Written by: Emily Sabens, Public Relations Intern
As you enter into our Chinese and Japanese Gallery, you’ll probably notice this sculpture sitting in the room. With his eyes closed, hands clasped and legs crossed, he looks so serene; you can’t help but wonder if he just came from Meditation in the Museum. This is “Amida Buddha,” made in 1680 by Master Tokewaki and lent to the museum by David Owsley.
The Buddha plays an essential role in the religion of Buddhism. During the late 6th century until the 4th century BCE, a period of intense social change overtook northeastern India––particularly concerning religion. It was during this time that Buddhism began to spread.
The ‘original’ Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, is believed to have lived from 566 to 488 BCE Gautama was the son of an Indian warrior-king and lived the life of luxury throughout his childhood and early adulthood.
But then he became bored.
Gautama felt there was more to life than just being royalty. He ventured into the world, searching for a deeper understanding. Through his travels, Gautama learned how to be free from suffering and, ultimately, achieve salvation. From then on, Gautama was known as the Buddha, which translates to “enlightened one” in Sanskrit.
Like many other religions, Buddhism began to break up into different branches––including Pure Land Buddhism, which focuses specifically on the Amida Buddha.
The Amida Buddha is often known as the Buddha of immeasurable light or the Buddha of limitless life. Amida is said to look over a heavenly paradise, promising salvation and rebirth for all of his followers. He is often portrayed wearing ornaments and a crown.
To see the museum’s beloved “Amida Buddha” for yourself, be sure to visit. We’re open every day until 4:30!