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Friday, July 27, 2012

Images of the Buddha

Before the image of the Buddha came into existence, various symbols were worshipped (BC480-AD180). Such symbols were related in the Buddha life. 

Dr.Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar brought the following buddhist symbols as our National Symbols by the Constituent Assembly on 22nd July 1947
01. Dhammachakra in the National Flag 
Dhammachakra has been placed onto the centre of the National Flag of India. The 24 spokes represent the Twelve Laws of Dependent Organisation and the Twelve laws of Dependent Termination. That 12 laws are 01.Ignorance 02.Impression 03.Consciousness 04.Mind-Body Organism 05. Six Senses 06. Sense contact 07. Sense Experience 08.Craving 09. Mental Clinging 10.Will to born 11. Rebirth and 12.Suffering
02. National Flower
The lotus is symbol of purity. This is why the Buddha sits on a lotus in bloom.
Aspects of the path
     1. Samsara - The lotus grows from the mud
     2. Purification - It grows up through muddy water it appear clean on the surface
     3. Enlightenment - Finally produce a beautiful flower
03. National Embalam
The Lion Capital of Ashoka at Saranath, in the State of Uttar Pradesh 
     1. The four lions facing in four different directions
     2. Carries carvings of four different Animals
        1. East Direction - An Elephant
        2. West Direction - A Bull
        3. North Direction - A Lion
        4. South Direction - A Horse (The above four animals were separated by the four 
 dhammachakra wheel)

IMAGES OF THE BUDDHA
The Buddha images are a remainder of the teachings of the Buddha. The first human figure worshipped in India was that of the Buddha and 'first introduced by the Mahayana Buddhist at the beginning of the Christian era. The Buddha images have very different appearances in different countries. The Buddhist rulers selected different centres from the skilled artistes. Therefore various school of art were established'. (02/Pg63) 

Gandhara artiest was the first produced the Buddha in human form
01. Gandhara artiest was the first produced the Buddha in human form - Alfred Foucher (3) G.C Chauley. (04/Pg 98)

02. Indian sculptor (The Mathura artiest) produced the Buddha images by looking up the images of Greece (The Gandhara images). But the image of the Buddha was set to follow in Indian Ancient sculptural method -Dr. Aananda Coomaraswamy (01/ Pg 73)

03.Growth and the beauty of the human form in the most noble of Cyril developed and in the most developed state of the art of classical and the creator of the world most famous were Romans and Greek.(05)  In the western countries like Greece, Rome etc the Portrait Sculptures grew well like that in our country Portrait Sculptures somewhat learned but not reached full growth(06/Pg 39) 

Gandhara Arts Vs Maduthra Arts

The Buddha cut off his hair with his sword in reunication. His hair was reduced to two inches in length, and curling from the right, it lay close to his head. There was no need at all to shave any more' -Rhys Davids (08)

According to the lakkhana sutta of Digha Nikaya (DN30) and Brahamayu sutta of Majjhima Nikaya (MN91) the Buddha has 32 peculiar marks on his body. 
01.Well Planted Feet
02. Wheel marks on the base of the feet
03. Projecting heels
04. Long Fingers
05. Soft delicate hands and feet
06. Hands and feet covered with a network of lines
07. Arched feet
08. Antelope limbs

09. Hands that can reach to the knees with no bending
10. Private member in sheath
11. Golden complexion
12. Delicate skin
13. One hair for every pore
14. Body hair standing stright up
15. Upright limbs
16. Seven Protuberances(on the hands, Feet and crown of the head)

17. The front part of the body like a lion
18. Full shoulders
19. The rotundity of a banyan tree
20. The branching of the trunk well rounded 
21. Superior delicacy of taste  (Saliva that improves the taste of all food)
22. A lion-Jaw
23. Forty teeth
24. Even teeth

25. Teeth without gaps
26. Very white teeth
27. Long tongue
28. Voice deep and resonant  
29. Very dark eyes
30. Eyelashes like a cow's
31. A white tuft, unna between the eyebrows
32. A protuberance on the crown of his head. (Ushinisha) (07/Pg291)

