SummaryIn the Marinelli chair, a geometry widely used in whole body counting, the lower part of the leg is seen quite inefficiently by the detector. The present paper describes an attempt to modify the standard chair geometry to minimise this limitation. The subject sits crossed-legged in the “Buddha Posture” in the standard chair. Studies with humanoid phantoms and a volunteer sitting in the Buddha posture show that this modification brings marked improvement over the Marinelli chair both from the point of view of sensitivity and uniformity of spatial response.
Key locations identified with the lives of important religious founders have often been extensively remodelled in later periods, entraining the destruction of many of the earlier remains. Recent UNESCO-sponsored work at the major Buddhist centre of Lumbini in Nepal has sought to overcome these limitations, providing direct archaeological evidence of the nature of an early Buddhist shrine and a secure chronology. The excavations revealed a sequence of early structures preceding the major rebuilding by Asoka during the third century BC. The sequence of durable brick architecture supplanting non-durable timber was foreseen by British prehistorian Stuart Piggott when he was stationed in India over 70 years ago. Lumbini provides a rare and valuable insight into the structure and character of the earliest Buddhist shrines.
Mani, the Sacred Jewel (Shansi in Chinese; Shinshi in Japanese) is that one of the Sapta Rapta (Seven Treasures) which is the emblematic symbol of the Buddha and his doctrine. Defined as a supernatural pearl, spherical, self-luminous, and of unfading lustre, it sheds a brilliant light on all its surroundings and is therefore an appropriate simile for the Enlightenment which Buddhists seek. In the Iconography of the Far East this fabulous gem is an attribute of several persons in the Ruddhist hierarchy; the principal one being K'shitigarhba (Chin: Ti Sang, Jap: Jizo Bosatsu) who is the Bodhisattva of Compassionate Help in the same way that Avalokitesvara (Chin: Kwanyin, Jap: Kwannon) is the Bodhisattva of Mercy. The latter may at times be shown as a holder of the Jewel—see for an example, the well-known Yumadono Kwannon of Horiuji (1)—but more often her chosen attribute is a slender vase. One of the sixteen Arhats (Chin: Lohan, Jap: Rakan) is also represented holding the Sacred Jewel in his hand. This is Panthaka, the tenth on the list, whose constant companion is a Dragon—the divinely appointed guardian of the Gem. Sometimes a Dragon alone holds the Gem in his claw: sometimes the Gem appears in solitary splendour with two Dragons in the role of heraldic supporters on either side. The illusion that they are fighting for it (like the Lion and Unicorn) is due to the querulous expression Dragons habitually wear, and not necessarily to rivalry.