Image of Buddha?

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Queequeg
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by Queequeg » Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:00 pm

Check out this: https://www.amazon.com/Discourse-Early- ... 8121507367

For the first few centuries, Buddha was represented by symbols or by his absence - ie, footprints, empty throne, riderless horse, etc.

The Greek Buddhists started making human form images of the Buddha.

That's the short of it.

One of the reasons I read for avoiding representing the Buddha in early art was that he was holy (Bhagavan - world honored) and therefore it was considered disrespectful to represent him directly in human form. See Prof. Dehejia's study above.
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by dzogchungpa » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:42 am

There's a relatively recent book on the topic. You can read a review here and watch a talk by the author on the subject here:

phpBB [video]


The talk begins around 9:30.
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:52 am

Might be interesting to note that in the record of Faxian's travels in India (399-414 CE) he mentioned that there had been a statue of the Buddha from the Buddha's time, made of sandalwood.
BDK - Lives of Great Monks and Nuns pps 181-182 wrote:When the Buddha ascended to the Tråyastrimsa Heaven to
preach the Dharma to his mother for ninety days, King Prasenajit,
eager to see his features, had an image of him carved out of oxhead
sandalwood and put it on the place where the Buddha usually
sat in meditation. When the Buddha returned to the vihåra,
the image left its seat and went out to meet him. The Buddha said
to it, “Go back to your seat. After my parinirvåna, you may serve
as a model from which the four groups of my followers can make
images.” The image returned to the seat. This was the first image
ever made of the Buddha, and it served as a model for Buddha
images for people of later generations. Then the Buddha moved to
a smaller vihåra twenty paces to the south of the one occupied by
the image.

Originally the Jetavana Vihåra had seven stories. The kings
and people of different countries vied with one another in making
offerings to this vihåra. Silk pennants and canopies were hung in
the vihåra, flowers were scattered, and incense was burned. Lamps
were lit every day, [and they burned] continually without interruption.
Then it happened that a rat carried off in its mouth the
wick of a lamp, which ignited the flowers, pennants, and canopies,
and reduced the seven-storied vihåra to ashes. The kings and the
people of different countries lamented and thought that the sandalwood
image must also have been consumed by the fire. But four
or five days later, when they opened the door of the smaller vihåra
on the east, they discovered, to their great delight, that the image
was intact. They rebuilt the vihåra as a two-story [building] and
returned the image to its former place.
月影の いたらぬ里は なけれども 眺むる人の 心にぞすむ
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:38 am

Admin_PC wrote:Might be interesting to note that in the record of Faxian's travels in India (399-414 CE) he mentioned that there had been a statue of the Buddha from the Buddha's time, made of sandalwood.
BDK - Lives of Great Monks and Nuns pps 181-182 wrote:When the Buddha ascended to the Tråyastrimsa Heaven to
preach the Dharma to his mother for ninety days, King Prasenajit,
eager to see his features, had an image of him carved out of oxhead
sandalwood and put it on the place where the Buddha usually
sat in meditation. When the Buddha returned to the vihåra,
the image left its seat and went out to meet him. The Buddha said
to it, “Go back to your seat. After my parinirvåna, you may serve
as a model from which the four groups of my followers can make
images.” The image returned to the seat. This was the first image
ever made of the Buddha, and it served as a model for Buddha
images for people of later generations. Then the Buddha moved to
a smaller vihåra twenty paces to the south of the one occupied by
the image.

Originally the Jetavana Vihåra had seven stories. The kings
and people of different countries vied with one another in making
offerings to this vihåra. Silk pennants and canopies were hung in
the vihåra, flowers were scattered, and incense was burned. Lamps
were lit every day, [and they burned] continually without interruption.
Then it happened that a rat carried off in its mouth the
wick of a lamp, which ignited the flowers, pennants, and canopies,
and reduced the seven-storied vihåra to ashes. The kings and the
people of different countries lamented and thought that the sandalwood
image must also have been consumed by the fire. But four
or five days later, when they opened the door of the smaller vihåra
on the east, they discovered, to their great delight, that the image
was intact. They rebuilt the vihåra as a two-story [building] and
returned the image to its former place.
- Do you think that the Greece Buddhists or others took this sculpture as an example for their Buddha statues?
- Further was this statue maybe copied on paper or drawn ?
- Is this precious Buddha statue still present somewhere ?
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Karinos
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by Karinos » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:37 pm

well that's all is of course non-tantric views, because to create image of Yidam in tantra is part of practice and was performed since first tantras were though by Buddha

