Buddha Poses and Postures: The Meanings of Buddha Statues

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Photo of Protection Buddha Pose StatueA lot of people ask us “What does this Buddha statue mean?” What they are really asking is, “What does the posture of this Buddha statue mean?”, since the pose of the statue has a particular significance to an event in the life of the Buddha. (Note:  You can See More Examples of these poses by visiting our Buddha Statues for sale page.)

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. An example would be with both hands folded face-up, resting in the lap. This is the attitude of meditation. Meditation is significant in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha because the Buddha meditated under the Tree Of Wisdom (Bodhi Tree) to attain enlightenment.

In Thai statues, it is often common to see these statues with the legs in the “Single Lotus Pose,” meaning that one leg rests on top of the other leg. There is also a “Double Lotus Pose” where the heel of the bottom leg is then pulled up so that it is “locked” into the top leg.

You will find similarities between some of the different statue postures and many similar named yoga poses. The Protection Buddha depicted on the left is shown Raising the Right Hand so as to offer protection or to ward off fear.

Buddha in the pose of meditation

There are many other common poses as well, with 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 meditated all night to overcome the fears and temptations sent by the demon Mara to defeat the Buddha. Instead, the Buddha 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. The Meditation Buddha Statue on the left is sculpted in the style of the Great Kamakura Buddha Statue at Kotokuin Temple, which is the largest Buddha Statue in all of Japan. 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 a 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.

Which Buddha Statue Is Right For You?
Common Name Significance Hand Gesture (Mudra) Posture (Asana)

Protection Buddha Signifies courage, offers protection from fear, delusion and anger Right hand raised, facing outward, left hand resting in lap Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus), or one leg resting on top of the other (Single Lotus)

Meditation Buddha Signifies inner wisdom, emotional balance, and clarity Both hands resting face up in the lap, one hand on top of the other Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus), or one leg resting on top of the other (Single Lotus)

Enlightenment Buddha Signifies insight, purity of character, self-mastery Right hand facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing inward Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus)

Teaching Buddha Signifies wisdom, understanding, and fulfilling destiny Both hands at chest level, with thumb and index fingers forming a circle, right hand palm in, left hand palm out Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus)

Medicine Buddha Signifies healing Right hand facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing outward, a bowl of herbs rests in the left hand upon the lap Seated with ankles tucked (Double Lotus)

Contemplation Buddha Signifies determination and patient understanding Both arms lie flat against the chest, palms in, with right arm on outside of left arm Standing with legs together

Alms Collecting Buddha
(Begging Buddha)
Signifies compassion and caring for all beings Arms bent at elbows, holding an alms bowl at chest level Standing with legs together

Walking Buddha
(Sukhothai Buddha)
Signifies grace and internal beauty Right hand raised, facing outward, left hand dangles along left side of body Standing with right foot forward, as if stepping on to right foot

There are many other common poses, and here is just brief explanation of their meanings, but to get a more accurate description, please go to our Main Home Page and click on a photo of a statue. The link will take you to the information page which will explain the meaning behind the posture.

Bodhi Tree Buddha Under the Wisdom Tree

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.

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. On the left, you can see a carving of the Bodhi Tree Buddha, This and that statue clearly shows the Double Lotus Pose where both knees are below the feet.

Common Mudras and Related Attitudes:

Right Hand Raised – Protection from evil, warding off fear. This is typically in a standing pose, but you can see a seated pose with right hand raised.

Right Hand Pointing Down Facing Outward – This is the posture of bestowing a blessing on mankind. If there is a bowl filled with a plant resting in the left hand of the Buddha, then it is a statue of the Medicine Buddha. This particular statue is from Tibetan Buddhism, as they believe that the knowledge of medicine was a gift from the Buddha to mankind.

Right Hand Making a Circle – This is the Mudra for perfection, or the argument of perfection, by the Buddha.

Thai Buddha Poses For The Day Of The Week :

Chinese Goddess Kuan YinIn 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. The statue on the left is of the Buddha Shakti, or Buddha Yab Yum. This image is NOT venerated by traditional Theravada or Mahayana schools, but is instead found in the Tantric schools of Buddhism practiced in Tibet and Nepal.

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 right hand is raised in the pose of Preventing Calamities or Preventing Relatives from Fighting.

