Welcome to Cambodia of Angkor World Heritage
Bayon was one of the Buddhist monastic complexes and served as the State-Temple or Temple-Mountain of the Buddhist king Jayavarman VII, his reign in 1181-1220 which is situated at the center of the walled city of Angkor Thom. Its structure and architecture are relatively complex. It is very famous for its face towers which were originally supposed to be 54 or 49 but now only 34 are still remaining at the site. Most of the temple towers have faces carved on their four sides; some have faces on their two or three sides. The faces of each tower have been diplomatically debated by historians or scholars; some thinks that it symbolizes the faces of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara but it generally accepted that it is the images of the king which signifies the omnipresence of the king himself. The main structure of the temple has galleries, corner pavilions and gopuras. The temple was built with 3 dimensions and surrounded by concentric galleries with corbelled arch or vaulted roofs on the first and second levels and Naga balustrades but the roof of the 1st gallery has been completely collapsed. The first dimension is 156m x 141m, the second is 80m x70m and the third marked by Naga balustrade is unmeasured. The Bayon by its structure seems to have been used for the Hindu and Buddhist worship; the iconography belongs to both the religions hinted as witness. This temple has two sets of high reliefs carved in its galleries: the 1st set of the first gallery has the subjects mainly from historical events like the battle btw Khmers and Chams and many scenes from the daily life of the people at the time. The 2nd set of the inner seems to have been carved at a later stage and depicts palace scenes, processions and divinities. Bayon, as stated by Chinese envoy who arrived here in 1296 and lived a year, is the temple of a golden tower. As we reach the temple its foundation is run around by Naga balustrade with the garuda sitting on its multi-headed snake; these two animals, in conformity to the Hindu legend, could not cohabit but during the reign of the king Jayavarman he put them together because he wants to syncretize (synthetize or synthesize) the both religions; even he is the Buddhist fervent he tolerates the people who believed in Hinduism. After his Peri-nirvana death king Jayavarman VIII converted the formal religion from Buddhism to Hinduism so this Hindu king decreed his subjects to renovate all the Buddhist temples to Hindu temples. The images of the Buddha along the wall, on the column, in the pediment and in the sandstone ridges capped on the corbelled arch roof have been chiseled off and the statues of the Buddha inside each tower displaced by lingam “phallic symbol” (sacrifice to stone lingam by pouring water or milk on it, it was thought, ensured the fertility of the soil). To reach the top level, the central sanctuary is in the octagonal form which stands on a terrace of 25m in diameter and encircled by 16 shrines plus one in the middle and also topped by 8 small towers with one, two or three faces. The octagonal shape of its central tower symbolically embodied the noble eightfold path of the Buddha: _Right Understanding _ Right Thought _Right Speech _Right Action _Right Livelihood _Right Effort _Right Mindfulness and _Right Concentration.
●The Four Noble Truths Of The Buddha: ‒the noble truth of suffering –the noble truth of the origin of suffering –the noble truth of extinction of suffering and the noble truth of the path that leads to the extinction of suffering.
I/The Noble truth Of Suffering: ‒the group of corporeality or corporealness –the group of feeling –the group of perception –the group of mental formationsធ –the group of consciousness –dependent origination of consciousness –the three characteristics of existence –the Anatta (impermanent) doctrine–the three warnings and the wheel of existence.
II/The Noble Truth Of The Origin Of Suffering: ‒the sensual craving –the craving of eternal existence –the craving of self-annihilation –the origin of craving –dependent origination of all phenomena –present karma-results–future karma-results –inheritance of deeds –karma and karma as volition.
III/The Noble Truth Of The Extinction Of Suffering: ‒the dependent extinction of all phenomena –Nirvana (nibbana) –Arahat or Holy One and immutable or un-changeability.
IV/The Noble Truth Of The Path That Leads To The Extinction Of Suffering:
1/RIGHT UNDERSTNDING: ‒understanding the four truths –understanding merit and demerit –understanding the three characteristics of existence–unprofitable questions –the five fetters –unwise consideration –six views about the self –wise consideration – the ten fetters១០ –the noble ones –mundane and super-mundane right understanding –free from all theories –the three characteristics – views and discussions about ego –past present future life –the two extremes (annihilation and eternal belief and the middle doctrine)
– the rebirth-producing karma and cessation of karma.
2/RIGHT THOUGHT: ‒mundane and super-mundane right thought.
3/RIGHT SPEECH: ‒mundane and super-mundane right speech.
4/RIGHT ACTION: ‒mundane and super-mundane right action.
5/RIGHT LIVELIHOOD: ‒mundane and super-mundane right livelihood.
6/RIGHT EFFORT: ‒the effort to avoid –the effort to overcome –five methods of expelling evil thought –the effort to develop and the effort to maintain.
