In 624 BC, Siddharta Gautama was born into a royal family in today’s Nepal. He was smart and intelligent despite which his parents decided to keep him away from worldly sufferings and ordained him to a life of boundless luxuries and happiness and got him married at the age of 16.
But destiny had different plans for him.
When he was 29, he stepped out of the palace walls and was immediately hit by the harsh realities of life and the sufferings of the common man. Disturbed and shaken with this discovery, he decided to renounce his royal life and left behind his kingdom and wife to live the rest of his life seeking answers to existential questions.
Despite several teachings and interactions, he was not satisfied and it was then, after 6 years of renouncement that he sat under a Bodhi tree near the Neeranjana river to practice penance. In this state of calmness, he received the answers he was looking for and realized that life is a continuous cycle of ups and downs and that one who is born is bound to die and one who dies takes birth again.
After his enlightenment, he set out to spread his wisdom far and wide. He opted several methods to preach of which Mudras played a very prominent role. Mudras are essentially hand gestures that convey a message or indicate a purpose. To date, these Mudras are used by Yogis and Buddhist monks in their meditation practices.
Some often-used Mudras of Lord Buddha are listed below. Take a look-
Also called the “Teaching of Wheel of Dharma”, the Dharmachakra Mudra is practiced by joining the thumb and forefingers of each hand to form a circle. The right palm is turned outward while the left palm, touching the right palm is turned inward.
Lord Buddha performed this Mudra in his first sermon after enlightenment at Sarnath, India.
This Mudra is often used by yogis to improve concentration and stability. It is performed by placing the right palm on top of the left one with the thumbs touching each other to form a triangle. This triangle represents the three jewels of Buddhism, namely: The Buddha, the Sangha, and the Dharma.
This Mudra is a symbolic representation of fearlessness and is said to evoke feelings of peace and protection. It is performed by raising the right hand to the shoulder length, bending the arm and holding the palm upright and facing outwards.
It is said that once an angry elephant was charging towards Lord Buddha when he performed the Abhaya Mudra and the beast calmed down at once and bowed before him.
Lord Buddha performed this Mudra right after his enlightenment as a gesture to request mother Earth to stand witness to his awakening. It is performed by turning the right palm downwards and touching the ground with fingers.
This Mudra is used to symbolize the transmission of the teachings of Lord Buddha and is performed by joining the tips of the thumb and index finger of the right hand while other fingers are kept straight.
Lord Buddha’s life was exemplary and he is worshipped as the deity of Buddhism. His teachings, to this date, spread light on enlightenment and cleanse the world of impurity.
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