Ink on paper, 2 7/8 x 81 1/4”
Buddhist monks dedicate many lifetimes to the study of Buddhism. They believe that the sayings within a sutra are the actual words of Buddha. In a past life long ago in 975AD ancient China, the Leifeng pagoda was constructed in Hangzhou to house sacred relics like this sutra and a single hair of the Buddha. The pagoda was a place of worship, a place of peace and reconciliation. Over four-hundred years later, in Ming dynasty China, Japanese pirates attacked Hangzhou and burned the pagoda's wooden structure. They left nothing but the building's brick framework. After its destruction, people continued to flock to the pagoda, taking pieces from the ruins with the belief that they had the power to heal. The remaining structure finally collapsed in 1924 and excavation revealed each of the 84,000 bricks to have enclosed a sutra. This sutra was found hidden within a brick from the Leifeng pagoda. It is one of the oldest surviving printed documents in the world.
Zach Fritzhand, Colby ‘08