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Buddha Hands
Buddha Laying
Buddha Sitting
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Buddha Walking
Buddha Mudras

Buddha Hand Position Meanings

The Meanings of Buddha Symbolic Hand Gestures - Buddha Hand Mudras in Iconography

The gestures and positions of the hands of a Buddha image or Mudras, have specific meanings in Buddhism that refer to particular events in the Lord Buddha's life or denote a special characteristic. There are six main, general hand gestures or positions of Buddha iconography recognised in Asia.

Buddha Hand Position - Dhyana Mudra - Both hands are in the lap with palms upward - Buddha Hand Position Meanings - The Meanings of Buddha Symbolic Hand Gestures - Buddha Hand Mudras in IconographyDhyana Mudra - This mudra signifies meditation.

Both hands are in the lap with palms upward. The right hand is on top of the left hand. The Buddha  statue is usually seated in the half-lotus posture , sometimes refereed to as the 'yoga' or 'Indian', Buddha posture.

Some Buddha images display the statue in the so-called adamantine, diamond, or full-lotus, posture with tightly crossed legs, so that the soles of both feet are visible.


Bhumisparsa Mudra - "Subduing Mara" - Buddha Hand Position Meanings - The Meanings of Buddha Symbolic Hand Gestures - Buddha Hand Mudras in IconographyBhumisparsha Mudra - "Subduing Mara" - Calling the Earth to Witness.

The left hand lies in the lap, palm upward. The right hand bends over the right knee, with fingers slightly touching the ground. This gesture symbolizes enlightenment, as well as steadfastness or imperturbability. It is easily the most common Buddha gesture in the wats we visited in Thailand.

During meditation, Prince Siddhartha as a Bodhisatwa is subjected to many temptations, many posed by the evil Mara, who taunts him with his demons , monsters, violent storms and his three seductive daughters. As a Bodhisatwa he remains steadfast. Then to testify to Mara of his meritorious past, he points to the earth with his hand and calls the Earth Goddess. Thorani, the Earth Goddess rises from the ground and wrings the water from her long black hair, by this action raising a torrential flood that drowns Mara and his army of demons.


Abhaya Mudra - Imparting Fearlessness or Reassurance - Buddha Hand Position Meanings - The Meanings of Buddha Symbolic Hand Gestures - Buddha Hand Mudras in IconographyAbhaya Mudra - Imparting Fearlessness or Reassurance.

This gesture is made with the hand raised and the palm facing outwards, fingers extended pointing upward. The wrist is bent at a right angle with the forearm.

The gesture is sometimes made with both hands.

Sometimes the Abhaya Mudra is made with one hand, while another Mudra (such as Varada Mudra) is made with the other hand.

The Buddha image may be shown either standing, sitting or even walking.




Vitarka Mudra - Teaching, Giving Instruction or Reasoning - Buddha Hand Position Meanings - The Meanings of Buddha Symbolic Hand Gestures - Buddha Hand Mudras in IconographyVitarka Mudra - Teaching, Giving Instruction or Reasoning.

The hand is usually held closer to the chest than in the Abhaya Mudra (see above).

The palm is facing outward. A circle is made with the index finger and the thumb. The other three fingers point upward.

Initially made with the right hand, later on the gesture is often portrayed with both hands.

A common gesture in Dvaravati Buddha images.

Sometimes also substituted for the Dharmachakra Mudra (see below)

The Vitarka Mudra can be made while in sitting or standing position but not walking.


Dharmachakra Mudra - Turning the Wheel of the Law in Motion - Buddha Hand Position Meanings - The Meanings of Buddha Symbolic Hand Gestures - Buddha Hand Mudras in IconographyDharmachakra Mudra - Turning the Wheel of the Law in Motion.

Same gesture with both hands as in Vitarka Mudra (see above). However the hands are generally held closer to the chest of the Buddha.

The fingers of the left hand rest against the palm of the right hand (as if turning the wheel, made by the index finger and thumb of the right hand).

The Dharmachakra Mudra signifies the teaching of the first sermon of the Buddha at the Deer Park (Mrigadawa), which was also called Rishi-patana.


Varada Mudra - Symbolizing Charity - Buddha Hand Position Meanings - The Meanings of Buddha Symbolic Hand Gestures - Buddha Hand Mudras in IconographyVarada Mudra - Symbolizing Charity.

The hand lowered with the palm facing outward is the gesture of bestowing blessings or of giving charity.

The hand is extended downward, palm out. Mostly on standing Buddha images, but sometimes also represented in the sitting position.


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The Buddhist Flag
First hoisted in 1885 in Sri Lanka, is a symbol of faith and peace used throughout the world to represent the Buddhist faith.

Buddhist Flag Picture - Buddhist Flag Colours - The Buddhist Flag Sri Lanka 1885

Buddhist Flag Meanings
Blue: Universal Compassion
Yellow: The Middle Path
Red: Blessings
White: Purity and Liberation
Orange: Wisdom


 

The Dharma Wheel

Spokes of the Dharmachakra - "The Dharma Wheel" Meaning - The Dharma Wheel Symbol - The Dharma Wheel Image - 8 spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya magga)

In Buddhism—according to the Pali Canon, Vinayapitaka, Khandhaka, Mahavagga, the number of spokes of the Dharmachakra represent various meanings:

8 spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path (Ariya magga).
12 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada).
24 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination and the Twelve Laws of Dependent Termination (Paticcasamuppada).
31 spokes representing 31 realms of existence (11 realms of desire, 16 realms of form and 4 realms of formlessness).


Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is a Japanese Buddhist chant based upon the Lotus Sutra. Nichiren Daishonin (Feb 16, 1222 – Oct 13, 1282) a Buddhist monk who lived during the Kamakura period (1185–1333) in Japan. Nichiren taught devotion to the Lotus Sutra, entitled Myōhō-Renge-Kyō in Japanese, as the exclusive means to attain enlightenment and the chanting of Nam-Myōhō-Renge-Kyō as the essential practice of the teaching. Various schools with diverging interpretations of Nichiren's teachings comprise Nichiren Buddhism.
Nam - To devote one's life
Myoho - Myo is the mystic nature of life and Ho, its manifestation
Renge - "Lotus Flower"; which symolises the ballance of cause and effect
Kyo - Sutra, the voice or teachings of Buddha (The sound or vibration that connects everything in the ubiverse)


As the Buddha had never claimed to be a god, it is evident that he never prescribed the form of worship that was to be rendered to him. A legend, however, attributes to him the institution of this form of worship

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