Article by Tsem Rinpoche.
A curious, yet ethereal photograph of Lord Buddha has been in circulation for quite some time. Supposedly a photograph taken of Siddhartha Gautama, also known as Buddha Shakyamuni, it raises a lot more questions than answers. According to rumours, the photograph was taken by a devotee visiting the holy site of Bodhgaya. After taking a seemingly normal photograph of the Bodhi tree, under which the ancient Prince Siddhartha Gautama meditated and gained full enlightenment, the likeness of the Buddha appeared once the photograph was developed.
The figure that appeared is of a young man in meditative lotus posture, with large hands, meditator’s top knot, and large ears, said to be representative of the Buddha hearing the sounds of the world, especially the cries of sentient beings suffering under the influence of their heavy negative karma. The figure also appears with a very handsome face, including large eye lashes and full lips.
Appearing again and again over the course of the years, the photograph has been featured on the front page of a national newspaper in Sri Lanka, and a copy even hangs at a Theravadan monastery and nunnery, named the Bhavana Society, in West Virginia, USA.
Obviously, the devotee who supposedly took the photograph was not actually present during the time that Buddha Shakyamuni lived, therefore the photograph could have been the result of some form of paranormal occurrence. Could this have been the result of the immense energies that were left at the sacred site of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment? Was the devotee’s camera able to capture these energies and somehow show us what Buddha Shakyamuni actually looked like?