The Ultimate Buddha Statue Buyers Guide
One of our world class Buddha statues can last many lifetimes. What you will find here is a comprehensive Buddha Statue Buyers Guide that covers every aspect of buying a Buddha statue. At first glance, it may appear quite overwhelming so please refer to the table of contents to find specific details.
Are decorative Buddha statues offensive?
No, precious Buddha statues are not offensive. In fact, the Nepali craftsmen who make our statues use the same designs and sculpting techniques that supplied the monasteries in Tibet for many centuries. Additionally, purchasing a valuable Buddha statue actually shows sacrifice and dedication to Buddhist virtues. If someone finds a valuable Buddha statue offensive they are probably just jealous.
What is the Meaning of a Buddha statue?
The most important aspect to consider before purchasing your Buddha statue is the meaning. Fortunately, the meaning of the Buddha statue is revealed by the Buddha statue hand gestures and postures. The hand gestures that the Buddha used are called mudras and he used them at different times of his life. As a result, they have been incorporated into the statues of other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Learn the meaning of a Buddha statue first, then you will receive the most benefits from your new statue.
Do Buddha statues have rules of etiquette?
- Please do not place the Buddha statue directly on the floor, in the bedroom, kitchen or bathroom.
- Place the Buddha statue so it sits at least 2.5 feet off of the floor.
- The Buddha statue should be placed in good light where it can be seen and appreciated.
- If possible, always situate the Buddha statue so it is facing the door. As a result, it will attract positive energy as you enter the room and deflect negative energy back out the door. This last rule is especially relevant for the front door to your home or office.
- Acquire your Buddha statue in a positive spirit and with confidence.
- Please review the complete list of important feng shui implementation rules and benefits for your Buddha statue and accessories.
What direction should the Buddha statue face?
It is always most beneficial to have the Buddha statue facing the front door of your home. Additionally, it should be situated so it the first thing you see as you enter the house from outside.
What is the identity of the Buddha statue?
Many Buddha statues have similar facial expressions. Therefore, you must pay close attention to the hand mudras and postures to discover the Buddha statue identity. Additionally, all of the statues on this website are clearly identified in the product description. Some general identification rules are:
- Shakyamuni Buddha – “Earth Touching” or Bhumisparsha Mudra
- Protection Buddha – “Protection” or Abhaya Mudra
- Medicine Buddha – “Gift Giving, Boon Granting” Varada Mudra
- Amitabha Buddha – “Meditation” or Dhyana Mudra with Alms Bowl
- Amitayus or Aparmita Buddha -“Meditation” or Dhyana Mudra with “Vessel of Longevity”
- White Tara – “Gift Giving, Boon Granting” Varada Mudra, 7 Eyes, 2 lotus flowers
- Green Tara – “Gift Giving, Boon Granting” Varada Mudra, 2 Eyes, One Leg in Panhandle
- Chenrezig – 4 armed statue, Lotus flower grows over left shoulder
- Avalokitesvara – 1000 arms and 11 heads
- Manjushri – Raised sword in right hand, lotus flower grows over left shoulder
- Vajradhara – Diamond Mudra, hands crossed in front of heart
- Vajrasattva – Vajra in right hand in front of heart and a bell in his left hand on his lap
Do some Buddha statues compliment each other?
Yes, some statues can be arranged as sets. In fact, it is most common in Buddhist temples and monasteries to see several Buddha statues grouped together. However, the identities and the combination of the statues will vary widely depending on the school of Buddhism which is predominant in that area.
Set of Five Dhyani Buddhas
In Tibetan Buddhism, a highly venerated combination of Buddha statues is set of five Dhyani Buddhas. Each of the Dhyani Buddhas symbolize the purification of negative emotions and their transformation into corresponding virtues. Additionally, each Dhyani Buddha is associated with their own color, ride their own animal and portray their own mudra.
The Five Dhyani Buddhas are Vairocana (Dharmachakra Mudra), Amitabha (Dhyana Mudra), Ratnasambhava (Varada Mudra), Akshobhya (Bhumisparsha Mudra) and Amoghasiddhi (Abhaya Mudra). Additionally, each of the Five Dhyani Buddhas represents a specific time period in the life of the historical Buddha.
Mahayana Buddhist Statue Sets
In Mahayana Buddhism, there is a very influential Buddhist text called the Medicine Buddha Sutra. The sutra identifies Amitabha Buddha as the guardian of the west, Medicine Buddha is the guardian of the East and Shakyamuni Buddha represents the basic Buddha principle. As a result, these three Buddhas in combination will also make an excellent set.
Amitabha Buddha – Shakyamuni Buddha – Medicine Buddha
Furthermore, Bodhisattvas are very significant in Mahayana Buddhism. Therefore, Shakyamuni Buddha and two Bodhisattva statues can make a meaningful combination. These Bodhisattvas represent two of the Buddha’s most powerful attributes.