MUDRAS
The hand position is called Mudra

THE RIGHT HAND MUDRAS
 01. Abhaya Mudra
.       01.Blessing of fearlessness,  protection and loving kindness
        02.The palms facing outward 
        03.The fingers extended upwards 
        04. The arm is slightly bent 
        05. The right hand raised to shoulder height
02. Bhumisparsa Mudra  
        01. Also  called "touching the earth"  or "calling the earth to witness" 
        02. Symbolizes the Buddha’s  victory over Mara 
        03. The right arm hangs down over the right knee 
        04. The hand with the palm turned inward 
        05. All the fingers extended downward with the finger touching the lotus throne 
        06. The left hand lies on the lap with palm upward.
03.Varada Mudra   
        01. Sing of charity, compassion 
        02. The arm is extended all way down 
        03. With palm facing outwards 
04.Vitarka Mudra   
     01. Also called Vyakhyanna 
     02. Half of the Dhammacakkra Mudra
     03. Often used when explaining the Buddha’s teachings.
     04. Sign of Intellectual argument, discussion 
     05. The tips of thumb and index finger touched forming a circle 
     06. All the other fingers are extended upwards 

BOTH HANDS MUDRAS 
01.   Dhyani Mudra 
         01. Also called Samadhi Mudra 
         02. Sign of Meditation 
         03. The most popular Mudra 
         04. Both hands are placed on the lap 
         05. Right hand on left with fingers fully stretched 
         06. The palms facing upwards.
02.   Dhammachakkra Mudra   
        01. Sign of Teaching 
        02. Turning the Wheel of Law 
        03. The thumbs and index fingers of each hand form circles 
        04. Covering the right facing outward 
        05. Both hands are held against the chest 
        06. The left hand facing inward 

LEG POSITION
01. Indian Style
   The cross-legged position. 
02. European Style
   The two legs hanging position
BUDDHA VS TIRTHANKARAS
Images of Tirthankaras 
All Tirthankaras
   01.Nude
   02.Three Tier umbrellas over the head
   03.Symbols on the pedestal
   04.Two standing chamara bearer 
Snake over the head of the Tirthankaras
   01.7th Tirthankara - Suparshvanath
   02. 23rd Tirthankara - Parsvanatha

BUDDHISIM VS HINDUISM
A few people think that practice of image worship started from vedic time. However consensus of opinion is that it originated as a Buddhist practice. (01/Pg29)  (02/Pg10).  The worship of Bramini images started from Gupta period (02/Pg10).

The worship was primarily centred around the open air fire (Yajana Kunda). Moreover 'the Hindu gods are image less. Therefore in those period, not interested to introduce the image of the gods. (05/Pg 23). Following the Buddhist practice of worship, first they worshipped the symbols thereafter images.  

Symbol worship of Hindu
Spear for Lord Murugan, Trishul (It is long and has three sharp edges) for Lord Shiva and Chakra for Lord Vishnu (05/Pg 21)

Images
To show that the Hindu gods beyond the human beings, that images are not used to show as a human body growth.  (05/Pg23). The image are also with animal face (01. Ganeshan -> Elephant 02. Hanuman -> Monkey 03. Narashaminan -> Lion 04. Varaha -> Boar ) multiple heads and multiple hands 

Multiple Hands
Image of the Buddha and the image of the Tirthankara have only two hands. But their small goddess (Bodhisattva in Buddhism) have either four or eight hands. For example in Buddhism Avalokiteshvara, Tara in Jainism Inthiran, Jwalamalini 

But the inverse system can be seen in the Saivam and the Vainavam. Lord Shiva image and Lord Vishnu image have either four or eight hands, but their small goddess are taught with only two hands. Whenever primary importance is given to Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu either four or eight hands are taught to those images but their small goddess only two hands are taught. Whenever primary importance is given to their small goddess either four or eight hands are taught to those small goddess. 
Reference Books
01. Elangaiil kalai valarchi - (Tamil) by Kanthaiya Navaraththinam
02. Tirupathi Balaji was a Buddhist Shrine by K.Jamandas
03. Early Buddhist Art and the theory of Aniconism by S.L.Huntington- Art Journal
04. History of Buddhist Art (Tamil) by Dr.G.Sethuraman
05. Nun Kalaikal (Fine Arts) (Tamil) by Mailai Srini Venkataswamy
06. Tamilar Valartha Alagu kalaikal (Beautiful Arts developed by Tamil People) (Tamil) by Mailai Srini Venkataswamy 
07. Legacy of the Buddha by Sanghamitra Sharma 
08. The hair and the Usnisa on the head of the Buddha and the Jinars by Chanda, Ramaprasad 
09. Bouththamum kalaikalum (Buddhisim and Arts) (Tamil) by Dr.Kulaththuraan