Who was Buddha?
Buddha (“The Enlightened One”) was born into the Shakya clan and lived in a small Nepalese kingdom, Terai, between 563 and 483 BC. Buddha was a prince, a warrior, a spiritual leader, and teacher, whose life represents the foundation of the Buddhist religion.
Born into a rich family, the child who seemed to manifest out of the ordinary qualities receives the name of Siddhartha. As a young man, he abandoned his privileged life to become a monk and chose the “Middle Way”, which will make him understand that everything is illusory and evanescent, and to discover a method which can free the human being from all passions and illusions that cause suffering.
This is his Awakening and from this moment on, he fully deserves the title of Buddha “The Awakened” (from the Sanskrit root BUDH, to awaken).
The significance of each Buddha Statue can be easily deciphered only by looking at the posture and the hand gestures. Each pose has a different spiritual meaning, commemorating an important event from Buddha’s life.
There are over one hundred poses (called Asana or Attitudes) illustrating his life and each pose has a distinctive hand gesture (Mudra). The venerated relics representing Buddha can be found at many Buddhist temples all over the world.
Protection Buddha Statue – it signifies courage and offers protection against fear, deception, and rage.
This seated Buddha Statue with the right hand raised and facing outwards has two meanings:
Protection Buddha – the raised right hand has the symbolical significance of a shield, illustrating fearlessness while facing reality.
Overcoming Fear – according to Buddhism, fear is at the very root of samsara, and it restricts our lives. By gaining protection, we become less fearful.
Meditation Buddha Statue – it signifies serenity, calm, deep concentration, and unity with higher energy.
The statue of Meditation Buddha (Serene Buddha, Calming Buddha) illustrates a state of peacefulness, perfect balance of thinking and the rest of the senses and it is an ideal statue of Buddha for everyone seeking a tranquil life.
Earth Touching Buddha
It signifies the moment of enlightenment in Buddha’s life, representing unshaken strength and the truth of his commitment to liberation.
Calling The Earth to Witness or Bhumisparsha mudra is one of the most representative images of Buddhism. The statue illustrates the historical Shakyamuni Buddha seated with his right hand over the right knee, reaching toward the ground with the palm inward, and the left hand with the palm upright in his lap. The gesture reflects Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as a witness of his enlightenment.
Nirvana Buddha or Reclining/Sleeping Buddha
It signifies tranquility achieved through liberation from the cycle of life and death (known as samsara).
The statue depicts a serene and composed Buddha in the final moments of his life, prior to entering Nirvana.
Each position of his right hand has a different significance. The right hand supporting the head signifies that Buddha is resting, while the right hand placed next to the body signifies that Buddha has entered Nirvana.
The reclining position also depicts Buddha with his right arm folded against his chest. This pose illustrates the moment Buddha revealed his imminent passing and preached the last sermon to his disciples.
Medicine Buddha – it signifies the healing of physical and spiritual sickness.
The statue is typically depicted seated, with a Lapis Lazuli colored jar of medicine nectar or herbs in his left hand and the right hand resting on his right knee and it is often portrayed as having blue skin.
The Medicine Buddha is also called the Blue Buddha or Healing Buddha who made twelve great vows upon attaining enlightenment. The legend says that Buddha transformed himself into a radiant blue light during a great gathering of people and taught the knowledge of healing and medicine.
Contemplation Buddha – it signifies determination and understanding.
The Buddha stands with both arms flat against the chest, palms in, and right hand on top of the left. This pose or mudra is also called Vajrapradana and it signifies confidence in oneself. It increases spiritual confidence and promotes humility.
Buddha Head Statues
They are symbolic and spiritual illustrations of Buddha’s wisdom and knowledge. Although there are many styles of Buddha Head Statues throughout different regions, the main significance is the same. The statues incorporate symbols, used as a method of transmitting Buddha’s knowledge and teachings before the development or use of writing.
It signifies wisdom, knowledge and understanding the self in the journey of life.
Known as the Dharmachakra Mudra, or the teaching Buddha, this statue it is a symbol of true enlightenment with no attachments to the material world.
The statue depicts Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment. The posture illustrates Buddha with both hands at his chest and the circle formed by the thumb and index finger illustrates the constant flow of energy.
It signifies grace and inner beauty.
This statue is exclusive to the Sukhothai period of Thai art and the image stands out through its grandeur and graceful appearance and it depicts the moment when Buddha returned to earth after delivering a sermon on the Dharma in Heaven.
Alms Collecting Buddha – it signifies compassion and care
The statues, also known as Begging Buddha, depict the Buddha peacefully standing on a lotus base holding an alms bowl. Alms bowls are used by monks to collect offerings from Buddhists who wish to gain merit (good karma).
Repelling the Ocean or Stopping the Relatives from Fighting
It signifies protection, lack of fear, and strength.
According to some legends, the Buddha used this pose to stop the water from flooding.
Sitting Buddha Statues
In most cases, Buddha is illustrated as sitting with his legs crossed, forming a triangle shape, which signifies a more solid base.
There are two positions for crossed legs: Single Lotus Position (“hero posture” or “Virasana”) and Double Lotus Position (“diamond posture”, “adamantine pose” or “Vajrasana”). There are also other postures of Buddha: Maitreya Buddha – where Buddha sits in a chair Western style, or standing postures of Buddha (Walking Buddha statue).
