Buddha Posture - What are Mudras?
Mudras are fixed ritualistic gestures and poses that are used in Buddhism and Hinduism, reflecting their common Indian heritage.
All statues of the Buddha
represent him performing one of these mudras. Many of the mudras are depicted
through simple hand gestures, but others are full-body poses.
The five most common mudras are:
Abhaya Mudra (absence of fear), where the right hand raised and palm facing out, with the left hand down toward the hips and also facing out, symbolizing peaceful intentions and peacemaking. Right hand raised is also called "calming animals"; both hands raised is also called "forbidding the relatives". These mudra are usually associated with a standing Buddha, but seated representations are not uncommon;
Bhumisparsha mudra (touching the earth), where all five fingers of the right hand reaching to touch the ground (not always literally), symbolizing the enlightenment of the Buddha under the Bodhi tree;
Dhyana mudra (meditation), where one or both hands in the lap, symbolizing wisdom, possibly supplemented by ritual objects such as an alms bowl. It shows that the Buddha is disciplining his mind through mental concentration, a necessary step to achieving enlightenment;
Dharmachakra mudra (setting the wheel in motion), the hands are held in front of the chest, where the thumb and index finger of both hands touch at their tips to form a circle, symbolizing the Wheel of Dharma. This is a less common mudra since it refers to a particular episode in the Buddha's life: his first sermon, when he "set the wheel (of his life's work) in motion." It can be used for both seated and standing images;
Varada mudra (charity), the right arm is shown pendent (extended downwards), with the open palm turned to the front and the fingers extended. This mudra is usually associated with a standing Buddha. This position can signify either that the Buddha is granting or receiving charitable offerings, sometimes where both hands at waist level, palms out, right hand up and left hand down.
There are mudras beyond the basic five, and some of them are unique to regional or national forms of Buddhist art.
The Reclining Buddha, the most famous example of which is at Wat Pho in Bangkok, is depicted with the left arm laying along the body, while the right arm serves as a pillow with the hand supporting the head.
A regional mudra in Thailand particularly is:
Vitarka mudra (reasoning and exposition): the arm and hand are positioned in the same manner as in the Abhaya Mudra, except that the thumb and forefinger are brought together. The gesture can be made with either the right or left hand (usually the right), but not both. This mudra signifies an appeal to reason, or the giving of instruction. Since the Buddha is appealing to reason, the gesture is often interpreted as an appeal for peace.
Buddhist Flag Meanings
The Dharma Wheel
In Buddhism—according to the Pali Canon, Vinayapitaka, Khandhaka,
Mahavagga, the number of spokes of the Dharmachakra represent
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