Perhaps because The Buddha put so much emphasis on self-denial no images of him were made for some time after his Death. When images were made they were not true likenesses.
Instead they were highly stylized and symbolic with features like long eralobes, stretched by earrings, a sign of royal birth; Wheel-shaped marks on the soles of his feet, reminders that his ministry had started the Wheel of Truth spinning.
Traditionally, Buddhist artists have sought to depict one of 12 episodes of Buddha’s Life:
1) his prior existence in TusitaHeaven; 2) his conception; 3) his birth 4) his education;
5) his marriage; 6) his Renunciation; 7) his period of asceticism; 8) meditating under the Bodhi tree; 9) the defeat of Mara; 10) his Enlightenment; 11) his first sermon; and
12) his Death. Some of these episodes are depicted more often in paintings than in sculpture.
Statues Buddha is nearly always depict Buddha in one of half dozen or so position. The most common position shows a sittingBuddha with one hand raised (the sermon position). The second most common one shows The Buddha sitting with one hand on top of the other (the Meditation position).
The reclining Buddha symbolizes the sage in "an attitude of entering Nirvana" and depicts The Buddha at the moment he leaves his earthly Body and achieves the state of Nirvana, or Enlightenment. The standing Buddhais rare. He is Thought to represents The Buddha as a teacher or perhaps giving a Blessing.
Common Buddha images found in Japanese Buddhist temples include 1) Sakyamuni (the historical Buddha), recognizable by one hand raised in a praying gesture; 2)Yakushi (the Healing Buddha), with one hand raised in the praying gesture and the other holdinga vial of medicine;
3) Amitabha (The Buddha of Infinite Light and Buddha of The Western Paradise), sitting down with the knuckles together in a Meditative position;
4) Dainichi (the Cosmic Buddha), usually portrayed in princely Clothes, with one hand clasped around a raised a finger on the other hand (a sexual gesture indicating the unity of being); and Maitreya (Buddhaof the Future).
Buddhist Art often contains a central image of Buddha surrounded by numerous other images, which can include scenes from Buddha Life, different manifestations ofBuddha, different Bodhisattvas and Deities.
Bodhisattvas often appear on either side of The Buddha. They are often distinguishable by their more human-like appearance; serene smiles which represent Joy and Compassion.; and
a top knot of Hair or a headpiece, sometimes with smaller figures in the crown. Some images ofBuddha are accompanied by images of Buddha's first two disciples, young Ananda and old Kasyapa.
Present, Past and Future Buddha Images
Sakya Thukpa (Sakaymuni) is the historical Buddha, who lived in Nepal in the 5th century B.C. He has blue Hair and a Halo of Enlightenment around his head. He is always depicted in a sitting position, with his legs crossed in the Lotus position and has 32 marks on his Body, including a dot between his Eyes, the Wheel of Law on the soles of his feet, and bump on the top of his head.
Manifesting the “witness” Mudra, he holds a begging bowl in his left hand and touches the Earth with his right hand. He is often flanked by two Bodhisattvas. [The name before the parenthesis is Tibetan, the name in parenthesis is Sanskrit]
Marmedze (Dipamkara) is the Past Buddha. He preceded the historical Buddha and spent 100,000 years on Earth. His hands are pictured in the “protection” Mudra and he is often pictured with the Present and Future Buddha.
Jampa (Maitreya) is the Future Buddha. He is currently in the Form of a Bodhisattva and is waiting for his chance to return toEarth, 4000 years after the Death of Sakaymuni.
He is usually seated, with a scarf around his waist, his legs hanging down and his hands by his chest in the turning of the Wheel of Law
Other Tibetan Buddha Images
Amitabha Opagme (Amitabha) is The Buddha of Infinite Light. He resides in the “Pure land of the west,” where he looks afterpeople on their journey to Nirvana, and is regarded as the original being from which the Panchen Lama was reincarnated. He is red. His hands are held together on his lap with a begging bowl in the “Meditation” Mudra.
Dhyani Buddhas, or the five Contemplation Buddhas—Amitabha (red), Vairocana, Akshobhya (white), Ratnasambhava (yellow) andAmoghasiddhi (green) —are major focuses of Meditation.
Also known as the five Jinas (eminent ones), or dhyani-Buddha, they control the different regions of paradise where Buddhists may be reborn. Each is a different color and has different symbolsand mudras associated with it.
Tsepame (Amitayus) is The Buddha of Longevity. Like Opagme, he is red and his hands are pictured in the “Meditation” Mudra, but he holds a vase containing thenectar of immortality. The Medicine Buddha (Menlha) holds a medicine bowl in his left hand and herbs in his right hand. He is often depicted in a group of eightBuddhas.
These Buddhas have different manifestations. The many-headed Hevajra is a wrathful manifestation of Akshobhya (the Imperturbable Buddha).
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Tibetan Area ,Buddhist Grottoes and Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park along Silk Road