THE WAY OF THE BUDDHA
|Exhibition entitled 'The Way of The Buddha' has been organised as a part of Second International Conference on Buddhism organised by the Banaras Hindu University. Political unrests and devastating wars predomin-ated the entire gamut of the Twentieth Centu-ry. The present exhibition is intended with a prayer that let the Twenty First Century be a Century , par excellence, of peace and tranquility. The way of the Buddha is the only alternative for peace; the way leads ultimately to the abode of absolute peace ( Sukhavati ). The religion of the Buddha though underwent visible changes in its philosophical and ideological tenets, yet it always upheld the cause of non- violence, friendship, peace and compassion -a loving will toward all beings. The Sakyamuni Buddha preached the Four Noble Truths viz., suffering ( dukkha ) its origin (samudaya), its decay (nirodha) and path to its decay (marga) and he also explained the law of dependent origination (pratiyasamutpada). These teachings appear more relevant these days and world peace could be maintained if the people of the world adopt the way of the Buddha. - The Buddha was apparently against image worship and he declared that 'he who sees my words, sees me'. But the untold million followers of the Buddha desired to have his image so that they could offer their homage to the Master. Initially, he was worshipped through theriomorphic and aniconic symbols but subsequently, his anthropomorphic form was allowed to be made. As time passed by, under the spell of Mahayana and esoteric Buddhist philosophy of Vajrayana, Mantrayana and Tantrayana, the Buddhist iconography became more complex. This was the period the Master became the Lord. Apart from the Mortal Buddha, Meditative (Dhyani) Buddhas, Buddha-saktis and Bodhisattvas were evolved with the peculiar iconographic traits and for varied reasons of their propitiation. Some of the Buddhist deities of this period appear terrific and violent but in reality they are not as such. Their essence has been always benevolent and benign. The exhibition includes the images of Five Dhyani Buddhas viz., Vairacana (the Resplendant One), Aksobhya ( Imperturbable), Amitabha (Boundless light), Ratnasambhava (Jewel born) and Amoghasiddhi (Perfect Accompaniment ). These Dhyani Buddhas preside over five skandhas viz., rupa( form ), vedana (sensation), samjna name), samskara (onfrontation) and vijnana (consciousness).The images of Buddha saktis such as Pandara, Tara, Locana, Mamaki,||
Vajradhatrisvari enrich this exhibition. The images of Tara predominate other female deities. Tara, savior of all, full of piety for all beings and protectress from eight perils (asta mahabhaya) is the supreme goddess in the Buddhist pantheon.Consorts of Budhisattvas such as Prajnaparamita (sakti of Manjusri),
Vasudhara(consort of Jambhala) and other deities such as Usnisavijaya, Sitatapatra Aparajita are other interesting images in this exhibition. Prajnaparamita, the Buddhist goddess of learning, Vasudhara, the goddess of plenty and rich- ness, Sitatapartra Aparajita, the invicible goddess with white parasol destroys all sorts of evil spirits; Usnisavijaya resides within the womb of caitya while Nairatma, the non soul, a synonym of Sunya or void, is the consort of Heruka. Of the images displayed, the various aspects of Avalokitesvara predominates. Avalokitesvara is a Bodhisattva who looks down with infinite piety ; he is beheld by those in trouble. He is Mahakarunika- the compassion personified. He is also called Dukkhatrata; he protects his devotees from ship wreck, conflagaration, wild animals, serpents,prison, robbers and demons. - His Sadaksari form is the personification of six syllables 'Om Mani Padme Hum' ; As Ekadasa mukha sahasrabhuja (thousand handed), he is thousand eyed and he helps all and illuminate all with the light of wisdom .He is measureless and saves sentient beings. His other forms include Hari Hari Vahana Lokesvara and Khasarpana Lokesvara. Another Bodhisattva who is equally important is Manjusri. In his two handed form, he holds a sword and a manuscript. The sword in his hand destroys ignorance and the book offers transcendental wisdom. His two aspects viz., Arapacana and Manju Kumara are represented here. The Future Buddha and at present a Budhisattva, Maitreya is also displayed here, so also the Bodhisattva Vajrapani -a substitute ofHindu god Indra is also presented here. Hevajra in his yuganddha form embraces Nairatma and in this form he protects the world from the spell of Evil god Mara. The exhibition includes stone and bronze sculptures, stuccos ,terracottas , seals and sealings, coins and paintings from various places in India, Nepal and Tibet.