BUDDHA MUDRAS AND MEANINGS
What is Mudra?
It is a position of hand often depicted in Buddhist art and used in practice to evoke a particular state of mind. Commonly found mudras or representations of Buddha are hands folded in the lap which signifies meditation, a palm held up facing outward signifies the act of teaching or reassurance or an open palm pointed downward signifies generosity. The meaning of Abhaya mudras is no-fear.
It is also called the gesture of ‘Teaching of the Wheel of Dharma’ that describes one of the most important moments in the Buddha’s life as he performed the Dharmachakra mudra in his first sermon in Sarnath after he attained enlightenment. It is performed with the help of both the hands which are held against the chest, the left-facing inward, covering the right facing outward.
It is also known as Samadhi or Yoga mudra. It is performed with the help of two hands which are placed on the lap and place the right hand on the left hand with stretched fingers (thumbs facing upwards and other fingers of both the hand resting on each other.) This is the characteristic gesture of Buddha Shakyamuni, Dhyani Buddha Amitabh, and the Medicine Buddha.
This gesture is also known as “touching the Earth” which represents the moment of the Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment. It is performed with the help of the right hand, which is held above the right knee, reaching toward the ground with the palm inward while touching the lotus throne.
This mudra represents the offering, welcome, charity, giving, compassion, and sincerity. It is performed with the help of both the hands in which the palm of the right hand facing forward and fingers extended and the left-hand palm placed near the omphalos with extended fingers.
This gesture signifies the warding off evil which is performed by raising the index and the little finger and folding the other fingers. It helps in reducing sickness or negative thoughts.
This gesture denotes the fiery thunderbolt that symbolizes the five elements, i.e. air, water, fire, earth, and metal. It is performed with the help of the right fist, left-hand forefinger, which placed by enclosing the erect forefinger of the left hand in the right fist with the tip of the right forefinger touching (or curled around) the tip of the left forefinger.
It signifies the discussion and transmission of the teachings of the Buddha. It is performed by joining the tips of the thumb and the index fingers together while keeping the other fingers straight, which is just like to meaning of Mudra and varada mudra but in this Mudra the thumbs touching the index fingers.
It is a gesture of fearlessness or blessing that represents the protection, peace, benevolence, and dispelling of fear. It is performed with the help of the right hand by raising to shoulder height with a bent arm and the face of the palm will be facing outward with fingers upright whereas the left hand hanging down while standing. This gesture is characteristic of Buddha Shakyamuni and Dhyani Buddha Amoghasiddhi. The meaning of Abhaya mudras is no-fear.
This gesture denotes the supreme enlightenment by connecting oneself with divine universal energy. It is performed with the help of both the hand, which placed at the heart and the index fingers touching and pointing upwards and the remaining fingers intertwined.
It is also called ‘Namaskara Mudra‘ or ‘Hridayanjali Mudra’ that represents the gesture of greeting, prayer, and adoration. It is performed by pressing the palms of the hands together in which the hands are held at the heart chakra with thumbs resting lightly against the sternum.