Monday, 22 July 2024

© google images

The 'Daibutusu' of Kamakura stands on open air at Koto-kuin Temple premises in Japan.

The 'Daibutusu' of Japan

Dr. Sreekumar.P.K.

‘Daibutusu’ in Japanese means “Giant Budha”. Bronze statues of Amitabha Buddha came to be erected in Japan from 7th CE onwards. The earliest ‘Daibutsu’ was ASUKADERA sculpted around CE 609. The most popular Daibutsu is known as Todai- ji located in Nara Prefecture, the statue being cast around CE 752.The Giant Buddha of Kamakura stands on open air at Koto- kuin Temple premises. The elevated and embellished statue is the second tallest bronze statue in Japan, the first being located in Nara` s Toda - Ji temple.

Early History

Around CE 1243 the idea of sculpting a grandiloquent wooden statue was suggested by the Buddhist priest Joco of Totomi. The project was funded by Lady Inaka no-Tsubone along with the Buddhist priest Joko. A 1248 storm damaged the statue. The priest then suggested a huge bronze image of Buddha.

The sculptors who cast the bronze image were two: Ono Goroemon and Taiji Hisatamo. Repeated typhoons and earthquakes destroyed the temple buildings. Even the base of the statue was badly damaged.

In 1960-61 measures were taken to protect the Buddha from earthquakes. In 2016 further researches were carried out and through archaeological conservative methods it is a well protected national treasure now and a great tourist attraction.

Temple records substantiate that this giant statue in seated posture weighs 121 tonnes. Its height is 13.35 metres. Materials used for casting were Bronze (68.7%) Copper(9.3%) and Tin(19.6%). Initially there were 32 bronze lotus petals at the base of the statue but only 4 remain now. Rudyard Kipling the renowned novelist visited the Kamakura Daibutsu in 1892 and wrote poems about the Great Buddha.

A cultural notice at the entrance reads thus " Stranger whoesoever thou art A cultural notice at the entrance reads thus " Stranger whoesoever thou art and whatsoever thy creed when thou enterest the sanctuary remember thou treadest upon ground hallowed by the worship of aged. This is the temple of Buddha and the ‘Gate of The Eternal’ and should therefore be entered with reverence'.