Buddhist Mudras: Sacred Hand Gestures
Like symbols held by saints in Christian art or by gods in Hindu art, Buddhist mudras indicate the identity of a Buddha or a particular scene being depicted.
Mudras are also used in ritual meditation, especially in Tibetan Buddhism, to generate forces that invoke a particular Buddha or deity.
While there are a large number of esoteric mudras, there are ten main ones, of which five are most commonly used in Buddha images. Each of the Five Dhyani Buddhas is assigned one of the five mudras, with which they are invariably depicted in art.
Follow a link below to learn more about each of the five main mudras and see examples of Buddha images featuring those mudras.
|Abhaya Mudra (Fearlessness)
The gesture of fearlessness and protection, representing spiritual power. This mudra is most often seen in standing Buddhas.
|Bhumisparsha Mudra (Earth Witness)
The gesture of "earth witness," which the Buddha is said to have made at the time of his Enlightenment.
|Dharmachakra Mudra (Wheel Turning)
The gesture of "wheel-turning" or the turning of the wheel of the dharma, representing the Buddha's teachings.
|Dhyana Mudra (Meditation)
The gesture of meditation.
|Varada Mudra (Gift Giving)
The gesture of gift-giving or bestowal.