April 28, 2015

1548 SRI LANKA - Buduruvagala

Buduruvagala - Stone carvings of Maitreya, Vajrapani
and an unidentified Bodhisattva

Buduruwagala is an ancient buddhist temple, which consists of seven statues carved on the eastern side of an impressive cliff, belonging to the Mahayana school. Its name is derived from the words for Buddha (Budu), images (ruva) and stone (gala). The statues date back to the 10th century, but nothing is known about their history or why someone would choose to make such huge images in such a remote place. The largest of them, a Buddha with the right hand in the gesture of fearlessness, has 16m from head to toe, being the largest standing Buddha statue of the island.

The gigantic Buddha statue still bears traces of its original stuccoed robe and a long streak of orange suggests that it was once brightly painted. The central of the three figures to the Buddha's right is thought to be the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. To the left of this white painted figure is a female figure, which is thought to be Tara, and to the right is Bhrikuti. Avalokitesvara is crowned and has his hands in the gesture of argumentation.

To the left of the Buddha are three more images, Maitreya in the middle flanked by Vajrapani on the left and an unidentified Bodhisattva on the right. The arrangement of these bodhisattvas around the Buddha is similar to that described in the elaborate mandala mentioned in the Manjusrimulakalpa and suggests that Buduruvagala was a center for the practice of this Tantra. On the same rock was carved a shape resembling with a flame. The inside wall of this carved shape is always wet of an oil that smells very much like Mustard oil. This oil comes with no explainable source.

About the stamps
About the first stamp, which marks the Sustainable Energy for All, I wrote here.

The second stamp, depicting Katunayaka Expressway, was issued in 2013.

The third stamp, depicting Blue Rock Pigeons (Columba Livia), is part of the series Pigeon Island Marine National Park, issued on June 29, 2014. The six stamps were designed by Sudath Jayawardena. The fourth stamp, depicting Taurus, is part of the series Zodiac, issued on October 9, 2007. About the fifth stamp, issued to celebrate the Deyata Kirula 2014 National Development Exhibition, I wrote here. The last stamp is part of the series World Tourism Day 2011, about which I wrote here.

Buduruvagala - Wikipedia
Buduruvagala - Sacred Island

Sender: Amith Gamage
Sent from Homagama (Western Province / Sri Lanka), on 04.11.2014
Photo: Lasantha Lakmal

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