From all the seated Buddha statues made by artisans and sculptors today, this one stands out. Beyond the traditional iconography lies a distinguishing aspect. The monk’s robe is embossed with images that tell stories of His short yet eventful life.
His birth after the Queen Maya dreamed up the wise and gentle elephant, the mahabhinishkramana (the great renunciation), His years as a mendicant and ascetic, then finally mahanirvana (the great enlightenment), dhammachakraparivartana (the fateful Bodhi tree sermon), and mahaparinirvana (the great attainment).
The dark brown robe sets off the gold of the Buddha’s skin. A handsome, symmetrically sculpted face framed by the lengthened earlobes of the wise. He is seated in the finest padmasana, steeped in contemplation. The Sanskrt word for the same is samadhi, a smooth flowing seedless experience of the mind. It is after having travelled through each stage of the long, inward-driven process that Buddhahood occurred to the erstwhile Shakyamuni.
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