This Shakyamuni statue represents a figure who is considered the original Buddha of our time. The Buddha was reincarnated in the 6th century B.C.E. as Prince Siddhartha Gautama. Additionally, he was born into the Shakya Kingdom as and he was the sole heir to the kingdom. However, after becoming disillusioned with his lavish lifestyle, he renounced his inheritance and went to live in the forest as a renunciant.
After practicing meditation for 6 years he became the first enlightened being of our time. Therefore, he is the original Buddha and this Shakyamuni statue is a depiction of him. Click here to learn more about the life and history of the original Buddha.
Mudras Depicted by our Shakyamuni Buddha Statue
Shakyamuni Buddha is depicting the Bhumisparsha or “earth touching” mudra. This is a unique mudra that is attributed only to Shakyamuni statues. The earth touching mudra is depicted with the right hand draped over the knee with the palm flat and facing inward. Also, the fingers are lightly touching the ground.
Additionally, his left hand is resting in his lap with the palm facing upwards and there is an alms bowl resting in the palm of his hand. This is known as the Dhyana “meditation” mudra. It can be depicted with or without the alms bowl, but the alms bowl has a special significance. This is because the alms bowl is holding the three nectars that will eliminate the three poisons of greed, hatred and ignorance.
However, the most prominent gesture is done with the right hand. Siddhartha performed this mudra when he was on the verge of enlightenment under the bodhi tree. As he was preparing to enter Nirvana, the demon Mara appeared. Mara tried to entice the him with earthly pleasures. However, Mara was unsuccessful and the Buddha went on to achieve his goal. As a result, the earth touching mudra is a gesture of triumph and he is calling the earth goddess to witness the vanquishment of Mara.
Special Significance of the Lotus
Our Shakyamuni Buddha statue is sitting in full lotus pose on a single lotus pedestal. Indeed, the lotus flower is a very special symbol in Buddhist beliefs. This is because the lotus flower grows from a seedling on the muddy bottom of a pond. It rises through the murky pond water to blossom in the clean air and sunshine on the surface. As a result, it is an important metaphor used to symbolize devotees passing through the vicissitudes of samsara to emerge as fully enlightened beings.