Pure Land Buddhism and Buddha
This is my first went to the Asian Art Museum. It’s very cool experience for me to look at the Asian art pieces. I choose two Buddha one is from China and another one is from Japan. The seated Buddha from china is made in 16th century and the seated Buddha amitabha from Japan is made in 12th century. They both are seated Buddha but I found there’s some similarity and difference between these two Buddha. First I want to talk about the Buddha from China. The seated Buddha made by stoneware with five glazes from Ming dynasty. This Buddha has one very different thing from others its color.
This colorful Buddha quickly grabs my eyes. It’s very earth color green, brown and nude. This seated looks very peaceful with close eyes and long earlobes. Buddha’s right hand put on the knee and palm up, left hand in front of the belly and also palm up. The clothes cover the shoulder but you can the chest and hands and foot. The Buddha is seated on a lotus and there’s small character on every pieces of lotus leaf. The base of the sculpture is hexagonal and each side has a dragon with some cloud like they are flying in the sky. The very bottom is square and every angle has a man like they are carry this Buddha.
Second one is the seated Buddha amitabha from Japan. This seated Buddha is made by lacquered and gilded on wood from Heian period. The Buddha’s eyes are half closed and have long earlobes too. Amitabha with hand held in the gesture of meditation. The cloth is cover the shoulder but you can see the right side arm, both hand and right feet Looks like amitabha is concentrate with the thinking. The seated amitabha is seated on the lotus and the base bottom is octagonal. Amitabha is a symbol of loving giver of comfort and hope. Many of amitabha made in Japan during this period. It’s as a direct result of the pure land Buddhism in Japan.
These two Buddha both cross leg seating on the lotus with the common position. And the flowing curve line of the cloth they both have hit the viewer eye. Let viewers feel peaceful and steady. They both have the third eye. They both have monk’s robes. From my view I think these two Buddha are the same Buddha, because the way they look and the pose. The difference is they have different have post. That’s why I think them all amitabha. And amitabha is very popular both in China and Japan. People believe after death the soul will go to the western paradise, the pure land. So amitabha is called amitayus which mean infinite life.
I think during that time period people want to live with peaceful life that why Buddha in Asia is very common and popular religion. They want to have clear mind to think. And they want to be calm. There’s lots of different kind of Buddha looking. Buddha’s image from place to place and period to period but they almost always show in the common features. “Especially the hand position first is the right hand over right knee is symbolizing the Buddha’s calling the Earth as a witness during his victory over negative forces, second is right hand held up with palm out symbolizing giving reassurance.
Third is hands held at chest with fingers turning invisible wheel symbolizing setting in motion the “wheel of the doctrine”—that is, preaching. ” (Info from Asian education website) and I mention the hand position because the two Buddha that I picked they have different hand position. The Buddha from China is kind have first and second hand position and the Buddha from Japan I think he has the third hand position. So their hand position symbolize different thing.