Essay Buddhist Art and Iconography

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Buddhist Art and Iconography As Asian culture became popular, Buddhist art became very familiar to Americans. We can find statues of Buddha not only at Asian restaurants but also at bars, night clubs and even at furniture stores. Buddhist art is becoming less associated with religion; however statues of Buddha and other Buddhist motifs such as lotus flowers have significant religious meanings behind them. Although some of people who are interested in Buddhist art are non-Buddhist, there are millions of followers in the United States today. The followers include non-Asian converts as well as Asian Americans. Buddhism was brought to America mainly by immigrants, Western scholars, writers and artists. The number of Buddhists…show more content…
The positions of the Buddha’s hands have special meanings attached to them, and they are called Mudra. There are large numbers of Mudra, but here are five most commonly used Mudras: Dhyana Mudra, Bhumisparsa Mudra, Varada Mudra, Abhaya Mudra, and Dharmachakra Mudra. When the Buddha rests both hands with the palms facing upwards on his lap, it is called Dhyana Mudra, meaning gesture of meditation. The right hand is on top of the left hand and both thumbs are joined. Joining the two thumbs is of special significance since the nerve channel associated with the mind of enlightenment is said to pass through the thumbs (Buddhist studies, 1995). The gesture of the right hand hanging over the right knee while the left hand facing upwards on the lap is called Bhumisparsa Mudra, Calling the Earth to Witness. During meditation, Siddhartha had many temptations. The position of the left hand symbolizes meditation, and the right hand is point the earth and calling the earth Goddess to bear witness. This gesture represents the Buddha’s overcoming of hindrances during meditation, and symbolizes enlightenment as well as steadfastness. When the left hand rests in the same way on the lap and the right hand is resting on the knee with the palm facing outwards, the gesture is called Varada Mudra, the gesture of bestowal of supreme accomplishment or charity. The right hand symbolizes bestowal of supreme accomplishment, and the left hand
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