Welcome to Buddha Statues Now!
We offer a wide selection of Buddha statues that will add peace and tranquility to your home or garden. The design of our Buddha sculptures are the same as the Buddhas found in shrines and temples around the world. The objective of our online store is to provide a wide selection of poses and mudras that meet the needs of our clients. Therefore, classic Buddha statues are not all we offer. Additional themes include a wide selection of Bodhisattvas such as Manjushri, Green Tara, White Tara and Vajrasattva. Come and see for yourself as you browse our Buddha statue gallery.
The Most Common Buddha Statues For Home
Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Gautama Buddha was the original Buddha, therefore his statue is one of the most common of statues for your home. The original Buddha walked the earth in the 6th century BCE. The actual birth date and date that the Buddha died are actually not certain, thus we only have approximations to go by. Buddhism is distinct from Abrahamic religions although similar to Jesus and Muhammad, Shakyamuni Buddha did not write anything down. Therefore, the teachings of the Buddha were memorized by his disciples during his lifetime and passed on for many generations. Finally, 2-3 centuries after the Buddha achieved enlightenment there began to emerge written records of the Buddha’s teachings.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of confusion in the western world about the use of Buddha statues. In Buddhism, the Buddha statue is not an object of worship. Instead it is a symbol that offers a sense of direction or a focus point for meditation. A Buddha statue can also be inspirational to devotees because it can inspire them with the Buddhist virtues that they represent. The objective for Buddhists is to find follow the Dharma path to enlightenment and does not entail worshiping a god which is the norm in Abrahamic religions.
The Central Features of Buddhist Temples are Buddha Statues
The common decorum in a Buddhist shrine is to have not only one, but 3 Buddha statues. In the middle is Shakyamuni Buddha, on the left of Shakyamuni is Padmasambhava Buddha and on the right of Shakyamuni is the Green Tara. Padmasambhava is a Buddha who walked the earth in the 8th century, long after the original Buddha. This Buddha is said to clear all obscurity from the path to enlightenment.
On the right hand of Shakyamuni, Green Tara is a Bodhisattva who was born out of compassion (Avalokitesvara). However, bear in mind that this arrangement can change although it would be considered a common arrangement in a Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist Shrine. Thus, if you are in a region that practices Theravada or Mahayana Buddhism then there may be different Bodhisattva or other Buddha statues next to the Shakyamuni Buddha Statue or perhaps none at all.
Other Prominent Features of Buddhist Temples
A short list of other objects we may see in close proximity to the Buddha statues include water, burning incense, flowers, burning candles, fruit and a lotus flower. These are offerings that have been made to the Buddha. However, the offerings are not made in order to win the Buddhas favor. Instead, they are symbols that remind all of us about the teachings of the Buddha.
- Offering of Water – this offering reminds us to clean our minds of desire, ignorance and ill will. The water represents purity, clarity and calmness.
- Burning Lamp/Candles – light symbolizes wisdom and drives away the darkness of ignorance.
- Flowers – the beautiful flowers signify impermanence because the beautiful scent and colors of the flowers will soon fade and they will decay. The Buddha taught us that all things are impermanent and that we should live in the present.
- Burning Incense – the sweet smell of the burning incense reminds us of morality and that we should cultivate pure moral conduct.
- Fruit – reminds us of the reward which can be found in enlightenment and that all actions will have their effect.
- Lotus Flower – is a symbol of the Buddha himself. The lotus seed sprouts in the mud and filth of a pond and rises out of the dirt to form a white blossom above the water level. This projects the actuality and potential all of us have for enlightenment. Like the Buddha, we can rise above the defilements and desires of life and obtain enlightenment.
Buddha Statues Mistaken for Shakyamuni Buddha
Unfortunately, it is easy for the western novice to get confused when selecting a Buddha statue for home. Alas, as previously mentioned there are many different statue variations such as the Amitabha Buddha statues, Medicine Buddhas and Bodhisattva statues. The most common one is of course Shakyamuni Buddha which is a statue that represents the original Buddha.
“Budai” Statues or Happy Buddha Statue
In Chinese folklore, Budai is a figure whose name means “cloth sack”. This is because of the cloth sack full of his few possessions that he was always seen carrying. Budai is considered to be a deity but was also a monk that lived in Zhejiang China during the 10th century. The Happy Buddhas are very distinct from other Buddha statues because Budai is commonly depicted as having a big belly and is always laughing. Paradoxically, laughing Buddha is commonly confused with Shakyamuni Buddha. The laughing Buddha was certainly not Shakyamuni Buddha. Nonetheless, he was considered a symbol of contentment and was a man of good and loving character.
