The world knows the symbolic hand gestures of the Buddha statue. It can be seen in many sculptures. Beyond this distinguished feature lies an even deeper symbolism.
His hands are often presented in a variety of mudras. Ancient non-verbal gestures with profound spiritual meaning originating from both Hinduism and Buddhism.
By learning about these sacred signs. Many gain insight into one more important aspect of Buddhist teaching.
Buddhists use mudras to connect with the wisdom and guidance of Sakyamuni or other Buddhas. Invoked during prayer rituals, mantras and recitations.
These symbolic gestures allow practitioners to tap into this spiritual energy. To deepen their understanding of Buddhism’s teachings.
What Is The Significance Of Hands?
The right hand, much like the active male principle it symbolizes. It is known to represent a focused and skilful method of action.
Similarly, holding an equally important position among symbols stands the left-hand. Revered for its wisdom and contemplation just as its spiritual female counterpart.
Iconic images portraying this concept are often seen with one arm. Confidently gesturing teachings or blessings while his other rests meditatively at lap level.
Hand Gestures Of The Buddha
Abhaya Mudra – No Fear
The Abhaya Mudra. Symbolizing assurance and protection from fear. It’s often seen depicted on statues of Buddha. It embodies the notion that we have nothing to be afraid of in our material lives.
The arm bent up towards shoulder level with palm outstretched outward. Fingers pointing upward promise security for all who confront life’s challenges.
Thai Buddhas often gesture with both palms facing upwards, a symbolic sign of peace known as the Abhaya Mudra. It is thought to originate from an ancient custom of cordially greeting strangers without threatening them.
Depictions in frescoes show the Buddha using this mudra against Devadatta, an attacking elephant; Amogasiddhi -or ‘the green’ Buddha- is well associated with it too!
Interestingly enough, following suit of its Eastern counterpart you can find similar examples in early Christian art where Christ’s ‘great hand’ does much the same thing: conveying reassurance and trustworthiness even amidst chaos or danger.
Varada Mudra – Gesture of Giving
Varada Mudra embodies the spirit of generosity and empathy. It is conveyed in majestic depictions of deities with an outstretched left arm. Extending its blessings to their worshipers.
This gesture not only signifies giving. But also expresses that it comes from a place of sincere compassion. Truly inheriting the virtue kindness!
The fourth and fifth centuries saw the rise of Avalokiteswara. A captivating figure marked with Varada Mudra. This mudra symbolizes an abundance of nectar flowing. From one open palm to nourish ancestral spirits (pretas).
In Buddhist iconography throughout Southeast Asia, deities are represented by this gesture. Offering wealth in the form of fruit or jewels held cupped within their right hands. A characteristic feature only found among Ratnasambhava’s representation.
How To Display Varada Mudra
Showing Varada Mudra is an ancient gesture. It invokes both the inner and outer realms of spirituality. It involves placing one’s right hand on their right knee, facing away from them with a flat palm.
This mudra can be done in any position. Seated, standing or walking. Pair it with another mudra for the other hand to make a powerful statement of intentionality.
The Medicine Buddha is a potent symbol of healing and compassion. He is often depicted making the gesture known as varada mudra. He clasps a sprig of myrobalan plant in his hand.
This medicinal herb was valued by ancient Indians for its curative properties. Treating everything from skin diseases to infections to eye ailments.
Even today it continues to be used all around the world. Testament to this holy figure’s power over suffering and pain through divine remedies.
Vitarka Mudra – Victorious Over Darkness
Buddha is a beacon of light and hope. To those seeking enlightenment through the Vitarka Mudra. His left or right palm pointing upward symbolizes peace and serenity.
While his downward-facing hand represents generosity towards others. With this comforting gesture. Darkness can be vanquished as understanding breaks through into insight.
The Vitarka mudra is a reminder of the importance of discussion. Learning and communication as essential tools in unlocking truth. It encourages knowledge-seeking to battle against obliviousness.
Invigorating us with understanding and enlightenment rather than letting ignorance consume our minds. With discourse it’s possible for everyone to unlock their potential. Leading them towards becoming followers of Buddha’s teachings!
How To Display Vitarka Mudra
Displaying Vitarka Mudra symbolizes the perfect balance of energy. It’s seen in Buddhist art. The circular shape formed by index finger and thumb represents a never-ending cycle.
While both palms are pointed outward. One aiming up, the other resting flat on lap – as if to showcase an alms bowl held within them.
This simple yet powerful gesture illustrates how even something small can be meaningful. When it comes to embodying spiritual ideals such as peace, kindness and compassion!
