26 results in English
An Actor in the Role of Sato Norikiyo who Becomes Saigyo: An Actor in the Role of Yoshinaka
The Japanese art of Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating [or sorrowful] world”) developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1600-1868), a relatively peaceful era during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan and made Edo the seat of power. The Ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting continued into the 20th century. This diptych print of between 1849 and 1852 shows Saigyō surrounded by men trying to prevent him from leaving his house to become a priest. The poet Saigyō (1118-90) was born into ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Gusinoe Ozero (Town), Datsan, Main Temple (1858-70), West Facade, Gusinoe Ozero, Russia
This photograph of the main temple at the Gusinoozersk Buddhist monastery (datsan) was taken in 2000 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. Located near Gusinoe Ozero (Goose lake) in the southwestern part of the Republic of Buriatiia (Russian Federation), the Gusinoozersk, or Tamchinskii, datsan was founded in the mid-18th century and in 1809 became the center of Buddhism in eastern Siberia, a position it held until 1930. In 1858 work began on ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Ivolginsk Buddhist Datsan, Main Temple, Interior, Ivolga, Russia
This photograph of the interior of the main temple at the Ivolginsk Buddhist datsan (monastery) was taken in 2000 by Dr. William Brumfield, American photographer and historian of Russian architecture, as part of the "Meeting of Frontiers" project at the Library of Congress. This primary Buddhist center in the Republic of Buriatiia (Russian Federation) is situated 25 kilometers to the southwest of Ulan-Ude near the Ivolga River. It was founded in 1946 after the destruction or closure of previous Buddhist monastic communities in what appears to have been a cultural ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Lotus Sutra
The practice of printing Buddhist scriptures on the reverse of letters from the deceased to pray for the repose of his or her soul became common from the end of the Heian period (late 12th century) onward. The scrolls shown here contain the text of a Buddhist sutra called Myōhō renge-kyō (Lotus sutra). They are printed on the reverse of letters sent from Daitō Genchi, the second abbot of Kakuon-ji Temple in Kamakura. It is believed that Hōjō Sadatoki’s wife, to whom the letters are addressed, and some others ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Buddhist Sutra “Jū-issai-fukutoku-zanmai-kyō”
The hand copying of Buddhist sutras was believed to confer great merit and spiritual benefit, so that from the introduction of Buddhism to Japan in the sixth century, numerous manuscripts were reproduced throughout the country. Shown here is a volume from the hand-copied Issai-kyō (a Buddhist corpus) commissioned by the Empress Kōmyō (701−60), wife of the Emperor Shōmu, to pray for the repose of her parents, Fujiwara no Fuhito and Tachibana no Michiyo. The work commissioned by the empress amounts to about 7,000 volumes, which include almost all ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Completion of Mere Ideation
In Japan temples were the center of publishing until the Middle Ages. The Kasuga edition of the Buddhist scriptures was produced at the Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara. These scrolls, from that edition, contain the text of Jōyuishikiron (The completion of mere ideation), a commentary on the work by the Indian scholar Seshin (Vasubandhu in Sanskrit) known as Yuishiki sanjūju (Triṃśikā-vijñapti-kārikā in Sanskrit, Weishi sanshi song in Chinese). The commentary was translated into Chinese during the Tang dynasty by a Chinese monk named Xuanzang. It was a canon of the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Buddhist Sutra “Bimashōkyō”
The hand copying of Buddhist sutras was believed to confer great merit and spiritual benefit, so that from the introduction of Buddhism to Japan in the sixth century numerous manuscripts were reproduced throughout the country. In the late Heian period, there arose the Mappō (age of Dharma decline) doctrine, which held that Buddhist teaching, and consequently the protection of Buddha, would decline. At a time of religious pessimism coupled with the very real decline of the aristocracy, many court nobles sought to attain the after-death passage to the Pure Land ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
The Stele of Buddha Niches at Yique
Shown here are rubbings of the texts on the famous Yique fo kan bei (The stele of Yique Buddha niches), also known as the Stele of Three Niches or the Stele of Three Niches of Longmen. The tablet was erected in the 11th month of the 15th year of the Zhenguan reign (641) during the Tang dynasty, in the Binyang Cave of the Longmen Grottoes, Luoyang, Henan. The texts were composed by Cen Wenben (595−645) and written by famed calligrapher Chu Suiliang (596−658). The horizontal inscription in seal ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Buddhist Texts, Including the Legend of Phra Malai, with Illustrations of The Ten Birth Tales
The legend of Phra Malai, a Buddhist monk of the Theravada tradition said to have attained supernatural powers through his accumulated merit and meditation, is the main text in this 19th-century Thai samut khoi (folding book) held in the Thai, Lao, and Cambodian Collections of the British Library. Phra Malai figures prominently in Thai art, religious treatises, and rituals associated with the afterlife, and the story is one of the most popular subjects of 19th-century illustrated Thai manuscripts. The earliest surviving examples of Phra Malai manuscripts date back to the ...
