Faces of Buddha

Report
The Many Faces of Buddha
Buddhism,
practiced
in many
different
ways…
…is also
represented
by many
different
images of
the Buddha.
Founder of
Buddhism’s
real name :
Siddhartha
Gutama
Buddha =
sanskrit
“One who
has
awakened,
enlightened)
Born c. 600 B.C. on northeast
Ganges River plain
Siddhartha
Gutama’s
father was a
local council
leader of the
Brahmin class;
his mother,
Maya, died
shortly after
the Buddha’s
birth.
Upon his
birth, it is
said that
Siddhartha
stood up
and walked
seven steps.
His father was
warned by
astronomers
that the boy
would either
become a
conqueror or
great teacher.
Leading a life of
luxury,
Buddha left his
home only
four times
during
his youth, but
those trips were
highly
influential.
Each of the four
trips introduced
him to different
aspects of
human life:
sickness,
old age, death,
and the life of
priestly
meditation.
At 29 years
old,
Siddhartha
left his new
wife and
young son
to experience
the real world.
He attempted
to lead a life
of poverty,
fasting
frequently.
(Tradition says
he existed on
one grain of rice
a day.)
But after six years, upon sitting under a
Bodi tree, he experienced his past lives…
Buddhist
literature
tells of
Buddha
re-living
the many
past lives
while
meditating
under
the tree…
…a total of 357 human lives,
123 as an animal life-form…
Each life
revealed
the truths
about the
Law of
Karma…
Buddha’s
teachings:
based upon
the
“Law
of
Causation”
“Everything happening in the
world is a natural product of
cause and effect relationships.
Nothing
happens
randomly.”
Buddha accepted
the Hindu beliefs
of karma and
reincarnation,
however there
was no role
for gods.
Salvation =
through
one’s own
efforts.
“If you desire something good
to happen in
your future,
then you should
practice
good deeds
now.”
Religious texts
contain the
Buddha’s
sermons which
discuss the causes
of suffering
and the mental
disciplines
needed to escape.
Buddha
preached
about the
“Middle
Path”
between two
extremes of
selfindulgence
and austerity.
Buddha’s
example
of living
was based on
direct experience
with life,
combined with
meditation.
The Eightfold Paths:
Right Views
Right Aspirations
Right Speech
Right Conduct
Right Livelihood
Right Endeavor
Right Mindfulness
Right Meditation
Buddhists’
good deeds
can include:
*entering
into the
monastery,
Dali Lama…
living
reincarnation
of Buddha
today
*commemorating holidays
*making donations to monks
Do Buddhists worship the
image of Buddha?
The images
remind people
of significant
moments in
Buddha’s life
or lessons
from his
teachings.
Buddhists
use images
of Buddha
merely as
an
educational
tool…
Elaborate temples have been
built for private worship…
Many Buddhists bring images to
monasteries to be blessed…
Respect is
offered to
images (fruit,
cakes,
flowers, or
money) in
hopes of
returned
good fortune.
Roadside
shrines dot the
countryside…
(Clay votive from
roadside shrine,
Korea)
Monumental
images
(Afghanistan)
(images
destroyed by
Taliban rule
in
Afghanistan)
Symbolism
in
worship…
incense
(purify,
pleasant
offering)
…horns
to draw
attention
to prayers
Chanting, drums to call attention
to offerings…
Buddha’s teachings also
formed the groundwork for
the wheel of life; a visual aid
in teaching about the cycle of
all human and animal
existence, still used today.
The wheel
represents
not
only
the phases
of all
human
life…
…but the
six
heavens
(from
Hindu
beliefs)
…and eight hells into which
Buddhists dread reincarnation.
…And the
Buddhist idea of
hell is not one of
torment,
but a place
from which one
may ascend
through
good deeds.
Nirvana is
not found
anywhere on
the wheel; it
is attainable
only outside
all life
existence.
(Enormous wheels of life,
Buddhist temple)
(hand-held wheel
of life, China)
Examining
the
Many Faces
of
Buddha
Generally,
all images
of Buddha
possess
similar
elements:
A flame-like
protrusion
from the top of
the head is
used to
symbolize
Buddha’s
endless,
radiant,
spiritual
energy.
* All
fingers/toes
are the
same
lengths
(human
equality?)
* Head
or
forehead:
wide or
protrudes
(great
mental
powers)
* Earlobes are
elongated
(former
wealthy
status,
earrings
of gold?)
For example,
the manner
in which the
Buddha’s
hands are
portrayed
represent
different
messages.
Teaching
(hands to
chest,
thumb and
index
finger
touching)
Granting
a
Blessing
(outward
palm
offered
Calling
the Earth
to Witness
(one
palm
down)
Prayer
(palms
clasped
together)
Meditation
(hands
resting
together
on lap)
Fearlessness
(arm upright,
palm
full front)
Passage to Nirvana
(reclining Buddha)
The “footprint” represents
Buddha’s impact of the world…
The
“urna”
(third eye)
is a
traditional
marking
on some
images…
… symbolizing
“inner vision”
or
“inner sight”
…also
known
as
Guan Yin
(China)
“Laughing
Buddha”
(incarnation
of
Buddha
in the
future)
brings
wealth
and
good
fortune
Detecting
Symbolism
and
Meaning
in
Images…

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