The Origin of the Buddha Image & Elements of Buddhist Iconography

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Fons Vitae, 2006 - Art - 95 pages
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Two foundational texts, enhanced by a third, "The Nature of Buddhist Art," are concerned not only with providing a language for reading the artistic and linguistic symbols for Buddhism, but also show how these symbols are conducive to self realization, which is the aim of all sacred art. Providing a schema of what is of the utmost value in all the world's great spiritual traditions as they pertain to transforming the understanding life and the spiritual process, clear expositions on the significance of the most profound Buddhist symbols are offered, including the poses, the Lotus (the ground of manifestation), the Bodhi Tree (the Tree of Life synonymous with all existence), and the Wheel (the operation of principles). The portrayal of the "Kingdom of Heaven Within" in Buddhist etymology, iconography, and metaphysics is explored, and this whole cosmology—which would appear to be outward—is revealed to be located within the human heart itself. This work demonstrates that art is not solely for instruction or visual/mental pleasure, but intends to liberate the beholder from the restless activity that obscures reality and inhibits inner peace.

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Contents

THE NECESSITY FOR A BUDDHA IMAGE 11
11
DIFFERENTIATION OF INDIAN AND HELLENISTIC TYPES 27
27
DATING OF GANDHARA AND MATHURA BUDDHAS 33
33
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About the author (2006)

A. K. Coomaraswamy was one of the world's greatest art historians and scholars of traditional iconography and is the author of numerous works, including Christian and Oriental Philosophy of Art and The Door in the Sky.

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