a Kanjur (Buddhist Canon) LACMA M.86.343.1-.8 (4 of 6).jpg

Title-page,Kangyur (Buddhist canon), 12th-17th century,Tibet,LACMA, USA.

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

         Below is depicted  a the first leaf from a Prajnaparamita or perfection of wisdom  manuscript. The text is in Tibetan language and script,  a translation of a Sanskrit text that was produced in India a 1000 years earlier. The Buddha Shakyamuni is depicted on the left;on the night of his enlightenment at Bodhgaya. The tree under which he was enlightened appears above the temple. The goddess depicted at the right is Prajnaparamita, a personification of the text.

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Tibetan  Buddha Shakyamuni and Prajnaparamita ,ink and paint on paper,13th century, Walters Museum, USA.

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Partial manuscript on metal plates with ornamented wooden covers, Pagan Kingdom, 11th-13th century, National Gallery for Foreign Art.

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

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Amitabha Sutra in book form.

By tamakisono [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 

References:

  • wikipedia.org

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

© author

 

 

Buddhist mudras : depictions in art

        There are various mudras in Buddhism and Hinduism. A mudra can mean a spiritual gesture or symbolic mark. The mudras are non-verbal.  Some important  ones in Buddhism include the dhyana mudra, the bhumisparsha mudra, the varada mudra, the vitarka mudra, the abhaya mudra,the dharmachakra mudra, the tarjani mudra,the namaskara mudra,the buddha sramana mudra,the bhutadamara mudra among others. Each of these mudras have a deep significance and meaning. Mostly the hands and fingers are used to depict a particular mudra. 

    The meaning of the namaskar or anjali mudra  is a prayer position ; a bowing gesture. The attitude is one of devotion. A special gesture of Avalokiteswara when he has more number of hands.

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Buddha in anjali or namaskar mudra, Java, Indonesia.

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

     The abhaya mudra is one of reassurance, protection,blessing,; the word abhaya meaning fearlessness. The Buddha used this gesture while walking. In sculpture seated Buddhas too are depicted in this mudra.

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Seated Buddha in abhaya mudra ,Kushana  period, Government Museum, Mathura.

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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Standing Buddha,abhaya mudra, 20th century,Hussain Sagar Lake, Hyderabad.

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

         The bhumisparsha mudra  or touching the earth symbolises the enlightenment of the Buddha,calling the earth as a witness to the event. This mudra usually has the left hand in the dhyana mudra.  In this mudra Buddha overcame the obstructions created by the demon Mara. the Dhyani Buddha Akshobhya is often shown in this mudra.

Buddha in Bhumisparsa mudra.jpg

Buddha, bhumisparsa mudra, cloth painting, 19th century, Tibet, National Museum, New Delhi.

By Jen – Own work (I took this photo), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7656718

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Aksobhya, bhumisparsha-mudra, Borobudur, Java, Indonesia.

By Photo Dharma from Penang, Malaysia – 006 Bhumisparsa Mudra, Aksobhya, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40749973

   The dhyana mudra is a flexible gesture either made with one or both hands. It is the mudra of meditation. This was the gesture of the Buddha before he attained enlightenment. The Dhyani Buddha Amitabha is depicted in this mudra.

File:Buddha in Dhyana Mudra, China, Ming dynasty - Museo d'Arte Orientale Edoardo Chiossone - DSC02393.JPG

Buddha,dhyana mudra, Ming dynasty,(14th to 17th century), China, Museo d’Arte Orientale,Italy.

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

   The dharmachakra or vajra mudra is shown while depicting the Dhyani Buddha Vairocana. The Buddha used this gesture while preaching the first sermon in Sarnath. The dharmachakra means wheel of dharma.  It symbolises teaching and preaching.

Buddha,vajra mudra, 2nd century, Gandhara, ,Tokyo National Museum, Japan.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=135258

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Buddha,dharmachakra mudra, sandstone,Gupta period, (4th to 6th century), Archaeological Museum,Sarnath. 

By พระมหาเทวประภาส วชิรญาณเมธี (ผู้ถ่าย-ปล่อยสัญญาอนุญาตภาพให้นำไปใช้ได้เพื่อการศึกษาโดยอยู่ภา่ยใต้ cc-by-sa-3.0) ผู้สร้างสรรค์ผลงาน/ส่งข้อมูลเก็บในคลังข้อมูลเสรีวิกิมีเดียคอมมอนส์ – เทวประภาส มากคล้าย (Tevaprapas Makklay (พระมหาเทวประภาส วชิรญาณเมธี)) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

   The varada mudra is a gesture of giving and charity. It symbolises dispensing of boons. The right hand is used with the palm pointing downwards.

