Buddha Poses and Postures: The Meanings of Buddha Statues

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If you know what to look for, you can tell the meaning of a Buddha Statue by looking at the pose / posture, and the accompanying hand gestures. Each traditional pose has a significance related to an important event in the the life – or past lives – of the Historical Buddha. (Note: You can see more examples by Visiting our Buddha Statues For Sale Page on this site.)

Also referred to as an asana or an Attitude, there are over 100 poses illustrating the life of the Buddha. And each posture will have a specific hand gesture, called a Mudra, associated with the posture. In general, the carvings of the Buddha that you can buy are representations of highly venerated statues that are enshrined at major temples throughout the world, or are reproductions of well known sculptures that were originally commissioned by royal patrons, and as such, their meanings and significance are similar to the original statues.

Protection / Warding Off Fear Pose

Protection Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

Protection Buddha / Overcoming Fear

This depiction of a seated Buddha with the right hand raised and facing outwards has two common meanings. The first is that of the Protection Buddha, as the raised right hand symbolically represents a shield. The second meaning, Overcoming Fear, is closely 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.

Meditation Pose / Boundless Light / Serenity

Meditation Buddha (Click to View Larger Image)

Meditation Buddha / Serenity Buddha / Calming Buddha

Another of the more common rupas is of the Buddha in Meditation. This statue is for people who are either looking for peace and clam in their lives, or for those who wish to improve their own meditation skills. People will often buy a Meditation Buddha if they want to set up a “serenity room” or a corner of their house where they can sit in calm for a little while and unwind.

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). Occasionally, an alms bowl is placed in the lap as well.

As this statue generally represents focused concentration, the eyes of the Buddha are either depicted as halfway closed, or closed nearly all the way. The silhouette of the statue is shaped – more or less – like a triangle, which represents stability.

Many of the largest Buddha Statues in Japan, such as the Great Kamakura Buddha Statue at Kotokuin Temple, and large statues in Korea are in the Meditation Pose. This pose is also known as the Amithabha Buddha, which means “Boundless Light.”


Calling The Earth To Witness The Enlightenment

Earth Touching Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

Calling The Earth To Witness / Earth Touching Buddha

The most common pose you will find in Thai temples is with the legs crossed, the left hand in the lap, and the right hand pointing to the ground with the palm facing inward toward the Buddha. This posture is known as Calling The Earth to Witness, and it is the definition of the moment of enlightenment for the Buddha.

It is the story of how the Buddha, after six years, finally was at the verge of enlightenment. Unfortunately Mara, the Demon of Illusion, tried to dissuade The Buddha from the final last steps. The Buddha meditated all night to overcome the fears and temptations sent by Mara, and then called the Earth Goddess to witness that the Buddha 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 and all the temptresses he had released.


Nirvana / Reclining Buddha Pose

Nirvana Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

The Nirvana Buddha / Reclining Buddha

This statue depicts the Historical Buddha in the last moments of life on earth, prior to the Buddha dying one last time before entering Nirvana (often written in English as ParaNirvana when referring to the life of The Buddha). It is said that an alms giver had accidentally given the Buddha pork that had gone bad, and this eventually led to the death of the Buddha.

Because the Buddha had gained enlightenment in this lifetime, the Buddha was able to escape the endless cycle of birth – death – rebirth (known as samsara) and was able to enter Nirvana. In this pose, the Buddha is always depicted lying on the right hand side on top of a resting table. One of the most well-known examples of this statue is enshrined at Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand, although there are numerous other temples throughout Southeast Asia that house statues in the posture.

Medicine Buddha

Medicine Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

Medicine Buddha

The Medicine Buddha is depicted in paintings having blue skin, but whether shown in statue or painted form, the right hand is held facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing outward toward the viewer, a bowl of herbs rests in the left hand upon the lap.

It is believed by the Tibetans that the Buddha was responsible for delivering the knowledge of medicine to the people of the world, and in fact the right hand facing outward signifies “granting a boon” (meaning, giving a blessing) to mankind. This is a common hand gesture amongst both Buddhist and Hindu statues.

The Medicine Buddha is venerated by those seeking health, and is more commonly found in the Buddhist temples and communities of Nepal and Tibet.

The Teaching Buddha / DharmaChakra

Teaching Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

Teaching Buddha / DharmaChakra Buddha

This statue signifies 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.

As do most images of the Buddha, the Teaching Buddha depicts a particular moment in the life of the Buddha, namely, the first sermon the Buddha gave after reaching Enlightenment. This sermon was to a small group of disciples who had previously scorned the Buddha. This is a statue that is particularly appropriate for those who are either studying or are interested in learning more about spirituality.

The phrase DharmaChakra is hard to translate. The word Dharma means “the way of righteousness,” while the word Chakra is usually translated as the “Universe” or as the “cosmos.” Taken together, this phrase generally is interpreted as, “putting the cosmic law of righteousness in order,” or “turning the wheel of cosmic righteousness.”

Sukhothai Walking Buddha / Returning From Heaven

Walking Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

Walking Buddha / Sukhothai Buddha

Signifies grace and internal beauty, and in Thai, we call this “Phra LeeLaa”. Right hand raised, facing outward, left hand dangles along left side of body. Standing with right foot behind, starting to raise off the ground. This statue is particular to the Sukhothai period in Thailand. It represents a time when the Buddha was returning to earth after delivering a sermon on the Dharma in Heaven, and was being accompanied by Lord Indra and Lord Brahma.

Contemplation Buddha

Contemplation Pose

Contemplation Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

In this pose, Both arms of the Buddha lie flat against the chest, the palms of both hands facing in, with right arm on outside of left arm. The Contemplation Buddha signifies quiet determination and patient understanding.

Alms Bowl Buddha / Begging Buddha

Collecting Alms Pose

Alms Collecting Buddha (Click To View Larger Image)

Arms bent at elbows, holding an alms bowl at chest level. This statue signifies compassion and caring for all beings. Contrary to what many think, monks (and the Buddha) did NOT beg for food. Instead, they collected alms. The difference is that collecting alms allows for those GIVING the alms to make merit (meaning, to acquire good karma). Devout Buddhists in Asia will prepare and give food to monks in the morning on their alms rounds.

