A Buddha statue can be used as both a decorative accent and an aid in meditation. Buddha statues are symbols of Buddhism’s founder Siddhartha Gautama who taught us that by eliminating all desires from our lives we are able to reach Nirvana. This is a state of existence where suffering does not exist. When one has achieved Nirvana the cycle of rebirth and death ends. The key to achieving that Nirvana is mental discipline and the ability to comprehend and follow the eightfold path.
Buddha statues come in a variety of poses and styles from the elegant style of the Buddha statues from Nepal and Tibet to the whimsical laughing Buddha also known as the happy Buddha. Meditation, dispelling fear, teaching pose, reclining Buddha, and earth touching pose are just a few of the most common Buddha statue poses. Often the Buddha is seen sitting on a lotus flower to represent the divine birth and purity. A Buddhist quote states, “the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the new Lotus in the muddy water which does not adhere to it.”
The statue of the Buddha in the lotus position is often referred to as the meditation Buddha or a Lotus Buddha statue as Buddha in this position resembles a lotus flower. The statues are made with a base that looks like the stem of a lotus flower. In addition to the lotus symbol of purity it was also the symbolic vehicle that delivered the Buddha up to Nirvana and is therefore significant in this way as well. curling from the muck and mud the lotus flower springs forth with beautiful blossoms. This is again symbolic of the Buddha’s rise from humble roots to achieve Nirvana.
In the Meditation Buddha statue, the hand positions or mudra place the fingers of the righ hand atop of those of the left. While the hands rested gently in the lap, the legs are folded in a crossed position. The left foot should be placed on the right with the ball and heel foot facing up and the right foot is placed on the left leg in the the same position. This position is is a pose for relaxation and meditation and is known the lotus position.
The lotus flowers symbolic meaning is rich within Buddhism.. It is a symbol of Bodhi, a state of perfected spirituality and total mental purity, the pacification of our base nature. Depicted in Buddhist art it usually has eight petals which symbolize the eightfold path of the Good Law. White and pink lotus flowers are most closely associated with Buddha.
When the lotus is seen in varying shades of color this generally has a specific meaning. a red Lotus may refer to love, compassion, or passion. on the other hand, intelligence, wisdom and knowledge are represented by the blue Lotus.
The next time you encounter a Buddha statue whether in an Asian restaurant or in someone’s home pay careful attention to the position of the Buddha’s hands and his posture. Each position has a special meaning and message and usually tells you something about the statue’s owner.