Azalea and Shaka

do not worry
about the fires of hell -
Azalea, Azalea

sorge Dich nicht
um das Höllenfeuer -
Azaleen, Azaleen


Very interesting, Gabi.
Forget the azaleas. Tell us about that sculpture. With all its skin flayed off (the fires of Hell?) it looks like an illustration out of Gray's Anatomy.

Here is a little about the background of this statue.

It shows the human Gautama Siddharta, the future Buddha, during a period of intense asceticism in the mountains near Bodhgaya (India). It usually shows him in sitting position, with no more flesh on the ribs after intense fasting. The blood vessels show on the arms and neck, he has a long beard and is dressed in the ascetics robe of not very much. His eyes are hollow from lack of sleep and food.
This type of statue is also called the "Fasting Buddha" or the "Starving Buddha".

This type of statue, called "Kugyoo Zoo" (苦行像 ) in Japanese is rather common in India, especially Gandhara, whereas here in Japan it is not very common. This particular one is a replica from the famous statue in the Lahore Museum, made of a special stone which gives a lovely ring-ring sound when you knock on the halo behind the head. He sits in my garden now, positioned so I can see him from my favorite seat inside. At all seasons, he is a treat to look at, but with the flaming azalea in May it is just fascinating.

He arrived here in my valley with a normal transportation service, just wrapped in a blanket, and it took three to carry him to his present position. He seems happy to be here, just as I am happy to have him here.

By the way, the real Gautama soon gave up his asceticism, realizing it does not lead to enlightenment. He walked down the mountain, bathed in a river, ate some curd which the maiden Sucharta offered him and then sat down under the Bodhi Tree in Bodhgaya.

Here is the famous statue from the
Lahore Museum.

From an Article in 2004

Fasting Buddha at Lahore Museum attracts Japanese aid
Nobuaki Tanaka, the Japanese ambassador to Pakistan has agreed during a visit to the Lahore Museum in October, to provide technical know-how to the museum, museum sources told the Daily Times on Thursday.

Lahore Museum, situated near Tollinton Market, is the oldest museum in the country and was established in 1864 under the name ‘Industrial Art Museum of the Punjab’. The Gandhara gallery showcases Mahayana Buddhist religious sculptures. Mahayana Buddhism originated and flourished during the first five centuries of the Christian era.

The showcases present the life story of Buddha in frieze panels and statues from his pervious incarnations, his birth, youth, enlightenment preaching of the law and death. Gandhara art is important for introducing the image of Buddha and the iconography developed has influenced Buddhist religious art everywhere.
- source ;: buddhistchannel.tv/index.php...
But later on May 2005 we can read this one:

Lahore Museum refuses to exhibit ‘Fasting Buddha’ in Japan
By Shoaib Ahmed

The Lahore Museum has rejected an offer to exhibit several items from the museum, including the priceless ‘Fasting Buddha’ and the ‘Miracle of Saraswatti’, in an exhibition on Gandhara art in Japan.

Sources told Daily Times that a Japanese cultural delegation, including the Japanese director of press, information and culture, recently met with Lahore Museum Director Dr Liaquat Niazi at the museum.

They said the meeting had been arranged by the Federal Ministry of Culture to discuss the possibilities of exhibiting items from the Lahore Museum in the Japanese exhibition.

According to sources, Dr Niazi asked the delegation what ‘benefits’ he would receive for sending the items to the exhibition. They quoted him as saying the objects would be sent only if they were accompanied with two personnel from the Lahore Museum, and if the delegation got several books from the museum translated into Japanese.

Sources said the delegation was ‘discouraged’ by this response and quoted the delegation as saying they were not a donor agency and were not interested in spending money on the Lahore Museum.

According to sources, by rejecting the Japanese delegation’s offer, the Lahore Museum has cost the country billions of rupees in foreign exchange.
They said that during the nine-month long travelling exhibition, many Japanese would get the opportunity to see the famous ‘Fasting Buddha’.
They said this would give the Japanese incentive to visit Pakistan to view other similar artefacts, thus earning the country significant foreign exchange through tourism.

Sources added that the exhibition would also give Pakistan an opportunity to prove false Indian claims that the Gandhara civilisation hailed from India. In the past, such exhibitions would have one stall for South Asia, which would contain both Indian and Pakistani exhibits. Sources said that according to the Pakistani ambassador to Japan, this time Pakistan would have its own stall.
When Daily Times attempted to contact Dr Niazi, he said he was driving and could not speak; he then switched off his cellular phone. When contacted at home, Dr Niazi again refused to comment.

