Buddhist Mudras

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Buddhist Mudras Lydia Pierce Art Menu 2 6/9/2013
Buddhism is a religion mostly practiced throughout Eastern Asia and India. Buddhist art comes in many forms, but sculptures are very commonly seen. These sculptures are usually of Great Buddhas or Great Deities and are riddled with symbolism. I researched the symbolism of the hand gestures, also known as Mudras. Mudras can convey feelings, intentions, and wisdom to the viewer. Buddhists believe that with mudras, postures (asana), a spiritual state of mind (mandala), and rhymes or speech patterns (mantras), you can achieve Enlightenment, therefore breaking the cycle of suffering. The first Mudra I studied was the Dhyana, or the gesture of Meditation. This Mudra is seen on seated Buddhas. The back of the right hand rests on the left palm with the thumbs lightly touching. The hands should be relaxed and rested in the lap. The right hand on top symbolises the state of enlightenment, and the left hand on the bottom represents the world of appearance. This Mudra symbolises overcoming the world of appearance through Enlightenment and achieving Absolute Balance. The second most common Mudra is Bhumisparsa, or the gesture of Touching the Earth. This is also seen on seated Buddhas. The left hand rests in the lap with the palm facing towards the sky, and the right hand hanging over the knee, pointing downwards, palm facing inwards towards the body. This simpled Mudra symbolises connecting with the Earth and enables Enlightened Ones to triumph over demons. The Dharmacakra, Gesture of Turning the Wheel of the Law, is one of the more complicated Mudras. The thumb and index finger form circles in each hand; left palm facing the body and right palm facing outwards. With all other fingers extended; the two circles formed by the thumb and index fingers touch. The hands should be level with the heart. This Mudra can be interpreted in many different ways. The most common interpretation is that it

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