shokuchi-in 触地印
KEY WORD : art history / sculptures
Also read sokuji-in ( Sk: bhusparsa-mudra). Also gouma-in 降魔印. Earth-touchting mudra. A type of hand gesture (Jp: *in 印, Sk: mudra) found on Buddhist images. The right hand is placed on the right knee with the palm turned down and the forefinger, pointing downward, almost touching the pedestal *daiza 台座 on which the image is sitting. This mudra is based on the tradition that when the historical Buddha *Shaka 釈迦, meditating on the adamantine seat *kongou houza 金剛宝座, (Sk:Vajrasana) at Buddhagaya in India, was tempted by demons, he summoned the earth goddess, Sthavara, Kenroujishin 堅牢地神 by touching the earth with his right hand. With the help of the goddess, the Buddha dispersed the demons and then retained enlightenment gouma joudou 降魔成道 (see *Shaka hassou 釈迦八相). Hence this mudra is also called gouma-in (mudra for subjugating demons). As a symbol of the Buddha's subjugation of evil and his enlightenment, the shokuchi-in was often used in Indian Buddhist images of Shaka. After the establishment of Esoteric Buddhism mikkyou 密教 it became the mudra for the Buddha *Ashuku 阿しゅく. In Esoteric teachings, Ashuku is considered to be the head bushu 部主 (Sk: kulesa) of the kongoubu 金剛部 (Sk: Vajrakula ; Adamantine Family) of deities who subjugate enemies of Buddhism. Although Shaka images with the shokuchi-in are found in Asia, including the principal image *honzon 本尊 attended by the sixteen arhats *juuroku rakan 十六羅漢 at Sokkulam (Jp: Sekkutsuan 石窟庵, 751) in Kyongju (Jp: Keishuu 慶州), Korea, very few examples have been found in Japan. The few extant examples seem to have been introduced from abroad, such as Buddha statues imported from Ming and Qing dynasties China. Other gilt-bronze images influenced by Tibetan Buddhism were brought to Japan from Manchuria and Inner Mongolia before World War II. In Japan, the shokuchi-in is known as the mudra of Esoteric Buddhas, such as Ashuku in the Kongoukai 金剛界 (see *Kongoukai mandara 金剛界曼荼羅) and Tenkuraion 天鼓雷音 in the Taizoukai 胎蔵界 (see *Taizoukai mandara 胎蔵界曼荼羅). The earliest example of Ashuku with shokuchi-in was the principal of the Koudou 講堂 (presently Kondou 金堂) on Mt. Kouya 高野 in Wakayama prefecture, which was founded by *Kuukai 空海(774-835), but this was lost when the building was burnt down in 1926. Having been kept as a secret Buddha *hibutsu 秘仏, no photograph was taken, and so there is no way of verifying whether or not it was the original image.


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