Taima Mandala


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 224

The Taima Mandala represents the Pure Land of Amida Buddha and is bordered on three sides by parables from the Sutra on the Meditation on the Buddha of Infinite Life (Kanmuryō jukyō). This text recounts the promise at the core of Pure Land School teaching: that those who concentrate on the Buddha Amida, and recite his name will be escorted to his blissful paradise at the moment of death. The painting depicts an enormous palace with a golden pond presided over by Amida and his retinue. Musicians, dancers, and thirty-seven types of celestial beings fill the skies and pavilions. Those born into the Pure Land emerge from lotus buds in the water. The parables tell the story of Queen Vaidehi, who achieved birth there by performing sixteen meditations presented to her by Amida. The scenes along the bottom represent the nine levels of birth. This type of mandala was introduced to Japan from China in the 700s along with teachings about Amida’s Pure Land.

Taima Mandala, Hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk, Japan

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