Mudra in asian buddhism primary mudras of the major buddhas by john c hungtington

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Mudra In Asian Buddhism Primary Mudras of The Major Buddhas by John C Hungtington

Transcript of Mudra in asian buddhism primary mudras of the major buddhas by john c hungtington

  • 1.Mudra In Pan-Asian BuddhismPart 1:Primary Mudras of the Major Buddhas John C. Huntington1

2. Mudraa (mudra) Mudra: 1) seal or any instrument used for sealing or stamping, a seal-ring, an image, sign, badge, token (esp. a token or mark of divine attributes impressed upon the body). 2) Positions or intertwinings of the fingers, commonly practiced in religious worship, and supposed to possess an occult meaning and magical efficacy. 3) The CJK characterfor seal implying a personal distinguishing mark, is also used to translate mudra in to Chinese. 2 3. Mudra (mudra) An inventory of mudras in the greater Indic sphere Part 1: Gandhara 2nd cent. BCE to 5th cent. CE Part 2: Mathura region 1st cent. to ca 3 cent. CE Part 3: The Gupta period ca 3 cent. to ca 500 CE Part 4: Mudras of the five Jina Buddhas Beginning about 500 CE 3 4. Part 1 GandharaDhyanamudra or thegesture of Meditation A profoundly Common mudra to the present day, it is made by Shakyamuni, Amitabha, Amitayus, Vairocana and a number of other deities. There are many variants.4 5. Part 1 GandharaDhyanamudra or thegesture of MeditationSwat valley, NorthernPakistan, ca. 200-100 BCE One of the earliest Buddha images known, this Gai collection piece from Swat Valley shows the awakened one (Buddha) being venerated by Indra, viewers left and Brahma, viewers right. It depicts the mudra with the left hand on top and no particular positioning of the ngers.5 6. Part 1 GandharaDhyanamudra or thegesture of meditation(variant)Swat valley, NorthernPakistan, ca. 200-100 BCE Similar in date and location to the previous slide, this image has the dhyana mudra depicted with left hand on top and the thumbs raised and pressed together6 7. Part 1 GandharaAnjali Mudra the gesture of respectful greetingSwat valley, Northern Pakistan, ca. 100 BCEThe attendants to theBuddha, Indra to theviewers right andBrahma to theviewers left,display a greetingthat is still used tothe present day. Inspite of its prayer-like appearance, itis simply arespectful,deferential greetingused in all walks oflife in South andSoutheast Asia7 8. Part 1 GandharaBhumishparsha mudraA defining moment in Buddhism,the touching of the earth goddess(to call her to witness the right ofSiddhartha Gotama toenlightenment) is the transition inthe life of the Buddha-to -be toBuddha. It is eternally celebratedat the Mahbodhi temple atBodhgaya.8 9. Part 1 GandharaSwat valley Northern Pakistan, ca. 200 CE (see next page)One of the earliestBuddha images known,this Gai collection piecefrom Swat Valley showsthe awakened one(Buddha) beingvenerated by Indra,viewers left andbrahma, Viewerss right.The mudra is thedhyana-mudra orgesture of meditation9 10. Part 1 GandharaPeshawar Valley ca. 200-250 CEThis scene of the victory over Mara(Maravijaya) depicts the Buddha-to-beat the moment of overcoming Mara andattaining the right to enlightenment. Hedoes so by calling the Earth goddessPrithivi devi or Bhudevi to witness hispast lives of perfecting himself to thepoint where he no longer has egoisticcravings and delusions. He calls thegoddess by simply touching the earth(Bhumisparsha) with his right hand10 11. Part 1 GandharaPeshawar Valley ca. 200-250 CETeaching Gestures:Dharmachakraparvartana putting thewheel of the Dharmic methodologiesinto motion1) Giving the old wheel a spin!2) Abhaya mudra (with urna mudra)3) Dharmachakra-parvartana mudra [or Bodhyangi mudra ?]11 12. Part 1 GandharaGandhara ca. 200 CEDharmachakra parvartana: Setting the wheel of the teachings in motion: In this version theBuddha seems to be ready to give the wheel a spin. 12 13. Part 1 GandharaAbhaya Mudra Another very early symbolic gesture is the abhaya mudra, gesture of granting the absence of fear. It is one of the major teaching gestures for Shakyamuni Buddha in Gandharan imagery. When displaying it, the right hand is raised to somewhere near shoulder level and the palm faces outward. It also gures prominently in several two handed gestures.13 14. Part 1 GandharaGandhara ca. 200 CEDharmachakra parvartana: Setting the wheel of the teachings in motion:.In this version theBuddha makes whatis known asabharymudra, asymbolic gesture offearlessness. It wasone of the rstteaching gesturesand grants theabsence of fear ofdeath (and rebirth)through theteaching of theDharmicmethodologies 14 15. Part 1 GandharaGandhara ca. 200 CEVyakarana Mudra: prediction mudra (also visvavyakaran )universal prediction.The combined gestureof the right handdisplaying abhayamudra and the lefthand displaying urna(wool) mudra,grasping the hem ofthe garment, is alsoknown as theprediction ofenlightenment. Thusthis image has anobvious doublemeaning, both the rstsermon and theprediction of theobservers ownenlightenment. 