Repelling The Ocean / Stopping The Relatives From Fighting

Repelling The Ocean (Click To View Larger Image)

Repelling The Ocean / Preventing the Relatives From Fighting

This statue has two meanings based on two different stories. The first meaning of Repelling The Ocean comes from a story when the Buddha visited Bihar state in India. A hermit unleashed a wall of water hoping to cause a flood, but the Buddha used the power generated from meditating to stop the water from flooding the area. The Forbidding The Relatives from Fighting is related to a period in the life of the Buddha where relatives of his father had an argument with relatives of the Buddha’s mother over water, as one of the rivers that both sets of relatives normally depended on was starting to run dry. The Buddha raised his right hand to draw attention to their own bickering and asked them what was ore important; water, or their family relations?

Differences In Leg Positions

Single Lotus and Double Lotus Leg Positions

Leg Positions

In general, the Buddha is depicted as sitting with the legs crossed. This makes a “triangle” shape to the image; the knees making the two bottom points of the triangle shape, while the tip of the head makes the top point of the triangle. The significance is that a triangle shape is more “grounded” or has a more solid foundation.

There are two positions for crossed legs, namely with the right leg resting above the left leg in the Single Lotus Position, or with both knees pointing downward and the ankles tucked on top of one another in the Double Lotus Position.

But there are a few postures that are not seated with crossed legs, namely the Maitreya Buddha, where the “Buddha of the Future” sits in a chair Western style. Also, there is a story of how a monkey and an elephant visited to make offerings to the Buddha, and in those images he is depicted sitting in a chair as well. there are standing Buddhas, and in Thailand, one of the most beloved forms is of the Walking Buddha statue, which is exclusive to the Sukhothai period of Thai art.

Thai Buddha Poses For The Day Of The Week :

In Thailand each day of the week is associated with a particular Buddha pose, and “your” pose is determined by which day of the week you were born. (The Thai zodiac puts as much importance on the day of the week – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. – as on the actual date or month). So everyone born on a Monday would have one special posture, while everyone born on a Thursday would have a different posture, etc. Thus, everyone in Thailand knows which day of the week they were born.

If you have ever been to a Thai temple, then you might see an area where there are 8 (not seven) small Buddha statues set aside, often with small bowls next tot them where you can make merit by putting money into those bowls. The money is then used to help maintain the temple. You make merit by donating in the bowl of the statue that represents the day on which you were born. Why 8 instead of 7 when there are only 7 days in a week? You’ll see in a moment.

Sunday: The Buddha stands with arms crossed over the stomach, right hand over the left, with the back of the hands facing outward. The eyes are open and this is a pose of mental insight.

Monday: The Protection Buddha

Tuesday: The Reclining Buddha

Wednesday BEFORE Noon: Alms Collecting Buddha (Thai people split Wednesday into two different poses – those who are born before noon on Wednesday and those born AFTER noon).

Wednesday AFTER Noon: The Buddha sitting with a Monkey and an Elephant, which are giving offerings to the Buddha. This is a rather unusual pose that many westerners may not have ever seen before.

Thursday: Meditation Buddha

Friday: Contemplation Buddha

Saturday: The Buddha Seated under a Naga (Seven Headed Serpent), again in Meditation. This pose depicts the meditation Buddha being protected from falling rain by the spread out hood of the Naga

Statues Commonly Mistaken for the Historical Buddha

Chinese Goddess Kuan Yin

Kuan Yin Boddhisattva (Click To View Larger Image)

Kuan Yin / Avalokiteshvara

One of the images most frequently confused to be an image of the Buddha are statues of the Chinese Boddhisattva Kuan Yin, as well as the male counterpart Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Both of these Boddhisattvas are important to the Buddhist cosmology, as they have forsaken the final step to Nirvana in order to help mankind reach enlightenment. But neither is, indeed, the historical Buddha.

You are more likely to come across the female form of Kuan Yin in Chinese temples, while the male from of Avalokiteshvara is more commonly encountered in the Mahayana schools of Buddhism found in Nepal, Tibet, and India.

Happy Buddha Ho Tai statue

Ho Tai (Click To View Larger Image)

Happy Buddha / Ho Tai / Prosperity Buddha

Ho Tai, as he is called in Chinese, is often confused with the Historical Buddha. But a word to the wise; Ho Tai is not the Buddha at all, but is actually a revered Chinese Monk. He is somewhat akin to the West’s Santa Claus / St. Nick, since Ho Tai was famous for his Buddhist sermons and for his bag full of gifts, which he brought to children in order to reward them for coming to learn about the Dharma.

Part of the reason Ho Tai is confused with the Buddha is because they both wear robes, and that in certain languages (Thai, for instance) the vernacular word for the Buddha and for Monks is the same, namely, the word “Phra.” It can be confusing even for us Thai people, because if someone were to use JUST the word Phra, we might not know whether they were referring to the Buddha himself, a monk, a statue of the Buddha, or even an amulet (religious pendant) featuring an image of the Buddha… or an image of a highly revered monk!

Ho Tai is often depicted in various forms as well, either with his arms above his head, reaching skyward, or sometimes holding a bag or knapsack over one shoulder. But no matter how he is depicted, he always has a happy face.

The Happy Buddha is often (but not always) depicted with one or more of the following characteristics:

  1. A “chubby” belly
  2. A bald head
  3. Shirtless (or wearing a robe that exposes his whole chest)
  4. A big smile
  5. A large bag
  6. Depicted with smiling children

On the other hand, the Historical Buddha is usually depicted with the following characteristics:

  1. A graceful body
  2. Curly hair
  3. Robes that only reveal one shoulder
  4. A calm expression


  1. Hi, i always feel attracted towards Buddha but i don`t pray him as i do not know the method. On my marriage my friend gifted me with a Buddha statue having a large belly and having plenty of adorable kids with him.Please suggest me where and how to keep him and how to pray him. I would also like to keep other statues in my new home. please help.. thanks

  2. Wilson Thilakaratna says:

    place a statue of Lord Buddha at a pace that you can see while you go out of your home. Think of five precepts and your mind becomes peaceful.

