Standing Buddha - Afghanistan c. 6th Century CE
Images of Truth
This serene figure of the Buddha is a definitive image of Gandharan sculpture.
Greater Gandhara, Afghanistan
Turki Shahi period, circa 6th century
The serene figure of the Buddha is a definitive image of Gandharan sculpture. The earliest examples, dating from the 2nd century BCE, are profoundly Hellenic in appearance; Indian ideas influenced the character of sculptures in the 3rd century CE but around the 5th century CE there was an Hellenic revival. These sculptures were usually created in clay or stucco, the latter allowing the sculpture of images resembling marble, which was just used for the most prestigious works. This marble figure of a Buddha must have been sculpted for a stupa that enjoyed generous, possibly royal patronage. A few remote cave temples, strung like jewels along the roads from Central Asia to China, remain as evidence of the deep devotion of Buddhists in the 5th to 10th centuries.
From The Lotus Sutra Chapter 16. tr. T. Kubo & A Yuyama 
Thereupon the Buddha addressed the bodhisattvas and the entire great assembly, saying: “O sons of a virtuous family! You should believe the true words of the Tathāgata.” He addressed the great assembly again, saying: “You should believe the Tathāgata’s true words.” He repeated this to them, saying: “You should believe the Tathāgata’s true words.” Then the great assembly of bodhisattvas, headed by Maitreya, addressed the Buddha with their palms pressed together, saying: “O Bhagavat! We entreat you to explain it. We will accept the Buddha’s words.” After they had spoken in this way three times, they again said: “We entreat you to explain it. We will accept the Buddha’s words.” Then the Bhagavat, realizing that the bodhisattvas continued to entreat him after those three times, addressed them, saying: “Listen carefully to the Tathāgata’s secret and transcendent powers. The devas, humans, and asuras in all the worlds all think that the present Buddha, Śākyamuni, left the palace of the Śākyas, sat on the terrace of enlightenment not far from the city of Gayā, and attained highest, complete enlightenment. However, O sons of a virtuous family, immeasurable, limitless, hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of kalpas have passed since I actually attained buddhahood.
Image copyright to John Eskenazi
Images of Truth
Buddhist art and iconography
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