Buddha Mudra & Gestures Meaning

Abhaya Mudra:abhaya

  • Right hand raised to shoulder height, the arm bent and the palm facing outward with the fingers upright and joined and the left hand hanging down.
  • Raised Right Hand: Gesture of fearlessness” represents protection, peace, benevolence and the dispelling of fear.
  • Left hand: The second meaning, Overcoming Fear, is closely related to the first (since one who is receiving protection would be less fearful).
  • Can be sitting or standing

Dhyana Mudra:screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-34-24-pm

  • Meditating Buddha
  • In this the Buddha is depicted with both hands in the lap, face up, and the legs are crossed, either in a Double Lotus pose (with the ankles of each leg tucked behind one another in a locked position), or in a Single Lotus pose (where one leg rests on top of the other leg).
  • This pose is also known as the Amithabha Buddha, which means “Boundless Light.”

Bhūmisparśa Mudrāscreen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-34-32-pm

  • Calling The Earth To Witness / Earth Touching Buddha
  • It depicts the Buddha sitting in meditation with his left hand, palm upright, in his lap, and his right hand touching the earth.
  • Palm is folded inside.
  • It represents the Buddha asking Prithvi, the devi of the earth, that she witnessed his enlightenment.
  • It is the story of how the Buddha, after six years, finally was at the verge of enlightenment. Unfortunately Mara, the Demon of Illusion, tried to dissuade The Buddha from the final last steps. The Buddha meditated all night to overcome the fears and temptations sent by Mara, and then called the Earth Goddess to witness that the Buddha achieved enlightenment in order to share with the rest of the world. Witnessing that, the Earth Goddess wrung her hair, releasing flood waters that swept away the Demon Mara and all the temptresses he had released.

The Nirvana Buddha / Reclining Buddhascreen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-36-24-pm

  • This statue depicts the Historical Buddha in the last moments of life on earth, prior to the Buddha dying one last time before entering Nirvana (often written in English as ParaNirvana when referring to the life of The Buddha).
  • It is said that an alms giver had accidentally given the Buddha pork that had gone bad, and this eventually led to the death of the Buddha.

Medicine Buddha/ Varada Mudrascreen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-36-30-pm

  • The Medicine Buddha is depicted in paintings having blue skin.
  • But whether shown in statue or painted form, the right hand is held facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing outward toward the viewer, a bowl of herbs rests in the left hand upon the lap.
  • Gesture of charity compassion

Vitarka Mudrascreen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-36-36-pm

  • This statue signifies wisdom, understanding, and fulfilling destiny.
  • Both hands are held at chest level, with thumb and index fingers forming a circle.
  • The right hand is turned palm in, while the left hand is turned palm out.

Teaching Buddha / Dharmachakra Mudra

  • screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-36-43-pmMeaning:The gesture symbolises ‘Turning the Wheel of the Dharma or Law’
  • Hand(s)position: This Mudra involves both hands. The right hand is held at chest level with palm facing outwards. A mystic circle is formed by joining the tips of index finger and the thumb. Left hand is turned inward and the index finger and thumb of this hand join to touch the right hand circle.
  • Depicts a particular moment in the life of the Buddha, namely, the first sermon(deer park sarnath) the Buddha gave after reaching Enlightenment. This sermon was to a small group of disciples who had previously scorned the Buddha.

Walking Buddha / Sukhothai Buddhascreen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-36-50-pm

  • Left hand raised, facing outward, right hand dangles along left side of body.
  • Standing with right foot behind, starting to raise off the ground.

Contemplation Buddha

  • In this pose, Both arms of the Buddha lie flat against the chest, the palms of both hands facing in, with right arm on outside of left arm.
  • The Contemplation Buddha signifies quiet determination and patient understanding.

Alms Bowl Buddha

  • Arms bent at elbows, holding an alms bowl at chest level. This statue signifies compassion and caring for all beings.
  • Contrary to what many think, monks (and the Buddha) did NOT beg for food. Instead, they collected alms.

Repelling The Ocean / Preventing the Relatives From Fightingscreen-shot-2016-10-01-at-11-37-12-pm

  • This statue has two meanings based on two different stories.
  • The first Repelling The Ocean: comes from a story when the Buddha visited Bihar state in India. A hermit unleashed a wall of water hoping to cause a flood, but the Buddha used the power generated from meditating to stop the water from flooding the area.
  • The 2nd: Forbidding The Relatives from Fighting: is related to a period in the life of the Buddha where relatives of his father had an argument with relatives of the Buddha’s mother over water, as one of the rivers that both sets of relatives normally depended on was starting to run dry.

Hand Gestures of Buddha Meaning:   

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