Barabudur etymology

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Dec 28 15:40:07 UTC 1998

Ms. Mary Storm wrote:
Hate to throw a wet blanket on this idyll, but check out the lowest
friezes in the now covered (or mostly covered) basement level. There are
photographs in a few monographs. This level deals with all the miseries
of this world.  The basement level, which has relief carving
illustrating the Karmavibhanga Sutra was encased and completely
concealed in a wide processional path.  The issue has been debated
whether the basement was concealed as part of the original plan, with
the symbolic intent to suppress the Kamadhatu, the realm of desire, or
whether the basement was encased later to shore up the heavy building
that began to collapse in the later half of the ninth century. If it was
originally encased it would support the mandala symbolism of a structure
with layers of meaning, each posing an initial barrier and then leading
the pilgrim to deeper levels of understanding.

    Don't have many books on Barabudur at home. Initially thought
    bArAbudUr = < vihAra + pudUr (Tamil, new village) is shot down.

    Thanks for the correction.

    Out of 1460 panels, the submerged, lowest level(by intentional
    or, by a design failure??) 70-80 panels show suffering in hot
    hells, This is from mahAkarmavibhanga.

    However, a big contrast to TV:
    John Miksic, Borobudur, Golden tales of the Buddhas, 1990, Shambala.
    "Some scholars have argued that Borobudur was not influenced by
    Tantric beliefs because the relief panels do not depict erotic
    ceremonies or demonic gods .."

    "Various factors made it difficult to identify the stories told in
    reliefs...  They avoided showing conflicts, violence or suffering -
    precisely the scenes that are easiest to identify. The large size
    of the panels has produced another source of confusion..."

    N. Ganesan

NG> In all the 1400 big sculptural panels, calmness and serenity
NG> prevails. No death, violence, sex is displayed at all.
NG> I am reminded of the grammatical rules of Tamil poetics to write
NG>  poems: no descriptions explicitly of death, violence, or sex
NG> should occur in akam/"interior landscape" poems.
NG> What a difference with today's TV, magazines, Cinema??!!
NG> Mostly they concentrate on opposite things of Borobudur
NG> reliefs or Tamil sangam love poetry.

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