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Tue 28 Mar 2017
Attitudes of Buddha Images
Written by Lertporn Parasakul   
Tuesday, 20 February 2007 18:56
Buddha images are generally found in four positions or stances: a seated position, a standing position, a walking position and a reclining position. Therefore when we describe the position of a Buddha image, we may call it a seated Buddha image, a standing Buddha image, a walking Buddha image or a reclining Buddha image.

In each position there are variations of gesture or attitude. Each attitude is related to a period inSitting Buddha at Wat Mahathat, Ayutthaya the life of the Lord Buddha. The most common attitude of a seated Buddha image is the attitude of subduing Mara. In this attitude the Buddha is seated with the legs crossed, the right hand is on the right knee with the four fingers pointing to the ground, while the left hand rests in the lap. This is also known as the attitude of calling the Goddess of the Earth to witness. This is related to the time when the Lord Buddha was about to attain his enlightenment. He was attacked by Mara (a personification of evil) and his army. The Lord Buddha summoned the Goddess of the Earth to witness the attack and to save him by pointing the four fingers of the right hand to the ground. ThStanding Buddhae Goddess of the Earth emerged and saved him by wringing the water of merit from her hair to drown Mara and his army. In this way Mara was subdued. Thus this attitude is known as subduing Mara.

Another common attitude is that of meditation showing the Lord Buddha in meditation when he attains enlightenment. This attitude shows the Lord Buddha seated with his legs crossed. The two hands are folded in the lap with the palm of the right hand facing upward.

Sometimes we see a Buddha image in the attitude of meditation under the protection of a nine-headed or seven-headed naga. This attitude is related to the time when a naga named Mujarin spread its hood to protect the Lord Buddha from a rainstorm while he was meditating under the Mujarin tree. A Buddha image made in this way is usually called a seated Buddha image under the cover of a multi-headed naga.

Standing Buddha images are also found in various attitudes. For example, a standing Buddha image with the right hand lifted to chest leWalking Buddha in Ayutthayavel and the left hand resting at the side is called the attitude of persuading his relatives not to quarrel or the attitude of pacifying his relatives. The story goes like this. While the Lord Buddha was staying at a place by the Rohinee River, the relatives of his father were quarreling with those of his mother about the water to irrigate their rice-fields. The Lord Buddha pointed out to them that men were move valuable than water. Therefore it is not worth killing men just for water. Realizing this the relatives stopped quarreling.

A standing Buddha image with the left hand raised and the right hand resting at the side is known as the attitude of restraining the Phra Kaen Chan from rising from its seat or the attitude of urging the sandal wood image not to rise from its seat. This is how the story goes. When the Lord Buddha paid a visit to his mother for three months on Tavatimsa, the second level of heaven, a king named Pasentikosol, who was missing the Lord Buddha, had a Buddha image carved from sandalwood and had it placed in the residence where the Lord Buddha used to stay. When the Lord Buddha returned from Tavatimsa. The king requested the Lord Buddha to have a look at the sandalwood image, which rose from its seats to pay homage to the Lord Buddha. He urged the image not to rise from its seat by lifting his left hand in the gesture of restraining.

A standing Buddha image with both hands raised to chest level is known as the attitude of calming the ocean the pacifying the ocean. The Lord Buddha performed a miracle by stopping a rainstorm and flooding in the presence of the three arrogant hermits. Having seen the miracle, they submitted to the Lord Buddha and listened to his sermon. The three hermits and their 1,000 followers were so impressed with the preaching that they were willingly ordained as monks.

Information from: "English for Tourist Guides - 1" by Lertporn Parasakul. All the pictures are copyright PanritDaoruang.