Laughing Buddha is a symbol of Mahayana Buddhism, which was an offshoot of Theravada Buddhism and took root in East Asia. Therefore, this version of Buddhist teachings is more modern and can be considered less conservative than the traditional Theravada teachings. As a result, Nirvana is made accessible to a wider set of Buddhists instead of only a select group. It follows that the Laughing Buddha is more welcoming and symbolizes that the average person can become enlightened. Budai statues are sometimes depicted holding fans which grants wishes. Additionally, it is said that rubbing his belly will bring wealth and good luck to you. Sounds a bit like Santa Claus? However, since Budai preceded Santa, it would indicate that Santa is modeled on Budai!
These are mortals who followed the Dharma path and could have entered nirvana. However, they elected to stay in the earthly realm to assist others to obtain enlightenment. A very common bodhisattva is called Guanyin and she is associated with compassion as venerated by Mahayana Buddhists. It is generally accepted that Guanyin originated as the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. Similar to the laughing Buddha, Guanyin does not look anything like Shakyamuni Buddha. In many geographies that practice Buddhism the statue has feminine features. However, Avalokitesvara is often depicted as either male or female to show the transcendence of gender. Additionally, Guanyin may have roots in Taoism and not only Buddhism.
Whether Guanyin is depicted as a male or female can depend largely on which culture the statue originated from. For example in Chinese Buddhism Avalokitesvara is depicted as the female figure Guanyin. However, in Cambodia Avalokitesvara is depicted as the male figure Lokesvara. The most profound example of this is evident at the 12th century Bayon Temple in Cambodia. This is where over 200 serene smiling Buddha Statues are found depicting the face of Lokesvara.
The Common Poses & Buddha Statue Meanings
Buddha statues come in many different shapes and forms. For example, the Buddha can be standing, sitting or in a reclining posture. Reclining Buddha statues notwithstanding, the Buddha is usually depicting gestures with his hands that are called mudras. Reclining Buddha statues are a depiction of the Buddha (lying on his right side) as he is preparing to leave the earthly realm and enter paranirvana. Thus, it is called Nirvana Buddha. However, standing and sitting Buddhas are always using mudras.
There are over 100 different mudras that have various meanings which help to define the different Buddha statues. Each of these poses illustrates some significant event in the past life (lives) of the Buddha.
Some examples include:
- Abhaya Mudra (protection)
- Dharmachakra Mudra (teaching)
- Dhyana Mudra (meditation)
- Bhumisparsha Mudra (calling the earth to witness)
- Vitarka Mudra (Intellectual Discussion)
The mudras used in this posture are the right hand raised with an out facing flat palm and the left hand is palm facing up with the two middle fingers slightly bent. These mudras signify protection and overcoming. Thus, it is called protection Buddha. This statue is very significant in Buddhism and it represents important teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Tian Tan Giant Buddha in Hong Kong is using these mudras. The Tian Tan is one of the largest and most significant large Buddha Statues in the world.
After the Buddha achieved enlightenment it is believed that he gave his first sermon to a companion in the Deer Park of Sarnath. The right hand is depicted palm facing outward with the index finger touching the thumb. This gesture forms a small circle which symbolizes that the “wheel of Dharma” has been set in motion. The left hand is turned inward and the index finger and thumb of the left hand join to touch the circle. Additionally, the mudra is always displayed at chest level to indicate that it comes straight form the Buddha’s heart.
This mudra was used by the Buddha for his final meditation under the Bodhi Tree. It is always preformed in a seated position with the back of the right hand resting on the palm of the left hand. The backs of both hands are resting in the practitioners lap with the thumbs of both hands touching to form a triangle. The Buddha statues display this mudra in order to symbolize peacefulness and calm. Although Buddhist adherents cannot have a Bodhi tree in their meditation rooms, this Buddha statue will make a useful focus point to find inner peace and calm after a long day.
The Bodhi Tree is also known as Ficus Religiosa and is informally called the “sacred fig”. The Bodhi tree can grow to giant proportions and can live for over 1000 years. This sacred tree is the center point of many religious sites throughout Asia and is considered sacred for both Hindus and Buddhists. It is considered sacrilegious to ever cut back or to otherwise harm a Bodhi tree. In fact, it can be punishable by death in some parts of the world!
Calling The Earth To Witness
On the eve that the Buddha was to obtain enlightenment a demon called Mara appeared and tried to dissuade the Buddha. The Buddha used meditation to regain confidence and after meditating all night he was able to fight off the evil temptations of Mara. The Buddha then called on the Earth goddess to witness his triumph over evil.
This mudra is preformed in the sitting position only with the left hand in the lap and the flat palm open and facing upwards. The right palm is facing inwards and is draped over the right knee with the fingers pointing towards the ground. Thus, the Buddha is calling the earth to witness the truth at the moment he obtained enlightenment. As a result, it is said that the earth goddess then rung her hair and created a flood which washed away the demon Mara.
