Wednesday, December 24, 2008

"Photograph" of the Buddha?

In Search Of (Part I) Spirit Photography?

There exists a curious image of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. It was reputedly taken or at least discovered in Bodhgaya, India, in 1980. A devotee, it is said, was photographing the site of Shakyamuni's ("Sage of the Shakyas") great enlightenment under the Bodhi tree. The image, not seen at the time of photographing, subsequently appeared on the film.

It is an image of a very comely young meditator with a top knot, robe, and almost cosmetic details. The photograph has not been widely circulated. It may inspire the faithful or arouse doubt. One copy hangs at the Bhavana Society, a Theravadan monastery/nunnery in West Virginia, for all to see.

Photos taken in Bodh Gaya showed this image when developed.

How would a recent "photograph" of an ancient figure be possible? Leonard Nimoy offers a fascinating explanation of the phenomenon.

In Search Of (Part II) Deva Hoax in England?

In Search Of (Part III) Man makes photographs with his mind in controlled experiments


Nyanatusita said...

The “curious image of the historical Buddha” that “subsequently appeared on the film” is a touched up photograph of the Buddha on the oil canvas painting called “Buddha's Temptations” by the Spanish artist Eduardo Chicharro Aguera (1873 - 1949) finished in 1921, and now in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, see

Anonymous said...

Many thanks for the links Nyanatusita. That was a much awaited clarification. I first saw the photo as a 13 year old kid in a cover photo of a national news paper in Sri Lanka. And thought it to be a miracle, but then later realised, there should be rational explanation, Buddha himself would not want us to buy into to such a thing. It is a wonderful painting by the way, I think the artist has represented the greatness of that moment very well.