15 16. Part 1 GandharaGandhara ca. 75-150 CEVyakarana Mudra: prediction mudra(also visvavyalaran )universal prediction.In standing images such as thisone, the prediction aspect is theonly implication of the image. Thecombined gesture of the right handdisplaying abhaya mudra and theleft hand displaying urna (wool)mudra, grasping the hem of thegarment, is the prediction ofenlightenment. Asian Art Museum, San Francisco 16 17. Part 1 GandharaGandhara ca. 75-150 CEDharmachakra[Bodhyangi?] Mudra.Universally, among westernscholars, called Dharmachakramudra, there is no actualdocumentation of this term for thecombined gesture in theGandharan sphere. The position ofthe gesture and the shape of theright hand suggest the Bodhyangi(enlightenment now) that is stillin use to the present day. (C.f.infra. and the next page.)Asian Art Museum, San Francisco 17 18. Part 1 GandharaGandhara ca. 75-150 CEDharmachakra [Bodhyangi?] Mudra.As can be seen in these details, unlike any other version of the Dharmachakra mudra, thisgesture depicts the right hand grasping the four ngers of the left hand and is, therefore,much more closely related to early versions of the bodhyangi mudra.Asian Art Museum, San Francisco 18 19. Part 2 MathuraMathura ca late 2nd- mid 1st cent BCEThis crudely formed Buddhaimages sits on a Mount Meruthrone and is attended by thefour Lokapala who arepresenting him with beggingbowls (which the Buddha willcollapse into a single bowl.His right hand displays abhayamudra and his left hand positionis undistinguishable 19 20. Part 2 MathuraMathura 2nd CEThis 2nd cent CEimage displays thesame basic gesturesas the previouspiece. All knowniconic images ofthe Buddha in theMathura regionmake this set ofgestures. 20 Kimball Art Museum 21. Part 2 MathuraMathura 2nd-3rd CENarrative images at Mathura contain the same mudras as we have seen in Gandhara. abhaya & prediction | prediction | bhumisparshaDeath | First Sermon | Descent from Heaven | Enlightenment | Birth 21 22. Part 2 MathuraMathura 2nd-3rd CENarrative images at Mathura contain the same mudras as we have seen in Gandhara. dhyana mudra anjali mudra Visit of Indra to the Buddha meditating in a cave 22 23. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Vyakarana MudraStanding Buddhas makingthe prediction ofenlightenment (vyakaranamudra) are quite commonin the Sarnath school ofsculpture although veryfew survive with bothhands intact 23 24. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Varada MudraA gesture closely relatedto abhaya mudra appearsin the 4th or 5th century(it may well have existedearlier, but apparently noton stone images). It isvaradamudra, the gestureof bestowal, or grantingpermission. 24 25. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Varada MudraA nearly identical type ofBuddha image displayingvarada mudra and grasping thehem of his robe with hisupraised left hand. Althoughnot inscribed, such isolatedimages are usually MaitreyaBuddha predicting enlighten-ment to practitioners at thetime of Ketumati 25 26. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Dharmachakra mudra fore ngermiddle nger little ngerThere are more that a dozen variants of Dharmachakra mudra. One cluster thatseems signicant is the variation of which nger of the left hand points to theright hand. If we consider them as markers of the three assemblies ofShakyamuni Buddha, or, since the ring nger gesture does exist albeit very rare,a unknown version of four assemblies, it would make perfect sense.The 1st assembly = the Avatamsaka sutra in AkanisthaThe 2nd assembly = the rst sermon at the MrigadavaThe 3rd assembly = the esoteric teacings 26 27. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Dharmachakra mudraFore nger= 1st Assembly 27 28. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Dharmachakra mudraFore nger= 1st AssemblyAlthough clearly markedby the presence of theve ascetics at the baseof the sculpture as therst sermon atMrigadava , the presenceof the two bodhisattvasalso clearly indicate thatthe teaching is takingplace in AkanishtaParadise. Thus, thisisprobably a dualimagereferenceing both theAvatamsaka in Akanishtaand the rst sermon. 28 29. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Dharmachakra mudraMiddle nger= 2nd Assembly 29 30. Part 3 Gupta periodSarnath School: Dharmachakra mudraMiddle nger= 2nd AssemblyIn spite of the damage tothe forenger, it is stillvery clear that it is themiddle nger that pointsto the circle formed bythe thumb and forengerof the right handThus, this is the obviousrst sermon at theMrigadava according tothe Avatamsaka scheme 30 31. Part 3 Gupta periodAjanta cave 4 Shrine: Dharmachakra mudraLittle nger= 3rd Assembly 31 32. Part 3 Gupta periodAjanta, Cave 4 Shrine late 5th cent.: Dharmachakra mudraLittle nger= 3rd AssemblyThe two attendingBodhisattvas,Avalokiteshvara andVajrapani, prove that theplace is againAkanishta. The triad isfrom theMahavairocanaAbhisambodhi tantrademonstrating that thisis indeed an esotericteaching. 32 33. Mudra(s) of the Panca Jina Buddhas.The mudras of the ve Buddhas who manifest the enlightenment of all Samyak SambodhiBuddhas are very stable through out Buddhist Asia from about the fth century on. Dharmachakra mudra (many variants) BhumisparshaVarada DhyanaAbhaya 33 34. Mudra(s) of the Panca Jina Buddhas, Individual Jina Buddhas and their variations.Alth