Manjushri represents the “Buddha’s wisdom” and Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) represent the “Buddha’s compassion”. In this combination, Shakyamuni can be placed in back elevated on an the altar and the 2 bodhisattvas can be arranged in the foreground.
Manjushri (Wisdom) – Shakyamuni Buddha – Chenrezig (Compassion)
Where do you buy a Buddha statue?
The best Buddha statues in the world are made in Kathmandu, Nepal. If possible, I recommend traveling there and buying your Buddha statue in person. If that is not possible, then we offer the best Buddha statues available from that area and you can purchase your statue here on my website with free international shipping.
Why do I need a Buddha statue?
Buddha statues represent the morals and virtues of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas they depict. For practitioners and non-practitioners alike this can be very inspirational and help you to live a more virtuous life.
Many feng shui practitioners appreciate that a Buddha statue can be a strong generation factor for chi energy. Additionally, Buddha statues can be a potent meditation aid and they are also used for tasteful home or office decoration.
Why are some Buddha statues fat?
There is only one “fat Buddha” and that is Budai who is widely venerated in China. Budai is considered to be a deity but he is also remembered as a monk who lived in the 10th century ACE. His name translates as “cloth sack” because he is strongly associated with the sack he carried over his shoulder that held his few possessions. Budai is also commonly depicted with children which are symbols of wealth and prosperity in China. See more details about “Fat or Happy Buddha”.
Ironically, Budai is a Bodhisattva and he is not actually a fully enlightened Buddha. Chinese Buddhists also believe he is an incarnation of the future Buddha named Meitreya.
It is a Mahayana Buddhist prophesy that Meitreya will come in the future after the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha have been forgotten. Additionally, he will become a self realized Buddha and then reteach the Dharma to sentient life.
Why is there a man and woman in sexual union?
This is known as “Yab Yum” and it is a depiction of the primordial union of wisdom and compassion. The origins of this esoteric embrace are found in the Anuttarayoga Tantra of Vajrayana Buddhism.
As such, the male deity represents the masculine attribute of compassion or skillful means. Additionally, the female deity represents the feminine quality of wisdom or insight. They are depicted locked in sensual embrace with the male standing or seated and the female deity wrapped around him.
As such, she is usually seated on his lap with both legs wrapped around his waist and looking into his eyes. The yab yum statues can be depicted in peaceful or wrathful form.
Why are there so many statues of Buddha?
There is only one original Buddha who is commonly known as Shakyamuni or Gautama Buddha. However, there are several other Buddhas and also bodhisattvas. As a result, it is not only Shakyamuni Buddha who is widely venerated.
Although some of the other statues simply embody the attributes of Shakyamuni many statues also have their own stand alone attributes. By learning to identify the mudras and postures you will be able to confidently and correctly identify the many different Buddha statues.
An additional issue that can create confusion is that all of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas are called by several different names depending on the Buddhist school or geographical region. For example Vajradhara is also Vairocana, Amitabha is also Amida or Amitayus, Avalokitesvara is also known Chenrezig, Guanyin and Lokesvara. Even the original Shakyamuni Buddha is known by more than one name!
Is it OK to receive a Buddha statue as a gift?
Yes, it is certainly nice to receive a Buddha statue as a gift. The only problem is that it can result in significant delays. Therefore, if you are inspired by a particular Buddha statue it is important that you do not delay your purchase. There is certainly no bad karma in buying your own statue! In fact, the self sacrifice in acquiring a valuable Buddha statue can be considered meritorious.
Did I buy the right Buddha statue?
Please confirm with certainty the identity and meaning of the Buddha statue before completing your purchase! The statues are clearly identified and described in great detail in the product descriptions. Additionally, I am always available to answer questions and there is no rush to buy if you are not certain.
Why do people pray to Buddha statues?
The Buddha did not teach that people should pray to deities or even to the Buddha himself. Nonetheless, some devotees do pray to the statues and deities for inspiration and favor. This is similar to Christians praying to the virgin Mary or the saints even though the bible does not teach it – read more here.
What goes on my Buddhist altar?
Besides a Buddha statue(s), common additions to your Buddhist altar include flowers, incense, candles, fruit, a bowl of water and a lotus. Each offering carries special significance related to Buddhist virtues and beliefs.
- The smell of incense fills Buddhist shrines because the sweet smell represents morality and encourages pure moral conduct.
- Flowers placed in front of Buddhist shrines embody impermanence because their beautiful colors and smell will soon fade and they will decay.
- Bowls of fruit near the altar symbolize the rewards of Nirvana that await the faithful practitioner.
- The offering of water symbolizes purity, clarity and calmness. As a result, the mind is strengthened and it can resist the defilements of existence.
