|Budget Amount *help
¥1,700,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,700,000)
Fiscal Year 1994 : ¥700,000 (Direct Cost : ¥700,000)
Fiscal Year 1993 : ¥1,000,000 (Direct Cost : ¥1,000,000)
The Buddhist art of Gandhara is very attractive and wonderful, because of its cultural mixture of the East and West. In Gandharan art, Buddha and Bodhisattva are two main cult images. The Buddha is the Sakyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. His images were represented in monastic robe, simply but finely in Hellenistic style. Bodhisattva means the state of Sakyamuni's life before attaining enlightment, and his image were represented as an Indian prince, richly dressed up with jewels.
Thus, the iconography of Gandharan art is much easier to understand than of the later Mahayana Buddhism. However, we have to add another Bodhisattva to the Gandharan cult images, Maitreya, a future Buddha. As for the origin of Maitreya belief, I insist that it might have been a foreign impact on the Buddhist tradition, especially from Iranian notion of the cosmic savior (Zoroastrain messianic thought). I tried to discuss the Maitreya's origin of Gandhara, researching the biographies of Chinese pilgrims who visited Gandhara during the 4-5th Centuries A.D., as well as Gandharan monks invited by them to China.
Most of the Gandharan monks were performers of yoga (yogacara). Following their belief, yogacaras could hold a close communion with the Maitreya Budhisattva in the Tusita Heaven, if they mastered the secret of yoga exercise. Such an affinity between Gandharan yogacaras and Maitreya, would suggest to us some idea of Maitreya's origin ; when the Kushans invaded southwards in the first century A.D., the Buddhists of Gandhara would have done their best to persuade the Kushan conquerors to convert to Buddhism. In Central Asia the Kushans held their own religion akin to Zoroastrianism. The dialogue between them might result in such a syncretism as Messiah Maitreya of Buddhism. Buddhism has survived, though having lost its purity, and has been able to spread its influence from Gandhara towards the Western Regions and China.