  3. I have a Kuan Yin statue with “no arms” and either “no eyes” or her eyes are looking down and almost closed. She is standing, the back of her hair is down and flows over her shoulders, the front of her hair is up in a pompadore with a fluer-de-li like crown, she wears a strand of round beads which drapes across her shoulders and chest and as they go toward her waist there are intermittent leaf beads, these meet at her bellybutton with a round medallion and then continue across her hips. Her arms are cut above the elbow. She is approximately 18″ tall, made of porceline with a light aqua glaze. What can you tell me about this version and color? When I found her I was mesmerized by her and I went back several times before I purchased her. My favorite mantra is “Om mani padme hum”, which fits perfectly with her goals and works. I wonder why my statue is of her without arms & eyes instead of after her transformation to a thousand arms and eyes? I have searched the internet with no luck. Please help!!!

  4. katrina burton says:

    hi can i get a book on all different types of buddhas with thier pictures and meanings please

  5. Hi there, and thanks so much for the note about your Kuan Yin staute. I would love to see a photo of it.

    You asked why she would be depicted this way, and there is a story (that you alluded to) where Kuan Yin gave up her eyes and arms so that she could help create a medicine that would cure her ailing father – a king who had previously forsaken here.

    I think that what the statue is trying to remind us of the importance of compassion. You can read more about that legend of Kuan Yin at this page

  6. Thank you for the note. Yes, that is great advice. Whenever I become stressed, I like to think of the five precepts to calm myself down. I do it at ANY time though.

  7. Hi there, and congratulations on your marriage. The “Buddha” of which you speak is Ho Tai, a venerated Chinese Saint. He is also known as the Happy Buddha. You can learn more about Ho Tai on this page.

  8. Arabella says:

    Hi I recently bought a standing Buddha statue with both palms open and facing down. The Buddha has a beaded necklace on one of the palms. I thought the statue was beautiful and kept going back to it. Can you tell me the significance of it? I also have a picture of it if that will help, thanks so much!!

  9. I just bought my first Buddha today. I think it’s the protection one the right hand is up with two fingers together and the left hand is resting in the lap of the Buddha with two fingers together also. Can anyone tell me if this is the protection Buddha or is it a different one and if it is which one is it. Also I don’t pray is it ok to have the Buddha? I love it I think it’s very beatiful and it looks very nice in my house.

  10. Joyce Hunt says:

    I have just purchased the protection Budha, I did not know this was his name until looking on your site.
    I think he picked me :) we have had a very sad couple of weeks nad think he was sent to watch over us. He has a candle burning section so should I say any words in particular to him when I burn my candle xxx

  11. Unfortunately, the only book I have seen is in the Thai language, and it has over 1000 different poses. Many of the statues are enshrined at different temples so I don’t know how common the pose is. Maybe there is only ONE statue with that pose, but if the temple is so important to the locals, that particular posture might have a particular meaning ONLY to that region.

  12. If you could link to a photo of that statue, it would be terrific. Off the top of my head, I am not sure about the significance of that exact piece.

    Usually the right hand facing outward with the fingers pointed down signifies bestowing a blessing, but it might have a different meaning depending on the left hand position.

  13. do you have a photo of this statue that you can send a link to? I would like to see it.

    Is there anything inside the bowl?

    If the right hand is pointing down, with the palm outwards, and there is a plant in the bowl, then it is most likely the Medicine Buddha.

    However, if the bowl is empty and both hands are open and resting horizontally on the lap, under the bowl, then most likely it is the Meditation Buddha.

  14. Would love to see a photo of it if you have one online.

    How is the Buddha seated? Can you describe the smile? (Is it a wide smile?)

  15. Generally, a small prayer is said. I am trying to phoneticize it from the Thai language. Other people might write it different ways in English.

    Nah-moh ta-saat
    Al-lah ha-to

    We usually say that three times.

  16. I am quite sure that is a statue of the Happy Buddha (Ho Tai) as opposed t the Historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama).

    The significance of the Happy Buddha is prosperity and abundance.

  17. I have a bronze Budda statue I believe that my be Thai but im not sure , It looks pretty old the bottom has wires comming out of it and looks to be some sort of red clay stuff ? can you tell me anything about it maybe age …..anything ?

  18. Nicola tooley says:

    Hy I’ve always loved my Buddhas but I’ve had a hard time lately and have started meditation please could you advise me on witch would be right for me? Many thanks .

  19. Honey sharma says:

    I am happy but sorry to say that I have an ancient statue which may be a stone statue of lord Buddha in meditation asana.

    I can send you a picture of it. I found it around my home about 6 feet under ground. My neighborhood is full of temples in honor of Buddha, and they are very beautiful.


  20. If you can post a photo online somewhere, they you can either email us or you can come back here and post a link to that photo online, we would be happy to take a look at that statue and let you know what the meaning and pose is.

  21. I have purchased a light geen jade colored Buddha who is seated, half Lotus, right foot on top. His left is palm up in his lap with a small ball in his palm. The mudra that I am having a tough time finding reference to is the right hand. It is palm in, lightly touching just below his right eye.

    What is the significance of the?

  22. What is the meaning behind the resting Buddha and his origin?

  23. When you ask about the “Resting Buddha” are you referring to the pose where the Buddha is lying down on his right hand side with his head propped up either by a pillow or by his right hand?

    If so, this is the Nirvana Buddha, which is also called the ParaNirvana Buddha pose. This attitude represents the Buddha in the final moments of his life, as he was preparing to die and be released from the cycle of Samsara.

    The Buddha died from food poisoning after eating offerings of tainted pork, and even as he lay dying, he still felt compassion to the person who had accidentally given him the tainted food.

  24. Thank you for this info! Quick question: what does it mean when Buddha statue has no arms? I’ve seen armless Buddhas at many local pottery retailers. Any idea of the significance of this?


  25. Hi there, Pat, and thanks for the question.

    Wow, I am stumped. I actually don’t think I have seen such a statue. Does it seem like the arms were deliberately not part of the statue? Or is it that the arms are hidden from view because they are covered by the Buddha’s robes?

    I will do my best to find out about that statue though because I am very curious, too.

    One other thing is that it might be a statue of Kuan Yin??? there is a story of how Kuan Yin had her arms cut off so that she could make a medicine for her ailing father. sometimes people confuse Kuan Yin with the Buddha.

