Buddha - The Poses & what they Symbolize

Buddha - The Poses & what they Symbolize



During the 5th Century BCE, Siddhartha Gautama was born. In Sanskrit, Siddhartha means ‘He Who Achieves His Goal.’ Siddhartha was born into royalty and soon realised that living a conditioned life was not going to bring eternal happiness or protection from suffering. Siddhartha decided to leave his royal duties on the quest for enlightenment.


He left secretly and over six years, practiced with meditation teachers and finally decided to remain in meditation underneath the Bodhi Tree until, after conquering much fear and temptation, he reached enlightenment.


He became Buddha -- The Awakened One, and has been signified by Buddha statues for centuries. Buddha statues are more than a physical depiction of Buddha, they all have meaning. Each pose, posture, expression and hand gesture is significant to the life of Buddha.


Teaching Buddha represents Wisdom, understanding and fulfilling destiny. Both hands are held at chest level, with thumb and index fingers forming a circle. The right hand is turned palm in, while the left hand is turned palm out.

The Teaching Buddha represents the life of Buddha after his enlightenment when he gave his first sermon. He gave this sermon to a small group of disciples, disciples who had previously belittled the Buddha. The Teaching Buddha statue is perfect for someone who is studying or focusing on their spirituality.


Protection Buddha sits with his right hand raised and facing outwards. This hand pose symbolises a shield, thus the name – Protection Buddha. The second meaning, Overcoming Fear, related to the first since one who is receiving protection would be less fearful!

The main features of this pose, aside from the raised right hand, is that The Buddha can be depicted either sitting or standing, and the left hand may either be extended outward or palm up in the lap. This statue signifies courage and offers protection from fear, delusion and anger.


Earth Touching Buddha -- Also known as calling the Earth to witness Buddha, this pose is depicted by the Buddha with legs crossed, the left hand in the lap and the right hand pointing to the ground with the palm facing inward towards Buddha. This pose represents the Buddha’s moment of enlightenment. But in the six days leading up to Buddha’s enlightenment, he faced the Demon of Illusion who made reaching enlightenment very difficult. Buddha called the Earth Goddess to witness that he had achieved enlightenment so that it could be shared with the rest of the world. The Earth Goddess wrung her hair, releasing flood waters that swept away the Demon.


Closed eye Buddha with head resting on knee -- The symbolism of the resting Buddha focuses more on the effect of inner peace and serenity achieved through meditation.


Buddha Head -- Many believe that by just observing the calm and composed gaze and the serene expression of the Buddha head one may attain a path to unravel the mysteries of inner composure and personal well-being. Buddha heads are the icon of confidence, awareness, knowledge, compassion and concentrated meditative practices. Each and every faculty of the Buddha head symbolizes a hidden meaning, philosophy, history, occult, and above all how to individually and collectively be great, noble and kind human beings.


Laughing Buddha -- The Laughing Buddha is cherished all over the world. He is found in homes, restaurants, places of business and so on.

The Laughing Buddha is the Buddha of abundance and happiness.

He is also known as the “Buddha of Wealth”. It is believed he will bring wealth and prosperity to a home or business.

It is very easy to recognize the Laughing Buddha. He is shown wearing a robe and prayer beads often hang around his neck. He is bald and has a big fat tummy.

He is always happy; thereby the name the “Laughing Buddha”.

Many claim he makes problems disappear. Keeping the Laughing Buddha in the home ensures a happy home


1) The sitting posture of Buddha is considered to be that of love and it symbolizes balance of thoughts and tranquillity.

2) The standing Buddha symbolizes riches and happiness.

3) Buddha sitting on a large gold nugget and ready to give a smaller gold nugget is a symbol of good luck.

4) Buddha with his fan hat on head represents enjoyment and good fortune.

5) Buddha carrying a bag of gold on his back symbolizes prosperity.

6) Buddha carrying a bag of blessings on his right shoulder and fan on the left one protects during long journeys.


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