Zoom in on the skin of the Buddha, stretched taut over His bones, to appreciate the lifelike precision of the work. From the sharp retractions of the jugular cleft and the soft abdominal wall, one could make out the uddiyana bandha that locks the prana out of the Buddha’s body.
Such are the severe and unpalatable rigours of the yogic ascetic. The body withdraws from food and water and suchlike, things that the indriya (perceptive and functional senses) reach out to, as a result of which one grows emaciated. This emaciation is not a sign of weakness, but of independence from extrinsic sources of nourishment that the non-ascetic could not survive without. This sculpture is a tribute to that phase in the Buddha’s journey to kaivalya (supreme independence).
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