  26. I have heard some people say that it is not good to have a Meditation Buddha at home.

    Is that true?

    People are staying it is unlucky since the Buddha meditated when he was angry with at his life, and hated his life. So if you have a statue in the attitude of Meditation in your home, your house won’t get any good luck.

  27. I have to be honest that I do not believe that is true at all.

    I can only talk with authority about the Thai Buddhist tradition, but I can tell you that in Thailand, LOTS of people have Meditation Buddha statues in their homes.

    Also, the Meditation Pose is very popular for the Principal Buddha statues in Thai temples. It is, as far as I know, the second-most popular pose after the Earth Touching pose for Buddhist statues.

    So no, I don’t believe that the Meditation Pose represents the Buddha when he is angry. Buddhist monks meditate regularly throughout the day, not just when they are angry. And while meditation is recommended for those who are prone to anger, you DON’T have to be upset or mad to meditate.

  28. i have heard that it is bad luck to have any artwork or statues of Buddha with his eyes closed. Is this true and if not what is the significance of both eyes open, and eyes closed?

  29. giantrobin1@hotmail.com says:

    I have recently seen a black Buddha for sale in a heart foundation shop, and I am thinking of buying it. The image has a raised right hand and a s spherical (blue) globe in His left hand, which is resting palm upward in his lap.

    Could you please tell me what this particular Buddha represents? What does the globe (blue ball) represent? I have other Buddha statues in my house. The Buddha mentioned above is very nice indeed. Can you help with it’s meaning? greatfully yours. giantrobin1

  30. I have a special Buddha bronze with gold left hand holding a bowl and the right hand put in the bowl ?
    What is the explanation?

  31. It sounds to me that it might be a non-raditional version of the Protection Buddha. Yoiu said that the right hand is raised upwards, and that is the general mudra for protection (or warding off fear). that is, if the palm is facing OUTWARD from the body.

    When you mentioned the blue sphere, I immediately thought that it probably represents the world as well, so to me it sounds like someone took the concept of the Protection Buddha and sort of “extended” it by including an image of the world.

    Again, this doesn’t sound like a traditional style of statue, so it might be someone was getting creative when they cast this particular statue???

  32. I must admit that I have never seen that pose anywhere before. Do you have a photo posted online somewhere? If so, could you please link to it?

  33. Diane asked about the significances of “eyes open / eyes closed” can You please shed some light on that ?? also I have what appears to be protection Bhudda has right hand facing upwards and palm outwards yet left hand is facing downward palm facing outward opposite to right hand does this left hand represent any significances if so what exactly ?? thank You

  34. Hello, I was recently browsing around resale shops because I like to find things that are unique and rare and that maybe someone might not be able to appreciate, that truly has significance. I was browsing the knick knacks and found a Buddhist Monk/Buddha?

    He is elderly and has the lines on the forehead above the brows, the brows are thick and they come down around the sides of the eye.. to the bottom of the eye. His earlobes are a bit longer, more elongated than a normal person, his eyes are squinting in an almost closed fashion and their shape is downwards at the outer edges like in the elderly.

    The top of his head is not round like a lot of the statues, he has an immense pronunciation of the skull/crown, it is almost pointed, the middle of the skull, at the top of the head, goes from front to back, of the top of the skull, the back of his head when viewing in profile/side view slants in a downward angle and rounds off at the bottom very nicely.

    He appears to be grinning, yet being elderly it could also be a grimacing expression. However, when looking at him, I always feel peaceful – as if he is smiling at me and I even feel as though his eyes are following me… even though they are squinted in an almost closed fashion.

    He is robed in an almost Kimono style robe; both shoulders covered, and there appears to be a sash with a bow, or possibly a bag of some sort/purse/pouch strap? as their appears to be on his back. The lower portion of his robe is in a pleated fashion. He is in a seated position, with his left leg crossed like Indian style, the lower portion of the robe while seated, stops at just above the knee, and then you can see an undergarment/pant of some sort, that is coming down just below his knee. Additionally, he is wearing a thong type sandal and some type of ankle bracelet or bangle.. it could even be made of straw or something the way it appears to be shaped.

    His right leg is raised and he has what appears to be both his left and right hands resting on his right knee, with one of them holding his hat, resting on his right knee. The robe appears to be belted at the waist, very much like traditional kimonos, the front of the chest, the robe overlaps exactly in the middle. The sleeves of this robe while sitting, are extremely wide, long, and draping.. and drape from his knee where his hand is, to the ground where he is seated. His nose might even be a little arched and long, and then broader at the base, yet not much more than the entire length.

    I am trying desperately to find another statue like this online, to no avail. Trying to find out who he is or what his appearance represents. I bought this old little monk for a very low price, because, apparently, the people who owned him previously, did not want him anymore. Because his right foot appears to have somehow been broken off. I looked at him in the store, and felt him looking back at me, and I just HAD to take him. Thinking to myself that I would take care of this old monk since no one else wanted him.

    He sits on my desk at home, I am always drawn to look at him, when I look at him I feel very peaceful. I feel as though he is always watching me, or watching “over” me. I am desperately trying to find out what this statue is. Any help, if anyone knows, would be greatly appreciated.. Thank you ever so much!!

  35. Hi, I’m just wondering is it bad to have more than one Buddha in the same room? One is a Protection Buddha and the other is a Laughing Buddha. I can’t seem to find any info on this. Thanks in advance.

  36. No, Not at all .There is no rules about how many Buddha you can put in one room. I have more than 10 in my room. There is nothing about the image but the meaning.

  37. Hi – do you know anything about the praying for rain posture – a standing Buddha with both arms by its side? I have only seen this in a few temples in the north of Thailand but I can’t find out anything about it. Also, do you know of anywhere on the internet that has an audio version of the Buddhist prayer you mentioned above? This is a great website – thank you very much!

  38. Thank you, Angela, and sorry for the late reply.

    I have seen the pose you mentioned and it is not one of the more common assana – although I think it is more common in the Northeast of Thailand (the Issan area), which usually suffers from a lack of rainfall.

    Unfortunately, I can’t find an audio link on the internet right now, but I will keep trying. I am sorry about that.