Speaking to Daily Times, Secretary Information and Culture Kamran Lashari said the ‘safety conditions’ for the objects to be sent to the Japanese exhibition were not adequate. He added that the board of governors of the Lahore Museum also did not feel comfortable with the security being provided for the objects.

Mr Lashari said it had earlier been agreed in principal that given certain safety requirements, the objects would be sent to Japan. He added that he did not yet know whether or not the objects would be sent to the Japanese exhibition.

Daily Times May 2002 - All Rights Reserved


Within the study of Buddhist art, the pieces of Gandhara are of special value. Here is a short abstract.

Gandhara Civilization

Pakistan is the land which attracted Alexander the great from Macedonia in 326 B.C., with whom the influence of Greek culture came to this part of the world. During the 2nd century B.C., it was here that Buddhism was adopted as the state religion which flourished and prevailed here for over 1000 years, starting from 2nd century B.C., until 10th century A.D. During this time Taxila, Swat and Charsaddah (old Pushkalavati) became three important centres for culture, trade and learning. Hundreds of monasteries and stupas were built together with Greek and Kushan towns such as Sirkap and Sirsukh both in Taxila.

It was from these centres that a unique art of sculpture originated which is known as Gandhara Art all over the world. Today the Gandhara Sculptures occupy a prominent place in the museums of England, France, Germany, USA, Japan, Korea, China, India and Afghanistan together with many private collections world over, as well as in the museums of Pakistan. Nevertheless, the zenith of this Gandhara Art is one and only "Fasting Buddha" now on display in Lahore Museum, Lahore.

Finally, the light of Islam penetrated in this part of the world as early as 7th century AD. from the west with the Arabs and during the 10th century AD from the north with the Turks. Islam replaced the early way of life of worshipping idols and introduced new philosophy of faith in one God. With Islam in came a new culture in this land from Arabia and Central Asia. Hence, a new type of architecture, hitherto unknown in this area, was introduced.

Tens of thousands of Mosques, Madrassahs, tombs and gardens were created by the Muslim rulers all over the Sub-Continent. The new style of Islamic architecture prevailed and matured in this land for over a thousand years. The most important contribution of the Muslim rulers to this land, however, is a new language ‘Urdu’ which became the national language of Pakistan since its independence in 1947.

The legacy of our predecessors at the time of our independence, on August 14, 1947, came to us as a treasure which may be called as Pakistan’s national heritage. So rich and diversified is this heritage that Pakistani nation can be proud of its glorious past, be Islamic, Post Islamic or pre-Islamic period as far back as pre-historic times. It is hard to find another country which can produce the treasure of by gone days as can be found in Pakistan. It is now incumbent upon us to treasure our national heritage and save it from further deterioration and theft.


Scale replica of the famous original in the Lahore Museum. Gandhara Buddhist period in the Northwset Frontier Province, 2nd to 3rd century A.D.Stucco, 6 x 4 inches.

Although also from Pakistan, this is not an ancient Indus replica.


This Replica is from the temple Seikoo-In in Kawaguchi.



Here is a replica detail where you can see all the blood vessels

More details are here and the statue is for sale too.

If you look carefully, you will observe his hands are in a sort of outstreched position, palms open and thumbs stretched near the forefinger.
Later statues showing Amida Buddha (a Deity after Enlightenment), the thumb and forefinger usually form a ring, symbolizing the hidden teachings of Gautama after his asceticism.

Look at the nine possible versions of the mudra positions of Amida.
Some of them have been shown throughout this article. They all have a different teaching about the ways a human being finds enlightenment.


CLICK for more thumbnails Marc Quinn's sculpture of Kate Moss
"Road to Enlightenment" (2006)
The bronze sculptural surface, says the artist, is a site for the projection of spectator desire.

"Skin of/in Contemporary Art"
National Museum of Art, Osaka


Here is a great article about the development of Buddhist Art.


Buddha's Birthday Celebratinos
and related KIGO for haiku

Here he is in 2008 !
Buddha and Azaleas 2008
With more photos of Azaleas in my Garden 2008.

More of my ... Stone Buddhas .. 石仏

Shaka and Frog Adventures
With more LINKs to my Stone Buddhas !

