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Unkei and The Seated Mahāvairocana: Meditation, Beauty, and Form
10:05 11:15 12:20 13:35 14:40 15:55
The expression of Buddhist statues, which was born out of people's desire for the truth and their need for solace, saw its journey starting from Gandhara then to China, Korea and finally to Japan. Subsequently, we see the blossoming of the history of Buddhist statuary with its diverse and exquisite characteristics that are unique to Japan.
By mastering past designs and techniques, Unkei, the extraordinary Buddhist sculptor, had found expressions that were peerless, with an evolutionary characteristic for each work by infusing them with fresh concepts.
The film narrates the distinctive aspects of Unkei's techniques--gyokugan (crystal eyes), warihagi-zukuri (single-block with attached appendages)--rendered on The Seated Mahāvairocana of Shinnyo-en's Shincho-ji. Furthermore, the hidden objects in the statue allow us to catch a glimpse of the beautiful "expression" that has crystalized through Unkei's single-minded dedication towards the Buddhist statues.
Mandalas: Visualizing the Esoteric Realm
10:35 12:55 15:15
Buddhism was born of Śākyamuni's enlightenment around 2,500 years ago in India. Over the centuries, the spiritual tradition of esoteric Buddhism emerged, incorporating ancient Indian beliefs and cosmology. Integral to esoteric ideas and practices was the mandala.
The Womb-Realm Mandala and the Diamond-Realm Mandala with two different origins were united as the Mandala of the Two Realms in eighth-century China by the priest Huiguo and passed on to his student Kobo Daishi Kukai, who introduced it to Japan. The mandala continues to be an essential component of rituals to impart the most profound esoteric teachings and in prayer services to fulfill people's wishes.
This video explores the intricate structure of the Mandala of the Two Realms from the Hanzomon Museum collection as a gateway to the esoteric realm it represents.
Buddhist Art of Gandhara: The life of the Buddha Śākyamuni
11:50 14:10 16:30
The Buddha Śākyamuni was born around the fifth century BCE in India. Having renounced the world, he attained enlightenment at the age of thirty-five and went on to teach what he had awakened to until his death.
After the third century BCE, stupas housing the relics of the Buddha were constructed, many of which were adorned with reliefs portraying the life of the Buddha. Up until then, sacred trees, dharma wheels, or stone footprints were used to represent the Buddha. Full statues of the Buddha started to appear from the first century CE.
At the Hanzomon Museum, we have a diverse collection of Buddhist artwork including the reliefs developed in Gandhara entitled Brahmā's Entreaty to Preach the Doctrine, The First Discourse, and The Buddha's Final Nirvana. The short film will focus on these reliefs to illustrate the Buddhist Art of Gandhara: The life of the Buddha Śākyamuni.