  39. I have to tall (58 in) teak Buddhas I got while I was in Burma. I’m curious about the hand gesture of my Shan State Buddha. Right hand palm out facing down, left hand palm facing up partially. I think from your description the right hand is a blessing but wasn’t sure what the left means if anything. Thanks!

  40. Hi there, Rosanna:

    I am not sure off the top of my head which particular meaning is attributed to that particular pose. But I have seen those statues before (we had sold one that we had imported from Thailand). But you are right in that the right hand facing downward with the palm out symbolizes a blessing and the left hand pointing up with the palm outward generally symbolizes protection.

    I will try to do a little more research and let you know.

  41. Hi Angela, thanks for the compliments:

    The Buddhist prayer that pays homage to the Buddha can be heard in this video:


    The prayer is chanted at the very beginning of the video. This Pali language Buddhist prayer is basically 5 lines long (there are slight pauses between the lines) and it is repeated 3 times, right at the start of the video.

    The rest of the video is in Thai unfortunately. Too bad there aren’t English language captions. But the video does tell about the story of the Buddha’s release from Samsara (which is what the Reclining Buddha posture represents).

  42. Hi,

    thank you for sharing your knowledge and being so helpful. I’ve had a Buddha statue for a couple of years that I could never find out about much, even though I’ve seen it in image searches.

    It is seated, its head resting on its right knee; the left leg is on the ground resting behind the right foot; both hands are cushioning the head on the knee, sort of, with the right hand lying on top of the left. Buddha’s eyes are closed. It looks pretty much like this one:


    I would like to know the meaning/purpose of this position, if possible. I have it at my bedside. Since I live in a one-room in a shared flat (i.e. all my stuff is that room, I sleep and work there also when I draw/paint), if you take Feng Shui into account, it would be in the wisdom/learning/development area.

    (When I moved in, I didn’t know about Feng Shui (and even now, I only a few basic things) and tried to use the space as best I could, so I can’t move the bed or the furniture around. I’ve had this Buddha next to my bedside for a couple years before then.)

    Would it be negative or disrespectful to put this Buddha in the bagua wealth area? It would be sitting in a corner facing into the room, but sitting on top of two adjacent (but not touching, so only its feet would be on them and the rest in balance over empty space, 2 meters above the floor) cupboards/shelves. I thought about that, imagining it might be good as a symbol for the wish to make do with what I got, and make the best of it, whilst not worrying (since the statue is seated and resting with eyes closed), but obviously it could also suggest something very different. So I left it near the bed for now.

    Please ignore this second question if it takes too much time, I’d be glad to hear about the first if possible. Thank you very much for your care and have a very fulfilling day!

  43. Oh, sorry, when I wrote ‘first question’ at the very end of my post, I was referring to the general meaning of this position, what it is, and what your comments might be about it being next to my bedhead in that area of the room.

  44. Interested in knowing which Buddha and any symbolism with this statue

  45. Hi there, John:

    This is a Tibetan deity. I am not 100% sure though which deity it is. I believe the statue is of the Deity Jambala, who is the deity of Wealth and Prosperity. Usually, Jambala is depicted as being a bit chubby, as are most Asian deities that are related to prosperity.

    Is the deity holding a mongoose in his left hand that is spitting jewels out? If so, then it is Jambala, but if not, please let us know what he is holding in his left hand. We can’t see from the picture.

  46. Hi there, Jeff, and thank you for your photo and email. I believe the photo that you uploaded might be copyright by someone else, and because we don’t want to violate anyone’s copyright, I am removing it.

    So other people know what the post is, the Buddha is sitting up with his head resting on top of his right knee (both his hands are placed on top of the right knee), and the left leg is horizontal to the ground, and the ankle tucks behind the left knee.

    I have seen this pose several times before but I have to tell you that I am not familiar with the meaning. Usually Buddha poses will reflect a moment from the life (or lives) of the Buddha. I am not sure which moment this pose might reflect. Also, this particular styling of the hair and clothes and face seems much more contemporary to me, so I believe the style was originally created recently by an artist that just thought it looked nice.

    I could well be wrong, so that is just what I BELIEVE but I don’t have any proof.

  47. Hi! My mother just bought me a statue of who we think is Buddha. However, I’ve never seen a Buddha statue that looks like this. Earlier this year, we went to the Walters Art Museum and saw a statue that I remember being the most similar to him.

    He is seated, legs crossed, with his right hand holding what I think is a lotus blossom to his chest, and his left hand is sitting in his lap holding a lantern? Neither of us are too sure about what exactly he is holding. He also has a jewel on his forehead. His outfit is a sort of robe that is half open and covered in a floral pattern. We’d love to know exactly who our friend is! Thanks in advance!

  48. Andrew M says:

    just finished meditating and saw a statue of what I thought of was buddha with his right hand up and out while the other resting (protection buddha) funny thing is i never knew what this was called, let alone ever seening this statue with this position before, but this website help me find out. amazing finding out the meaning too.

  49. I have been given what is best described as a copper-covered round decorative tray with what I am told is Buddha on it. It was purchased in the Philippines many years ago by the friends who gifted me with it. The Buddha is seated in the meditative pose under an archway between two round pillars. Around him are flowers and four suns that have marks on their foreheads. What I find intriguing is that this Buddha is holding in his lap what appears to be a rounded box that is opened to reveal an eye inside the box. Also, my Buddha has a beard and mustache which seems unusual. Do you have any insight about this piece? I really don’t know anything about Buddha but I love this piece and I have cleaned it up and hung it in my office. Thanks very much.

  50. Hi there, Eileen:
    While this does look like a depiction of the Buddha when he took up vows of austerity (only eating one single grain of rice per day), this is not really what you would call a traditional image. Yes, it does reflect a moment in the life of the historical Buddha, but the depiction is quite different than most common depictions.
    I hope this helps.

  51. Hello all.
    Im seeking for a little bit of advice. Im a student and my family will be moving into a new place soon. I am thinking of placing a painting of Buddha, or walking Buddhist monks on the wall behind my bed. Any suggestions whether it is advisable to do so?
    If not, that which painting will you suggest?
    Thank you very much.

