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Meaning of Buddha Images

Posted by on Jun 1st, 2007
Filed Under: Special

Nearly every Malaysia Buddha image is made in one of these postures which one can easily be identified by the position of the hands. Each of these positions can be associated with a moment in the Buddha’s life that has an important lesson.

Dispelling Fear
The Buddha hand is raised with the palm facing outwards and fingers extended in a universal gesture of protection, benevolence, and peace.

The Buddha hand is raised with the palm facing outwards and index finger forming a circle with the thumb.

Teaching the First Sermon
Both of the Buddha hands are together at the chest with fingers on one hand forming a circle representing the “wheel of law” and the other touches the wheel to set it in motion which symbolizes the beginning of Buddhist teaching.

Both the Buddha Hands are resting together on the lap. This gesture represents the perfect balance of thought and tranquility.

Calling the Earth to Witness
With both palms inwards, the right hand of the Buddha touches the ground and “calls the earth to witness” the Buddha’s enlightenment. This gesture represents the unshakable faith and resolution and is the most common posture.

Wat Chayamangkalaram PenangPassage to Nirvana
The reclining Buddha representing the Buddha’s death. This posture represents the complete peace and detachment from the world. You can find this at Wat Chayamangkalaram, Penang

Offering or Wish Granting
Hand points down with palm facing out. This gesture represents the offering of Buddhist teaching to the world. Sometimes the teaching, and its benefit, is symbolically represented by a small piece of medicinal myroloban fruit.

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One Response »

  1. Could you explain this hand postion for me? I found a wooden statue today. It is of a woman (India? Budha?) wearing a crown. Sitting in Lotus position. Hands clasped together at the chest…right hand facing up and sideways with fingers in circle…left hand facing down and sideways…lower palm of each hand touching …fingers of right hand straight up and the left hand straight down with the “ok” sign in the middle. Sitting on a pedestal possibly lotus petals. I do not know much about this and have searched the internet. Have not found one example of hands in this clasped postion with each hand facing opposite with circle in between. Thank you for any information you may be able to offer.