Do Buddhists find decorative Buddha statues offensive?
No, precious Buddha statues are not offensive. In fact, the craftsman 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 does a Buddha statue mean?
There are several ways to learn the meaning of a specific Buddha statue. First of all, please pay close attention to the product description because the identity and meaning of the statue is clearly stated. Additionally, pay close attention to the hand mudras and postures the statues are using. The mudras and postures are always the tell all signs for the meaning and identity of the statues.
Are there rules of etiquette regarding Buddha statues?
Please do not place the Buddha statue directly on the floor, in the bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. Additionally, 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. Follow the link below for a full list of simple feng shui implementation rules for your Buddha statue.
What direction should the Buddha statue face in my home?
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 so you must pay close attention to the mudras and postures to identify the statue with certainty. Additionally, the statue is clearly identified in the product description so please read it before you buy.
Some general rules for identification are as follows:
“Calling the Earth to Witness Mudra” – Shakyamuni Buddha
“Boon Granting Mudra w/Myrobalan Plant” – Medicine Buddha
“Meditation Mudra w/ Bowl” – Amitabha Buddha
“Meditation Mudra w/ Ambrosia Vase” – Aparmita Buddha
“Female Statue w/ 7 Eyes” – White Tara, additionally she sits in Full Lotus in contrast with Green Tara who has one leg partially extended and Green Tara has only 2 eyes.
“4 Arms and 2 hands clasped together in front of chest” – This is Chenrezig also known as Avalokitesvara
“Raised Sword In Right Hand” – Manjushri
“Diamond Mudra” – Vajradhara
“Holds Vajra in Right hand in front of heart and a bell in his left hand on his lap” – Vajrasattva
Do some Buddha statues compliment each other?
Yes, some statues can be arranged as sets. In fact, it is common in Buddhist shrines to see 3 Buddhas together and not only one. Normally, Shakyamuni sits in the middle and he has another Buddha or bodhisattva on his left and right side. The identity of Shakyamuni’s companions can vary depending on what sect of Buddhism and also your own personal inspiration. A common recommended combination of Buddha statues is Amitabha – Shakyamuni – Medicine Buddha.
Additionally, 3 protective bodhisattvas that each represent one of the Buddha’s virtues is a common combination. This would be Manjushri “Buddha’s wisdom”, Vajrasattva “subtle body of limitless form” and Avalokitesvara “Buddha’s compassion”. In this combination Shakyamuni can be placed in back elevated on an alter and the 3 bodhisattvas can be arranged in the foreground.
In Pure Land Buddhism there is a common set of statues called the “Pure Land Buddhist Trinity”. These three statues feature Amitabha Buddha in the middle, Guanyin (Avalokitesvara) on the left, and Mahasthamaprapta on the right. Guanyin represents the compassion of Amitabha and Mahasthamaprapta symbolizes the power of Amitabha’s wisdom. Indeed, Amitabha is the central figure in the practice Pure Land Buddhism.
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 a Buddha statue. If not, then we offer the best statues available from that area and you can purchase it here with free international shipping. Learn more about Buddha statues made in Nepal here:
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 generating 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. Chinese Buddhists also believe he is an incarnation of Meitreya Buddha. See below for more details about “fat or Happy Buddha”.
Why do some Buddha statues depict 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 male deity represents compassion and is seated while his female consort represents wisdom or insight and she is seated on his lap while they are locked in a sensual embrace. Read more here:
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 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 different 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 sect or geographical region. For example, Vajrasattva is also Vajrapani or Amitabha is also Amida and Amitayus. Avalokitesvara is also known Chenrezig, Guanyin and Lokesvara. Even the original Shakyamuni Buddha is known by more than one name!
Is it true that you should only own a Buddha statue if it was given to you?
Although it is certainly nice to receive a Buddha statue as a gift, it can also result in significant delays. As a result, if you are inspired by a particular Buddhist statue it is important that you do not delay your purchase. There is certainly no bad karma in buying your own statue. Additionally, self sacrifice in acquiring a Buddha statue can be considered virtuous.
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.
If the Buddha is not a god why do people pray to the Buddhist 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 some Christians praying to the virgin Mary or to saints even though the bible does not teach it – Read more here:
What other objects should I place near my alter?
Common additions to your Buddhist alter 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 alter 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 some 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. As a result, all of the reclining statues of the Buddha depict him lying on his right side. However, there is a variation in reclining Buddha statues as to whether his head is resting on his right hand on a pillow or if his head is supported by his upright elbow. Here the Buddha has entered Paranirvana which is the state that an enlightened being enters when they are released from the confines of the body.
Why are some Buddha statues standing up and walking?
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 and Abhaya Mudra. Additionally, the pointed head reaching towards the sky is a metaphor for a flame that is reaching toward the heavens. A Buddha statue designed in this manner depicts the Buddha after he had achieved enlightenment.
Are your gold Buddha statues gilded with real gold?
Yes, as indicated in the product descriptions our gold Buddha statues are gilded in 24 karat pure gold. Imitation gold Buddha statues or statues that are gilded in under 22 karat gold will tarnish over time. In contrast, 24 karat gold statues will never tarnish. This is one of the reasons why the 24 karat gold Buddha statues are much preferred by more discerning collectors such as Buddhist monasteries. Therefore, it is important to have a high quality gold gilded finish on your new Buddha statue.
Products that are imitation are usually pretty easy to spot. As a result, if I put a gilded 24 karat statue next to a gilded statue of lower quality, the statue with the 24 karat gold leaf will almost always speak for itself. This is because a 24 karat gold leaf finish will shine in the right places and this will enable sculptures to enhance the features of the statue.
Additional, signs of an imitation statue include brush strokes if the gold paint 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 will stand out as unnatural. Read more about the production process here:
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 is a common feature on most Buddha statues. Additionally, the Ushnisha symbolizes the “attainment of reliance on the spiritual guide.”
Why are the Buddha’s ears elongated?
As a young prince born in ancient India (present day Nepal) Siddhartha Buddha wore large rings in his ear lobes. This was the symbol of wealth and royalty during this time period. However, when Siddhartha became an adult he 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 in the middle of 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 some Buddha statues holding a bowl in their lap?
Generally, speaking there are two types of bowls that are included as part of 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.
Additionally, the alms bowl is associated with the three nectars that will eliminate the three poisons (defilements) of ignorance, hatred and attachment. The connection is metaphorical because these nectars come from virtues that the monks acquire from maintaining their vows. The Buddha statues which are typically seen holding the alms bowl are Shakyamuni Buddha and Amitabha Buddha.
The medicine or “lapis” bowl is associated with Medicine Buddha also known as “Bhaisajyaguru”. The 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. 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 (Vajrayana). 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 Vajrayana Buddhists are more open to worshiping or praying to deities. Read more about Buddhist deities here: