#35 仏像 Buddhist Statues

Twice a month, my friend and I organize the event, “Let’s talk about Kyoto in English and Japanese”. Today’s theme was Shito Shrines.
I took memo of useful expression 🙂

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)
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Buddhism has bee the dominant religion in Japan for well over a millennium. There are now about 80,000 Buddhist temples around the country.
日本では古くから仏教が多くの人に進行されてきました。仏教の寺院は全国におよそ8万あると言われています。

dominant 最有力な
millennium 1,000年

At most of them, the principal object of worship is a statue, in front of which visitors pray.
ほとんどの寺で、本尊として仏像がまつられています。寺を訪れる人々はその姿を拝み、祈りを捧げます。

the principal object of worship ご本尊

Buddhist statues can be classified into four main categories.
仏像は大きく4つに分類されます。

Nyorai are the highest in rank. There are beings who have attained enlightenment. The most famous nyorai is Shaka Nora, the founder of Buddhism. Other nyorai include Amida Nora, who leads people to the Pure Land, and Yakushi Nyorai, who can heal the sick. Different nyorai statues are used by different sects.
頂点に立つのは如来です。如来とは「悟りを開いた者」のことです。代表的な如来が、仏教を創始した釈迦如来。他にも人々を極楽浄土に導く阿弥陀如来、病の苦しみから救ってくれる薬師如来など、宗派によって様々な種類があります。

Pure Land  極楽浄土
sect 宗派

Next, bosatsu…These are beings who are working toward attaining enlightenment. The most common boasts is Kannon Boasts, who has a warm smile and offers help to people with problems.
如来に続くのが菩薩です。菩薩は、悟りを目指して修行しているものの姿です。最も一般的な観音菩薩。柔和な表情で人々に救いの手を差し伸べます。

Besides nyorai and bosatsu, there are also myo-o and ten. Myo-o are deities who punish those who ignore the Buddha’s teachings. Ten are Indian gods and goddesses who became Buddhist guardian deities.

如来 Nyorai- These are beings who have attained enlightenment.
菩薩 Boasts- These are beings who are working towards attaining enlightenment.
明王 Myo-o- Deities who punish those who ignore the Buddha’s teaching.
天 Ten- Indian gods and goddesses who became Buddhist guardian deities.

Buddhist statues were first produced in Japan over 1,400 years ago. Ever since, great efforts have been made to create representations of Buddhist figures.
日本で仏像がつくられるようになったのは1,400年以上前のことです。いつの時代も人々は、仏の偉大さを形として表現しようと努力をしてきました。

guardian deities 守護神

This is the 7th-century Shaka Nora statue at Horyuji Temple. One of its notable features is the long, flowing robe covering the dais.
法隆寺の釈迦如来像。飛鳥時代につくられた仏像です。特徴的な意匠が、台座に長く垂れさがった衣です。

dais 台座

Its swirling patterns symbolize the divine powers of the Buddha. The combination of the robe and the decorative piece behind the figure suggests that the Buddha is emitting light in all directions.
波のように渦を巻く衣は、仏が放つ超越的な力を表しています。背後にある飾りと相まって、仏が四方に光を放つ様子が描かれて居ます。

This Yakushi Nyorai statue at Shinyakushiji Temple was made in the 8th century. It’s easy to see that its raised right hand is thick and plump, but look closely and you’ll notice that the fingernails are curved upwards. They’re said to have been modeled after the nails of a baby. At the time this statue was made, people associated babies’ vigour and innocence with Buddhist deities.
こちらは平安時代初期につくられた新薬師寺の薬師如来像。厚くふっくらとした手をよく見ると、爪が外側に反っています。これは赤ん坊の指を真似たものだと言われています。当時の人々は、赤ん坊の生命力や純粋さを仏と結びつけて考えたのです。

plump ふっくらとした
vigour 活力

Japan is home to a vast number of Buddhist statues that were produced with the aim of spreading Buddhism, and their designs all represent the hopes and prayers of believers.
仏の教えを広めるためにつくられた仏像の数々。その造形は人々の祈りや願いが形となって現れたものなのです。

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)
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dominant 最も優勢な
Timber is still the dominant material used for building houses in Japan.
日本では今も住宅建材として木材が中心をなしています。
Timber 木材

神仏習合
Syncretization of Shinto and Buddhism

Confucianism was the principal subject of study during the Edo period.
江戸時代には儒学が最も重要な学問でした。

Buddhism is based on the idea that every being is equal.
仏教は、すべての生き物が平等であるという考えに基づいています。

The ultimate goal of Buddhism is to attain a state of enlightenment.
仏教の究極の目標は悟りの状態に到達することです。

In the early Meiji period, many books were written to enlighten the public about the concept of democracy.
明治初期には、民主主義の概念を市民に啓蒙するための本が数多く著されました。

figure は人物という意味。
Oda Nobunaga is one of the most popular historical figures of Warring States period.
織田信長は、戦国時代で最も人気のある歴史人物の一人です。

devine 神の、神聖な
特に神から与えられたり、神に関係したりする物事を説明する時に用いられます。

In the old days, people believed natural disasters were caused by divine will.
昔は、自然災害は神の意志によって引き起こされると信じられて居ました。

Before the war, the emperor was regarded as having devine status, with powers transcending those of the Diet.
戦前、天皇は国会の権力を超越した、神聖不可侵な存在でした。

(All from “Trad Japan” NHK publisher has copy right.)

 

 

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