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Japan, Travel

Daibutsu – The Great Buddha – Kamakura, Japan

The Great Buddha of Kamakura (Kamakura Daibutsu) is a huge bronze statue cast in 1252.

It originally was housed in a temple, but the building was destroyed by a tsunami in the 1490s, so the bronze Buddha remains now exposed to the elements.  It weights around 100 tons and is over 13m tall.

This Buddha is the subject of the poem The Buddha at Kamakura by Rudyard Kipling, which I have put a copy of below the photos.

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The Buddha at Kamakura

“And there is a Japanese idol at Kamakura”

by Rudyard Kipling

O ye who tread the Narrow Way
By Tophet-flare to Judgment Day,
Be gentle when the ‘heathen’ pray
To Buddha at Kamakura!

To him the Way, the Law, apart,
Whom Maya held beneath her heart,
Ananda’s Lord, the Bodhisat,
The Buddha of Kamakura.

For though he neither burns nor sees,
Nor hears ye thank your Deities,
Ye have not sinned with such as these,
His children at Kamakura.

Yet spare us still the Western joke
When joss-sticks turn to scented smoke
The little sins of little folk
That worship at Kamakura.

The grey-robed, gay-sashed butterflies
That flit beneath the Master’s eyes.
He is beyond the Mysteries
But loves them at Kamakura.

And whoso will, from Pride released,
Contemning neither creed nor priest,
May feel the Soul of all the East
About him at Kamakura.

Yea, every tale Ananda heard,
Of birth as fish or beast or bird,
While yet in lives the Master stirred,
The warm wind brings Kamakura.

Till drowsy eyelids seem to see
A-flower ‘neath her golden htee
The Shwe-Dagon flare easterly
From Burmah to Kamakura,

And down the loaded air there comes
The thunder of Thibetan drums,
And droned — “Om mane padme hums” –
A world’s-width from Kamakura.

Yet Brahmans rule Benares still,
Buddh-Gaya’s ruins pit the hill,
And beef-fed zealots threaten ill
To Buddha and Kamakura.

A tourist-show, a legend told,
A rusting bulk of bronze and gold,
So much, and scarce so much, ye hold
The meaning of Kamakura?

But when the morning prayer is prayed,
Think, ere ye pass to strife and trade,
Is God in human image made
No nearer than Kamakura?

– Rudyard Kipling

If you enjoyed this post, you may wish to check out some of my other posts about our visit to Tokyo including other locations in Kamakura and also the Tokyo Disneyland Resort.

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About The Sock Mistress

Slight fixation with socks. At last count, I had enough pairs of socks to last 14 weeks without having repeat a pair. IT geek by profession. Disney nut. 3rd world loan shark (http://Kiva.org ). Finds humour in the inappropriate. Holiday planner extraordinaire. Mum to doglets. Crazy Dachshund lady.

Discussion

9 thoughts on “Daibutsu – The Great Buddha – Kamakura, Japan

  1. How was it cast?

    Posted by a gray | March 22, 2015, 6:18 pm
  2. Some poking around turned up the following: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C5%8Dtoku-in. It seems that the statue has windows in its back.

    Posted by a gray | March 22, 2015, 7:40 pm
  3. Thank you for sharing. I loved the poem too. How skilled our ancient cousins.

    Posted by Kim Magennis | March 22, 2015, 11:41 pm
  4. Interesting statue !

    Posted by Natalie Davis | March 23, 2015, 2:15 am

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