Four hundred years later in date and from the Indian city of Sarnath is the Buddha Preaching the First Sermon, c. 465-85. Though the Buddha actually lived on earth from 563 to 483 BC, there is nothing earthly about the divine body as represented in the sculpture.



Starting at the top, he has a bump on his head which symbolizes the extra cranial capacity needed to house the fallout from his enlightenment, jerry-curls relate to the Afro-Indian ethnicity, flower petal shaped eyes, long earlobes due to years of wearing large earrings, three folds or lines in his neck, a lion-shaped torso, webbed fingers, and webbed toes are noted. Other fantastic marks not represented are tattoos on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet and his asexuality. He is framed by a large halo with angels at the top left and right. Again, the sculptor wanted the audience to immediately recognize the divine nature of the being and so included as many fantastic elements as possible.

We must remember that in Buddhism, the goal is Nirvana. Practitioners of the religion want to break their cycle of reincarnation so that their souls may dissipate into the cosmic beyond. The historical Buddha reached Nirvana, so it would also have been disrespectful to represent him still tied to the naked sufferings of life on earth.