Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

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TRobinson465
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Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by TRobinson465 » Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:55 pm

Hello all,


I'm sure most of you are familiar with traditional theravada Buddha statues having flames/lotus buds on top of the Buddha's head. Does anyone know any sources on the history/reason for this? I am not talking about the protrusion, im talking about the flame and sometimes lotus bud that appears on top in some statues.


Thanks in advance.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

thepea
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by thepea » Sun Dec 22, 2019 5:39 pm

TRobinson465 wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:55 pm
Hello all,


I'm sure most of you are familiar with traditional theravada Buddha statues having flames/lotus buds on top of the Buddha's head. Does anyone know any sources on the history/reason for this? I am not talking about the protrusion, im talking about the flame and sometimes lotus bud that appears on top in some statues.


Thanks in advance.
The flaming lotus on the top of the head is to highlight the stream of consciousness closed at birth and reopened with this time honoured tradition. Without this the path of consciousness remains closed.
The lotus should also be from the pond in the village where buddha was born. It must not be picked but become detached from stem of its own volition. And found by a virgin in her 25th year, one year for each century since Buddha’s passing.
Your welcome.

chownah
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by chownah » Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:52 am

The lotus represents the buddha having risen up from the mud (samsara) to the clear water where he bloomed (attained awakening) and the fire represents release from samsara ("nibanna" is the word used when a flame is extinguished).

I just made this up. I am probably completely wrong. I have another explanation which is much more worldly so I won't tell it unless someone asks me to.
chownah

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Dhammanando
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:23 am

TRobinson465 wrote:
Sun Dec 22, 2019 2:55 pm
I'm sure most of you are familiar with traditional theravada Buddha statues having flames/lotus buds on top of the Buddha's head. Does anyone know any sources on the history/reason for this?
Iconographically the flame is just an alternative way of representing the unhīsa (= Skt. uṣṇiṣa), the turban-like protuberance that's the last of the 32 marks of a great man.

The earliest account of its significance is in the DN's Lakkhaṇasutta, though I don't think it's known how it came to be transformed from a turban-like protuberance into a flame.
And what, brethren, are the Thirty-two Marks of the Superman?

[...]

32. His head is like a royal turban. That this is so counts to him as one of the marks of the Superman.

[...]

Whereas in whatsoever former births, former state of becoming, former sojourning, brethren, the Tathāgata, then being human, became leader among men in goodness, foremost in virtuous deed and word and thought, in dispensing gifts, in conformity to morals, in attending religious festivals, in filial duties, in honouring recluses and brahmins, in deferring to the head of the family, and in other and sundry righteous observances, he by the doing and by the accumulating of that karma, by the mass and the abundance thereof was when the body perished reborn after death in a bright and blessed world. There was he endowed with a larger measure than other devas in ten matters, to wit in celestial years, beauty, happiness, glory, dominion, sights, sounds, odours, tastes and touches. Deceasing thence and attaining life as ye know it, he acquires this Mark of the Superman, to wit: a head like a turban.

Endowed with this mark, if he dwell in the House, he becomes Monarch, Turner of the Wheel. As Monarch what doth he get? The loyalty of the multitude, of brahmin householders, town and country folk, treasury officials, bodyguards, warders, ministers, courtiers, tributary kings, feudatory chiefs and youths of high degree. As Monarch this doth he get. As Buddha what doth he get? The loyalty of the multitude, of bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs, of lay-brethren and lay-sisters, devas and men, asūras, nāgas, gandhabbas. As Buddha this doth he get.

This was the matter spoken of by the Exalted One.

Concerning it this was said: —

Foremost among good livers once
He lived, and all his love was given
To walk in ways of righteousness,
Loyal to help the multitude.
He reaped in heaven his due reward.
Fruit of good life thus having plucked,
He came to earth with crested head.
And they who knew what signs should mean
Declared: This one will lead the folk.
As in the past so now all men
Will render services to him.
So they reported thus of him:—
If he be born of noble clan,
As lord of lands ‘tis his to win
The faithful service of the folk.
But if he leave the world, this man,
So versed and practised in good deeds,
Will draw the people after him,
For all their love will given be
To keep what he so well doth teach.

https://legacy.suttacentral.net/en/dn30
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

chownah
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by chownah » Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:48 pm

I'd be interested in seeing the iconographic comments about the flame being a turbin protuberance....the text shows the last of the 32 marks being:
32. His head is like a royal turban. That this is so counts to him as one of the marks of the Superman.
....so it seems that the buddha's head is like a turban....it says nothing about a protuberance above his head.