My Shaka and Lavender, July 2009

Buddha's hollow eyes, March 2013


Image Problems:
The Origin and Development of the Buddha's Image
in Early South Asia

Decaroli, Robert Daniel

This deft and lively study by Robert DeCaroli explores the questions of how and why the earliest verifiable images of the historical Buddha were created. In so doing, DeCaroli steps away from old questions of where and when to present the history of Buddhism's relationship with figural art as an ongoing set of negotiations within the Buddhist community and in society at large. By comparing innovations in Brahmanical, Jain, and royal artistic practice, DeCaroli examines why no image of the Buddha was made until approximately five hundred years after his death and what changed in the centuries surrounding the start of the Common Era to suddenly make those images desirable and acceptable.

The textual and archaeological sources reveal that figural likenesses held special importance in South Asia and were seen as having a significant amount of agency and power. Anxiety over image use extended well beyond the Buddhists, helping to explain why images of Vedic gods, Jain teachers, and political elites also are absent from the material record of the centuries BCE. DeCaroli shows how the emergence of powerful dynasties and rulers, who benefited from novel modes of visual authority, was at the root of the changes in attitude toward figural images. However, as DeCaroli demonstrates, a strain of unease with figural art persisted, even after a tradition of images of the Buddha had become established.

is associate professor of art history at George Mason University.
source : networks.h-net.org


. Shaka Sanzon 釈迦三尊 The Shaka Triad
at temple Horyu-Ji 

. Gautama Buddha

- #buddha #gautama #statue #azalea #shaka -



Anonymous said...

Thanks, Gabi san...
I am amazed at the tree-sized azaleas!
There are not many types hardy enough for our climate here (zone 2 or 3) and I've only seen them as shrubs before.


Anonymous said...

I didn't only look at the azaleas, Gabi, but also at your home. It looks like paradise, indeed! I should pin up a picture like that on my wall for inspiration.

Thank you for posting photographs like that in your site!

Anonymous said...

a powerful haiku, gabe!

robert wilson
> !

Anonymous said...

BBQ ribs --
the fasting Buddha

ai... chibi


Anonymous said...

i like the English version!

Anonymous said...

WOW Gabi a beautiful photo to match the great haiku.

Anonymous said...

Very thought-provoking, Gabi san!
And I love your photo!
L. K.

Anonymous said...

A grabber, Gabi.

Anonymous said...

Buddha is supposed to have told his disciples that the moment of death is so important.
If a person at that moment can be totally into "isness" not carried away by desires of a good death, money, etc etc , s/he can get satori, moksha.

This haiku suggests all this Gabi, to my understanding.
An exceptional haiku in all sense.

Anonymous said...

Lovely, Gabi. It definitely puts me in a moment, leaving everything else in the world outside one breathtaking glance at beauty.

Anonymous said...

the haiku and pic work so well together Gabi .. i wonder why you dont make it an haiga ? ...

love the severity of the fasting budha .... the haiku speaks perfectly to it .. and arent azaleas a marvellous spot of long lasting colour in the garden ?

Anonymous said...

Hi Gabi - what a strange and innovative thought to associate with this plant.
Very interesting. It makes me think the poet is worried about going to hell.

Gabi Greve said...

Gandharan Buddhist Reliquaries (Gandharan Studies)
Gandhara, the ancient name for the region around modern Peshawar in northern Pakistan, was of pivotal importance in the production of Buddhist texts and art in the first centuries CE. Since the mid-nineteenth century, excavations of Gandharan monastery sites have revolutionized the study of early Buddhism. Among the treasures unearthed are hundreds of reliquaries--containers housing relics of the Buddha. This volume combines art history, Buddhist history, ancient Indian history, archaeology, epigraphy, linguistics, and numismatics to clarify the significance and function of these reliquaries.

The story begins with the Buddha's last days, his death and funerary arrangements, and the distribution of the cremated remains, which initiated a relic cult. Chapters describe Gandharan reliquary types and subgroups, the archaeological and historical significance of collections, and the paleographic and linguistic interpretation of the inscriptions on the reliquaries. The 400 reliquaries illustrated and surveyed are from museums and private collections in Pakistan, India, Japan, Europe, and North America. Stone is the primary material of construction, along with bronze, gold, and silver. Shapes range from spherical and cylindrical to miniature stupas, a configuration that provides valuable information about the history of this Buddhist monumental form.

David Jongeward is a visiting scholar at the Asian Institute, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto. Elizabeth Errington is curator of the Charles Masson Project, British Museum Department of Coins and Medals. Richard Salomon is professor of Asian languages and literature at the University of Washington. Stefan Baums is assistant adjunct professor of South and Southeast