28 DAYS: ADVENTURES FOR THE SOUL.
Happy Sunday from smokin’ hot Bangkok!
Although I’m feeling a little tired today, mom and I went on an awesome Temple Tour in Bangkok!
We visited three main Buddhist temples:
Wat Traimit, the temple of the 5.5 ton golden Buddha,
Wat Po, the Reclining Buddha,
Wat Benjamaborpitr, the White Marble Temple
Have you ever wondered what each of the Buddha poses means? I certainly have. Luckily, today’s tour gave me the perfect opportunity to learn about the different Buddha positions. I learned that there are four main Buddha positions and various sub-positions.
If you know what to look for, you can tell the meaning of a Buddha figure by looking at the position and the accompanying hand gestures. A body position is usually referred to as an asana and a hand gesture is usually referred to as a mudra.
There are over 100 poses illustrating the Buddha’s philosophy. Each pose has a significant meaning behind it. Today I’ll cover 4 asanas and 5 mudras. Yay!
The four main Buddha positions are:
1. Standing Buddha;
2. Reclining Buddha
3. Seated Buddha;
4. Walking Buddha
The five main hand gestures (and their meanings) are:
This mudra is of a Buddha with the right hand raised, facing outwards like a courageous shield and the left hand may either be extended outward or palm up in the lap.
Attempt this gesture when you are fearful, angry or need protection. Effective both when standing or sitting.
One of the most common gestures is of the Buddha in Meditation.
In this pose, the Buddha is depicted with both hands in the lap, face up, and the legs are crossed, either in a Double Lotus pose (with the ankles of each leg tucked behind one another in a locked position), or in a Single Lotus pose (where one leg rests on top of the other leg).
This mudra is for individuals who are seeking inner peace or who wish to improve their meditation skills.
3. Earth Calling Buddha
The most common pose you’ll find in Thai temples is of the Buddha sitting with legs crossed, the left hand in the lap, and the right hand pointing to the ground with the palm facing inward toward the Buddha.
It signifies the moment that Buddha became enlightened!
It is the story of how the Buddha, after six years, finally was at the verge of enlightenment…
Mara, the Demon of Illusion, tried to dissuade Buddha from his final steps towards enlightenment. The Buddha meditated all night to overcome the fears and temptations sent by Mara, and then called on the Earth Goddess to witness that the Buddha had achieved enlightenment in order to share with the rest of the world.
Witnessing that, the Earth Goddess wrung her hair, releasing flood waters that swept away the Demon Mara.
Try this gesture for mindfulness and progress towards enlightenment!
The Healing Buddha is depicted with the right hand facing downward and fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing outward toward the viewer.
This gesture is especially effective if you are seeking healing in body, mind or soul for yourself or a loved one. Can be done sitting or standing.
This mudra is similar to the Protection gesture (1). It is of a Buddha with the left hand raised mindfully, facing outwards and the right hand may either be extended outward or palm up in the lap.
Attempt this gesture when you want to send or receive blessings. Effective both when standing or sitting.
Although I believe that these positions and gestures are valuable in manifesting desired intentions, what I’ve taken from today’s adventure is that spirituality is not about worship but about an intention.
So, whatever you believe in, check your intentions. Make sure your heart is right before you buy that Buddha statue or hang that cross on your wall.
With love from Thailand,