A recent trip to Asian Civilisation Museum in Singapore for the Nalanda exhibition gave me new insights about Buddhism – a religion that is commonly practiced here in Singapore.
There’s many temples in Singapore that cater to Buddhist worshippers and it’s easy to distinguish these temples as they would have a statue (if not several) of buddha himself. But did you know that when Buddha first passed away, he had specifically requested not to have any imagery of himself made. Because of this, old buddhist relics used to depict Buddha with either footprints or an empty naga (snake) throne (u are suppose to imagine Buddha is on the throne). Only later on did people start making statues of Buddha. And even then, the styles change from place to place – like in Persia, the statues used to look like they had a lot of greek influence.
I would post some photos up except that I wasn’t allowed to bring any camera in the museum. However, here’s a post with photos and more details about the exhibit and the religion Buddhism: click here.
What’s interesting was that despite Buddha not wanting his image to be worshiped, people still made and worship statues of him anyway. I wonder what he would think about the prolificity of his statues in temples all around Singapore now… (note: it’s just a question. i mean no harm in asking)
Anyway, Nalanda Trail is a really good exhibit so do go and see it if you can. It’s S$10 for adults, S$5 for students in ACM.
p.s. go during the guided tour for better insight to the exhibits themselves