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Standing Buddha,varada mudra, concrete,Bodh Gaya, Bihar.

Source : flickr.com/photos/wonderlane/5978081277

     One of the lesser known mudras, is the tarjani mudra which is a gesture to ward off evil forces. In the depiction below the left hand is in tarjani mudra. The middle and ring fingers are folded while the other three are outstretched as shown.

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 Standing Buddha,left hand in tarjani mudra, Pagan,Shwezigon.

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

The vitarka mudra symbolises discussion,debate and explanation of the dhamma.  In this gesture all the fingers are held upwards with the thumb and index finger tips touching, as depicted below. The miidle and ring fingers too can touch the thumb, in case it is the middle finger it depicts compassion and in case of the ring finger it depicts good fortune.

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Buddha,vitarka mudra,near Belum Caves, Andhra Pradesh.

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

 

 

References:

  1. wikipedia.org
  2. lotussculpture.com
  3. buddhas-online.com

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

© author

Parinirvana of the Buddha : depictions in art

      The word parinirvana refers to death which happens to the body of a person after attaining nirvana; a release from samsara , the cycles of birth and death and rebirth. This is different from an ordinary person dying, as per Buddhism.An ordinary person is reborn due to unresolved karma which passes on to a new birth.

   The pariniravana of the Buddha is mentioned and described in Buddhist literature. The parinirbanna-sutta  is an important source in this regard. According to this source of the Pali canon the Buddha around the age of eighty  declared he would soon reach parinirvana , the final deathless state. He had his last meal which was an offering from Cunda, a blacksmith. He fell violently ill after this and left his earthly body. The place is believed to be Kushinara or Kushinagar, (east of Gorakhpur in present day Uttar Pradesh) India, in abandoned jungles of the Malla kingdom.  His disciple Ananda was against him achieving this state in the jungles. He also explained to Ananda that the meal had nothing to with his death, in fact it was a great meal as it was the last meal of a buddha  or enlightened one. Before entering pariniravana he asked all the bhikkhus or monks to clear any doubts or questions they had. His final words were ” ..all composite things are perishable… strive for your own liberation with diligence..”After this he passed away into parinirvana. The Buddha had told his disciples to follow no leader. Mahakasyapa was made the chairman of the First Buddhist Council. His body was cremated and his relics were divided between eight royal families and his disciples. Much later Emperor Ashoka enshrined them in stupas. He built a stupa and made a pilgrimage site in Kushinara, the Gupta kings (4th to 7th century) further developing the site. Kushinara had remained under the Mauryas, Shungas, Kushanas, Guptas and Harsha dynasties.The site had been abandoned around 1200 A.D due to invasions. It continues as an important pilgrimage site for Buddhism, following its rediscovery by  British archaeologists in late 19th century.

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Pariniravana,schist, 2nd-3rd century,Gandhara.

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons, via Wikimedia Commons
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Paranirvana, 2nd-3rd century,Gandhara. 

Volné dílo, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3244686

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Pariniravana, painting, Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra, 700-1100,Nalanda, Bihar.

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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Parinirvana,painting, Wat Tha Thanon,Thailand.

By ผู้สร้างสรรค์ผลงาน/ส่งข้อมูลเก็บในคลังข้อมูลเสรีวิกิมีเดียคอมมอนส์ – เทวประภาส มากคล้าย (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Buddha, Gal Vihara,12th century,Sri Lanka.

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

Mahaparinirvana.jpg

Buddha image,Mahapariniravana temple, Kushinagar.

By myself – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1766418

The painting below depicts the Buddha transitioning to parinirvana. Buddha is  in a forest with Sala trees and surrounded by mourning animals, gods, demons, and human beings.

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‘Nehan-zu’/Parinirvana,painting,1867.

Offentleg eigedom, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=628097

References :

  1. wikipedia.org
  2. Fisher,Robert E./Buddhist art and architecture,London : Thames and Hudson,1993.

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

© author

Scenes from Buddha’s life : some miracle depictions

         Lord Buddha‘s life has many miraculous incidents right from how he was born and what happened from then till he left this earthly abode.  It is believed that immediately after he was born he took seven steps to the north and uttered a few words about his birth being his last one, and wherever he stepped a lotus flower bloomed ! His birth too was via a dream his mother  Mayadevi saw of a white elephant. He was born in Lumbini grove in Nepal, from Queen Maya’s side .

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Birth of Buddha,Gandhara, 2nd-3rd century.

