The Image Of Buddha
Miniature Figurines & 'the Buddha'
What a miniature statue can mean for the Buddhaâ€™s followers. What the Buddha means to them.
This statuette is a device to pay respect to the Buddha
This is a statue of Siddhartha Gautama. Siddhartha Gautama became the enlightened one, the Buddha was his title. He isnâ€™t the only Buddha, just the latest one to date.
In about the sixth century B.C. Siddhartha Gautama was born into a royal family. When he was a young adult his experiences with the outside world drove him to seek out a greater understanding of life and spiritual fulfilment. Through seeking guidance and meditation, Siddhartha achieved Enlightenment. For the rest of his life, the Buddha travelled great distances teaching people about one path to salvation. After the Buddhaâ€™s death, his pupils continued to spread his teachings.
Letâ€™s take a step back.
â€œHow can I enjoy a life of pleasure when there is so much suffering in the world?â€? - Siddhartha Gautama
Buddhism is not learning about strange beliefs from faraway lands. It is about looking at and thinking about our own lives. It shows us how to understand ourselves and how to cope with our daily problems.
Buddhism is a path (which is not necessarily incompatible with other spiritual paths) to a good life, here and now. Buddha himself gave us five basic objectives to strive for, which, if you can attain them, will make you a good Buddhist, and more importantly, a good person.
The five precepts are basic rules for training to be a good person. Buddhists are always in training, so they know that they will not always reach their goals. The precepts are not expressed as something you have to do, but as something you are trying to do.
The Five Precepts I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures. I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given. I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual misconduct. I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech. I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
Buddhism: Where? Buddism was developed in India at a time when Hinduism, the most widespread religion in India, had become tightly controlled by priests and the upper classes. Buddhism offered hope and access to spiritual understanding and satisfaction to ordinary people. Itâ€™s influence in India since then has significantly deliced, however has adherents around the world, because of both immigration and conversions. It is currently practiced mainly in Southeast Asia and itâ€™s surrounding areas shown on the map.
Why So Many Gestures? These statues each have a gesture which are called mudras. There are five very important mudras.
This gesture is known as the Bhumisparsa mudra It is converting anger and aggression into mirror-like wisdom
The ritual forms of Buddhist statues each carry an important message or lesson, and most are universal to the religion.
â€œGesture of Witnessâ€? The right arm hangs down over the right knee. The hand with the palm turned inward and all the fingers extended downward with the finger touching the lotus throne. Touching the earth as Gautama did, to invoke the earth as witness to the truth of his words.
â€œGesture of leisureâ€? The sitting person is holding the left hand on his/her lap, palm upwards.
The Other Four
A statue or painting of buddha always illustrates Mudra. Among hundreds of mudras, the five transcendental Buddha’s also called “Dhyani Buddhas” or “Pancha Buddhas” bear the most important mudras.
Dharmachakra Mudra “Teaching” Two hands are held against the chest with the tips of the thumbs and forefingers of each hand united.
Dhyana Mudra “Unity of wisdom & compassion.” Seated in a meditating position. The palms are joined together with the right on the left, two thumb fingers touching each other. An alms bowl is between his two palms.
Varada Mudra “Granting of boon” The right hand lies open near his right knee. The left hand is seen holding an alms bowl. In Sanskrit, The gesture shows the right palm turned towards the receiver of boons, with the fingers pointed downwards.
Abhaya Mudra “Fearlessness and protection” The left hand lies open on the lap usually shown as the left hand with palm turned outward and all fingers extended upwards.
When Western-thinking individuals think about Buddhism, some may wonder â€œWhy do they bow to that statue?â€? It might seem like Buddhists are participating in idol whorship, however they are only honoring the man they precieve as a great teacher. When Buddhists kneel before an image of the Buddha, they are not worshiping an idol. In fact, the posture says more about the people kneeling than about the image being knelt before.
This is a symbol of truth
Buddha statues inspires Buddhists to develop their better qualities of kindness and compassion. The Buddhist can be uplifted in mind and spirt but it can also give a feeling of a sanctuary for a Buddhist. The statues can provide good places for meditation to find a higher conciousness, since they are a reminder of a higher enlightenment that a Buddhist may have no achieved.
You can be a “good Buddhist,” a good person, without bowing before a statue of the Buddha.
You don’t even need to carry around a miniature one.
What can the Buddha mean for you?