Mudras and Buddha Image Symbols
There are many symbolic gestures and objects found on images of The Buddha that have important meanings. A raised hand means no fear. Curly Hair, elongated ears and hands with Eyes are symbols of Wisdom. Bare feet and Monks cloak represents asceticism. Often The Buddha has a nimbus or Halo around his head, expressing Enlightenment. When The Buddha touches the ground it is a sign of Compassion.
Among the 32 signs of a “superman” ( mahopurusha ) are: 1) a Wisdom bump ( ushnisha ), a cranial bump covered by top knot ofHair representing omniscience, also associated with ancient Indian wandering Ascetics; 2) a small tuft of Hair ( urna ), or dot between the eyebrows, symbolizing Renunciation. Other superman signs include elongated ears, antelope-like legs, skin so smooth that dust doesn’t collect on it, intensely black Eyes, cow-like eyelashes, 40 teeth, sheath-cloaked genitals, raised palm (the boon-granting gesture), and long and straight toes.
Each of the episodes of Buddha’s Life have their own distinctive symbols. After The Buddha achieved Enlightenment, for example, he was surrounded by a six-Lord aura that was 20 feet in diameter. After he meditated for another several weeks hisaura was invaded by the serpent king Mucalinda, who. opened its hood and wound its coils seven times around The Buddha to protect him from a rain storm.
The hands are in stylized poses called mudras . They include the
1) the Meditative pose, with cupped hands resting on the lap;
2) the protection pose, with the right hand raised;
3) the teaching pose, with one hand raised and the index finger touching the thumb of the same hand.
4) If a Buddha holds a Wheel of Dharma in his left hand and a scripture in the right hand its signifies he is a good teacher.
5) Touching the ground symbolizes a call to Mother Earth to witness his defeat of Mara as well as Compassion.
Buddha of Medicine holds a medicine box in his left hand and makes a Devil-expelling gesture with his right hand. Symbolic objects found on Bodhisattvas and Deitiesinclude swords used to cut down disruptive passions and Desires; cords used to pull wayward people back to the correct Path.
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