mudras

By the word Mudra is meant a symbolic position of the hand. These positions of the hands, the Mudras, we see a lot in the Buddha statues and they all have their own name and explanation. The most common mundras are:

Dharmachakra mudra

This mudra is also called 'the preacher's gesture' and refers to the first time that Gautama Buddha, after he found enlightenment, preached his teachings with his companions. Because of this, this mudra symbolizes the setting in motion of 'the wheel of teaching', also called the 'Dharma wheel'. This wheel has eight spokes which are symbolic of the eightfold path of enlightenment.
Hand hold: Keep hands at chest level with thumbs towards chest. Let the fingertips of the index finger and thumbs touch, creating small circles on both hands. Then place the middle finger of the left hand against the place where the thumb and index finger of the right hand meet. The palm of the left hand now faces more inward and that of the right more outward. Leave the remaining fingers open from the hand.

popular-buddha-garden statues

Vitrka mudra

Is the teaching mudra, it is also widely portrayed as the discussing gesture. This is the mudra that Buddha used to reinforce his words during his discourses and discussions. This gesture has ensured that Buddha has been characterized as a teacher. It is the mudra of reasoning, teaching and discussion.
Hand pose: The right hand is raised with the palm facing out. The thumb and index finger are bent towards each other and touching, creating a circle. The gesture of the wheel of the leather.

 

Dhyana mudra

The mudra of meditation, concentration on the good teachings and of attaining spiritual perfection (rest). Buddha symbolizes the gesture of balance, inner meditation and tranquility. A Buddha statue with this mudra stands for more awareness, whereby the entire material world around us is forgotten. Sometimes Buddha holds an alms bowl in his hands or a jar with nectar, this is the god drink Amrita.
Hand Position: Both hands lie quietly closed in the lap, palms up, with the right hand on top.

Bhumisparsha mudra

The gesture of enlightenment. The moment Gautama Buddha almost reached enlightenment, there were evil forces that wanted to keep him from this enlightenment, Buddha touched the earth with his right hand to call it as a witness to the truth of his words. This posture refers to the moment Buddha attained enlightenment, calling upon the earth as a witness.
Hand Position: The right hand lies down with the palm turned inward, the left hand lies to the side (fingers pointing to the right) with the palm facing up.

 

Varad mudra

Represents the gesture of blessing, generosity, and favor. The gesture of the open hand is the symbol of 'the gift of truth' that Buddha offered to the world.
Hand Position: The right hand is down, fingers pointing down and palm up.

 

Abhaya-mudra

This is the gesture of blessing, reassurance and peace. Also often referred to as the reassuring gesture. This Buddha will keep the danger, evil and bad away from you.
Hand Position: The right hand is raised with the palm facing out. The left hand hangs down past the hips.

 

Namaskar mudra

This mudra is the gesture of greeting, prayer and worship. This mudra usually involves bowing and speaking the word namaste, which stands for 'I greet you'. This is a hand position that you will not find much in Buddha, but honored by monks and tempanons.
Hand position: Both hands are held in front of the forest with the palms and fingers together.

 

Shanti mudra

This is the mudra that stands for communication, peace and forgiveness. By crossing his hands in front of his chest, Buddha shows how he passes on forgiveness and peace to others.
Hand Position: Both hands are crossed on the chest with palms facing the body with fingers pointing upwards.

 

Besides the mudras, the symbolic hand postures, there are also several asanas, postures for the legs. With most Buddha images we see the padmasana, better known as the Lotus seat. The Buddha sits cross-legged, with each foot resting on a thigh bone. Buddha often sits on a single or double row of lotus leaves. The Buddha can also carry various attributes with him.