Shakyamuni Buddha in Blessing mudra.
Wood, hand-carved, painted.
More than twenty-five hundred years ago, a man who had been searching for the truth for many, many lifetimes came to a quiet place in northern India and sat down under a tree. He continued to sit under the tree, with immense resolve, and vowed not to get up until he had found the truth.
At dusk, it is said, he conquered all the dark forces of delusion; and early the next morning, as the planet Venus broke in the dawn sky, the man was rewarded for his age-long patience, discipline, and flawless concentration by achieving the final goal of human existence: enlightenment.
At that sacred moment, the earth itself shuddered, as if “drunk with bliss,” and, as the scriptures tell us: “No one anywhere was angry, ill or sad; no one did evil, none was proud; the world became quite quiet, as though it had reached full perfection.” This man became known as Buddha.