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    Zen Teaching of Instantaneous Awakening

    A Classic Zen text written in the 8th century by Hui Hai. He was a student of Ma-tsu and from the same line as Hui Neng, Huang Po and Rinzai (Lin-chi).

  • Don't Take Your Life Personally

    Ajahn Sumedho urges us to trust in awareness and find out for ourselves what it is to experience genuine liberation from mental anguish and suffering.

  • Perfect Wisdom: Prajnaparamita Texts

    The Short Prajnaparamita Texts were composed in India between 100 BC and AD 600. They contain some of the most well known Buddhist texts such as The Perfection of Wisdom in 700 Lines, The Heart Sutra, and The Diamond Sutra.

  • Fingers and Moons, by Trevor Leggett

    Trevor Leggett points to the truth beyond words, beyond explanations and methods.

  • Experience Beyond Thinking: Practical Guide to Buddhist Meditation. An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation and the reflections of an ordinary practitioner. Used as a guide by meditation groups.

    An easy to follow guide to Buddhist meditation.

  • Understanding Karma and Rebirth A Buddhist Perspective

    Meditations and exercises to help us understand karma and rebirth and to live from the unborn moment.

  • The Old Zen Master by Trevor Leggett

    Stories, parables, and examples pointing to the spiritual implications of practical events in daily life.

  • Teachings of a Buddhist Monk

    Modern practical teachings from an American monk living within one of the oldest Buddhist traditions.

Pensive Bodhisattva

Pensive Bodhisattva with Lotus Crown © NATIONAL MUSEUM OF KOREA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVEDThe pensive bodhisattva is posed with its right leg crossed over its left knee, while its right hand touches its cheek, in deep meditation. The origin of Buddha statues of this style is the figure of Prince Siddhartha in contemplation pondering the four phases of life (birth, old age, sickness, and death). Established first in India, the Pensive Bodhisattva was made in countless numbers in China but not till it came to Korea did it reach a high level of artistic completion and become adopted as a main object of worship.

The pensive bodhisattva statue that is the 83rd Korean National Treasure is 93.5 cm tall. It is also called “Gilt-bronze Pensive Bodhisattva with Lotus Crown.” It is the largest of the bronze pensive bodhisattva statues, and shows an incomparable artistic beauty. The crown decoration is simplified as much as possible, as well as the bracelets and necklaces and there is no mantle. The body is expressed realistically, marking a significant point in stylistic changes in Buddhist art. It is simple, yet perfectly proportional. It has a gentle smile on the face, the image of the sublime beauty from an object of worship in religion that adds to the natural drapery folds on the pedestal, the vivid facial expression, and highly elaborates casting work. That said, there is no denying that the Pensive Bodhisattva with Lotus Crown has as special place in world art.

In addition, as it is very similar to the wooden pensive bodhisattva statue at the Koryu-ji Temple of Kyoto (Japan), it is considered by some to be the work that introduced Korean Buddhist statues to ancient Japan.

Extracted from the NMK Magazine Vol.04


 [Above] Excavated from Mulgeum-eup, Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do, this statue exhibits a particularly nice esthetic quality, compared to other small statues of a pensive Bodhisattva. Overall, the body gives an impression of masculinity with its scarcely curved body contours and thick waist. Some researchers think that it is a statue of Maitreya Buddha based on the image inscribed on the jewelled crown.

Three Kingdoms Period

© National Museum of Korea
137, Seobinggo-ro (168-6, Yongsan-dong 6-ga), Yongsan-gu, Seoul, 04383, Korea

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