Buddha Sleeps?

Buddha Laying Down

Buddha Laying Down

Of the four Buddha’s at Gal Vihara, this one situated on the far right is the only one in a prone position. At first, I thought it was a statue of the Buddha  sleeping. I was informed by the white haired care taker with the pencil thin white mustache and the very dark tan that there are signs this may be the Buddha in death. The feet are not quite aligned. The right hand is forward from the head and not centered under it.

These signs would have escaped me not being versed in the subtleties of Buddha art. In the West, we typically see only a couple carvings of the Christ. The universal impaled on the cross and the less common slumped over dead in Mother Mary’s arms. The variants of the Buddha seem infinite each with it’s own meaning.

I was not fond of the brick background of the original picture so I invoked creative license and replaced it with these clouds. I see them as representing the moment when life’s essence escaped the Buddha and dispersed into the universe much the same way as his teachings rode on the currents of air to be spread across the world.

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