7/RIGHT MINDFULNES: a/The Four Foundations Of Mindfulness ‒the contemplation of body –watching over in and out-breathing –the four postures –mindful and clear comprehension –contemplation of loathsomeness –four elements –cemetery meditation –assured of ten blessing –six psychical powers and four bases of obtaining magical powers . b/Contemplation Of The Feelings c/Contemplation Of The Mind d/Contemplation Of The Mind-Objects ‒the five hindrances –the five groups of existence –the twelve sense-bases –the seven elements of enlightenment –the four noble truths and Nibbana through Anapanassati .
8/RIGHT CONCENTRATION: ‒absence of the five hindrances –the four absorptions – four methods of attaining absorption and Nibbana .
●The 6 Mudras Of The Buddha
- Abhaya Mudra = a gesture of assurance or protection intended to impart fearlessness. The right-hand is held with the palm facing outwards and the fingers extended upwards.
- Dhyana Mudra = a gesture of meditation. The hands lie on the lap, the right hand over the left hand with all fingers extended and the palms turned upwards.
- Bhumisparsa Mudra = a gesture of calling the earth to witness. This Mudra was used by the Buddha to invoke the earth as witness of his having resisted the temptation of Mara(killer).
-Dharma-chakra Mudra = a gesture of teaching wherein the right hand is held at the breast with the tips of the index fingers touching and the thumb touching one of the fingers of the left hand, the palm being turned inwards.
- Varada Mudra = Boon-Granting Gesture Or Gesture of Charity/Generosity. This Mudra is made with the palm held outwards and downwards, with all of the fingers loosely outstretched or curved slightly inwards. It represents open-handed generosity amongst peaceful deities, particularly those performing the auspicious activities of pacifying and enriching and also assists to achieve the virtue of forgiveness and enhance mental stability.
- Vitarka Mudra = Gesture Of reasoning And Exposition. This Mudra signifies an appeal to reason, the giving of instruction. Since the Buddha is appealing to reason, the gesture is often interpreted as an appeal to peace. This Mudra is shown with the arm and hand which are positioned in the same manner as in the Abhaya Mudra, except that the thumb and forefinger are brought together. The gesture can be made with either the right or left hand (usu. the right) but not both.
• JAYAVARMAN VII’S BACKGROUNG
He belonged to the Mahiharapura Dynasty (History of Cambodia Page 65). He appears to have been a first cousin of Suryavarman II and the son of a royal prince, Dharanindravarman II, who may have reigned briefly as king and who was certainly a fervent Buddhist. As a young man, he served in some capacity at Yasovarman II’s court. From 1166-1177, Jayavarman VII appears to have lived away from Angkor, perhaps in the vicinity of the temple now known as the Preah Khan (the original name called Bakan) in the present-day village of Kompong Svay, where Claude Jacques has located the city of Jayadityapura, and also in Champa. A portrait statue of him, manifestly earlier than others produced later in his reign, has been found at this site is the evidence. Was the city subservient to Angkor or a rival to it? How did he relate to the usurper-king who followed Yasovarman to the throne? Even more important, what were his relationships with Champa to the east? And how could he come to the throne? All these questions are still unsolved or unanswerable. Throughout his life, Jayavarman immersed himself in the teachings of Mahayana Buddhism (the variant still followed in much of northern Asia). More than any other king, he labored to integrate Buddhist with Cambodian ideas of kingship. Buddhist kingship, as he practiced it, differed in several ways from the more eclectic Hindu model that had been followed for centuries at Angkor. In traditional version, a king was thought to enjoy, whether he was alive or not, a special relationship with a particular deity – usually Siva, more rarely Vishnu, occasionally the composite of them both known as HariHara, - to whom his temple-mountain was eventually dedicated. The kings used this special relationship to explain their grandeur while their subjects assumed that the relationship had something to do with the provision of adequate rainfall.
•THE DIFFERENCE BTW A HINDU KING AND A BUDDHIST ONE: is akin to the difference between a monologue that no one overhears and a soliloquy addressed to an audience of paid or invited guests. • and the like – that displayed his grandeur, acumen, and godliness. • A Buddhist king made similar statements, but he addressed many of them, specifically, to an audience of his people. This made the people less an ingredient of the king’s magnificence than objects of his compassion, an audience for his merit-making and participants in his redemption.
Note: BRAHMANAS, a number of sacred treatises added to each of the Vedas or a group of texts used by priests or Brahmins to conduct rituals, were formulated between 900 to 500BC and also evolved from an earlier text, the Vedas, subscribed to by the Indo Aryans, who settled in northern India during the second millennium BC. In Vedaism, it was believed, Agni (fire), Indra (thunder) and Surya (sun) as the Supreme deities and Rig-Veda, “song of praise+Veda” a compilation 1028 Hindu poems dating from 2000BC, Yajur-Veda,”sacred or holy+Veda” the second Veda, consisting prayers and sacrificial formulas primarily for use by the priests, Sama-Veda, “a chant+Veda” the third Veda containing the rituals for sacrifices and Atharva-Veda, the fourth and latest Veda, largely consisting of priestly spells and incantations are all of the most ancient sacred writings of Hinduism.