Contributed by The British Library
Map of India in the Age of the Mahabharata
This undated 20th-century map, published in Pune (formerly Poona), India, shows place names in India associated with the Mahābhārāta, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India (the other being the Ramayana). The title of the map is in Marathi; the place names are in Sanskrit. Mahābhārata can be translated as "the great tale of the Bharata Dynasty.” Most likely composed between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D., this enormously long epic recounts the story of the dynastic struggle and civil war between the Pandavas and the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Monograph on Buddha Sakyamuni’s Birth-Place in the Nepalese Tarai
In the 1870s, the Archaeological Survey of India undertook a series of expeditions to increase understanding of the early history of India and to further the preservation of important monuments and ruins. In 1896 German archaeologist Alois Anton Führer (1853–1930) received permission from the government of the North-Western Provinces and Oudh and the government of India to carry out an expedition to Nepal. Führer generally is credited with discovering the birthplace of Buddha. Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, was born in about 563 B.C. at the gardens of Lumbini ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Ruins of Prambanan, Tjandi Sewoe, Soerakarta Residence
This photograph depicts the ruins of the temple of Prambanan in central Java, the largest Hindu temple ever built in Indonesia and one of the largest in Southeast Asia. Dedicated to the triumvirate of Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu, the temple was built around 850 A.D. by the Mataram dynasty but abandoned soon after its construction. The Mataram dynasty practiced aspects of both Hinduism and Buddhism, and the temple complex includes some of the earliest Buddhist temples in Indonesia. Prambanan was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. The ...
Lotus Sutra
This printed edition of this work from the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127) is the sole copy in existence. It was originally in the collection of Fu Zengxiang, and was acquired by the Library of Congress in 1941.
Contributed by Library of Congress
One Million Small Wooden Pagodas and Dharani Prayers
Hyakumanto Darani (The one million pagodas and Dharani prayers) is the oldest traceable publication in the world whose production date is clearly identified. In 764, the Empress Shōtoku (718-770) ordered the donation of Hyakumanto Darani, each containing a small scroll printed with four Buddhist Dharani sutras, to ten major temples. The National Diet Library holds several of the scrolls that were donated to the Hōryūji Temple in Nara prefecture in western Japan. These three-tiered pagodas were painted with white clay. It is unclear whether the printing blocks were of wood ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Life and Activities of Shakyamuni Buddha Incarnate
The vivid colors in this Chinese book are reminiscent of the pictures in medieval European manuscripts. Liu Ruoyu (Ming dynasty) records this edition in his Neiban jingshu jilue (Outline record of imperial editions): “Life and Activities of Shakyamuni Incarnate: Four volumes, 440 pages.” The original book, by the Ming monk Baocheng, is in six juan (sections) and is titled Shijia rulai yinghua lu (Record of the teachings of the thus-come Śākyamuni Buddha), which indicates that the book was revised and combined with other texts before the printing blocks for it ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
The Zhaocheng Jin Tripitaka
This edition of the Buddhist canon was printed between about the ninth year of the Huangtong era of Xizong of the Jin dynasty and sometime in the Dading era of Shizong, and for this reason is called the "Jin Tripitaka" by scholars. It is also called the “Jin Tripitaka from Tianning Temple in Xiezhou" because the woodblocks were carved at Tianning Temple on Jinglin Mountain, in Xiezhou, Shanxi (modern Xie County in the Jinnan district). In 1933, the work was rediscovered at Guangsheng Temple in Zhaocheng County, Shanxi, so its ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Twenty-One Hymns to the Rescuer Mother of Buddhas
Also known as “Twenty-One Hymns to the Rescuer Saint Tārā, Mother of Buddhas,” this item is a sutra from Tibetan esoteric Buddhism. The copyist was Yong Rong (1744–90), sixth son of the Qianlong emperor and general editor of the Siku quanshu. In addition to being a poet, calligrapher, and painter, Yong Rong had a sophisticated understanding of astronomy and mathematics. On the top protective cover of this item is written, “Imperially commissioned translation of the hymn to the rescuer mother of Buddhas," in Manchu, Tibetan, Mongolian, and Chinese scripts ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Diamond Prajna Paramita Sutra
This complete scroll from the first year of the Yifeng era (676) of the Tang dynasty was unearthed in Dunhuang, China. The scroll contains the Diamond Prajna pāramitā sutra, a work that is an important sacred text in the prajñā line of Mahayana Buddhism as well as a foundational text in Chinese Chan (Japanese Zen) Buddhism. The text was transmitted to China in the Period of Southern and Northern Courts in many translations, but the translation by Kumārajīva is the most respected. For generations, it was felt that reciting the ...
