Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Great Buddha of Kamakura photographed in the 1890s

The Great Buddha is a monumental outdoor bronze statue in the city of Kamakura in Kanagawa PrefectureJapan. The 13.35 m high (incl. platform) statue, which dates from 1252, is one of the most famous icons of Japan.

The Great Buddha of Kamakura, photographed in the 1890s.

It appears that the western tourists posing in this 1890s picture of the Great Buddha, did not fully respect the text at the entrance to the grounds (or perhaps it was not there at the time?):

"Stranger, whosoever thou art and whatsoever be thy creed, when thou enterest this sanctuary remember thou treadest upon ground hallowed by the worship of ages. This is the Temple of Bhudda (sic) and the gate of the eternal, and should therefore be entered with reverence"

The grandeur of the statue inspired Rudyard Kipling to write the poem "The Buddha of Kamakura", which includes the following lines:

"And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura."

The Indian spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy has given this description of the temple and statue in Kamakura:

"For me, it is one of the most peaceful places on earth. There are thousands of statues of Lord Buddha in existence, but the large statue at Kamakura embodies boundless peace. When you go there, no matter how restless you are, no matter how much your mind has been bothering you the whole day, no matter how involved you are in the hustle and bustle of life, as soon as you stand before the statue, all your inner turmoil is washed away. The statue embodies the most powerful peace you can ever imagine or feel."

A recent picture of the Great Buddha:

(image by Wikipedia)

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