seshin monge 施身聞偈
KEY WORD :  art history / paintings
Ch: Shishengwenji. Also shashin monge 捨身聞偈 (Ch: Sheshenwenji). Lit. giving up the body to hear a verse of scripture. A Buddhist painting subject illustrating the Buddha's devotion to and willingness to sacrifice himself to the truth. The story, found in The Sutra of The Great Nirvana NEHANKYOU 涅槃経, describes how a young Brahman (the Historic Buddha in an earlier incarnation) was training in the mountains, when the God Indra *Taishakuten 帝釈天 in the guise of a demon visited him and recited a half-stanza of scripture: "All things are impermanent; this is the law of coming into being and of cessation." Upon hearing only this much, the Buddha begged the demon to finish the verse, even promising to throw himself off the cliff in sacrifice if she completed the stanza. The demon finished the stanza whereupon the Buddha inscribed it on a nearby tree and then threw himself from the cliff. Indra quickly revealed his true form and caught the Buddha as he fell. The story is illustrated in at least one cave at Dunhuang (Jp: Tonkou 敦煌) dating to 533 and on a side panel of the small, free-standing tabernacle * Tamamushi no zushi 玉虫厨子 at Houryuuji 法隆寺 (mid-7c).


(C)2001 Japanese Architecture and Art Net Users System. No reproduction or republication without written permission.