December 24, 2008

281206 Wat Saen - Buddha footprint

Photos from October 2008 trip...


The 'twin miracles' (ยมกปาฏิหาริย์ yamaka patihariya):


On hearing that Buddha was to perform a miracle at a mango tree, disbelievers wanting to discredit him bought over all mango orchards & cut down every single tree. Buddha then ate a mango & had the king's gardener Ganda plant the seed. A fully grown tree sprouted instantly, at which Buddha created double apparitions of himself, depicted as one pair each of reclining & sitting Buddhas in the tree.

It is widely believed that Buddha forbade his followers from making any paintings or sculptures of him after his death, & this is the reason why early Buddhist art is aniconic, where Buddha was represented by symbols like an empty throne, a Bodhi tree, or his footprint instead. This is the reason why Buddha footprints, many of which can't possibly be actual footprints, are found in places where Buddhism is practised, including countries where there is no record of Gautama Buddha ever having travelled to. The whole idea of footprints as a representation of Buddha probably came from the practise of showing respect by prostrating oneself before the feet of deities & elders. The Buddha footprint (phouthabat) in Wat Saen:


All five toes of the same length, a Dharmacakra (wheel of Dhamma) in the middle of the sole, & 108 auspicious symbols...


...although no matter how the cat tries to count, there seem to be 109...

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