Enquiring the Two Transcendent Buddha Statues of Cham Art Belonging to the Vijaya Period in the 11th - 13th Centuries

University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vietnam National University, Vietnam

Although the stone sitting Buddha statue from Thủ Thiện temple has been documented by French scholars since the early 20th century, the Buddha figure currently on display at the Đà Nẵng Museum of Cham Sculpture remains a mystery in the Cham Buddhist art in the 11th to 13th. In addition, the other stone Buddha statue in meditation position, this masterpiece is also a challenge for the modern Cham Buddhist art historians currently, on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Hồ Chí Minh City (HCMC). This paper will discuss that the Thủ Thiện’s Buddha image is Amoghasiddhi based on his hand gesture in abhaya-mudra (gesture of fearlessness); while the latter is Vairocana with his hand gesture in bodhiyagri-mudra (the fist of wisdom) which on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in HCMC. These two transcendent Buddhas may lead to an assumption that Esoteric Buddhism was once practiced in the Champa kingdom during the Vijaya art period in the 11th to 13th centuries. It may also indicate the cultural relationships between Champa and the other Buddhist states during the time of Esoteric Buddhism spreading throughout the entire Asian region.