Saturday, January 03, 2009

291206 Wat Xieng Mouane - life story 1

The various events in the life story of Gautama Buddha have been a major source of inspiration for Buddhist painting, woodcarving & sculpture. Key events are still celebrated as major Buddhist festivals to this day. For those who read Lao, click here for a Lao version of Gautama Buddha's life story.

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[1] 3X zoom can't reveal to a short cat what's going on up there in Tusita (Dusit) heaven :P But the future Buddha lives there as a Bodhisattva Setaketu (Setaketu Deva).
[2] The future Buddha informs the gods (represented by Pha In aka. Indra with green skin & the four-faced Pha Phom) of his decision to be reborn on earth.
[3] Queen Maya dreams of a white elephant entering her womb.
[4] Brahmans or fortunetellers interpreting the dream?


[5] Buddha is born as Prince Siddartha beneath a cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis aka. ต้นสาละ sala tree) in Lumbini garden, & as he takes each of his first seven steps a lotus blooms spontaneously on the ground.
[6] Not sure what Pha In is doing here, but at some point he & Pha Phom disguise themselves as Brahmans to congratulate King Suddhodhana (Buddha's father) on the birth of his son, which might be what's going on in [7] (below).


[8] The hermit Asita predicting that Prince Siddartha would become a great teacher of the world, when the newborn placed his feet upon the hermit's head.


[9] No idea.
[10] Prince Siddartha winning an archery contest to prove to his future father-in-law that he is worthy of Princess Yasodhara?


[11] No idea.
[12] Prince Siddartha encounters the 'four sights' - of old age, illness, death & a monk.

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[13] Prince Siddartha bids farewell to his wife & infant son, Rahula, while they are fast asleep.
[14] Prince Siddartha leaves the palace with his charioteer Channa, & gods lift the hooves of his horse Kanthanka so that no one can hear his departure.

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[15] On the banks of the Anoma river (in southern Nepal), Prince Siddartha cuts off his hair with a sword to become a mendicant; Pha Phom is holding out a set of monk's robes & an alms bowl.
[16] Prince Siddartha, now known as Sakyamuni (sage of the Sakya clan), seeks out his first teacher, Alara Kalama (aka. Arada Kalapa)
[17] A skeletal Sakyamuni meditating while fasting in the belief that austerity was the path to wisdom.

To be continued...

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