Contributed by National Library of China
Manusyaloka, Map of the Human World
Jainism is an Indian religion, which was founded by Vardhamana Mahavira, a spiritual leader called the Jina (conqueror), in the sixth century B.C. Jainism teaches nonviolence towards all living beings. Its philosophy and practice rely mainly on the effort of advancing the soul on the spiritual ladder to divine consciousness in a universe that has no beginning or end. Jainism has its own version of geography and cosmology, in which the universe is divided into three kingdoms: the upper is the realm of the heavens and the celestials; the ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Brahman Priest Painting His Forehead, India
This photograph of a priest in India is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890-1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. In ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Life History and Sermon of Buddha Abstracted from Buddhist Scriptures
Seokbosangjeol (Life history and sermons of Buddha abstracted from Buddhist scriptures) was compiled by Prince Suyang, the son of King Sejong and Queen Soheon, in the 29th year of King Sejong’s reign (1447). It was written in Korean prose style, not only to pray for the repose of the prince’s mother, but also to let the common people learn Buddhist doctrines more easily. Its content teaches about Buddha’s life and his main sermons, selected from the Chinese sutras such as the Sutra of the Lotus, the Sutra ...
Contributed by National Library of Korea
Ji Guang Jing, Land of Solitude and Illumination
This three-volume work by Hong Yingming, a Ming-dynasty philosopher, known also under his style name Zicheng, contains portraits of Buddhas. Volume one depicts 19 Buddhas of India; volumes two and three contain portraits of 42 Buddhas of China. The work includes brief biographies.
Contributed by Library of Congress
Images of Bishamonten
This work is a print of Buddhist images called syubutu or inbutsu. The print was originally placed in the internal cavity of a wooden standing statue of Bishamonten, considered a protector of the teachings of the Buddha. This particular Bishamonten was housed in a statue at the Yamato Nakagawa Temple, which prospered in the late Heian period as a branch of Kōfukuji Temple in Nara. The print has seven Bishamonten impressions, four on the upper part of the page and three on the lower part, each approximately 17 centimeters tall ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Critical Study of What India Says, Whether Accepted by Reason Or Refuted
Abu al-Rayhan al-Biruni (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Alberonius, 973–1048 AD; 363–439 AH) was an 11th-century Muslim polymath whose works and scholarly interests spanned the physical and natural sciences, mathematics, astronomy, geography, history, chronology, and linguistics. Al-Biruni was born in Kath, Khuwarazm, in present-day Uzbekistan, and died in Ghazni, in what is today east-central Afghanistan. He wrote more than 120 works and is considered the founder of Indology for his detailed description of 11th-century India. The crater Al-Biruni on the moon is named after ...
Contributed by Bibliotheca Alexandrina
Manuscript of a Mongolian Sūtra
This text is a representative example from the collection of Mongolian manuscripts in the Bavarian State Library. It is a Buddhist manuscript produced in the Beijing style, in which a sheet has been inserted in both the upper and lower cover. A silk curtain of different colors protects the sheets set in the recess. This type of book cover was developed in Beijing for Tibetan and Mongolian manuscripts and is sometimes also found among block print bindings. This example is one of the Mahayana Sutras (Yeke kölgen sudur): the popular ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library
The Noble, Great, and Cleansing Liberation from All Sins through the Buddha
This marvelous manuscript contains a Mahayana Sutra text from the Kanjur (Translation of the words of the Buddha), i.e., the scriptures of Tibetan Buddhism. It is especially remarkable because it was not translated directly from Sanskrit, like so many other works of the Kanjur, but from Chinese. The translators obviously had no original text from which to work. Accordingly, they did not give the work a Sanskrit title, as was usually the case. Manuscripts containing only this text are very rare, and even in this case a further work ...
Contributed by Bavarian State Library