Eight Noble Truths of Buddhism
Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Concentration.
Siddhartha Gautama or Gautam Buddha is believed to have attained 'nirvana', or what is better understood as 'enlightenment'. Buddhism, which definitely evolved later, describes the right ways of living, which are sourced from the teachings and practices of the Buddha (the enlightened one).
The time period between the 6th and 4th century B.C. is referred to as the origin of this religion. Wisdom lay at the base of Buddhist philosophy. Similar to other faiths in the world, even Buddhist thought has escalated into various interpretations.
A significant part of this transition can also be attributed to the spread of Buddhism in places afar from where it originated and bloomed. It always fascinates human minds to think of how not just belief systems, but faiths travel across the world.
These famous statues of Buddha sprinkled across various lands may indicate towards the triumph of wisdom, despite the nuances of cultures.
Buddha Statues Around the World
Bodhgaya is frequented by tourists from the world, since it is the place where Gautam Buddha is known to have gained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. It is located near the Mahabodhi Temple, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The statue was consecrated at the hands of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1989.
Also known by the name of the famous lake Hussain Sagar, it lies in the Telangana state of India. This statue of Buddha is known for its distinctive creation as a monolith in white granite. A concrete platform is built in the lake, upon which the sculpture stands.
This 18-meter high statue was sculpted by S.M. Ganapathi Sthapati. One hand risen besides the shoulder represents the 'abhaya mudra' or freedom from fear. It is the tallest amongst all the monoliths of Buddha in the world.
Mount Emei (Emeishan) Scenic Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Leshan Giant Buddha. Buddhism touched China at this place, when the first temple (Guangxiang) was built in the 1st century CE.
The Giant Buddha is 71 meters high, and the largest Buddha in the world. Built in the 8th century CE, it overwhelms visitors when it appears to look down, where the three rivers of Minjiang, Dadu, and Qingyi come together. It is carved on the hillside of the Xijuo Peak.
Also known as the Big Buddha in Ngong Ping, it sits on a lotus and is placed on an altar. This altar, or the base of the statue, symbolizes the Altar of Heaven or the earthly mount of Tian Tan of the Chinese culture. It is a bronze statue, 34 meters high, depicting the Sakyamuni Buddha.
Six smaller statues, also of bronze, surround it. They pose to offer the Tian Tan Buddha flowers, incense, ointment, a lamp, fruit, and music. These represent the six perfections of generosity, patience, zeal, morality, meditation, and wisdom. One is believed to acquire these six perfections, so as to attain enlightenment.
Belonging to the famous Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung monastery in Monywa, this statue has been built by Sayadaw U Narada, the Chief Abbot (founding sayadaw) of the monastery. The Laykyun Sekkya Buddha, or the Standing Buddha, was built between 1996 and 2008. With a throne of 13.5 meters at its base, the height of the statue by itself is around 116 meters.
This structure has 31 floors to symbolize the 31 planes of existence. The Reclining Buddha has been constructed before the Standing Buddha, in the early 1990s. The monastery comprises many images of the Buddha, and is also home to thousands of Bo trees.
The Great Buddha statue, depicting 'Amida Buddha or Amitābha in Sanskrit', is made completely of bronze. Amitābha refers to the celestial Buddha, who represents infinite light. Both, the Mahāyāna and Vajrayana schools have different interpretations about the symbolic attributes of the Buddha.
All the four which are carved on a single granite rock surface are simply an astonishing feat of sculpture. The rock temple of Gal Vihara consists of two seated structures, one standing and one reclining. They are as high as 4.6 meters, with one of them being around 14 meters in length.
The art of sculpting shows differences with the former Anuradhapura period, but are influenced by the Mahayana sect and the Amaravati school of art (3rd century B.C. in central India). The reclining statue of the Buddha is believed to exhibit 'parinirvana', or the stage of nirvana after death.
The statue is understood to be the guardian of mariners. Renamed to Phra Puttha Thrai Ratana Nayok in 1854 by King Mongkut, it has been destroyed and restructured many times. Influenced by the Chinese architectural style, the temple is quite popular with the Thai-Chinese, who call it Sam Pao Kong.
This 15-meter high and 43-meter long statue is not literally a pilgrimage center, but is popular among the Thai community. The prominent feet of the Buddha show inlay work done using mother-of-pearl. The surrounding corridor houses 108 bowls of bronze, which hint at the 108 auspicious characters of the Buddha.