Day: 2013-08-23

Seated Buddha with Swastika, Panjiayuan Market

I’ve thought a lot about this image since I took it six years ago at the Panjiayuan Market.

I knew before coming to China that the Nazi party had adapted/adopted the Swastika for their needs, but had never before seen one out of that context. This was my first exposure. (My second came in Taiwan when I saw some temples emblazoned  with it.)

In editing the photo today, I though about whether I should leave it in color, or really crop-in tightly on the statue of the Buddha. I decided to go with black and white, and stay with pretty much how I shot it, since I thought the context was important… just a piece amongst other pieces at the market for sale.

After a lot of searching, I found this page on the difference between the various swastikas:

The swastika sign (卐) – a symbol of Buddhism or Nazism?

I found this quote on the page referenced above:

Mind is the forerunner of (all evil) states. Mind is chief; mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with wicked mind, because of that suffering follows one, even as the wheel follows the hoofs of the draught-ox.

Mind is the forerunner of (all good) states. Mind is chief, mind-made are they. If one speaks or acts with pure mind, because of that, happiness follows one, even as one’s shadow that never leaves.

The Twin Verses, Dhammapada