By The original uploader was Fowler&fowler at English Wikipedia [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

           Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment and became the Buddha. His cousin was Devadatta who was also the brother of Ananda, a chief disciple of Buddha. Devadatta too was abuddhist monk but parted ways with the Buddha with 500 monks. He started a sangha of his own and gained some psychic powers. However he was against the Buddha and wanted him to retire. Buddha was against this; Devadatta plotted with Prince Ajatashatru to kill him. But the mercenaries who came to kill him (who were again ordered to be killed by others) were unable to carry out the task and got converted instead. Devadatta even lets loose an intoxicated elephant Nalagiri to trample the Buddha. But the elephant gets tamed totally owing to the Buddha’s loving-kindness and bows down before him !

 

 

 

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Nalagiri, elephant charging at the Buddha,painting,Wat Phra Yuen,Thailand.

By ผู้สร้างสรรค์ผลงาน/ส่งข้อมูลเก็บในคลังข้อมูลเสรีวิกิมีเดียคอมมอนส์ – เทวประภาส มากคล้าย (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Buddha with the Elephant Nalagiri.jpg

Nalagiri bowing to the Buddha,painting.
By myself – Picture of a painting in a Laotian Temple, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=807355
       The miracles of the Buddha are many and have been depicted in sculpture and paintings. He spent many of his monastic years in Shravasti,in present day Uttar Pradesh. It was the capital city of Kosala, in ancient India. Shravasti was on the banks of Achiravati,now called as Rapti river. He had visited this place on the invitation of Anathapindika. He had performed the twin miracle of producing contradictory elements; flames from the upper part of his body and water from the lower. He also could multiply his body supernaturally. He performed a series of miracles at Shravasti.

Site of the Twin Miracle, performed by Buddha in Shravasti.

By myself – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1793879

 

       The sculptural depiction below in gray schist  depicts Buddha standing on a pedestal with an altar, flanked by seated Buddhas and their attendants. The Buddha’s robe falls elegantly on his body , his hair secured in an ushnisha and flames are seen emanating from his shoulders and water from his feet.

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Miracle of Shravasti ,2nd-3rd century,Gandhara.

By Cea [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons(Source: Christie’s E-Catalogue Indian and Southeast Asian Art 12.09.2012)

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Buddha multiplying his body,painting, Astasahasrika Prajnaparamita Sutra manuscript, 700-1100 A.D,Nalanda, Bihar. 

By Asia Society created the file. Artwork created by an anonymous ancient source. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

       The Buddha’s miracles included, purifying water, power over nature , walking on water,travelling through space, make himself as big as a giant, and small as an ant, walk through mountains, dive in and out of the earth,allowing people to read each other’s mind and spreading a cleansing light throughout the world. His miracles resulted in the conversion of the Kasyapas’ ninety-thousand followers.

The sculpture below again depicts the Buddha performing his twin miracle. Flames rise from his shoulders, and water flows through his feet.

The twin miracle, 3rd century, Gandhara, Museum für Indische Kunst Dahlem, Berlin.

By Gryffindor – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=784387

 

References :

 

wikipedia.org

 

Posted by :

Soma Ghosh

©author

 

 

 

 

Sujata in Buddhism: depictions in art

         Sujata lived in a village called Senani in Uruvela ( near present Bodh Gaya) She was beautiful but unmarried daughter of  a rich landowner.  She started  offering prayers on the advice of villagers who believed in a tree dwelling god at a nearby Nuga (banyan) tree near the Neranjara river; who would grant her desire for a good husband, who would shower her with love and gifts. In time it was granted. She then went on to pray for a baby boy. This wish too was granted. Along with her friend Punna she would take an offering of a milk-rice dish for the tree god on Veshaka day (full moon). Sujata was the owner of many cows. She would feed her cows with sweet creepers to get the most nourishing milk. She would use this milk for making the rice-milk porridge.

       One day  Punna went to the tree at dawn and saw a man sitting there and informed Sujata. She thought her tree god to whom she had been offering prayers had somehow turned human!  Both were very excited. Sujata brought the rice-milk porridge in a golden bowl to offer to him. As she approached she saw that he was handsome but very thin, weak and emaciated, but sitting in meditation. She bowed and  offered the porridge to him. At first he was reluctant but accepted it finally. The man was none other than the ‘Buddha in waiting’. This was a great moment because it ended his severe ascetism of six years. He then took a bath in the river and threw the golden bowl  saying that if he were to get enlightened the bowl would go upstream and if not , it would go downstream.The bowl went upstream !

      Later after attaining enlightenment the Buddha revisited the village and Sujata became his first female lay disciple.

