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life in a bell

Borobudur, near Yogyakarta, Java, Indonesia.


For each direction at Borobudur there are ninety-two Dhyani Buddha statues and 1,460 relief scenes. The lowest level has 160 reliefs depicting cause and effect; the middle level contains various stories of the Buddha's life from the Jataka Tales; the highest level has no reliefs or decorations whatsoever but has a balcony, square in shape with round walls: a circle without beginning or end. Here is the place of the ninety-two Vajrasattvas or Dhyani Buddhas tucked into small stupas. Each of these statues has a mudra (hand gesture) indicating one of the five directions: east, with the mudra of calling the earth to witness; south, with the hand position of blessing; west, with the gesture of meditation; north, the mudra of fearlessness; and the centre with the gesture of teaching.


The Life of Buddha

This excellent BBC/Discovery Channel documentary follows the Buddha on his journey from the lap of luxury to the verge of starvation and final enlightenment. (45 min)

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Taken on June 10, 1996