Tuesday: The Buddha in a reclining pose (made famous by Wat Pho in Bangkok, Thailand). The Buddha lies on His right side, with right hand tucked up under the head, and the left hand lying along the left side of the body.

Wednesday BEFORE Noon: Thai people split Wednesday into two different poses – those who are born before noon on Wednesday are represented by the Buddha in the pose of collecting alms, where both hands carry and alms bowl in front of the chest.

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: The Buddha In Meditation, one of the most well known poses of the Buddha. The Buddha sits in the lotus pose with the hands resting in the lap, both palms facing upwards.

Friday: The Buddha standing in contemplation, with both arms crossing the chest, and the right hand on top of the left, with the backs of the hands facing outward.

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.


  1. Hadrien says:

    Nice article,

    I fall in love with one of your picture of the Buddha Under the Bodhi Tree of Wisdom.

    Thanks a lot !

  2. Hi,My name is Ritu.We live in Penang Malaysia.This month 28 we are shifting our new house.I read your article many times and like very much.Pls can you tell me which Buddha posture is better for my house? I want peace,prosperity ,health,wealth every thing.Thanks.

  3. 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

    • 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.

    • 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 .

  4. 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.

  5. 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!!!

    • 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. katrina burton says:

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

    • 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.

  7. 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!!

    • 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.

  8. I have a buddha that is sitting down holding a big bowl can you tell me what his meaning is?

    • 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.

  9. I have a black buddha in our house , what does black buddha means? Is it good in our house? The black buddha is in a sitted position and smiling

  10. 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.

  11. 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

    • 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.

  12. Yogeeta Devi says:

    Hi! I have a Buddha statye with a smiling face and a bag hanging from his back. The bag is held by both his hand. pliz suggest its meaning. It actually is kept in a glass bookcase. It can be seen as one enters the living room. Thanks

    • 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.

  13. Yogeeta Devi says:

    Hi! Sorry for the earlier comment. The Buddha statuethat i have is a laughing BUDDHA. Its right hand is raised till the right eye while the left hand holds a bag. The statue has a big belly and hanging ear lopes with beads from his neck resting on the belly. I have bought the statue from a duty free shop and never aryed to it. Just today i got an e-mail that its BUDDHA DAY today.It actually is kept in a glass bookcase. It can be seen as one enters the living room. Please suggest its meaning. I pray for good health and wealth.

  14. 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 ?

  15. 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.


    • 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.

  16. 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?

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

    • 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.

  18. 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?


    • 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.

  19. 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.

    • 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.

  20. im curious to know is there any kind of Buddha that has a forehead and seems like it has a ball attached to it standing up ??? someone left that at my front door ?

  21. 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?

  22. 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

    • 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???

  23. 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?

  24. 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

  25. 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 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.. 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 he his both his left and right hand 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!!

  26. hi we bought a solid wooden buddha at a boot sale the other day and was wondering if you could tell us anything about it.I believe it should have a glass top to make it a table not a chair as seller said it was.Thankyou

    • Hi there, Bren:

      I am reluctantly uploading your image, just so people know what we are talking about.

      It is definitely an offense to Buddhists to use an image of the Buddha as furniture. while I would be less offended if you use it as a table instead of a chair, I would still be offended.

      I would kindly suggest that the image is kept somewhere outside in the shade and is neither used for a table or chair, so as to avoid bad karma for yourself.

  27. I have got a present of picture/statue of Thai Buddha In Zen Pose Head on right Knee. Where can I found more information about its meaning?

    • While I have seen that particular pose before, I don’t really know too much about it. But are you sure that it is a Thai Buddha and not a Chinese Buddha??? It is not a pose that I have seen in Thai temples but I have seen that pose in some of the Chinese Buddhist temples (or temples in Thailand that serve the ethnic Chinese population, such as in Yaowarat district of Bangkok).

    • I have seen this pose in Korea. What does it mean and is it typically Korean?

  28. Anjana Ranawaka says:

    Hi, My name is Ranawaka, I live in yakkala in sri lanka, I like to white dimond Buddha statutes , Also, I like to lordbuddha’s offering his legs ,hands & bloods statutes, because, I like to offer my legs ,hands & bloods for world’s human’s Nibbana & peace.