File:Wat Pangla - 018 Sujata offers Rice Balls (10685001495).jpg

Sujata offering rice-milk, painting,Wat Pangla,Thailand.

By Photo Dharma from Penang, Malaysia (018 Sujata offers Rice Balls) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia CommonsFile:Sujata offers Kheer to Siddhartha Roundel 23 buddha ivory tusk.jpg

Sujata offering rice-milk, depiction on ivory.

By Nomu420 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Image result for sujata buddha

Sujata offering rice-milk,painting in Sri Dalada Maligawa,Sri Lanka.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/indi/6800220412 by Indi Samarjiva

References:

  1. buddhanet.net
  2. dharmapupil.com

Posted by:

Soma Ghosh

© author

Buddha and his disciples : some depictions

        Lord Buddha had his disciples after he attained enlightenment. Some included his own cousin and associates. His son Rahula also became his disciple. His chief disciples were Ananda, Mahakasyapa,Subhuti,Katyayana,Sariputra,Maudgalyayana, Purna-Maitryayaniputra,Anuruddha,Upali and Rahula.

    Ananda was one pf the Buddha’s first disciples, being his cousin. He became a monk and took care of the Buddha for 25 years. He lived to be 120 years old. Some sutras were complied based on his memory.

   Sariputra was one of the chief disciples of Gautama Buddha who was renowned for his teachings. He is an important disciple as per Theravada Buddhism.

Maitryayaniputra  was called Purna and was the greatest teacher of the Buddhist thought  and law.

   Mahakasyapa was  the leader of the sangha and complied the Buddha’s sayings. He was a an expert in  ascetic training  and became the first monk to preach the teachings of Buddha directly.

   Subhuti is a monk who appears in sutras who teach Shunyata or emtiness; he knew the power of emptiness and silence.

   Maudgalyayana or Moggallana was one of Lord Buddha’s closest disciples. He was known for his psychic powers and was a contemporary of Subhuti,Sariputra and Mahakasyapa.

   Katyayana was a disciple of Lord Buddha;he is known as Phra Sangkajai in Thailand and shown as a portly  figure.

Anuruddha  was a cousin of the Buddha and became a monk along with Ananda; he was a master of clairvoyance.

Upali was barber by profession, but the Buddha did not believe in any class system and took him as his disciple. Upali was a master of Vinaya in Buddhism.

Rahula was the son of the Buddha when he was Prince Siddhartha.  He became the first novice-monk or samanera, and Buddha taught him some important  principles of life.

Sermon in the Deer Park depicted at Wat Chedi Liem-KayEss-1.jpeg

Buddha with his first disciples Deer Park, Sarnath,painting, Wat Chedi Liem, Thailand.

CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=844383

Luoyang 2006 7-24.jpg

Ananda, Fengxian Si, Longmen Grottoes,5th to 12th century,China.

By G41rn8 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47899674

Ananda, illustration,Tibet.

By Unknown – Unknown, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3579569

Anuruddha.jpg

Anuruddha,Ananda,Bhagu,Kimbila,Bhaddiya and Devadatta at ordination ceremony of Upali,painting.

By Vihanga SA – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47331919

 

GreatMahakashyapaThero.jpg

Great Mahakashyapa Thero, painting.

By Mudithachampika – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45165853

Moggllana.JPG

Moggllana,painting.

By Vihanga SA – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47319233

Patacara was a lady disciple of the Buddha,mentioned in the Pali canon. She was an exponent of the vinaya. 

      040 Bhikkhuni Patacara, Shwezigon, Bagan.jpg

Bhikkhuni Patacara, Shwezigon, 11th-early 12th century,Bagan,Myanmar.

By Anandajoti – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15275331

Kasennen mahakaccana.jpg

Kasennen mahakaccana /Katyayana,drawing.

Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=13294778

Buddha with Rahula.jpg

Buddha with Rahula,wall painting.

By myself – Picture of Wallpainting in a Laotian monastery, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=812153

Rahula, Tibetan art, 16th century.

By Unknown – fwEnA27EduKLkw at Google Cultural Institute maximum zoom level, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21908481

GreatSariputtaThero.jpg

Great Sariputta Thero,painting.

By Mudithachampika – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=45165658

Subhuti diamond sutra detail retouched.jpeg

Elder Subhuti, illustration,Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra.

The picture above  is derived from the second chapter, in which Subhuti asked the Buddha how bodhisattvas can achieve enlightenment.

By Jingangjing.jpg: Unknownderivative work: Tengu800 (talk) – Jingangjing.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10213078

References:

  1. wikipedia.org

Posted by

Soma Ghosh

© author