- A lotus flower symbolizes the Buddha himself because it grew out of the mud to rise above the dirty water and blossom into a pure white flower. The symbolism encourages others to rise above the defilements and desires of existence and obtain enlightenment.
- Burning candles signify the triumph of light over darkness (ignorance).
Why are Buddha statues standing?
Most commonly, walking Buddha statues are a Thai design called Sukhothai that was developed in the 13th century. The walking Buddha statues are still created in Thailand and common mudras include Vitarka mudra, Varada mudra and Abhaya Mudra.
In reference to Sukhothai statues, the pointed head reaching towards the sky is a metaphor for a flame that is reaching toward the heavens. However, in other standing and seated Buddha statues the pointed head is called the ushnisha, and it is a symbol of royalty from ancient India. A Buddha statue designed in this manner depicts the Buddha after he had achieved enlightenment.
Are your statues gilded with pure gold?
Yes, as indicated in the product descriptions our gold Buddha statues are gilded in 24 karat pure gold. The benefit of 24k gold statues is that they will never tarnish. Additionally, many of our finest Buddha statues are gold face painted. As such, it is real gold in the paint that gives the Buddha’s face its luster.
In contrast, Buddha statues that use a gold quality of less than 22 karat gold will tarnish over time. As a result, Buddha statues with 24k gold are the preferred level of quality for more discerning collectors such as Buddhist monasteries. Therefore, it is highly recommended to buy a Buddha statue that is finished with the highest quality gold.
Beware of Fake Gold Statues
Buddha statues using imitation gold are usually pretty easy to spot. For example, if I put a 24k gold gilded statue next to an imitation, the statue with the 24 karat gold leaf will always speak for itself. This is because a 24 karat gold leaf finish will shine in all the right places. As a result, it will most effectively illuminate the prominent features of the statue.
Additional signs of an imitation gold statue include brush strokes if the finish has been applied with a brush. Common forms of imitation gold statues are called “composition gold leaf” or “Dutch metal”. These statues contain no gold and are instead composed of brass, copper and zinc. As a result, these statues will have a dull green luster after they become oxidized. To prevent this, forgers will apply a topcoat of sealant but this too will stand out as unnatural.
What did Buddha Really Look like?
The Buddha lived over 2500 years ago and their were no pictures or statues created of him. Therefore, we need to rely on a combination of anthropology and historical records to create a realistic physical appearance of the Buddha. Generally speaking, we can say with some confidence that the Buddha had blue eyes, long dark hair, light golden brown skin color and he was probably above average in height. Additionally, the appearance of the Buddha would have changed dramatically after he completed his renunciation when he was 29 years old. As such before renunciation he would have had long hair in a topknot, worn extravagant amounts of jewelry and adornments and also fine clothing. However, after renunciation he would worn the robes of a monk and had a shaved head for the rest of his life.
Why are Buddha Statues lying down?
“Reclining” Buddha statues have always been an important Buddhist symbol. The reason is that they depict Gautama Buddha as he is in the last few minutes of his mortal life. All reclining statues depict the Buddha lying down on his right side as if he is resting.
However, there is sometimes variation as to whether the Buddha’s head is resting on a pillow or if his head is supported by his hand which is propped up by his upright elbow. Either way, reclining Buddha statues depict the Buddha as is entering Paranirvana. This is the state that an enlightened being enters when they are released from the confines of the body and the cycle of rebirth has stopped. As such, the Buddha has entered Nirvana or the “cessation of suffering”. Reclining Buddha statues are also known as “Nirvana” Buddha statues.
Why is the Buddha’s head pointed?
The topknot that is featured on the head of Shakyamuni Buddha is called the Ushnisha. It is a 3 dimensional oval that is placed on the head of the Buddha statue. The Ushnisha was the style worn by Hindu royalty in ancient India. Since the Buddha was born as royalty in ancient India (present day Nepal) this hair style is associated with him and it has become a common feature on most Buddha and also Bodhisattva statues. Additionally, the Ushnisha symbolizes the “attainment of reliance on the spiritual guide.”
Why are the Buddha’s ears so big?
As a young prince born in ancient India (present day Nepal) Siddhartha Gautama wore large rings in his ear lobes. This was the symbol of wealth and royalty during this time period. However, when he was 29 years old, Prince Siddhartha left his kingdom and went to live as a renunciant in the forest. Therefore, he no longer wore the rings and was left with elongated ears. The stretched ear lobes remained with him for the rest of his life and they are depicted in his Buddha statues.
The elongated ears of the Buddha have since become associated with all Buddhas and bodhisattvas. As a result, most every Buddha statue features elongated ears. One who has obtained divine insight wisdom can hear all the sounds of the world. It is a symbol of the infinite compassion and wisdom held by enlightened beings.
