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Why Are Buddha Statues So Big? Space, Time, and Unusual Human Bodies in Buddhism

Reiko Ohnuma, Chair and Professor of Religion, Dartmouth College
Wednesday, November 20, 2019
4:00-5:30 PM
Amphitheatre Rackham Graduate School (Horace H.) Map
First Annual Luis Gómez Memorial Lecture

Taking the ordinary human body as a baseline, Buddhist authors sometimes chose to imagine the human body in an exaggerated way, on a scale utterly beyond the realm of human experience. Human bodies that extend through space until they reach the ends of the universe; human bodies that contain everything in the universe; human bodies whose individual body-parts are multiplied until they reach almost-infinite numbers; human bodies whose lifespans stretch throughout eons of time to approach eternity—all of these constitute Buddhist examples of using the human body as a “corporeal code” by means of which human beings give voice to that which is immaterial, unimaginable, and otherwise unfathomable. This talk will examine the Buddhist use of human bodies on a non-human scale to give voice to immaterial and otherwise hard-to-conceptualize entities.
Building: Rackham Graduate School (Horace H.)
Event Type: Lecture / Discussion
Tags: Lecture
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Asian Languages and Cultures, Center for Japanese Studies, Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Lieberthal-Rogel Center for Chinese Studies, Nam Center for Korean Studies, Center for South Asian Studies