  29. What is the meaning of a standing Buddha in a long robe holding a small boy?

  30. Have you seen a Robe swaddled Infant Buddha with a pearl in his mouth. Do you know it’s origin and and meaning?

  31. Hi,

    I have recently bought this Buddha from Thailand and would like to know a bit more about it. I have done a bit of research but could not find the exact same and its meaning.

    Can you help?

    Thanks in advance,


  32. Hi there I have recently found a laughing buddha made from jade, I’d like to know what the meaning of it might mean , the buddha is laying to his left side and my right side with his left leg straight and right leg with a slight bend with his right are resting on it and holding some type of orniment and head rested on his right hand.

  33. I saw one I have never seen anywhere; Buddha with no arms.

  34. 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.

    • 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.

  35. 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!

    • 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.

    • 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).

  36. I recently brought a Thai buddah that is naked with jewelry playing a flute. What is her meaning……?

    • Hi there, Kim: Thank you for your comment and for emailing us the photo.

      I am about 75% sure that your statue is not of the Buddha but instead is a statue of the Hindu God Krishna. I say this because Krishna is usually depicted playing the Flute, and usually has very ornate hair, like in the statue you have.

      Also, since Krishna is an Avatar of Vishnu, He is often depicted touching the ground. Usually a Hindu god is depicted either sitting on a lotus blossom or riding on a vehicle (such as an animal – either real or supernatural).

      I wish I could post the photo you sent us here but I am not sure how to do that. sorry.

  37. Hello, I recently bought a thanks at a garage sale that appears to be old and authentic. But I’m mystified by one of the buddha poses. In the upper left, is a smiling buddha with his right arm extended straight up n out at approx 45°. No body seems to know what the gesture means and I have never seen it before. Any ideas? Is there a place I can send a picture of the entire thangka and a detail of the area in question?
    Thank you so much,

    • Hi there, Danny and thanks for the photos of the Thanka, which I have uploaded here.

      It definitely looks like a Tibetan style thanka. i am not 100% sure of the meaning though. I am sorry that I am less familiar with the different schools of Tibetan Buddhism than I am with Theravada Buddhism.

      I would say that in some Tibetan schools they believe in multiple Buddhas, and I THINK that this is one of the Buddhas.

      I hope this helps.

  38. 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!

    • 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.

  39. Thank you for sharing, for all the many meaning of poses .I ‘m looking forward to learning more!!

  40. I bought a Buddha for my mum’s birthday but I don’t know what it means! Help me please!!!

  41. Hi,
    I have the following standing Buddha and I am unsure what it is holding or its meaning. Are you able to interpret it for me?

    • It is hard to say exactly without seeing a closeup shot of the objects in the hand, but it looks like there might be a lotus blossom or possibly an alms bowl.

      I think it looks most like an open lotus blossom with long petals hanging down and covering the hands, and the blossom at the top. Is that what it looks like to you?

      Also, this statue looks to me like it was made in Indonesia (possibly Bali)? There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of detail in the carving (as one would find with a Thai or Cambodian or Burmese statue).

  42. I have three statues but don’t know what the mean any help

    • Hi there, and thanks for the photo;

      The first statue on the left is the Buddha in Meditation. The legs are in the Single Lotus pose and the hands are in the mudra of meditation. The general style of the statue looks like it might be based on a design from China / Taiwan, or possibly Indonesia. Often smaller statues are based off of larger statues enshrined at a temple.

      The middle statue is Ho Tai, also known as The Happy Buddha

      The dark statue on the right is (obviously) the head of the Buddha. This style looks to me like it might be based of a Khmer style statue. I would be curious to look at the bottom of the statue Does it look like it was separated from a larger statue?

  43. 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!

    • 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.

    • I walked into a health store and was immediately drawn to this statue I had to buy her, can you please tell me what this pose means?

      • Hi there, Lucy:

        Thanks for the email, and for the photo. That is actually a statue of the Goddess Kuan Yin (or the God Avalokiteswara). You can read more here about this god / goddess.

        But in short, the Goddess Kuan Yin is a Chinese Goddess of Mercy and Compassion. Her name translates as “The One Who Hears” as she hears the cries of the world, and she dispenses mercy and compassion from the vase she holds upon those who deserve it.

  46. Hi, I’m wondering what this position means. I never find it in any of the position explanations on websites. Thank you :)

    • 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. HI,

    Can you please let me know the meaning for this, Also where to use this(Indoor ?).

