Interpreting Buddhist Elder Bakula

Interpreting Buddhist Elder Bakula

Bakula is also known as the Elder from the set of 16 great . Bakula is typical of the group of arhats and advance in age.

The Life of the Bakula

In this section, we are going to learn about the life of the Bakula. And we will learn about the short etymological description of the word Bakula itself.

Etymology of Bakula

Bakula is known as  Sthavira Bakula in .

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Bakula. Now we are going to learn about the of the Bakula.

Iconography of the Bakula

In the iconography, we will learn about h9is posture, hand, and leg gesture, and different representations of Bakula in and statue.

Posture of the Bakula

Bakula wears loose monastic robes and some patchwork. Bakula is of bright and varying colors orange, green, and blue. In the lap Bakula holds with both hands, cradled with the left arm, a brown mongoose copiously ejecting wishing jewels from the mouth.

Atop the of a wild animal, leaning against an elaborate backrest of rich fabrics. Bakula sits in a relaxed posture on a rocky outcropping before an ornate table and a gold fruit . Bakula is attended upon by two laymen.

Bakula is spending most of his life as an ascetic. Bakula only late in age embraced the upon a chance meeting with the . Bakula Has received monastic and is renowned for his faith he quickly attained the level of an arhat.

Bakula is said to dwell on the northern continent of Kuru where he is accompanied by a retinue of 900 fellow arhats. The special blessing that he bestows is the basic material needs and requisites for anyone seeking to follow the path of . As a symbol to convey this wish to sustain others, he is shown holding a bestowing mongoose.

To the noble elder, the great Bakula of Northern Kuru, surrounded by a retinue of 900 arhats; to the feet of all those, I bow. It is for the individual arhats to be painted separately outside of the group as a whole. Typically a set includes the buddha Shakyamuni and 16 arhats, the attendant Dharmatala, the patron Hvashang and the Four : Vaishravana, Virupaksha, Dritirashtra, and Virudhaka.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Bakula and the iconography of the Bakula. Now we are going to learn about depicting elder Bakula.

Depicting Buddhist Elder Bakula Thangka

The thangka of Bakula is from Eastern . It was made in between 1800  AD to 1799 AD. It is from uncertain lineage. The base of the is mineral pigment on . Presently, this painting is in the .

By depicting this thangka we will learn about the presentation of Bakula with Two Buddhas, of the , etc.

Two Buddhas

Two Buddhas from the set of 35 Buddhas of Confession is at the top left of the thangka.

King of the Nagas

King of the Nagas is in the below of the thangka. King of the Nagas is with the hands in the of pacifying nagas.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Bakula, the iconography of the Bakula, and depicting Buddhist elder Bakula. Now we are going to learn about the presentation of Bakula with Sakyamuni Buddha.

Bakula with Sakyamuni Buddha Thangka

The thangka of Bakula with Sakyamuni Buddha is from Eastern Tibet. It was made in between 1600  AD to 1699 AD. The size of the painting is 69.85×59.69cm.  The base of the painting is ground mineral pigment on cotton and fine gold is used to color it. Presently, this painting is in the Rubin of .

By depicting this thangka we will learn about the presentation of Bakula.

Bakula is the principal student to the buddha Shakyamuni. Bakula looks mature in years with long eyebrows and a full dark beard. He holds with both hands across the lap an unrolled scroll text in Chinese style.

The head of Bakula is covered with a yellow scarf tied in front and he wears a dark blue jacket with gold floral designs. The left shoulder of Bakula is covered with an orange and green patchwork robe. Bakula is seated in a relaxed posture atop a grassy knoll the head is surrounded by a dark green areola framed with pink billowing clouds.

In front atop a footstool of gnarly brown roots are the shoes of the Elder. On the right side of Bakula, there is a attendant holds in the right hand and supported on the shoulder a large fan ringed with peacock feathers. The left holds a of prayer beads.  Bakula is attired in robes of rich blue who is yellow and red color.

Bakula converses with a layman holding a large bundle with both hands. At the left of Bakula, there is is a rough table made naturally of roots and branches topped with two gold vessels. A large golden bird with a craning neck looks toward the Elder.

The background of the thangka is filled with sharp rising mountains of green and blue, clouds of various colors, and partially hidden mountain . Bakula is living as an ascetic, late in age. He embraced the Buddhist path after meeting with the Tathagata Shakyamuni.

The Elder Bakula is most commonly portrayed holding a mongoose, however, there are several different and varying traditions graphically depicting the arhats. A written inscription in gold lettering on the lower front of the painting clearly identifies the subject as the Noble Bakula. The Sixteen Great Arhats are generally painted as a set.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Bakula, the iconography of the Bakula, depicting Buddhist elder Bakula, and the representation of Bakula with Sakyamuni Buddha. Now we are going to learn about the presentation of Bakula with Virupaksha.

Bakula with Virupaksha Thangka

The thangka of Bakulawith Virupaksha is from Eastern Tibet. It was made in between 1800  AD to 1899 AD. The size of the painting is 85.09×53.98cm.  The base of the painting is ground mineral pigment on cotton is used to color it. Presently, this painting is in the Rubin Museum of Art.

By depicting this thangka we will learn about the presentation of Bakula with Nagasena, Gopaka, and Vaishravana, etc.

In the first row, there is along the top from left to right are the arhats Bakula who is holding a mongoose in the right hand. Rahula with both hands holding a jeweled crown and Cudapathaka with both hands folded in the mudra of .

Nagasena

Nagasena is in the second row. Nagasena is holding a staff in the right hand and a bowl on the left. Pantaka with the right hand performing the mudra of blessing and the left holding a book in the lap. Pindola Bharadvaja with the right hand holding up a book and the left supporting a bowl in the lap.

Gopaka

Gopaka is in the second row in the thangka Gopaka is holding a book with both hands. And Abheda who is holding a Caitya with both hands. Each of the arhats has a shaved head and wears the robes of the clergy.

Vaishravana

Vaishravana is at the right of the thangka. Vaishravana is holding a victory in the right hand and a mongoose on the left. Bakula is surrounded by dark billowing blue-black and they wear gold and jewels, body armor, and fine of various colors.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Bakula, the iconography of the Bakula, depicting Buddhist elder Bakula, the representation of Bakula with Sakyamuni Buddha, and the representation of Bakula with Virupaksha. Now we are going to learn about the presentation of Bakula with Dharmatala.

Bakula with Dharmatala Thangka

The thangka of Bakula with Dharmatala is from  Tibet. It was made in between 1800  AD to 1899 AD. The base of the painting is ground mineral pigment on cotton is used to color it.

By depicting this thangka we will learn about the presentation of Bakula with Dharmatala and Vaishravana.

In the middle and slightly above is Bakula holding a mongoose with the two hands. Pindola Bharadvaja holds a book. Kanaka Bharadvaja has a beard and places the hands in meditation.

Pantaka holds a book in the right hand and performs a mudra of explication with the left. This thangka is from a five thangka set depicting , two principal students, and the Sixteen Arhats, along with the two attendants Dharmatala and Hvashang and Four Guardian Kings. Along the top are eight of the Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession.

Dharmatala and Vaishravana

Dharmatala is at the bottom right of the thangka. And on the left side of the thangka, there is Vaishravana.

Earlier, we learn about the life of the Bakula, the iconography of the Bakula, depicting Buddhist elder Bakula, the representation of Bakula with Sakyamuni Buddha, and the representation of Bakula with Virupaksha. Finally, we learn about the representation of Bakula with Dharmatala.

 

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