An Analytical Study of Buddhist Principles from the Buddha’s Footprints

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Ms. Jutarat Tonginjan

Abstract

This dissertation has three objectives: (1) to interpret the 108 auspicious signs on the Buddha’s footprints in Theravada Buddhism, (2) to analyze the Buddhist principles on the Buddha’s footprints, and (3) to integrate proper acknowledges that related to the symbolic pictures and the Buddhist principles from the Buddha’s footprints in daily lives of Buddhists at the present time.


Its research methodology is a qualitative research by using a survey concept of the Buddha’s footprints in Theravada Buddhism, study and interpret the 108 auspicious signs on the Buddha’s footprints, analyze the meanings of the Buddha’s footprints that related to the principles of Buddhism and integrate the proper acknowledges for application in daily lives and the meditation practice. Research methods consisted of: 1) study all documents from the Tipiṭaka and their commentaries, 2) study folk’s legends and faiths about it from various documents in Thailand, 3) interview scholars who are expert in hermeneutic the Buddha’s footprints, 4) collect data and analyze the data following up the fixed contents, and 5) present it to advisor, supervisor committee, and publicize to people in the future.         


From the research, it was found that there were two kinds of footprint: 1) the footprints which Buddha imprinted by himself, 2) the footprints which were created by Buddhists in each era from the past until the present. The concept of creation of the Buddha’s footprints has twofold: (1) the relationship between human beings and universe and (2) the relationship between human beings and sacred places.  In terms of the relationship between human beings and universe, they created the Buddha’s footprints as center of universe by drawing 108 auspicious pictures on the Buddha’s footprint. For the relationship between human beings and sacred places, they imprinted the Buddha’s footprints on the hill rocks which were determined as the sacred place of community. The 108 auspicious signs on the Buddha’s footprint were the symbolic pictures to explain the three states: Ti-bhūmi, or three states, the Buddha’s characteristics and his teachings. The Buddhist principles from the Buddha’s footprint comprised of: the 3 ñāṇa, the 4 Jhānas, the 4 Brahmavihāras, the 5 Sīla, the 5 Vesarajjañāṇa, the 7 Bojjhańga, the 7 Viññāṇahiti, the 7 Ariya-dhana, The 8 Loka-dhamma, the 9 Lokuttara-dhamma, the 10 Akusala-dhamma, and the 16 ñāṇa. In terms of the integration the proper acknowledges that related to the symbolic pictures and the Buddhist principles from the Buddha’s footprint in daily lives of Thai Buddhists, they can be integrated in both of daily lives and the meditation practice to attain the ultimate goals in Buddhism by studying the meanings, kinds, steps of practicing and practice them with the proper methods in their states by themselves.

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บทความวิจัย