Old Buddha

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Old Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Fri Jul 10, 2009 2:51 pm

Why is there never a statue or picture of Buddha as an old man?



I did fine one on google but cant find it now
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Re: Old Buddha

Postby David N. Snyder » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:14 pm

clw_uk wrote:Why is there never a statue or picture of Buddha as an old man?


Good question. I'm guessing that the people who requested the sculptures or whoever made them, preferred the younger looking Gotama - Buddha. He did live to the age of 80, so I imagine he may have had some wrinkles in later life. In Theravada we don't see him as being immune to the frailties of old age and disease; just that he did not suffer.
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Re: Old Buddha

Postby Individual » Fri Jul 10, 2009 10:31 pm

I think it has to do with the nature of Indian art. Indian art emphasizes simplicity and symbolism, which is a sharp contrast to western art which favors accuracy and\or aesthetic pleasure. The main feature of old age -- wrinkles -- is likely extremely uncommon in any Indian statue of anybody. Statues likely are made which symbolically represent an old person (ex: Buddha shortly prior to his death) but because of the lack of detail, you can't tell.
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What's the word?

Postby BlackBird » Fri Jul 10, 2009 11:15 pm

Someone told me that the Buddha image was influenced by Greek culture of making statues.

Maybe we could comission an "old Buddha" someday Craig?
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Re: Old Buddha

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Jul 11, 2009 2:52 am

there's statues of a skinny starving siddhartha (which i really want one of) maybe thats what you saw and not an old buddha?

and the greeks were the 1st to make buddha statues so the earliest images we have of him are very beautiful greek god/hero looking images.
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Old Buddha

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jul 11, 2009 3:47 am

Technically, these are "old" images of Buddha since it is depicting the parinibbana, when he was 80 years old. But the face still looks like a young Gotama-Buddha.

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Re: Old Buddha

Postby jcsuperstar » Sat Jul 11, 2009 4:39 am

well having a gold face and all its understandable he wouldnt wrinkle :tongue:
สัพเพ สัตตา สุขีตา โหนตุ

the mountain may be heavy in and of itself, but if you're not trying to carry it it's not heavy to you- Ajaan Suwat
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Re: Old Buddha

Postby puthujjana » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:55 am

jcsuperstar wrote:there's statues of a skinny starving siddhartha (which i really want one of) maybe thats what you saw and not an old buddha?


Do you mean these statues?

Ascetic pratices can make one look old... :smile:

Image

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Re: Old Buddha

Postby clw_uk » Sat Jul 11, 2009 8:41 pm

Wow thanks for the pics :)



On an image of Buddha as an old man, its a shame there arent any statues of him at old age. For me it would make it more life like
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Re: Old Buddha

Postby Kare » Sat Jul 11, 2009 11:19 pm

clw_uk wrote:Wow thanks for the pics :)



On an image of Buddha as an old man, its a shame there arent any statues of him at old age. For me it would make it more life like


Why don't you make one? Or ask some sculptor to make one? People seem to have felt free to make Buddha images in a large variety of shapes already, so the Buddha as an old man should be perfectly acceptable. None of the images are real portraits, anyway. They are just visual expressions of a concept.

This saying from the Mahaparinibbanasutta might serve as a starting point for conceiving the image:

"Now I am frail, Ananda, old, aged, far gone in years. This is my eightieth year, and my life is spent. Even as an old cart, Ananda, is held together with much difficulty, so the body of the Tathagata is kept going only with supports."
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