Last night, went to see Eric play at an improv fusion music thing at Club
Zerro - way cool. Today, went up to Nara again, planned to see an exhibit
on Buddhist and Shinto art - only to find that it doesn't start until
Sunday. Which is ok, I took 2 or 3 hours to view their permanent collection,
mostly of Buddhist art. They did a fair job of explaining the images of the
historical, Amida, Minoku/Maitreya, and Dainichi/Mahavairocana Buddhas,
something I don't know much about (it gets into the esoteric Buddhism
thing, big in Japan but I'm more of a simple, smack-upside-the-head,
kill-the-Buddha sort of guy).
One particular statue that struck me was "Sakyamuni Coming Out of the
Mountains." For those who don't the story, early in his career as a seeker,
while fasting to extremes, the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Guatama, known
(among other titles) as Sakyamuni, "sage of the Sakya clan", almost starved himself to death. He was rescued by a passing
farmgirl who fed him (overcoming her initial fear that this creature of
skin and bones was some sort of demon). This statue portrays an emaciated
man, ribs protruding under his robe (which, according to the story, was a
stolen burial shroud), learning on a stick, emerging from his ordeal with
the vital knowledge that suffering will not end suffering.
Suffering will not end suffering! As I write that it seems a noteworthy
revelation, or at least a noteworthy expression of one.