‘The emancipated Buddha’ from Gandhara, or modern Pakistan, which dates to the 1st-4th centuries C.E. is depicted after the forty-nine days fast at Bodhgaya. The emancipated Buddha is an image not commonly known. This is said to be before his enlightenment under the Bodhi tree and although his creation was at a time of Greek rule the sculpture does not show an image of human perfection, but of a near death scenario that does not reflect Greek ideology.
‘The Standing Buddha
1st-2nd century CE, Gandhara, below, however has obvious signs of Greek influence with
beautiful folding robes that show the perfectness of the figure, along with lush waving hair and sensual heavy-lidded eyes in definite immortal classical style. It shows that perhaps, this image is ‘after’ the enlightenment of Buddha. It is interesting to compare the contrasting images which were made at roughly the same time in the same area. During the golden era in the Tang Dynasty in China, the Great Buddha in Longmen Grotto is good example of how China absorbed many different countries and cultures. Though it was a society boasting high morality, great virtue, respected all races, nationalities, groups, and genders, flourishing economically, politically and also spiritually, one can’t help but wonder when Sakyamuni began his journey so humbly that ‘The Great Buddha’ in Longmen became somewhat extravagant. When one considers the positions of leaders, writers, philosophers and artists being of the same cast, then one might imagine that prosperity was only recorded by the elite. Much l
ike when our politician expenditures leave us wondering about priorities. This brings me to the Mile Buddha in Honghe which reeks grotesque self-indulgence. The fact of the enormous size, obesity and gold colour is so far away from Buddha’s original concept, but the Laughing Buddha is not actually Buddha, but is Hotei ,or Pu-Tai known as the jolly ‘Laughing Buddha’. The Loving or Friendly One. “He is based on an eccentric Chinese Ch’an (Zen) monk who lived over 1,000 years ago and has become a significant part of Buddhist and Shinto culture, because of this monk’s benevolent nature, he came to be regarded as an incarnation of the bodhisattva who will be Maitreya (the Future Buddha)” (2014). Judging by modern standards Maitreya has arrived, in his outward appearance, but perhaps lovingly self-indulgent, reflective of modern society.
The Great Buddha Statue in Longmen Grotto. Taken by Xin Li (2002).
Buddha statue in Mile county, Honghe.
Author unknown. Religion Facts: The laughing Buddha retrieved 19th of march 2014
Mile Buddha http://www.chinapictures.org/photo/travel/yunnan/40116100646656 Retrieved 19th of March 2014.
Emancipated Buddha http://www.azibaza.com/lecture/lectures_emaciated.htm retrieved 19th March 2014.
Standing Buddha. http://www.crystalinks.com/buddhism.html retrieved 19 March 2014.
Li Xin. China. Acts Upon a Stage: A Look at Chinese Divine Culture through the History of Chang’an City Purainsight.org Retrieved 19th of March 2014.