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10 Buddha Mudras, Hand Gestures With Meaning

10 Buddha Mudras, Hand Gestures With Meaning
For the world the word, Buddha means “Awakened One” or “the enlightened one”. He, through his teachings, tried to calm people from the mental hindrance. According to one of his popular sayings, “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?” This is a popular quote from Dhammapada.

Buddha is someone who has awakened from the sleep of darkness and sees’ things as they truly are. He knows everything about the time. He is completely free from all the wrong doings and mental hindrance. His ways of teachings, making of divine images, subsequent meditation etc. gave people a mental peace. People must have seen that statues of Buddha showing a particular hand gesture, the reason behind are followers of Buddha who used patterned gestures through the drawings of the Buddha to recall particular forms during Buddhist meditation or rituals.  The Buddha represents the potential for peace of mind, joy and goodness that is inherent within every human being.

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“Mudra”, it is a Sanskrit word meaning sign. Buddha is always holding a mudra. In general, a mudra is denoted as a hand gesture. However, mudras have great religious and spiritual significance. Mudras are basically hand gestures that are depicted in the arts of Buddhist. Mudras are unspoken way of communicating and expressing one’s self through hand gestures. These hand gestures, does not compromise on effectiveness of the spoken word. The hand gesture or mudras add emphasis and structure without speaking, expressing one’s emotional state and thought; in other words, they form a highly stylized gestural communication. It is a gestural way to express inside thoughts through Mudra.

Also, Mudras define great manifestation. Mudras are practiced by monks in their spiritual austerity. Mudra is basically shifting energy in expression for how we feel. In mudras, the physical energy is Minimal, while the impact it express are huge, when Mudra is done with peace of mind and full concentration, the energy in our body is calmed and regenerated. In these hand gestures, all the fingers with thumbs denotes five elements that is Earth, sky, water, wind, fire. The Buddha statues are not only just a physical body but it is a representation of symbols of buddha’s teachings.
Practising the teachings of Buddha gives inner peace, motivation and good luck to human being. Buddha statue denotes the spiritual and meditation practice, The mudras practised purifies mind, give positive thoughts, and remove negativity from the mind. Also, it helps in making up the mind and focusing on the reality of the materialistic world. Mudras are the strong way of communicating self-discipline and peace of mind. Buddha statue helps to bring out spiritual and religious feeling and gives positive aura in the house.

The positioning and posture of the Buddha statue has its own meaning. These statues help us to learn, study, teach, enlighten, better understanding and it also helps us meditating through practising their hand gestures or the Mudras. You will probably see the Buddha statue mudras in four positions that is walking Buddha Portray giving someone spiritual knowledge or insight, the movement towards enlightenment.

The seating Buddha statue mudra depicts learning, teaching, meditating. The standing Buddha indicates he is showing the guidance towards achieving Nirvana, its process, and its influence in one’s life. Lastly the reclining posture which is the final stage indicated by the Buddha statue mudra, it helps and acknowledging buddha earthly existence.

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Types Of Mudras -

Dhyana Mudra

The types of Mudras and its benefits also required focus and brief discussion. Firstly, there is Dhyana that is also called meditation Mudra and it is called Samadhi or Yoga Mudra, it is most commonly used in Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. A way of humanity for all living beings. It is stated that Buddha used to practice this Mudra before Enlightenment.                                       

This Mudra is used to heal physical illness, it purifies negative karma. The way of doing it will be placing the right hand on the top of the left hand, Palms face up and thumb slightly touching. The thumb touch interprets masculine and feminine in mind, body and spirit. The triangle made three jewels of Buddhism that is Buddha himself, the good law, and the sangha.

The placement- Since the Mudra is connected to meditation and peace of mind, so it would be good to keep it in the meditation area of your home.

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Bhumisparsha Mudra

Second type of Mudra is Bhumisparsha that is Earth touching Mudra, it is one of the well-known Mudra. Historical Buddha, shakyamuni is always seated, in that posture with this mudra and its gesture re-presents the moment of Buddha awakening as he states the Earth as the witness of enlightenment.

The way Bhumisparsha is practised, left hand placed on the lap fingers touching the earth, while the palm is facing inwards. It dignifies the realisation of non-self by unification of Nirvana and samsara.

The placement - It can be placed in any room of your house, as Buddha touches the earth. You can also place it in the centre house as it’s connected to Earth elements.

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Vitarka Mudra

Vitarka Mudra, symbolises the true teaching of Buddha which communicates about dharma, it signifies the undisturbed flow of knowledge and wisdom. The circle formed through hand, gestures of Mudra’s is called the wheel of teaching that is, it represents unity which does not have a start and neither the end, it dignifies the ample and infinite source of knowledge.

The positioning of hand gesture would be the thumb and index finger touches, creating a circle and the other three fingers point up towards the heaven, the posture formed is at chest level.

The placement - Room such as study room, library which has knowledge, could be the best placement because this Mudra is the teaching mudra as there will be growth of knowledge in your life.

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Abhaya Mudra

A fearless mudra is also required attention that is Abhaya Mudra, this Mudra can be called a pure symbol of protecting oneself and experiencing fearlessness, it can also be considered as a protection, peace and dispelling of fear.