  52. Allard Jongebloed says:

    Hello, can anybody please explain to me where this pose stands for? Bought this in Sri Lanka. Thanks in advance for your reaction.

    vriendelijke groeten, Allard Jongebloed

  53. Hi,

    What is the English translations for the chant you mention here on YouTube and spelled out earlier?
    Nah-mow ta-saat
    Pak-ah wah-to
    Al-lah ha-to
    Thank you for your knowledge and assistance.

  54. Can u pls tell what Buddha is this (pic attached)? I have kept this in the foyer (east facing)with the bamboo plant by the side. Is it ok? Any advise would be helpful.

    Thank you,

  55. Frank Martinez says:

    Is there any significance of someone leaving what appears to be Happy Buddhas at your front door?

    A couple days ago someone (we don’t know who) left four little miniature Buddha statues, two gold colored and two jade color and one like a frosted color at the sides of our front door, the gold on the left side and the others at the right side. Three appear to be Happy and one is like the holding his left hand up, palm out similar to the protection Buddha only the opposite hand.

    We also have an 18″ Buddha statue that has been in front of our house for years that my daughter left here, it is like the historical Buddha, right hand holding like a small bowl on top of right knee and left hand on left knee holding what appears to be a bead necklace…his head is bowed downwards and he is in the sitting position, right foot in front, bottom of foot facing out and left foot under neath him.. More curious why someone would leave the miniature statues at the door.

    Thank you.

    Frank Martinez

  56. Hi there, Frank, and thanks for your comment.

    I don’t think there is a special meaning or reason for them leaving the statues with you. Probably they didn’t want the statues any more and saw that you have a Buddha statue in front of your house, and just thought that they would leave them with you.

    I could be wrong and maybe in certain regions of certain countries (or in certain towns) there is a custom to give a set of statues. And it is quite common to place statues in a group together, even if one is of the Historical Buddha, and the others are of the Happy Buddha or of Kuan Yin, or even sometimes statues of revered monks or even Hindu deities.

    Also, I would love to see a photo of the statue that your daughter left with you. It is not a posture that I am familiar with. You can upload one here, if you don’t mind.

    Thanks again.

  57. Is this bad luck? Resting eyes closed? I felt drawn and thought it was a nice image

  58. No, it is not bad luck, and it is a very nice image.

  59. Hi we’ve just returned from a holiday in Thailand and I our hotel was this wonderful statue of a female Buddha hunting with a bow. I’m trying desperately to find one as my husband really liked it, but google searches have produced nothing that matches. Do you have any ideas please of where I might find one? Thank you!

  60. Thank you for your comment, Val.

    Did you get a chance to take a photo of the statue? If so you can upload it here to our site.

    Unfortunately, it is hard to tell from your description which statue it was, but I don’t think that it was a statue of The Buddha. The Buddha is always depicted as male, as far as I know. Also, since the The Buddha taught that we should refrain from harming ALL living creatures, it is unlikely that The Buddha would be depicted as a hunter.

    My first though is that it was actually a statue of Prince Rama, who was a famous archer and is almost always depicted holding a bow. While Prince Rama was male, people often confuse Prince Rama with a female because Indian princes are often depicted with long flowing hair, ornate gowns, earrings, and other jewelry. Also, because Prince Rama was thought to be very quick and agile, many statues of him look like he is “dancing” while firing his arrow.

    If you don’t have a photo that you can upload, please do a search for “Prince Rama Statue” on google and let us know if those statues might look similar to the statue that was at the hotel.

  61. I have this Buddha as well and I too am unsure about the lantern in the left hand, which is resting on his knee. Could it be an incensor rather than a lamp light? The closed lotus blossom represents potential enlightenment. I hope my photo helps. Many thanks.

  62. Hi my husband bought back this statue of what I thought was a meditating Buddha from a trip to China, I wanted a Buddha to help me to feel calmer and less stressed but I’m not even sure if it is a Buddha now?

  63. Hi there, Sheila:

    Thanks for your email. While the bad news is that this is NOT a statue of the Historical Buddha, it is indeed a statue of a Bodhisattva, which is a Buddhist Saint. This is a statue of either Avalokiteshvara, or of Kuan Yin, the Chinese Goddess of Compassion. The unusual thing is that this could be either; some people will consider it the male Avalokiteshvara, others will consider it the female Kuan Yin. And they are both right. You can learn more about Avalokiteshvara or you can learn all about Kuan Yin here.

  64. Arun Kumar Dubey says:

    Would you please help me by telling that what this laughing Buddha in the attached image (Ho Tai) signifies?
    The Laughing Buddha here (in the attached image) is not holding anything and has his hands raised upward (inward palm) and he is in sitting pose.

  65. ????????????

  66. Ben Mitchell says:

    Would you happen to know the unusual asana/mudra in this image, taken in Vientiane’s Wat Ho Phra Kaew today? https://www.flickr.com/photos/ohbendy/15974683972/

  67. Erwin Winchester says:

    I have done little of research on Life of Buddha and I knew only some of the mudra or lets say poses of Lord Buddha. And I do have many but small laughing Buddha Statues in gift. But I didnt know their actual meaning. But today I knew in detail thanks to you.

  68. I also have a similar statue as Savana above and was wondering if you can tell me anything about it? Thanks in advance :)

  69. Good Evening,

    My husband recently got this pendent for me as a gift. I was wondering if this was traditional Buddha pose and what it’s meaning may be? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  70. Thank you for the email and photo of the amulet, Cy.

    That pendant looks like a depiction of Avalokiteshvara / Kuan Yin, and not an of the historical Buddha. You can read more about Kuan Yin here: http://www.thebuddhagarden.com/kuan-yin-statues.html

    It is common to see Kuan Yin with a vase, but the foot position is very strange. Generally, Kuan Yin / Avalokiteshvara are depicted either standing or with the legs crossed, while upon a lotus blossom. In your pendant, the LEFT leg hangs down, which I have never seen before. (Green Tara is sometimes depicted with the RIGHT leg hanging down, but I have yet to see the left leg hanging down.) Plus Green Tara is depicted holding a Night Lotus, not a vase. So I really don’t know if this is a traditional depiction or not, and if it is, which deity it might be.

