Ananda Weeping at the Doorpost

What is the Emotional Life of a Buddha?Rodger Lipsey

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THE TWELFTH-CENTURY stone carvings at Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka of the dying Buddha attended by his favorite disciple, Ananda, are among the most luminous works of Buddhist art. Monumental in all senses of the word, the Buddha image is more than forty-six feet long, the image of Ananda nearly twenty-three feet in height. Perhaps surprisingly, the visitor doesn't feel that the makers of this vast ensemble—the patrons and artists who wished and labored here—were pointing to themselves. The conception and workmanship are immensely refined. The scale of the figures creates an encompassing environment, permitting one to enter into the moment and meaning of the Buddha's death; it also "places" one as very small indeed.

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