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Shaka (The Historical Buddha)

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Sanpshot View of This Deity

Historical Buddha, Founder of Buddhism, Sage of Shakya Clan, Enlightened One, Father of Buddhism

Shaka Nyorai
߉ޔ@,
Kudon ؓ, Shittatta B, Shakamon ߉ޕ

Shijia, Shijiā
Shih-chia
Shih-cha-mo-ni
߉ޖ

Sakyamuni, Shakyamuni, Śākyamuni, Siddhartha, Siddhāttha, Gotama

Seokga
Sŏkga
석가

Sha kya tu pa, Śā-kya t'ub-pa, Don-grub Gau-ta-ma



SHAKA CATALOG

Historical Buddha


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for details, photos,
and buy options.



WHO IS
SHAKA BUDDHA

Founder of Buddhism
The Historical Buddha
Shakyamuni, Sakyamuni, Shaka
Gautama (Gotama) Buddha
Prince Siddhartha

See Background
Notes Below

shaka-statue-invoice-200
Shaka Large = $199

Shaka Standalone - Zushi Version
Shaka = $99

Shaka Inside Zushi (tabernacle)
Shaka & Zushi = $174

Shaka Buddha - Mini Capped Version
Mini Shaka = $30

Praying Hands

1,000-Armed Kannon
(Senju Kannon) is one
of Shaka Buddha's
main assistants.

Praying Hands - Shaka and 1000-Armed Kannon
 Praying Hands, 1000-Armed Kannon & Shaka = $50 


ebisu-daikoku-banner-background-notes


Sanskrit Seed Sound for Shaka Nyorai (Buddha) in Japan

Sanskrit Seed Syllable
for Shaka Nyorai

Pronounced
Baku in Japan

Shaka Buddha Sitting in Meditation


THE HISTORICAL BUDDHA.
Buddhism originated in Northern India around 500 BC. It sprang from the teachings of the Historical Buddha -- an actual historical personage. Before he became a Buddha (literally "enlightened one"), he was known as Gautama Siddhartha, or Prince Siddhartha, for he was born the son of King Suddhodana of the Sakya Clan, whose people then inhabited an area of India now located in present-day Nepal. His family name was Gautama and his first name was Siddhartha. Shaka is the Japanese abbreviation of the Sanskrit term Sakyamuni, which literally means "Sage of the Sakya." In China, his contemporaries were Confucius and Lao-tzu (the founder of Chinese Taoism), and slightly later in the West comes Plato (approximately 427 - 347 BC). 

Sanskrit, Pali, & Chinese Readings
World-Honored One (Sanskrit = Bhagavat)
Enlightened One, Sakyamuni (Sanskrit.), Tathagata Sakyamuni, Shijiamouni (Chinese), Shijiarrlai (Chinese), Gautama (Sanskrit), Gotama (Pali), Siddhartha (Sanskrit), Siddhattha (Pali)

Japanese Readings & Spellings
Shaka ?sT (also spelled c~T), Shakamuni ?sT?Lgo,  Shakamon ?sT?, Shakukamuni Butsu c~T?Lgo?A, Kudon aOgU (for Gautama), Shittatta ?fBe? (for Siddhartha)

BACKGROUND NOTES. There is disagreement among scholars as to the actual dates of the Historical Buddha's birth and death. Recent scholarship suggests that Prince Siddhartha did not leave his home to seek enlightenment until 450 BC, which would put his death around 370 BC. Traditionally, the death of Shaka Buddha is placed around 483 BC (based on Western dating).

Shaka Buddha (the Historical Buddha) believed that all life was suffering, and that suffering was caused by desire. He sought, through meditation, right thinking, and right moral and ethical behavior, to attain a state known as Nirvana, in which he would be free of desire and therefore suffering. His teachings spread fast throughout Asia, and in approximately 1000 years his teachings had profoundly influenced the religious philosophies of the entire Asian region. 

In Asia, Buddhism arrived last in Japan, reaching its shores via Korea and China in the 6th century AD, about 1,500 years after its founding in India. In Japan, the Historical Buddha's name was transliterated as Shakamuni or Shakamon and abbreviated as Shaka. In Japan, Shaka Nyorai (latter term means Tathagata; an honorific term for "Buddha" used by the Japanese) is venerated widely among most Buddhist sects, with the exception of the Jodo Sects (the Pure Land Sects, which rever Amida Nyorai), and certain branches of Esoteric Buddhism among Japan's Tendai and Shingon sects. The latter are largely devoted to Dainichi Nyorai.

Statues of Shaka Nyorai and other Buddha share common attributes. These include elongated ears (all-hearing; typically twice as large as human ears to symbolize a willingness to listen to the sufferings of the masses), a bump atop the head (Skt. usnisa, all-knowing, bump of knowledge), and a boss in the forehead (Skt. urna, third eye, all-seeing).

Among the many sculptural depictions of the various Buddha (Tathagata, Nyorai), some rules of thumb can help you to identify the historical Buddha. First, the Shaka Nyorai nearly always wears a simple monk's robe, and is seated or standing on a lotus flower. This isn't enough to identify the statue as Shaka, however, as the same guideline applies to most Nyorai (those who have attained Buddhahood). The Nyorai are typically portrayed wearing simple clothing, without accessories, jewelry, or weapons.

MUDRA - HAND POSITIONING
One way to identify Buddha statues is to look at the positioning of the hands. Two of the most common hand gestures of Shaka Nyorai are the "Fear Not" Mudra (right hand held up) and "Blessing Mudra" (left hand pointing downward). Another common mudra portrays Shaka Nyorai with his hands in the Meditation Mudra, or Contemplation Mudra. All statues in our eStore show the Historical Buddha with his hands forming the Meditation (Contemplation) Mudra. This mudra is made by placing both hands in the lap, right on top of left, with palms turned upward and thumbs touching to form a circle. It symbolizes the Buddha in a state of meditation. In Japan, this mudra is associated mostly with seated images of Shaka Nyorai and Dainichi Nyorai, but some standing images of Senju Kannon are also shown with this gesture.

A knowledge of these hand gestures -- called "mudra" in Sanskrit -- can help you identify and distinguish among the various Buddha. The five most widely known mudras, moreover, correspond to five defining episodes in the life of the Historical Buddha. See Learn More Section below for details.

Japanese Mantra for Shaka Buddha
Japanese Mantra for Shaka Nyorai
Nammaku Sammanda Bodananbaku

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE HISTORICAL BUDDHA
AT THE A-TO-Z PHOTO DICTIONARY (SISTER SITE)

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