Carved footprints called buddhapada are among the oldest-known works of Buddhist Art and Faith, with the oldest examples from the A.D. 1st century Gandhara in Pakistan. One such piece carved in grey stone has a pair of Truth wheels on each meter-long foot. Smaller ones have been carved on lapis lazuli seals less then two centimeters in length.
Footprints of The Buddha are important objects of veneration, both in terms of purported footprints left behind by thehistorical Buddha and representations of his footprints. Because they seem to convey his presence without him actually beingthere footprints have came to represent transcendental Power.
Footprints are both representations of The Buddha’s presence and absence, and loss and recovery. They are images that are easy to identify with. In ancient times, footprints and hand prints were regarded as the physical touch of Buddha and other major religious figures. The Buddha himself said, “Creatures without feet have Love, / And likewise those that have two feet / And those that have four feet I Love, / And those, too, that have many feet.”
A footprint was chosen as representative of The Buddha because it expressed humility and addressed the fear that his image might be worshiped. On footprints, TheBuddha is reported to have said: “In the future, intelligent being will see the scriptures and understand. Those of less intelligence will wonder whether The Buddhaappeared in the World. In order to remove the doubts. I have set my footprints in stone.”
Master Xuanzang’s footprint in China (Chang’an-Qinzhou-Liangzhou-Anxi-Yiwu-Bailicheng-Qarahoja-Qiuci-Hotan)
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