Notes on the Geography of Peninsular India: Sanchi: Photo 6
The upper architrave illustrates the Chhaddanta jataka, a story about a bodhisattva born as a 6-tusked elephant who, from pity, allows a hunter to saw off his tusks. The middle one shows the Buddha's moment of enlightenment; it's one of the four key episodes--birth, enlightenment, first sermon, and death--in the life of the Buddha. The Buddha appears as a Bodhi tree, the tree where the Buddha found enlightenment. He faces the general of the demon Mara's army; on the right are furious demons. Note that there are no images of the Buddha anywhere on the stupa: until a later period, he was always represented by symbols such as the Bodhi tree or the wheel of the law.
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