Saturday, January 3, 2009

Amitabha/Amitayus Outline Page

Amitabha and Amitayus, although one and the same Buddha, they are each represented differently in art. Amitabha is always depicted in traditional monk's robes whereas Amitayus is lavishly attired in jewels, ornaments, silks and wearing an elaborate crown.

Most of the paintings of Amitabha Buddha show him seated is the pureland of Sukhavati surrounded by the two principle bodhisattva disciples, Lokeshvara and Sthamaprapta, and the Eight Great Bodhisattvas. Amitabha is also found depicted in simple painted compositions without excessive embellishment or complexity. Amitayus Buddha, of which there are far more paintings and sculpture to look at, is generally depicted in a Tantric context of mandalas, seated with a consort, or surrounded by hosts of retinue deities.

The depictions of Amitabha seem to be based more on Mahayana scripture and narrative while the images of Amitayus appear to be much more Tantric in nature and incorporate ritual and meditation elements.

These are just quick observations made in the moment. In the process of creating a graphic outline page all of the images of a particular subject need to be looked at, identified, labeled, and grouped according to type, context, etc. At the end of this, we look again at all of the images, such as for Amitabha/Amitayus, and one can't help but have a renewed and revitalized view of the subject.

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