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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:57 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:- Do you think that the Greece Buddhists or others took this sculpture as an example for their Buddha statues?
No clue. There were 2 schools of Buddhist sculpture that appeared around the same time: the Gandhara school and the Mathura school. The Gandhara school showed more Greek influence. The Mathura school was more consistent with native Indian sculpture. On a side note, a lot of the statues from this period display halos - I don't really see the same usage of halos in Greek art, where they tended to use spiked rays for a similar purpose.
kalden yungdrung wrote:- Further was this statue maybe copied on paper or drawn ?
Have no idea.
kalden yungdrung wrote:- Is this precious Buddha statue still present somewhere ?
Likely if it existed, it was held in some place that got burned down.
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:35 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:- Do you think that the Greece Buddhists or others took this sculpture as an example for their Buddha statues?
The Hellenic sculptural style predates what Faxian saw by a few thousand years. Wooden statues, generally, do not last all that long so what Faxian saw is unlikely to have been a few thousand years old.
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by Grigoris » Fri Sep 08, 2017 3:46 pm

kalden yungdrung wrote:- What do you think did the Greece import the 5th element Aither, from the Buddhist emptiness philosophy?
Who knows? Apparently the Hellenic five element system is pre-Socratic (Aristotelean) and Aristotle died in 322BC. That is about 160 years before the invasion of Bactria and India. Now, of course, there may well have been contact between Ancient Hellenes and Indians before Alexander the Great's military conquest, but I don't know how much evidence exists of this contact. Actually Plato (427-347 BC) was one of the first Ancient Greek philosophers to mention the existence of ether, but he did not include it in the four elements model. That was almost 300 years before Alexander the Great headed on his merry way.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by kalden yungdrung » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:56 am

Grigoris wrote:
kalden yungdrung wrote:- What do you think did the Greece import the 5th element Aither, from the Buddhist emptiness philosophy?
Who knows? Apparently the Hellenic five element system is pre-Socratic (Aristotelean) and Aristotle died in 322BC. That is about 160 years before the invasion of Bactria and India. Now, of course, there may well have been contact between Ancient Hellenes and Indians before Alexander the Great's military conquest, but I don't know how much evidence exists of this contact. Actually Plato (427-347 BC) was one of the first Ancient Greek philosophers to mention the existence of ether, but he did not include it in the four elements model. That was almost 300 years before Alexander the Great headed on his merry way.

Thanks for your replies.

The Buddha was "born" before the date (427-347 BC Plato) namely around 563 BCE,

So it could be eventually possible that the Greece , by trade came in contact with the knowledge about the 5th element namely aither. Typical of the Greece elements is that here is missing the 6th Buddhist element consciousness.

Even if the Greece took out of the Abhidharma the 5th element, the 6th namely consciousness is missing in the Greece philosophy.

So as before where did Plato got his knowledge about that 5th element, because it was added to the before existing 4 elements.

The Atom theory is also a remarkable "Greece" discovery.

Greek philosophers Leucippus and Democritus first developed the concept of the atom in the 5th century B.C.E.
Like we see it is also discovered in the time of early Buddhism, maybe there is a link between Leucippus and Democritus and India / Buddhism / Abhidharma.

The theory of atoms maybe also known known in the Abhidharma ?

Both systems [Sānkhya and later Indian Buddhism] share in common a tendency to push the analysis of Existence up to its minutest, last elements which are imagined as absolute qualities, or things possessing only one unique quality. They are called "qualities" (guna-dharma) in both systems in the sense of absolute qualities, a kind of atomic, or intra-atomic, energies of which the empirical things are composed.

Samkya has also the enumeration philosophy of the elements (The Tattvas)
http://www.hinduwebsite.com/24principles.asp
Here we have also the 5th element. The Greece could have 2 ways to get in contact with this element namely the Buddhist source or the Samkya source.

But remarkable is that this Samkya system of enumeration is also present in the Greece philosophy, Have read it one time but forgot who was the writer..... Maybe Pytagoras ?

Here again it could be very good possible that the theory of the atoms was too imported out of India and happened by mostly trade.

Therefore i always was wondering myself why the Greece have been so clever in those days.

In case the Greece did import those things out of India etc. then the European culture would partly be based on Buddhist philosophy.
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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by Grigoris » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:21 am

It is not all Ancient Greece. The Hellenes borrowed quite a bit from the Ancient Egyptians too... ;)
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Image of Buddha?

Post by thomaslaw » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:53 am

Tenma wrote:I've been studying in my AP world history class and so far, I've noticed that the image of the Buddha we think of didn't come up until centuries after his death. How did this image pop out of no where? Also, does that mean we really don't know what he looks like? I noticed that some orthodox traditions prefer not to portray him as he has reached Nirvana and is no longer of this world, but instead as a bodhi tree or his footprints. Any suggestions why this is so? Also, does that mean all the other Buddhas are not in their real image?
About the history of Buddha images, see the Buddhist art: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhist_art

Thomas

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