The word Buddha comes from Sanskrit and means “the one who has awakened to the truth”. The name Buddha was given to Siddhārtha Gautama as a honorific term after he has reached Nirvana. The way Buddha is depicted in ancient statues symbolizes key moments of his life.
Every hand gesture and pose of Buddha has a different meaning and if you are interested in buying antique Buddha statues, recognising these meanings can help you make a more educated purchase.
This statue signifies wisdom, understanding, and fulfilling one’s 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.
This pose represents the first sermon of Buddha after reaching Enlightenment. This sermon was to a small group of disciples who had previously scorned the Buddha. This is a statue that is particularly appropriate for those who are either studying or are interested in learning more.
Sold by Bruun Rasmussen, the Buddha statue on the left is a Teaching Buddha, seated in dhyanasana on a double lotus throne, dressed in monk’s robe with richly decorated borders engraved with flowers and foliage, hair with remains of blue colour.
This depiction of a seated Buddha with the right hand raised and facing outwards has two aspects to it. The first is protection, as the Buddha is shielding us from harm. The second is overcoming fear.
This statue signifies courage and offers protection from fear, delusion and anger. Since the hand held up at the chest also makes a Vitarka mudra, it has another aspect to it. The circle the index finger and thumb make signifies the wheel of law and this specific mudra symbolizes intellectual arguement and discussion.
Calling The Earth To Witness / Earth Touching Buddha
One of the most common poses found in temples in the earth-touching Buddha. This pose is with the legs crossed, the left hand in the lap, and the right hand pointing to the ground with the palm facing inward. This posture is known as Calling The Earth to Witness, and it symbolizes the moment of enlightenment for the Buddha.
After 6 years of meditation under the bodhi tree, Siddhārtha Gautama was finally on the verge of enlightenment. However, Mara, the Demon of Illusion tried to divert him from the final steps. Buddha meditated all night to overcome the fears and temptations created by Mara and when he finally reached enlightenment, he called on the Earth Goddess to witness it and share with the rest of the world.
The mudra also symbolizes the union of skillful means (upaya) by the right hand touching the earth, and wisdom (prajna) by the left hand on the lap in a meditation position.