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Buddha Protected by Mucalinda

Buddha Protected by Mucalinda. Bangkok National Museum, b075

Buddha Protected by Mucalinda

The “Buddha Protected by Mucalinda” statue tells the story of the Gautama Buddha who while meditating under the Bodhi Tree, had Mucalinda, the mighty King of Serpents, came from beneath the earth to protect him with his hood during an unusually massive storm. When the great storm had cleared, the serpent king assumed his human form, bowed before the Buddha, and returned in joy to his palace.

Dating to the 13th century this statue was discovered in Lopburi at the Wat Na Phra Men which is located 150 km north of Bangkok, in central Thailand. This area was a province of Angkor during the 11th – 13th centuries and its art reflect Khmer as well as earlier Dvaravati influences. Mucalinda is the name of a nāga, a snake-like being, who protected the Gautama Buddha from the elements after his enlightenment and it is a favourite theme in Khmer art.

Statues of the Buddha were not made until after the 1st century CE. For the first four hundred years after his death Buddha was represented by symbols alone such as his footprint or an empty throne or Bodhi tree. Early statues examples of Buddha in human form were made four centuries after the Buddhas time.

Buddha Protected by Mucalinda

  • Title:                  Buddha Protected by Mucalinda
  • Date:                  13th century
  • Find Site:          Lopburi – Wat Na Phra Men
  • Museum:          National Museum, Bangkok

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“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” Buddha

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Photo Credit: 1) By Michael Gunther (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons