The jolly, smiling figure of Buddha adorns numerous patios, outdoor gardens and living rooms. He is often happy, arms outstretched, or reclining. Sometimes his hands are folded in his lap, but what exactly do the different Buddha statues symbolise?
Four Noble Truths
Buddha symbolises self-perfection and often people keep Buddha statues as a reminder of what they are trying to attain. It is a reminder to follow the Four Noble Truths; Life is Full of Suffering, Suffering is Caused by Craving, Suffering will Cease Only When Craving Does, and lastly, these can only be accomplished by following the Eightfold Path.
Buddhas statues symbolise the Eightfold Path. This path requires that one have the right views, the right speech, the right aspirations, the right livelihood, the right conduct, the right effort, the right mindfulness as well as the right contemplation.
Buddha statues symbolise the Buddhism belief systems. Buddhism has evolved into three main philosophies. The first is Mahayana, which is practised mainly in China, Korea and Japan and makes up the largest percentage of Buddhists. Theravada is practised in Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. The smallest percentage is represented by Vajrayana, which is followed in Nepal and Tibet.
The Symbol of a Religious Founder
Siddartha Gautama was the prince from India who founded Buddhism. According to legend, he was eventually freed from the cycle of reincarnation and by doing so, he was able to attain "Enlightenment." Buddhists keep Buddha statues as the reminder of this and what they ultimately desire to obtain themselves.
The poses of the Buddha also have significant and varied meaning. They are the positions that illustrate the life of Buddha and they number at 100. Each pose will have a specific hand position. For example, both hands resting in his lap, face up, is the meditation pose. When his right hand is raised, it is to ward off evil and can be seen as a symbol for protection. The right hand making circle is the sign for perfection.