Dhyana Mudra – Meditation Mudra
For thousands of years, this silent gesture has held the power to open a path. Between one’s inner peace and their outward expression. By sitting in stillness, with palms facing upwards and fingers spread wide apart.
Hindu yogis have accessed an ancient wisdom. They use it to bring focus and healing into everyday life. It is said that when done correct. Right hand atop left.
Enlightenment awaits on one side. The illusionary nature of reality resides on the other. Both essential elements for skillful action within our lives.
The symbolic gesture of Dhyana mudra, with thumb tips touching to form a triangle. It represents the union between Buddhism’s Three Jewels – the Buddha, Sangha and Dharma.
It is more than an iconic symbol though. It also indicates harmony within each individual. Through its representation of male and female energies uniting together.
This potent hand-gesture has deep roots in Buddhist culture. Sakyamuni used this meditation technique before finding enlightenment beneath his sacred pipal tree. Samantabhadra and Amitabha Buddhas are often shown using the Dhyana mudra as well.
Dhyana Mudra With Alms Bowl
Before his enlightenment, a wealthy woman encountered the Buddha. He was meditating under the Bodhi tree. She believed he was divine. She made an offering of pure gold, an alms bowl filled with rice, and placed it in his right palm.
He was unmoved by her gifts. Instead, he divided each part of rice into pieces. That matched how many days remained until he was enlightened.
Then sent them out as blessings upon all creatures nearby. While returning its golden vessel back to whence it came. Flowing downstream within a river’s rushing waves.
Buddhist monks are often depicted holding alms bowls. A symbol of the renunciation of worldly goods and pleasures. The bowl is seen to represent having wealth replaced with knowledge.
It holds teachings on Dharma. They eclipse things that bring only temporary satisfaction, like fame or fortune.
Within Buddhism’s beliefs, this vessel stands for purifying one’s mind. It does so by letting go of greed, hatred, and illusion. In exchange, one gains three ‘nectars’ of life-changing wisdom.
Bhumisparsha Mudra – Touching the Earth
The Bhumisparsha Mudra, also called Touching the Earth. It stands as a symbol of strength and power. It has its roots in an epic story. This gesture is seen at Thai Buddhist shrines.
It commemorates when Buddha called upon Sthavara. The Goddess Earth responded by wringing her hair dry, which caused floods. The floods swept away Mara and his demon army.
It’s associated with Akshobya commonly known as ‘the blue buddha’. It is representing fearlessness and assurance even under distressful circumstances.
How To Display Bhumisparsha Mudra
The historical Buddha made a powerful gesture beneath the Bodhi tree. He touched the ground with his middle finger. He reclined in full lotus position.
This action signifies one of Buddhism’s most sacred practices–Bhumisparsha mudra. It summons Earth’s strength.
All it takes is for one arm to be extended over their knee. Palm inward and that single fingertip brushing against Mother Nature!
Shakyamuni Buddha holds an alms bowl in his left hand, forming the Bhumisparsha mudra. A gesture rarely seen from any other.
Seated atop a lotus flower, this revered posture brims with ancient significance. It symbolizes all that is sacred about him.
Dharmachakra Mudra – From the heart of the Buddha
The start of Buddhism began at Sarnath with Sakyamuni’s transcendental realization. To commemorate this momentous event, the Dharmachakra Mudra was created. The circular gesture conveys great power. It depicts both right action and wisdom.
Through looping tips of index fingersand thumbs together to form an inspiring circle. The Wheel was set in motion signifying harmony between body, mind and spirit. Laying foundation for one of the greatest world religions today.
The Dharmachakra mudra held by the Buddha symbolizes his teachings and audience. His right-hand fingers represent those who understand and realize his message. While the left hand signifies him, Dharma law, and Sangha. All emanating forth from within in true expression of love for humanity.
This treasured teaching gesture is honored among representatives including Maitreya, Dipankara Manjugosha. As well Indian Tibetan masters Atisha Tsongkhapa Asanga Sakyo Pandita alike.
Dharmachakra: Dharma Wheel Mudra
After achieving enlightenment, Buddha used his fingers to teach and spin the Dharmachakra. A divine wheel of righteousness. This powerful mudra involves touching both hands at chest level.
The thumbs and forefingers form a circle. He embodied the process by which his teachings spread far into the world beyond.
The circular motion symbolizes Dharma’s most important conceit. We are all connected in an eternal cycle. It brings wisdom higher than ourselves down for those who seek it out.
By performing the Dharma chakra mudra, with palms facing the heart representing enlightenment. A spinning wheel symbolizing motion and transformation.
You can bring an energy of fluidity to your home – as Buddha did when he began teaching after his own awakening.
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