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Thread: How the Buddha Got His Face

  1. #1

    How the Buddha Got His Face

    Greetings.

    The Buddha was faceless for 6 centuries after his death. This long interesting article recounts how Buddhism spread and how Buddha was finally given a face.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/11/t...gtype=Homepage



    Gassho
    Anne

    ~st~

  2. #2
    Thank you, Anne!

    Before Jishin gets there... Buddha cartoon

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  3. #3
    Hmmm sadly I cannot read this article without a NY Times subscription, apparently.
    I guess I'll to keep looking for her inside me.

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat/lah
    Grateful for your practice

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Thank you, Anne!

    Before Jishin gets there... Buddha cartoon

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-


    Gassho, Jishin, __/stlah\__

  5. #5
    Fascinating stuff. Thank you Anne!

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    空道 心志 Kudo Shinshi
    I am just a priest-in-training, any resemblance between what I post and actual teachings is purely coincidental.

  6. #6
    Thank you, Anne! That was an interesting read! I confess I have always delighted in the the very early depictions of the Buddha as footprints as much as I enjoy these very grand, awe inspiring images. I always wondered about the evolution of the imagery.
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st/lah

  7. #7
    Wonderful history. When I made my pilgrimage to India a few years ago, I was able to see in the national museum stone depictions like this of the "Buddha" as an empty space, an empty chair, the Wheel of the Dharma (representing the Teachings), a tree, empty shoes or footprints on the ground. Very Zen. (Synagogues and mosques also have no "graven" (fixed) images for like reason ... just cannot be captured in an image). Later, pagodas containing ashes or bones of the Buddha or an old text came to stand for the Buddha's "body."



    By the way, in the Ghandaran art, which influenced the Chinese and Japanese statues which we know and cherish like this Japanese Amida Buddha ...

    ...



    ... people may be surprised when it is pointed out that there is a very strong Greek influence. It is true. Ghandara was on the Silk Road, the meeting point of East and West. Do you see that the Kesa Robe he wears, with its straight liines, is a toga, and the idealized body and hair of the Buddha and other elements are influenced by Greco-Roman statuary? It is true.



    More on Greco-Buddhist art here ...

    http://www.hellenicaworld.com/Greece...ddhistArt.html

    Gassho, J

    STTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    Thank you Anna! Really interesting!

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  9. #9
    Fascinating....
    The Greco Roman statue hand gesture and the Japanese Buddha's hand gesture. And the draped fabric, so very romanesque. I'd not noticed that before.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    Fascinating....
    The Greco Roman statue hand gesture and the Japanese Buddha's hand gesture. And the draped fabric, so very romanesque. I'd not noticed that before.

    Gassho
    Anne

    ~lahst~
    I love how it says in the article "as if a bunch of Buddhists showed up at a toga party"

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  11. #11
    Thank you for sharing! I never realized that the beginnings of Mahayana co-incided with the arrival of the Kushans.

    Favourite quotes:
    The Swiss artist and scholar Alice Boner, who lived in Varanasi from the 1930s until just before her death in 1981, cautioned against treating these images as mere objects of “aesthetic enjoyment.” They were visual aids, “born in meditation and inner realization.” Their ultimate aim, as “focusing points for the spirit,” was to lead us “back to meditation and to the comprehension of that transcendent reality from which they were born. If they are beautiful,” Boner adds, taking a swipe at modern aesthetic notions, such as art for art’s sake, “it is because they are true.”
    The fierce pupils motionless
    and their brightness slightly lessened,
    his eyes, directed downward,
    were focused on his nose,
    the eyelashes stationary,
    the stilled eyes stilling the brow.
    By restraint of his internal currents
    he was like a cloud
    without the vehemence of rain,
    like an expanse of water
    without a ripple,
    like a lamp in a windless place,
    absolutely still.
    - Birth of Kumara
    Gassho,
    Kenny
    Sat Today



    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    By the way, in the Ghandaran art, which influenced the Chinese and Japanese statues which we know and cherish like this Japanese Amida Buddha ...

    ...



    ... people may be surprised when it is pointed out that there is a very strong Greek influence. It is true. Ghandara was on the Silk Road, the meeting point of East and West. Do you see that the Kesa Robe he wears, with its straight liines, is a toga, and the idealized body and hair of the Buddha and other elements are influenced by Greco-Roman statuary? It is true.



    More on Greco-Buddhist art here ...

    http://www.hellenicaworld.com/Greece...ddhistArt.html

    Gassho, J

    STTodayLAH
    I recall a documentary on the Terra Cotta Warriors in Bejing, and they talked about how quite possibly Greek sculptors were probably used for part of it.

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat/lah
    Grateful for your practice

  13. #13
    Neat. I like this sort of historical investigation. Thank you for sharing.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  14. #14
    Thank you for sharing Anne!


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  15. #15
    I really enjoyed this, Anne. Thank you!

    Fascinating.... The Greco Roman statue hand gesture and the Japanese Buddha's hand gesture. And the draped fabric, so very romanesque. I'd not noticed that before."]Fascinating.... The Greco Roman statue hand gesture and the Japanese Buddha's hand gesture. And the draped fabric, so very romanesque. I'd not noticed that before.
    The classical Greeks and Romans are responsible for a lot of iconograpy. Images of the Christian god were drawn from representations of Zeus as a bearded, wise looking older gentleman.

    I loved the "as if a bunch of Buddhists showed up at a toga party" line too!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  16. #16
    Very profound and interesting historical read indeed. Thank you for sharing, Anne.


    Gassho
    Washin
    sattoday
    Kaido (有道) Every Way
    Washin (和信) Harmony Trust
    ----
    I am a novice priest-in-training. Anything what I say must not be considered as teaching
    and should be taken with a 'grain of salt'.

  17. #17
    Member RobD's Avatar
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    Apr 2020
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    Massachusetts, United States
    Thank you Anne for sharing this. I've only just started to read through it, but it is such a fascinating read. I had heard that it was some time before the Buddha was represented as a complete human figure (as opposed to just footprints, etc.), but I had no idea it took hundreds of years! Wow. I have to go finish reading... Thanks again!

    Gassho,
    Rob

    SatToday

  18. #18
    Thank you Anne


    Gassho/SatToday
    流道
    Ryū Dou

  19. #19
    This story, this depiction of our reverence and in Soto Zen, the ideology, the mental formation, the Sutra, the growth of each individual the way over above, around and through gives me pause in the image of Buddha my essence, my belief, my acceptance, this being represented in my seated overwhelming dignity, indeed, more than I could have ever hoped for in my belief in a middle path of equanimity, gratitude, and compassion, to offset greed, anger, and dishonesty. This is where I find power meant for everyone, for all along the Silk Road, along India, Nepal, Tibet, Back through Cambodia to Vietnam, north through Singapore and Hong Kong, Then to Korea, and Taiwan finally to Japan where in early American never accepted until brief flowering into North, East, Central. Especially in San Francisco, to Tasahara, and now back to Silk Road going throughout Europe, over to Great Britton, and IN Germany, melding of Christianity through priests and Zen through priest, now, Living Buddha Living Christ, I take my teachings from American transplants, and Japan and Dogen, Soto Zen which allows me free will, so I reach back in my personal history to Christ upon Cross, and now forward to Living Buddha under Bodhi Tree,
    Tai Shi
    sat / lah
    Gassho
    Last edited by Tai Shi; 05-24-2020 at 02:19 PM.
    The object of practice is not transcendence but transformation, yet ultimately we must transcend ourselves. (Elucidation of Dogen) in HOW TO RAISE AN OX

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