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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/11266/1166

Title: ガンダーラ仏と蓮華座
Other Titles: Early Gandharan Images of the Buddha on a Lotus Petal Throne : the Development of the Ideal Buddha in Mahayana Thought
Authors: 安田, 治樹
Kanada, Margaret Miller
YASUDA, Haruki
根津美術館 /
Issue Date: 20-Mar-2005
Publisher: 立正大学法華経文化研究所
Abstract: In the religious thought and arts of India from early times we find references to and the visual depiction of lotus flowers. The lotus often carries the symbolic meanings of "birth" or "creation" for example in such important early canonic traditions as the Mahabharata and the Rgveda. In Buddhism as well, especially in the teachings of the Mahayana, the lotus and this symbolism continues to play a prominent role. The graceful and pure lotus is often compared to the heart unsullied by the corruption of the world. The lotus is mentioned repeatedly in Mahayana sutras and gives its symbolic power to the title of the preeminent Lotus Sutra. In the visual and sculptural arts the lotus flower as a decorative motif has a rich history in India of many variations. In early and non-Buddhist arts it appears in depictions on Purna-ghata, Gajalaksmi and kalpalata. In the Buddhist arts the lotus is found most often as the lotus-petal throne for images of the Buddha. However, the lotus throne is not found in the earliest depictions of the Buddha extant from the second centuries of the common era that come from the schools of Mathura and Amar avati, nor most scholars believe even in the earliest known Gandharan images. It is only relatively late, probably in or after the second half of the third century CE, among the newly created images of the "Buddha Preaching" and the "Buddha Triads" that arose to illustrate developments in Mahayana thought and scriptures particularly the Lotus Sutra that we find depictions of the lotus-petal throne in Gandhara. Many scholars in examining the relationship of Buddhist thought and the appearance of the lotus-petal throne (including P. Mus, A.K. Coomaraswamy, J. Tucci, H.Zimmer, and E. Lamotte) have pointed out several aspects of Mahayana teachings that appear to have influenced the concrete visualization of the lotus throne in Gandharan sculpture. Most suggest the probable dating of the appearance of the lotus-petal throne to around the middle of the third century. They have suggested from the viewpoint of the early doctrine of Buddha-kaya (or Buddha Body system) that the lotus-petal throne for the central Buddha image symbolizes the sambhogakaya or the ideal "reward body". More importantly, the lotus throne it has been suggested symbolizes the transcendent nature of the Buddha and the renunciation of the mundane world (lokottara). In this transcendent or eternal nature of Buddhahood that exists at all times and places lies the guarantee of a divine grace that with the acceptance of faith will bring to all salvation (birth in paradise) and enlightenment. It is a concept that is central to all teachings of Mahayana. While Y. Krishan has argued against this symbolism, I must agree with the other scholars that the appearance of the lotus-petal throne coincides with and at the same time carries profound religious meaning for developing Mahayana. Support for this thesis lies in the fact that at Mathura and elsewhere the earliest images of the Buddha depict him on a "lion throne". These sculptures are based on the teachings of the older Agama sutra and it must be emphasized depict the historic Buddha, that is Sakyamuni, the Buddha who has taken on a living human body and has an historic existence (and is depicted with attributes of both yogi and prince). In contrast the early Gandharan Buddha images that show Buddha on a lotus throne, whether Buddha is at the center of a triad or in the images of Buddha Preaching, are depicting or illustrating (henso) an ideal Buddha. This is the ideal of the eternal Buddha of the Lotus Sutra or the Buddha of 'Immeasurable Bliss'(Amitayus) of the Muryoju Sutra (Sukhavativyuha). Thus the Lotus-petal Throne and its appearance helps to clarify developments in Mahayana thought even as it is a symbol of that development.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11266/1166
Appears in Collections:31号

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