The Legend of the Earth Goddess and the Buddha

Paisarn Leekhitpreechakul


A piece of Buddhist iconography which is widely found throughout mainland Southeast Asia is the Earth deity wringing out her hair to drown Māra and his army at the time of the Buddha’s enlightenment. This feature of the enlightenment story, however, is not found in the Tipitaka. The author offers an interpretation of the iconography as an allegorical visualization of the Buddha’s way to attain enlightenment.

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