  71. Hi there,
    I received this statue as s gift and have searched the net but can’t find its meaning (I’m hoping it’s not just some random piece that someone created that does not have a meaning), would really appreciate it if anyone could tell more about it? Thanks!

  72. Hi there, Deelee and thanks for your comment and photo.

    Yes, this is a statue of the Historical Buddha, but it doesn’t look like it is based on a particular historical pose. Most poses are based on stories from the lives of the Buddha. I don’t recognize this pose, but there are so many cultures that have so many local stories about the Buddha, maybe it is based on a local story somewhere.

    As you can probably tell, the Buddha is holding up a Lotus Blossom. Usually, you would see the Buddha either holding a small Lotus Blossom in one hand – possibly resting on the palm of the hand while the hand itself rests in the lap. But more likely you would see the Buddha sitting or standing on a Lotus Blossom.

  73. Geneviève says:

    Thank you for all your kind answers. I have also invited a protection Buddha into my home. Could you please translate the Thai prayer that you have written phonetically, please?

    Thank you so much.

    Many blessings to you.


  74. Hi there, Geneviève:

    Ok, i will have to try and do that this weekend when I am at one of our local temples.

    The thing is that the prayer is actually originally in the Pali Language, and the prayer I wrote is the phonetic English version of the phonetic Thai version of the original Pali prayer. So I will try to get the exact translation for you by the weekend.

  75. Does anyone know anything about the symbolism of this small sculpture? Thank you.

  76. Can I send you a picture of my new beautiful Buddah statue ? I’d love to learn more about it. I was immediately drawn to it and absolutely love it and I feel at peace with it around me. It makes me happy.

  77. Could you please identify if this in fact is Buddha? I have it placed in the front entrance of my home as a way of offering respect to our visitors. Is that proper? Thank you so much!

  78. I would like to know the name of this statue and its meaning if anyone can help.

  79. Hello, I have read though the different Buddha meanings and am very fascinated. Although I would like some clarification. I have recently purchased a tapestry with an elephant Buddha printed on it. I was wondering the true meaning of the pose it is giving. It is sitting with legs crossed, ankle to knee position. It has four arms. The lower left hang is placed at stomach length holding a bowl containing what looks like fruit. The lower right arm is placed at chest length with hand positioned up and palm out. The left upper arm is around shoulder length and is holding a flower by the stem. The right upper hand is at shoulder length and is holding what i don’t know the exact name of the object but what looks like a mini ax maybe? The elephant is dressing in what looks like a robe and has fallen down to reveal the left shoulder and chest. Beside the elephant it has a mouse on the left side and something that is giving off scents into the air on the right side. I would love to hear your feed back since i’m contemplating on using it for one of my art pieces. Thank you.

  80. I received this antique Buddha statue from my grandma before she died. She had it for over 40 years and as a china painter, she planned to restore it. Before I attempt to do any restoration on it, I would like to know the origin and meaning of the style/pose.

    I have 14 Buddhas in my house but this one means everything to me because it was an heirloom. By the way, grandma was Catholic, but like me, was facinated by images of the Buddha.

    Thank you for any info you can give me.

  81. The back:

  82. Hi,

    The deity depicted in the artwork is Lord Ganesha, a Hindu deity. Per the Hindu philosophy he removes obstacles from your path and ensures progress in tasks undertaken by a person.

  83. This appears to me to be a Chinese style Buddha, and is in what people like to call the “Namaste Pose” or in the Prayer pose. The head is more rounded than for Indian or Thai / Cambodian / Lao / Burmese style statues.

    Unfortunately, I know nothing of “valuing” antique statues, so I can’t say anything about whether you should restore a statue or not.

  84. Hi there, Cherie and thanks for your photo and your question.

    That is not a statue of the Buddha. Instead, that is a statue of a Thep Phanom, which is commonly called in English a “Mountain Angel”.

  85. Thank you, Anubha, for taking the time to point out that is Lord Ganesha.

  86. Dear Regan:

    As Anubha pointed out, that is Lord Ganesha (also known as Sri Ganapati – the Lord of Doors), and is considered the remover of obstacles.

    You can see images of Lord Ganesha as well as learn more about the significance of the items HE holds by visiting our Ganesha statues and artwork page.

  87. Can someone tell me what each of these mean?

  88. Donna Stobie says:

    I found this Buddha at a yard sale. I’m trying to find information on its meaning. It’s very different…as his mouth seems in comptemplation, with left hand on cheek…right hand closed on knee. It appears to be blue glass, as I turned it over to expose any markings…it has two figures ( heads, legs, appears that one has a arm around the other…looks like they are reclining )
    Would like information on it.
    Thank You,
    Donna Stobie

  89. hi, i’ve looked and looked and can’t seem to find out what this is. hoping you could help its 18-19in tall and made of clay (I think), thank you for your time.

  90. esmeralda says:

    Alguien me pudiera decir que es, el nombre y el significado, de lo que trae el buda sobre su cabeza, parece como una flama pero no se que es

  91. if i have 2 buddahs reclining is it bad luck? as iv had 2 deaths in my family in last 6 months although i bourght them about 5 yrs ago x

  92. Kaye Steedman says:

    I have a small 65cms high, Ivory carved laughing buddha with a small child reading a book the buddha is holding a fan on the right side of his head, his clothing is painted and he has a small square on the bottom with Asian writing. I could send you a photo if you have an email address. I want to know if you know the meaning of the signature on the base and if you would know from the photo if it is Ivory. I also have another very small metal buddha with Thai Writing around the base it is 35cms high with the number 26 on the back, in the base it looks to me like Amber with 2 hairs one Gray and one black, it seem very significant to me, as I have seen similar ones but the base is filled in, I am in Australia, would appreciate your help, also I can send photos of the above items.

  93. Marina colins says:

    Hi can someone help me, I have purchased a lovely heavy stone garden ornament , called Thai Princess, I want to know her name and what she represents, she is kneeling and holding some kind of vase or bowl Thankyou

  94. juan garsa says:

    i found a laughing sitting buddha no rosary sitting on a round bowl with chinese letters craved on it 5-7 cm 100-150 grams would like to sent you photos of it im in mexico right now thats where i found it dont how it got here. i would like to know the meaning of it or its whereabouts dont know if to get rid of it or keep it for luck.. help will be appreciated ..thanx

  95. Stacey Joaquin says:

    Good Evening. I was given a Beautiful “Resting Buddha” for Mother’s Day, May 10, 2015, with both hands on the one Knee and i Would love to Know where I should place him for the Inside Or the Outside.
    Thank you so very Much.

