Buddha statue on display in New Delhi for 3 weeks

TNN, Nov 8, 2008

NEW DELHI, India -- One of nation's priceless historical artifacts a Buddha statue believed to be belonging to Vaishali district of Bihar has made its way
back to the country but for a mere three weeks.

One of the oldest statues of Buddha, kept for centuries at the Zenko-ji temple in Japan, has been brought to the Capital and will be kept for visitors display at the National Museum for three weeks from Tuesday for the Zenkoji Shonin Exhibition. The exhibition will also include other priceless relics from Japan including smaller statues, Japanese dolls, kimonos, historic paintings.

According to historians, the Buddha statue was brought to Nogaoya city in Japan from India in 552 AD. As per the Zenko-ji Engi (the origin of Zenko-ji temple), the principal image, the Ikko Amida Triad, is said to be the oldest Buddha statue to have been brought to Japan in the year 552 AD during the introduction of Buddhism. Therefore, this Buddha is said to represent the introduction of Buddhism in Japan.

Since then, it has been kept in the Zenko-ji temple visited by thousands of tourists daily. It is believed to have healing powers and bring luck wherever it goes. This statue of Amida Buddha, also known as Amitabh in Buddhist mythology, will be flown back to Japan on December 1 and is unlikely to be ever brought to India again.

The Zenko-ji Shonin Exhibition will be the first exhibition in India of treasures from a Japanese temple. "Holding this exhibition represents the symbolic return of the statue of the Amitabha Buddha in the Zenko-ji temple for the first time since its arrival in Japan in the sixth century to the birth place of Shakyamuni and Buddhism 2500 years ago,'' said an official. Officials claimed the caretakers of the statue at the Japanese temple believed "its powers would be recharged in India (the pure land) before it is brought back to Japan in a few weeks''.