Historical Buddha Shakyamuni with His Life Events
Artist/maker unknown, Indian
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In sculpture created during the rule of the Pala dynasty (eighth through twelfth century), the eight pivotal life events of the historical Buddha were usually illustrated by each event being reduced to its most essential elements. In this image, the central Buddha sits with his hands folded in the gesture of meditation (dhyanamudra), probably indicating the episode in which he receives a bowl of honey from a devoted monkey. Clockwise from the bottom left the other events implied are: the birth of the Buddha; the taming of the wild elephant Nalagiri; the enlightenment; the death (parinirvana); the first sermon; the descent from the heaven where the Buddha preached to his dead mother; and the display of supernatural powers.