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Walking Buddha

Asian Civilisations Museum - Joy of Museums - Walking Buddha

Walking Buddha

This “Walking Buddha” is a three-dimensional sculpture representing the transcendent qualities innovated in the Sukhothai period. The Kingdom of Sukhothai was an early kingdom in north-central Thailand from 1238 to 1438. Sukhothai is derived from Sanskrit, and means “dawn of happiness.” This simply clad Buddha figure steps forward in smooth fluid motion with the right hand in the gesture of fearlessness.

This image depicts the Buddha walking back and forth in meditation. This sculpture displays the ideal features and marks that are prescribed in the Buddhist doctrine of the period, which includes:

  • an egg-shaped head
  • eyebrows like drawn bows
  • a nose shaped like a parrot’s beak
  • a lion-like torso
  • lotus petal-shaped eyelids
  • chin in the shape of the mango seed
  • arms like a young elephant’s trunk

The dynamic walking posture with arms like a young elephant’s trunk, the tapering fingers, the fitted robe with flowing hemline, and the raised hand accentuate the sense of motion. The pose represents the Buddha’s walking meditation after his enlightenment.

Walking Buddha

  • Title:                 Walking Buddha
  • Dates:               15th or 16th century
  • Providence:     Sukhothai, Thailand
  • Materials:       Bronze
  • Dimensions:   H: 117 cm
  • Museum:        Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore

Buddhist Values

The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism, in a highly simplified form are:

  • The Three Universal Truths
  • The Four Noble Truths
  • The Noble Eightfold Path

The Three Universal Truths are:

  • Nothing is lost in the universe
  • Everything Changes
  • The Law of Cause and Effect

The Four Noble Truths explore human suffering.

  • Suffering exists. Life is suffering.
  • There is a cause of suffering. Suffering is due to attachment.
  • There is an end to suffering. Attachment can be overcome.
  • To end suffering, you must follow the Eightfold Path.

A Tour of the Asian Civilisations Museum

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  • Is this what it feels like to be walking in meditation?


“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.”
– Buddha


Photo Credit: JOM