Scene from the Life of the Buddha


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 226

This cycle of paintings shows key scenes from the life of the Buddha, Shakyamuni, who was born a prince in ancient north India. Beginning with his birth, his discovery of suffering and confrontation with his own privilege, and continuing through events of his post-enlightenment, these images are a reminder that suffering is the essence of life but that the Buddha’s teachings offer a way out.

On the right side of the painting, Queen Maya grasps a tree branch while walking through the Lumbini gardens, and the baby emerges from her side. On the left, heavenly musicians play music and throw flowers in celebration as the newborn immediately takes seven steps marked by lotus flowers and, raising his right hand, declares, “Among all divine beings, only I am lord, most holy and victorious.” He is then given his first bath—a heavenly lustration by dragons

On view for rotations 1 and 2

Scene from the Life of the Buddha, Section of a wall panel mounted as a hanging scroll; ink, color, and gold on silk, Japan

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