Thursday, 26 November 2009

Buddha 101 Project The Buddha’s Feet

The Buddha was reluctant to have images made of himself, as he did not see himself as a God. So in early Buddhist art he is represented as the Dhamma Wheel and the Bodhi Tree, but also the Buddha's Footprints, an Empty Throne, a Begging Bowl or a Lion.

Footprints of the Buddha exist in many Buddhist countries including Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma

They vary considerably from country to country and take their inspiration from source texts used of the dominant schools of Buddhism operating at these times.

Some footprints are quite plain and life like whilst others are more heavily embellished and contain many extra features – this characteristic of embellishment occurred from c. 100 B.C. until the 5th Century AD in Sri Lanka and Southern India.

The first Buddha footprints appeared during the earliest period of Buddhism which ended around the 4th century A.D.

In Thailand, the oldest known Buddha footprint, dating to 600 A.D., is located at Sar Morakot, Khok Peep District, Prachinburi province with the most beautiful dating from the Sukhothai period, and are based on the Sri Lankan Therevean Buddhist traditions.

The most beautiful however is the Buddha footprint presented to Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand on the occasions of her 60th birthday. It measures 50 cm by 140 cm and was made in 1991 from pure gold and by one highly skilled craftsman. It is housed within a private hall adjacent to the Royal Chapel ,Grand Palace ,Bangkok.

Research, to date, has indicated that the oldest surviving Buddha footprint attributed to the Buddha himself is located at Loka-hteik-pan, Bagan,Burma and dates from 1157 A.D

The largest Buddha footprint in the world is at Pakhan-gyi,Burma.

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