Why are Buddha’s ears so long?
The unusually long ears and elongated earlobes of Buddha statues are not only a stylistic or artistic choice but a powerful symbol in Buddhist art.
One explanation could be that Buddha lived in a society where it was traditionally for the men to show their social status, wealth, and fortune on their ears by wearing heavy jewelry made of precious metals and stones, which might have resulted in the extension of the earlobes.
In oriental Buddhism and eastern Asia, long ears are considered to be propitious and a symbol of wisdom and compassion, which might be another explanation since Buddha is the enlightened, the compassionate one. This symbolism can also be a reminder for all Buddhists to follow the compassionate nature of Buddha.
Are Buddha Statues lucky?
Definitely! Buddha Statues are very lucky, this is why we highly recommend you to get one! Just keep in mind to pick a Laughing Buddha Statue and not a historical Buddha.
In the West, the image of Laughing Buddha is often mistaken for that of Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha, the latter having a completely different significance and benefits when placed in your home, garden or at work. To avoid confusions between the two Buddha Statues, the Laughing Buddha is also called the Fat Buddha.
The Laughing Buddha is known in China as Ho Tai, Budai or the Chinese Buddha and is a deity cherished all over the world. The Happy Buddha statue is a common sight in many homes, restaurants, banks and other business places because he is considered a symbol of happiness and abundance.
He is depicted as wearing a robe, with prayer beads often hanging around his neck. He is bald and has a big fat tummy and he is almost always shown smiling or laughing.
Historically, Budai was an eccentric Chan monk, who lived in China. He always carries a bag full of candies, which he gave out to children who loved him for his jovial attitude.
When placing a Laughing Buddha Statue at home or work, a good idea is to choose a bigger statue. The Happy Buddha loves when his tummy is rubbed and it would be difficult to do so with a small statue. By rubbing his fat tummy you will gain wealth and prosperity.
Also, the Japanese and Thai Buddha Statues are very appreciated and beneficial all over the world.
Apart from their remarkable high-quality craftsmanship that could ornate any home or garden, the Japanese Buddha Statues can be a thoughtful gift for friends and family and are often used by the Japanese to mourn infant loss.
Authentic Thai Buddha Statues are some of the most sought Antique Buddha statues in the whole world. They are popular for the serene facial structure of the Buddha.
Buddha Statues from different materials: the market offers a large variety of Buddha statues, including stone, wood, porcelain, bronze, gold or jade.
Where to Place Your Buddha Statue
The Buddha Statue should never be placed on the ground inside the house. The altar table can be set by stacking small tables upon each other in order to obtain multiple levels where you can place many different statues.
Pooja Room is a separate room for prayer and meditation, which can also be used to study the Dharma or to contemplate. The room can be decorated with different objects, such as fresh flowers, as well as an area for burning candles and incense, which can be used for making offerings and worshipping the Buddha statue.
Buddha Statue Placement in an Apartment
In case of scarce space, a good idea is to set a small shelf high on a wall, perfect for a small Buddha statue. The general rule is to place the main Buddha illustration above all others. The best location for a statue is the place where it can help you the most become aware and compassionate.
Another method for finding out where to place your Buddha statues is Feng Shui. The Flying Stars are coming to our aid!
In 2018, as a remedy for the Illness Star, place a Medicine Buddha Statue in the western side of the living room or bedroom to gain peace and relaxation or a Happy Laughing Buddha with Wu Lou Money Bag for joy, wealth, good health, and happiness.
To counteract the influence of Bad Luck Star and Flying star 3 – The Quarrelsome Star, place in the north side of the house a beautiful Golden Happy Buddha to help you find love and enjoy happiness, longevity & wealth.
The Prosperity Luck Star will gift us with positive energy if we place a Happy Buddha on Money Frog in the southeast, which will bring us warmth, joy, and wealth.
A Happy Buddha holding Ingot Statue displayed on the east side of the living room will help us counteract the influence of the Robbery Star.
Buddha Statue Placement in a Garden
A Buddha Statue that welcomes you every time you come or leave your home, surrounded by beautiful greenery, adds a charming element of Feng Shui.
Garden Buddha Statues should always face your home to bestow great affluence. You should also avoid putting a Buddha statue on the ground, which is deemed as disrespectful.
A solid slab of rock or marble is best for your Outdoor Buddha Statue to sit on.
A large Buddha Garden Statue will be unique in appearance and will set the perfect atmosphere for meditation and relaxation.
Where not to Place a Buddha Statue
The location of any Buddha statue should always be a place of reverence, which means a position above eye level, to avoid looking down on them.
Regardless of the place you intend to set the Buddha statues, in the house or garden, there are few rules that should be followed.
Avoid placing the Buddha statue in the bathroom, kitchen or any other inappropriate place.
Never place a Buddha statue where someone can point at it with their feet or fingers.
Never place objects taller or larger than the Buddha statue close by, such as the refrigerator, wardrobe etc.
Buddha Statues should be placed away from objects of daily use such as towels, rags, handkerchiefs, napkins, cleaning item etc.
Avoid placing the Buddha statue in the bathroom, kitchen or any other inappropriate place.