  49. Akanksha chugh says:

    I want to buy buddha and have liked this one that i have attached can u please help me with its significance and tell me whether it would be right to buy it for the my south facing house and wat wud be best place to keep it

  50. Akanksha chugh says:

    Also this is another one that is available and would like to know which is better for the house for entrance

  51. While in Chiang Mai I purchased this Buddha at an antique shop. What does it stand for?

  52. Katrinka says:

    Recently came into possession of these two statues having no idea who they are or meaning of either. Can you assist?
    Is she Kuan Quan? Zi? or a geisha? I really like her.
    I thought he was a Buddha not finding meaning of his just sitting (no tucked legs) & right hand faced down on knee, fan in other. He has such a stern face…is he Confusious as suggested? Do the two have any ‘meaning’ together. I planned on tucking him by the Koi pond, one of my serenity spots.

    • Hi there, Katrinka:

      Thanks for your comment and for your photo.

      Lets start with the female statue. Unfortunately, I don’t think she is any kind of a goddess. She doesn’t seem to have any sort of religious symbolism with her. If she were Kuan Yin, she would generally be seen with a vase, or a pearl, or a turtle, lotus blossom, multiple arms, eyes in her hands, or some other identifying marks.

      As for the male statue, it does look like a historical figure to me from the demeanor, so I would guess that it is probably Confucius or Lao Tzu. It certainly doesn’t look like a statue of an emperor.

      It is POSSIBLE that the statues are actually depictions of the Eight Immortals of Taoism. I am not that familiar with them, but I know that in Buddhist temples in Thailand (where I am from) that have a large Chinese congregation, they will have statues of the Eight Immortals as well.

  53. Gurpreet says:


    I had purchased these 3 beautiful pieces at the night market. Can you please tell me what each mean?


    • Hi there, Gurpreet: That is a cute little collection of statues. I think that the center statue in the gray robes is supposed to be Ho Tal, the Happy Buddha. The figures in the orange and white robes appear to be Shaolin Monks to me, from the famous Shaolin Temple which is know for its monks that train in Kung Fu. None of them are related to the historical Buddha.

  54. 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.

  55. Sandy Dunn says:

    I have a Buddha that is on top of a rabbit, He sitting on some sort of pedestal on top of the rabbit and he is carrying something over his shoulders. The item on his shoulders looks like some kind of carved piece of wood with some discs hanging from it. He is also carrying something in his left hand. I have never seen this before.

    • Thanks for the note, Sandy: Is there any way you can upload a photo of the statue to us so that we can look at it?

      Off the top of my head, it doesn’t SOUND like a Buddha statue. but I could be wrong.

      Thanks in advance.

  56. Just bought a foot high standing Buddha statue. Both arms are up, palms facing upward, as if he was carrying or balancing something – a bowl? Boughs? Would like to know what’s missing. I have him outside in an alcove of junipers and vines. Looks good there but don’t want to offend.

    • Hi there, Sandra:

      Thanks for the note. It sounds to me like this might be the Happy Buddha instead of the Historical Buddha. do you happen to have a photo of the statue?

      Even if you don’t have a photo of the statue, here are some ways to tell the differences:

      - Is the figure depicted “chubby” (Happy Buddha)
      - Is the head completely bald? (Happy Buddha)
      - Does the image depicted have hair in tight curls? (Historical Buddha)
      - Is only ONE shoulder covered by a robe, with the other shoulder exposed? (Historical Buddha)
      - Are the legs crossed in meditation pose? (Historical Buddha)
      - Does the image look serene? (Historical Buddha).
      - Does the image look… well… HAPPY??? (Happy Buddha).

      I hope this helps.

  57. Michael says:

    I am finding very little on the standing Buddha in what would appear to be a praying pose. What would be the symbolic nature of this depiction?

    • Hi Michael, and thanks for your comment and photo.

      I don’t know a whole lot about this statue, but after looking at it, the statue does appear to be an image of the Buddha. This is known as the Namaste pose (or in Thailand we call it the Wai pose or the Sawasdee pose, since in Thailand we don’t greet people with Namaste but instead with the words Sawasdee). I need to do more research to tell you what the significance of this asana is.

      The statue itself looks like it might be based on a Mahayana design. Can you tell me where you bought it? the statue looks like it might be Chinese but it might be a representation of a larger Buddha statue at a temple in Eastern India or far West China?

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