Petjades de Buda

For four centuries after Gautama’s death (approx. 483 BC), legends and facts about the Historical Buddha, his dialogues and his sayings, were preserved only in the memories of monks and followers. There were no written records or artistic representations. Like the Hindu Brahmins, the early Buddhists believed that religious knowledge was too sacred to be written down, too sacred to be etched in stone or wood. In those early years, when overt representations of the Buddha image were taboo, the main artistic vehicle for symbolizing the Buddha’s presence was to show the Buddha's “footprint.” These footprints of early Buddhist artwork can be found throughout Asia, often in narrative reliefs depicting key episodes in the Buddha's life, and thereby indicating his personal presence.

These footprints are often engraved with various Buddhist symbols. One of the most frequently used symbols in early Buddhism was the Svastikah 卍 -- which many centuries later was unfortunately modified and subsequently misused as the symbol of Nazi Germany (Swastika).

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Copyright Mark Schumacher,