None of the images I found had the flame looking much like a turban:
Image
The HAIR DO makes the buddh's head sort of turban like in my estimation but the flame doesn't seem to me to be turban like at all....it seems sort of flame like.

Then there is this image which I have not been able to paste here where to me the flame definitely does not look like a turban.....it looks like a hand with palm forward.....or like a highly stylized flame.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... statue.jpg

Anyway....I'm just trying to make sense of this.

It would be nice if TRobinson465 (the OP) would bring some images of what he has seen.....so far I haven't run into a lotus on the buddha's head and would like to see one if that is possible.....

chownah

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Dhammanando
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Dec 23, 2019 2:43 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:48 pm
but the flame doesn't seem to me to be turban like at all....it seems sort of flame like.
It's not that the flame is meant to look like a turban, but rather that artistic representation of the uṣniṣa was in the earliest days of Buddha images turban-like but later took on other forms. But the variant forms continued to be referred to as uṣniṣas.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

chownah
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by chownah » Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:26 pm

Can you find a picture of one of these early images so we can see what this turban thing is all about?
chownah

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Dhammanando
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:00 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:26 pm
Can you find a picture of one of these early images so we can see what this turban thing is all about?
Just search google images for Gandhara (or Mathura) + Buddha.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

TRobinson465
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:08 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 12:48 pm

It would be nice if TRobinson465 (the OP) would bring some images of what he has seen.....so far I haven't run into a lotus on the buddha's head and would like to see one if that is possible.....

chownah
I've also found the flame to be the more common one, but i see lotus or at least a flame that looks a lot like a lotus every so often.
1-White-Marble-Large-Meditating-Buddha-Statue.jpg
Hot-sale-Thai-gold-buddha-statue.jpg_350x350.jpg
Hot-sale-Thai-gold-buddha-statue.jpg_350x350.jpg (53.54 KiB) Viewed 212 times
shk_tp_web__39523.1401896079.jpg
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:10 pm

chownah wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 3:52 am
The lotus represents the buddha having risen up from the mud (samsara) to the clear water where he bloomed (attained awakening) and the fire represents release from samsara ("nibanna" is the word used when a flame is extinguished).

I just made this up. I am probably completely wrong. I have another explanation which is much more worldly so I won't tell it unless someone asks me to.
chownah
id be interested in hearing this worldly explanation
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

TRobinson465
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:15 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Mon Dec 23, 2019 10:23 am


Iconographically the flame is just an alternative way of representing the unhīsa (= Skt. uṣṇiṣa), the turban-like protuberance that's the last of the 32 marks of a great man.
I can see how the turban could evolve over time, but im more interested in why a flame or lotus. Id imagine they represent something at least.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

JohnK
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by JohnK » Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:30 pm

https://www.thailandamulets.com/showRoo ... &scate=100
Is what surrounds the head (and even the body) of this type of image intended to be flame?
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

TRobinson465
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by TRobinson465 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:36 pm

JohnK wrote:
Mon Dec 30, 2019 6:30 pm
https://www.thailandamulets.com/showRoo ... &scate=100
Is what surrounds the head (and even the body) of this type of image intended to be flame?
i just thought that was an aura (as a way to show holiness like the halo in the west). but even then there is a flame on top of the Buddha's turban within the aura.
"Do not have blind faith, but also no blind criticism" - the 14th Dalai Lama

"At Varanasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by brahmins, devas, Maras, Brahmas or anyone in the cosmos." -Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta

"Go forth, monks, for the good of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, the good and the happiness of gods and men. Let no two of you go in the same direction." - First Khandhaka, Chapter 11, Vinaya.

JohnK
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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by JohnK » Mon Dec 30, 2019 11:50 pm

The flame iconography is a bit ironic in that the teaching is about extinguishing the fires of greed, hatred and delusion, and the "cooling" of Nibbana. (I suppose a bucket of cooling water would not have the same dramatic visual effect.) As I've read, the Buddha was turning on its head some of the Brahmanic teachings/rituals/symbolism around fire.
Those who grasp at perceptions & views wander the internet creating friction. [based on Sn4:9,v.847]

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Re: Fire/Lotus buds on Buddha statues

Post by Wizard in the Forest » Tue Dec 31, 2019 12:56 am

It might be from that time he subdued the angry Naga in Uruvela Kassapa's shrine. One time the Buddha used essentially samādhi as flames to deflect the flames that an angry Naga tried to fling at him and it let loose a glowing flaming aura that just turned the Naga into a harmless snake and he just threw it into his alms bowl and showed it to Uruvela Kassapa.
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