National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds donated by Allan Myers AO and Maria Myers AO, 2010
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
Amida Buddha, also known as the Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Limitless Life resides over the Buddhist western paradise or heaven. He is the most loved Buddha in East Asia and since the introduction of Buddhism to Japan during the 6th Amida Buddha has become the most popularly worshiped icon.
Until the 12th century the Amida Buddha was usually represented seated on a lotus flower waiting for our arrival tot he afterlife. However during the Heian and Kamakura periods the concept of raigō (welcoming decent) became popular and Amida Buddha was often represented in a standing pose descending from the heavens to fetch his devotee and personally transport them back to his blissful paradise.
Amida Buddha displays one of nine different mundra (hand gestures) that determine the nine possible paths for the dyeing to enter paradise. This gesture jōbon geshō (bottom level in the first class) is one of the best known gestures in Japanese Buddhist imagery. Other distinguishing features of the Amida Buddha are the extended lobe on top of his head to accommodate his advanced understanding of the truth. His large ears that allow him to hear all people in need. the rose coloured crystal set amongst his curly hair that emit rays of light to display his supreme knowledge. A single white spiral of hair on his forehead indicated by a white crystal to show his love and affection for humanity and the folds on his neck that indicate compassion to all people.