This hand gesture is the characteristic of Buddha Shakya Muni and Dhyani Buddha Amoghasiddh. This Mudra is a form of spreading peace, love, friendship, and fearlessness. In earlier times this Mudra was performed while greeting strangers this signifies the fearlessness approach of living beings. 

This Mudra is performed by keeping the right hand upright at chest level, all fingers, pointing, are pointing towards heaven. It can be I both way, sitting as well as standing. An example of the effects of this Mudra performed by Buddha is, there was a time when in jealousy, Devdatta, who is Buddha’s cousin wanted to kill him. Devdatta left a huge violent and uncontrollable elephant behind the Buddha while he was walking, in reaction to which buddha practised Abhaya Mudra, resulting watching Buddha in Abhaya Mudra, elephant calmed down and stopped before buddha.

The placement - it signifies opening up the boundaries and showing friendly behaviour so that living being can sense a feel of fearlessness, it is related to Earth element so you can place it in your house, as it is welcoming.

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Dharmachakra Mudra

Coming on the next Buddha Mudra, Dharmachakra as the word itself, indicates the meaning that is wheel of dharma, everything is revolving around Dharma. After achieving enlightenment, while spreading his first religious teachings, Buddha performed Dharmachakra mudra. In this mudra every positioning and posture of fingers and hands has its own certain meaning. 

Both hands are used in this Mudra and it is easy to perform, I this Mudra the right index finger touches the right thumb and left index finger touches the left thumb, we can see that the two circles are formed that is wheels of dharma, right palm is facing outward and the left palm is facing in front of right palm. The positioning of this Mudra is in front of the heart. The left and the right hand depict the insight of the inner and outer world. The straight three fingers represent Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, which are the three jewels in Buddhism.

The placement Benefits - the placement of Dharmachakra mudra can bring the movement of dharma.

Varada Mudra

Moving towards another great Mudra that is Varada Mudra. It is a Mudra that denotes offerings, charity, compassion, sympathy, granting. It is the symbol of Buddha’s compassion and his blessings; this mudra is the key for transforming oneself.    

This Mudra depicts once aspiration to faithfully devote himself to human redemption. The way to perform this Mudra, it is always done with left hand, with the arm hanging naturally at the side of the body, the palm facing the front with fingers upright or slightly bent. The reason behind performing with left hand by a revered figure devoted to human salvation from greed, anger and mistakes, the outstretched fingers denote the five features that is morality, effort, patience, meditating, concentration, generosity. This Mudra is seen done by the third Dhyani Buddha that is Ratnasambhava. This Mudra is often performed with the conjunction of Abhaya Mudhra.

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Anjali Mudra

Anjali Mudra - It is the Mudra with gesture of salutation. It is basically a posture for prayer. Anjali means offering, which is accompanied by the word Namaste, it is a posture of greeting someone or initiating or completing any action. The human figures are associated with the five elements of the creation, that is thumb is fire, index finger is air, middle finger is space, ring finger is Earth and the little finger is water.  

Hands joining together in Anjali Mudra we automatically activate the elements in a body, these elements and organs associated and controlled with them comes in balanced state. The coming together of the right and left hemisphere of our brains, channelises our thoughts and bring positivity.  The Anjali Mudra is done by folding hands near the chest, or anahata chakra, where both the hands denote the two aspects of universe, the material and spiritual world.

Karana Mudra

Karana Mudra - it is the Mudra, with gesture of banishing, it banishes obstacle and fear. Karana Mudra deflects the negative energy coming in your way and take off the evil and the lies that comes in your pat, so this Mudra is performed for banishing the evil, It also protects us, and finish off the evil before it even enters your path, it also helps in reducing illness and also it controls and remove the negative thoughts and negative emotions like anxiety, fear, depression, etc.

The way of performing this Mudra is by bringing the hands at the chest level, folding the ring and the middle finger inwards while touching them on the tip of your thumb with the palm facing outward. Karna Mudra is often depicted in seating posture; the right hand portrays Karna Mudra while the left hand gently rests on lap with the palm facing upward.                    

The Buddha statue performing this Mudra should not be facing the front door, the good place for the statue would be a bedroom that feels it has dark and dense energy.

Uttarbodhi Mudra

Uttarbodhi Mudra is a Mudra with gesture of self-realisation. This Mudra denotes the enlightenment by connecting one own self with universal energy, so as to find on own self one should keep clearing up their materialistic mindset and find peace. This Mudra also helps one to have mental peace by stressing out all the mental tensions and worries they are suffering from; it helps in bringing up the confidence.

To perform this mudra, one has to join hands at the level of the heart region, intertwined fingers except for the index finger and stretch the thumb downwards.

Vajra Mudra

Vajra mudra shows gesture of fiery thunderbolt.  This mudra unifies all the believes in Buddhism, it represents the destroyer of negativity and ignorance. The way of performing this Mudra is by encircling the right hand fingers around the left index fingers forms the Vajra Mudra, the five fingers denotes elements that is air, water, space, fire, and earth encircling the man or body (left index finger) which leads towards spiritual journey.