  96. I was looking for detailed information on various Buddha Poses and mudras and their meanings.
    Thank You.

  97. I was too looking for buddha poses and information. Spreading knowledge.

  98. I recently bought a new Buddha from a fair trade store that has the Buddha sitting in what seems to be a meditation pose with hands center holding a bowl with another Buddha on the chest holding up the right hand and left is down and open. It was suggested to me it is a meditation Buddha for connecting with the divine teacher within. Do you have any thoughts? Eyes are closed and he is drapped with a cloak of floral pattern across both shoulders that may come down onto his lap. He sits on a lotus. Thoughts please?

  99. Liz Lusher says:

    Hello, My elderly mother is obsessed with finding out all the specifics about a Buddha she has just acquired. Am I able to send you a photo, please? Any help would be most appreciated.
    With best wishes,
    Liz – Bermuda

  100. Nicholas Holden says:

    Hi my wife bought me a very large black laughing Buddha. I would be very grateful if anyone can tell me about this Buddha and its symbolic meanings. He is Black skinned (unlike my others) and wonder if this colour has any symbolic meaning as well for this laughing Buddha. Also he wears an open very bright yellow robe which I would like to know the symbolism for. He has golden beads around his neck and matching beads in his right hand. He also has funny looking ears, his right foot is forwards but his left foot is nearly crossed against his right knee and very slightly raised and his hands are on top of his knees and I also wonder about the symbolism of this gesture Thank you and many blessings to all.

  101. Nicholas Holden says:

    Just adding to my last comment. This very large Buddha was bought me as a gift for fathers day and will it bring me luck as I heard that you can only be gifted a Buddha and never buy yourself?

  102. Hi,
    Is it bad luck to have a reclining Buddha at home since it’s his final few days and poison. Also Is there anything you should do if you buy a used decorative Buddha home?

  103. Hi , i just bought a Buddha 3 feet tall statue .. It is teal green .. I cant figure out the meaning. Both hands are fingers facing down , palm up .. right hand is higher then the left .. Both hands are in the same position .. Made out of clay and some type of crackled glass .. Anything would be help full .. Thank you

  104. shantanu says:

    txs for the information

  105. Big Momma says:

    Hi I just purchased a large painted Buddha face, eyes closed. It is only a half of the face though, is a half face frowned upon at all?

  106. Last night I asked God how to pray so that my prayers are answered, I then saw the image of the meditating Buddha so I’m guessing that I should listen more than yap about my problems to God. Great article.

  107. Thank you, Cyrus.

    Everyone has problems. Sometimes people pray and their problems are also solved. Sometimes people pray and their problems are not solved. Sometimes people DON’T pray and their problems are solved.

  108. I don’t necessarily think it is frowned upon, as long as you treat the image with respect. I have seen these types of images in the past as well.

    You might find it interesting that there are images of the Buddha that have been either vandalized (by antique thieves) or have deteriorated, and they are still venerated.

  109. I have a Buddha statue that looks almost identical to the Protection Buddha on this page with the Abhaya “without fear” Mudra on the right hand, but with the left hand down and resting on the left knee instead of palm up. Would this still be considered the Protection Buddha, or would it have another meaning?

  110. Greetings,
    I have a small sitting Buddha. The right hand is pointed down with the palm facing out, the medicine position?
    The left hand is in the meditating pose (I think), with the palm facing up across the navel area.
    Can you tell me if it has a special meaning. I can send a picture if that helps.

  111. Hi, I am going to buy a Buddha for my front yard garden. Please advice on which posture and mudhra the Buddha should be. It will be placed on the north east corner.

  112. Hello!!

    My husband and I went to Thailand and Cambodia for our honeymoon, and we bought a Buddha for our home. I’ve been looking everywhere for the meaning of his mudra, but still unsuccessful, I was wondering if you could help me.
    Here is a link where you can find a picture of our Buddha statue:


    Thank you very much!!

  113. Hi I would like to know the meaning of a buddha statue I have seen in a shop?
    Can I send a photo to you?

  114. i have around 107 buddhas all diffrent sizes postures and i have a shrine with 6 buddhas and 2 dragons protecting it.I would love to know why i feel safe with my buddhas but i also pray to the higer up the lord.

  115. I would love to send pictures to find out the meanings

  116. Hi there, Juana and thanks for the photo. To me, that looks like the Protection Buddha / Warding off Fear Buddha statue, just in the Cambodian style so the hand is turned in a little bit. You can see another version of this asanna here:


    Thank you!

  117. Hi, I have a Buddha with his right hand up as if stopping someone and the other hand over it palm to palm. His left hand has his first finger and thumb making a circle shape. Sorry, kinda hard to describe. Does anyone know what it is?

  118. Hi again, I have a golden Buddha that is kneeling with his hands in praying position. He has flicky things on his shoulders and arms and a spiky thing on his head and I was wondering, is it a Buddha? A friend of mine said it could be Hindu.

  119. I have a question about a Buddha statue, I’m sorry I don’t have a pic of it only what I know from memory. I have searched for any kind of meaning but can’t find anything! It is a Buddha Statue that is in Lotus Posture and is holding Two separate Lotus flowers, one in each hand! The Statue is very, very old atleast 5000 Year’s or a lot more! The robe I think covers one shoulder, but the way it’s carved it reminds me of some kind of Japanese Armor. The expression on the face was a pleasant one, and the eyes were still open but squinting almost closed! I couldn’t tell if there was any hair, and it might have but the third eye was also worn away! But even if you can tell me what the two lotus flowers mean, with the posture and the age {Was very old! Maybe One of a kind}… Anything will help! THANKS, I HOPE I HEAR BACK! ROB

  120. i have collected buddhas sence i was 22 i have shrines and every kind u can think of white black.every posture with them on animals.I would love to find out the meaning of a shrine i received from my son.It was my first one.Now i have around 85 of them.Is there anywhere you can send pictures to get meaning?

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