Friday, November 28, 2008

Rare statue of Buddha returns after 1,400 years

Interesting to note that a Cow in Zenkoji temple is worshipped as Buddha's incarnation. Zenkoji temple is also believed to be the "gate to heaven". Quite similar to a lot of beliefs in India isnt it? Looks like the Indo-Japan cultures have more in common than originally thought. This article appeared in Hindustan Time today. Editor

A rare and invaluable statue of Lord Buddha supposed to have been taken to Japan in 552 AD during the reign of emperor Kinmei when Buddhismin was being introduced in Japan is being showcased at the National Museum in New Delhi.

Sponsor Vikas Mandal, head, Japan Desk, Fox Mandal Little, told Hindustan Times that “Holding this exhibition represents the symbolic return of the statue of the ‘Ikko Amida Triad’, Amitabha Buddha, to the birthplace of Shakyamuni and Buddhism 2,500 years ago.” Director Exhibition National Museum RRS Chauhan said the exhibition would mark the 50th anniversary of a cultural exchange programme between India and Japan.

He said, “The original statue was never found in India and it's still a mystery if this is the original statue or a replica.”

Zenkoji temple in Nagano town in Japan where the statue is kept draws pilgrims from Japan as well as across the world. The temple worships cows as the incarnation of Lord Buddha.

Zenkoji temple is considered to be the entrance to paradise. The faithful also believed in reincarnation, he added.

Jawaharlal Nehru had presented two white cows as a symbol of friendship between India and Japan, during the former prime minister’s visit to Japan in 1957. The cows were kept at the Zenkoji temple.

The exclusive exhibition also showcases more than 160 articles, which also includes articles belonging to the Toku Gawa Shoguns, who patronised the temple and became the most powerful warlords in Japan.