What is the oval on the Buddha’s forehead?
This spot that is situated between the brows is one of the “physical characteristics of the Buddha” that is referenced in the ancient texts. This spot is known as the Urna or the Third Eye. It is a symbol that is attributed to enlightened beings and it is associated with their ability to see into a divine world.
Buddhas and bodhisattvas have obtained the ultimate insight knowledge of enlightened beings and the Urna portrays their infinite wisdom. Additionally, the Urna is seen as an auspicious mark.
Buddha statues began to first appear in the 2nd century ACE. This symbol has been found on the earliest sculptures and it perhaps the most venerable Buddhist symbol.
Why are Buddha statues holding a bowl?
Generally, speaking there are two types of bowls depicted with some Buddha statues. These bowls are known as the alms bowl and the medicine or “lapis” bowl.
The alms bowl is very symbolic in Buddhism. It is called the alms bowl because it is what Buddhist monks use to gather offerings from their local community. Remember that the monks have taken a vow to reject all material comforts. This includes material comforts such as employment to buy food and other necessities. Therefore, the monks are supported by the local community and donations of money and food are collected with the alms bowl.
Symbolically, the alms bowl is associated with the three nectars that will eliminate the three poisons (defilements) of greed, hatred and ignorance. The connection is metaphorical because these nectars come from virtues that the monks acquire by maintaining their vows. The Buddha statues which are typically seen holding the alms bowl are Shakyamuni Buddha and Amitabha Buddha.
A Medicine or “lapis” bowl is associated with a very popular Mahayana Buddhist deity called Medicine Buddha or “Bhaisajyaguru”. The medicine bowl contains the lapis nectar which will cure all suffering.
However, this nectar is again metaphorical because Buddhists believe that all suffering is the result of the defilements. As such, the special herbs depicted inside the lapis bowl will cure the inner sickness of attachment, hatred and ignorance which are the cause of all suffering. The cure for all defilements is again diligent dedication to the practice of meditation, the precepts and the noble eightfold path.
What is the Buddhist God called?
This is a complex question because the concept of “god” is much different in Buddhism than in Abrahamic religions. Generally speaking, conservative Buddhists could be considered atheist while the more progressive Buddhists would regarded as polytheistic. However, it is important to note that Buddhists do not dispute the existence of gods, the question is the extent of their powers and whether they intervene in the human realm.
It really depends on what denomination of Buddhism is in question. Assuming Buddhists are polytheistic, deities are still not considered to be all powerful supreme beings. This is because Buddhist deities have human frailties (sensuous desire, wrath, conceit) and they are still subjected to the cycle of rebirth. Although the gods are far superior to those reborn in the human realm, they all venerate the supreme Buddhas who have transcended the cycle of rebirth.
The three main denominations of Buddhism range from conservative (Theravada) to moderate (Mahayana) to very progressive (Tibetan Buddhism). As such, the different branches of Buddhism have different perspectives on worshiping deities.
Conservative Theravada Buddhists would be focused on self salvation and they would not pray to deities. However, Mahayana and Tibetan Buddhists are more open to worshiping or praying to deities.
Can Your Buddha Statues be filled with Mantras?
Yes. All of our Nepali Buddha statues come with a removable base and they are hollow inside. Therefore, they can be filled with mantras and other materials if that is what you wish. Also, upon request we can have our Nepali guru do the consecration and filling for you. Please inquire before you make your purchase for pricing and availability.
Do you cover the face of the Buddha statue?
Yes. It is important for some of our customers that they do not see the face of the Buddha statue before it is blessed by their guru. If this is your preference, you need not worry because we safely wrap the face of the Buddha statue as a precaution before shipping.
This is to protect the delicate gold face painting and it also serves very well as a face cover for ritual purposes.
Do You have Filling and Consecration Services?
Yes, we work with qualified gurus in Nepal who are specially trained to perform the consecration and filling of the Nepali Buddha statues available in our store. The cost for the filling materials differs depending on the size of the statue. Additionally, although the cost of filling materials is a set price the cost of the consecration is considered a “contribution” – not an expense.
As such, the contribution for the blessing is separate and it is at the discretion of the statue owner. Please contact me before shipping if you wish to have us perform the filling and consecration of your Buddha statue in Nepal.
Are Items Certified by the Nepali Government?
Yes, all of our Nepali Buddha statues are certified by the Department of Archaeology in Kathmandu before they are exported. Plus, all ritual items and Tibetan thangkas which are required to be certified will have the certification documents included with your purchase.
However, the government certification is not a fool proof quality guarantee. Therefore, we advise all buyers to be vigilant when making their purchase. As a result, the national heritage of Nepal will be preserved for posterity and you will have an authentic Nepali statue for many lifetimes of inspiration.