Amida Buddha, the oldest known statue, also known as Amitabha Buddha, which was showcased for more than a month in the Zinkoji Shonin Exhibition held at the National Museum, the exhibition of Buddhist treasures from Japan, finally flew back to Japan post the closing ceremony on Sunday, November 30, 2008.
The statue which was brought from Japan, represents the symbolic return of the "Ikkō Sanzon Amida (Amitabha) Zenko-ji Nyorai" (the statue of the Amitabha Buddha in the Zenko-ji temple), for the first time since its arrival in Japan in the sixth century, to the birthplace of Shakyamuni and Buddhism 2500 years ago.
The statue, a priceless historical artifact, is believed to belong to the Vaishali district of Bihar and came back to India after 1400 years. It was kept on display at the National Museum, New Delhi during the Zenkoji Shonin Exhibition. The exhibition also included other priceless relics from Japan including smaller statues, Japanese dolls, kimonos, historic paintings.
According to historians, the Buddha statue was brought to Nogaoya city in Japan from India in 552 AD. As per the Zenko-ji Engi (the origin of Zenko-ji temple), the principal image, the Ikko Amida Triad, is said to be the oldest Buddha statue to have been brought to Japan in the year 552 AD during the introduction of Buddhism. Therefore, this Buddha is said to represent the introduction of Buddhism in Japan.
Since then, it has been kept in the Zenko-ji temple visited by thousands of tourists daily. It is believed to have healing powers and bring luck wherever it goes and it is believed to be true for India as well.
The closing ceremony is being held today, Sunday, November 30, 2008, at The National Museum where a tribute is presented to Amidha Buddha. A unique TEA ceremony is organised where tea is offered to the statue of Amidha Buddha, along with other guests following the Japanese tradition.
Speaking on the closing ceremony, Ms. HISAMUNE, Chief Organiser of the exhibition and MOE Director said, "India is an origin land of Amida Buddha (also known as Amitabha Buddha) and this exhibition is yet another expression of the relationship between Japan and India which were initially forged by the visit of Prime Minister Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru to Japan in 1959."
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