The Vitarka mudra is somewhat similar to the Abhaya mudra in that the right hand is held close to the Buddhas chest. The right hand is also held palm facing outwards with the index finger touching the thumb forming a circle. The circle symbolizes the constant flow of energy signifying that there is no beginning or end, only perfection. The left hand is depicted with palm facing upwards and it is placed in the lap. This Buddha statue shows the importance of teaching, discussion and intellectual debate. Triumph of darkness over light requires the subjugation of ignorance and it is an important virtue displayed in Buddhist teachings. Therefore, discussion and intellectual debate are important tools that will prevent individuals from turning inwards and possibly blocking out the light of the Buddha’s teachings.
Popular Buddha Statues and Bodhisattva Statues
Amitabha Buddha Statues
This figure is believed to be a celestial Buddha and appears as a prominent figure in the doctrines of Mahayana Buddhism. Additionally, Amitabha is a principal figure in Pure Land Buddhism and is thought to possess an unimaginable amount of merit. Some characteristics associated with Amitabha include longevity, pureness of perception and deep awareness of the emptiness phenomenon.
Amitabha Buddha was believed to have previously been the bodhisattva named Dharmakara. The Amitabha accumulated this collection of merit during his countless bodhisattva lifetimes. Amitabha is an iconic figure in the Mahayana sect of Buddhism in East Asia and is known as “The Buddha of immeasurable life and light”. Most of the Amitabha Buddha Statues were carved for religious purposes.
Both Standing and Seated Amitabha Buddha
The statue can depict the Buddha seated or in a standing position. The seated Amitabha Buddha statue is usually depicting the meditation mudra and is sometimes also holding the lotus flower in the flat of his palms. When standing the mudra depicted is the left arm bare and extended downward with the thumb and index finger touching. The right arm is held upright with the palm facing outward and thumb and index finger touching. This is the teaching or wisdom mudra and it symbolizes that the teachings of Buddha are available to all walks of life and not only the elite. These Amitabha Buddha statues reveal the sincerity of Amitabha because his right hand is held near his heart. Additionally, sometimes Amitabha is displayed alongside Guanyin and Mahāsthāmaprāpta.
Bhaisajyaguru or Medicine Buddha Statues
It is believed by Tibetan Buddhists that the Buddha is to be credited for granting the knowledge of medicine to mankind. The mudra that this Buddha statue is depicting is 1) the back of his left hand resting in his lap with palm upwards holding a bowl (presumably filled with medical herbs). 2) the right hand is draped over his right leg with palm outwards. The right hand is of special significance because it is an open gesture that indicates the Buddha is granting the knowledge of medicine to mankind. This Buddha statue is believed to calm your spiritual ills and grant you good health.
Maitreya Bodhisattva Statues
This popular statue is a future Buddha who is believed to be the future successor of Gautama Buddha. It is believed that the bodhisattva will appear in the future to achieve enlightenment and teach mankind the true Dharma. Unfortunately, the prophecy foretells that Meitreya will return at a time when the world has fallen into disarray and has forgotten the original dharma. Therefore, the Maitreya will need to reteach the dharma to mankind.
The most significant of all the large Buddha statues in the world is located in Sichuan Province, China. It is named the Leshan Buddha statue and it is sculpture based on Maitreya. The Leshan Buddha is still the largest stone Buddha statue in the world. The Leshan Buddha was a project initiated by a monk named Hai Tong in 713 AD and it was completed in 803 AD.
Leshan Buddha Statue
Compassion Buddha Statues
This Buddha statue is also known as the 4 armed Avalokitesvara or Chenrezig. Compassion Buddha is actually a bodhisattva that is said to embody the compassion of all the Buddhas. The Bodhisattva of Compassion has taking an oath not to rest until all of mankind was saved from continuous rebirth and could obtain enlightenment.
Compassion Buddha is known and beloved by all Buddhists. Therefore, Compassion Buddha has different names in different regions. The Sanskrit word for the Bodhisattva of Compassion is Avalokitesvara in India, but it is the same reincarnation as Guanyin in China, Chenrezig in Tibet or Lokesvara in Cambodia. Additionally, Compassion Buddha can also appear as either masculine or feminine e.g. Guanyin is feminine and Lokesvara is masculine.
Compassion Buddha is believed to have forgone enlightenment to bridge the gap between the Shakyamuni Buddha and the final Buddha of the future – Meitreya Buddha. Chenrezig is said to have exploded after realizing the immensity of the task that lies ahead. Amitabha put Chenrezig back together again and this is why Chenrezig can be depicted with 4 arms or even a thousand arms and a eleven heads. The extra arms and heads are used by Chenrezig to be able to work faster and to observe the suffering of sentient beings more effectively.