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Shaka hassou@߉ޔ
KEY WORD :@ art history / iconography
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Lit. eight phases (or aspects) of Shakamuni *Shaka ߉. Also referred to as hassou joudou (eight-phase attainment of the path), hassou jigen (manifestation of the eight phases), or simply hassou (eight phases). The eight major events in the life of the historical Buddha Shaka, that constitute a popular format for artistic representations of Shaka's life *butsuden-zu `}. The practice of selecting eight particular events in which to encapsulate the course of Shaka's career is thought to have been established in China. There are several traditions regarding the events constituting the eight phases; probably the most common one is derived from the SIKYOUGI l` (Ch: Shjiaoyi; The Meaning of the Four Teachings) by Zhiyi (Jp :Chigi q; 538-597). Its eight parts include: (1) goutosotsu ~, descending from Tusita Heaven; (2)takutai also nittai , entering his mother's womb; (3)shusshou o also shuttai o, birth; (4)shukke o, renouncing the world to become a mendicant; (5)gouma ~, subjugating demons; (6)joudou , enlightenment; (7)tenbourin ]@, turning the wheel of the law or preaching the Dharma; and (8)nyuunehan also nyuumetsu , entering nirvana or death. In another tradition, based on the Dacheng Qixin lun (Jp: DAIJOUKISHINRON NM_, Treatise on the Awakening of Faith in the Great Vehicle), (5)gouma is omitted and jutai Z (abiding in his mother's womb) added after (2)takutai. The hassou joudo places the central importance in Shaka's life on his attainment of enlightenment (6). In Japan, sets of images of these eight phases are recorded as having been enshrined in, for example, the East and West Pagodas of Yakushiji t in Nara, although these particular examples are no longer extant. There are, however, many examples of paintings depicting these eight scenes: those depicting either Shaka's enlightenment or his death in the center, with the remaining seven events on the periphery, are known as Shaka hassou joudou-zu ߉ޔ} (painting of Shaka's eight-phase attainment of the path) and Shaka hassou nehan-zu ߉ޔϐ} (painting of Shaka's eight-phase nirvana; see *nehan-zu ϐ}) respectively. A renowned example of the former is preserved at Daifukudenji 啟c in Mie prefecture and equally renowned examples of the latter are found at Manjuji in Kyoto and Tsurugi Jinja _ in Fukui prefecture. Didactic works such as the SHAKA HASSOUKI ߉ޔL (Account of the Eight Phases of Shaka) and SHAKA HASSOU MONOGATARI ߉ޔ (Story of the Eight Phases of Shaka), aimed at the general populace, utilized these eight phases as a convenient device for teaching the salient points in the story of Shaka's life.
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