Types of Buddha Statues Commonly Used


Before you make your final Buddha statue selection, consider the different types of statues to choose amongst. It is necessary to learn the meaning of a Buddha statue by looking at the pose or posture, and the accompanying hand gestures.

Each traditional pose has a significance related to an important event in the life or past life of the Historical Buddha and depicts different meaning. In order to convenient people who are searching a Buddha statue for their home and garden places. You can see more examples by visiting our Buddha Statues for Sale Page by here. Also referred to as an Asana or an Attitude, there are over 100 poses illustrating the life of the Buddha. And each posture will have a specific hand gesture, called a Mudra, associated with the posture. We sorted out some Buddha statues which widely use and frequently saw in our life. We hope that service to you!

Types of Buddha Statues

• Meditating Buddha / Serenity Buddha / Calming Buddha

This statue style is most commonly found in Buddhist altars in the home. These statues typically render Buddha in a sitting position with both hands in a meditative position called Dhyana Mudra or Cosmic Mudra. The hands overlap each other. The left hand is placed on top of the right one so the thumb tips touch to form an oval, symbolizing the turning of one’s attention inward. The silhouette of the statue is shaped more or less also like a triangle, which represents stability. Occasionally, an alms bowl is placed in the lap as well.

As this statue generally represents focused concentration, the eyes of the Buddha are either depicted as halfway closed, or closed nearly all the way. This statue is for people who are looking for peace and clam in their lives, or for those who wish to improve their own meditation skills. People will often buy a Meditation Buddha if they want to set up a “serenity room” or a corner of their house where they can sit in calm for a little while and unwind.

The statue should face the east direction since the Buddha meditated on the sun rising in his search for enlightenment. Many of the largest Buddha Statues in Japan, such as the Great Kamakura Buddha Statue at Kotokuin Temple, and large statues in Korea are in the Meditation Pose. This pose is also known as the Amitabha Buddha, which means “Boundless Light.”

• Protection Buddha / Overcoming Fear

The image of Buddha depicts the Abhaya Mudra, which is the most popular Buddha hand gesture that is found in many home decor items. Abhaya is translated from Sanskrit as fearlessness, also represents encouragement, signifies courage and offers protection from fear, delusion and anger. This depiction of the Buddha with the right hand raised and facing outwards has two common meanings. The first is that of the Protection Buddha, as the raised right hand symbolically represents a shield. The second meaning is Overcoming Fear, is closely related to the first (since one who is receiving protection would be less fearful).

The main features of this pose, aside from the raised right hand, is that The Buddha can be depicted either sitting or standing, and the left hand may either be extended outward or palm up in the lap. You can apply this as a cure for any area inside or outside your home that suffers from weak or afflicted chi. Good areas inside the home for this statue include the office and den.

• Medicine Buddha

The Medicine Buddha is depicted in paintings having blue skin, but whether shown in statue or painted form, the right hand is held facing downward with fingers extended toward the ground, palm facing outward toward the viewer, a bowl of herbs rests in the left hand upon the lap. It is believed by the Tibetans that the Buddha was responsible for delivering the knowledge of medicine to the people of the world, and in fact the right hand facing outward signifies “granting a boon” (meaning, giving a blessing) to mankind.

This is a common hand gesture amongst both Buddhist and Hindu statues. The Medicine Buddha is venerated by those seeking health, and is more commonly found in the Buddhist temples and communities of Nepal and Tibet.

• Teaching Buddha / Dharmachakra Buddha

This hand posture of the Buddha statue called Dharmachakra Mudra, usually interpreted as turning the Wheel of Law, representing the Buddha’s teaching, wisdom, understanding, and fulfilling destiny. Since the Buddha’s teachings came from his heart, the both hands are in front of his chest. The index fingers and thumbs touch to form a circle, representing his teaching of the Wheel of Dharma (union of wisdom and method). The other three fingers of both hands always remain extended.

Known as Dharma Chakra Buddha, the Teaching Buddha statue is in a sitting or standing position. The most popular is the sitting pose, since this is the position the Buddha assumed when teaching which is an important period in the Buddha’s life. It symbolizes his sharing of the knowledge he’d gained after his enlightenment in the deer park, Sarnath, located in Uttar Pradesh, India with his disciples.

This is an excellent choice for the north sector (career) or southeast sector (wealth) of both inside your home or office and your garden. Some statues depict the thumb touching the ring finger instead of the forefinger. This changes the meaning to one of good fortune.

• Earth Touching Buddha / Calling The Earth To Witness

The most common pose in Thai temples is with the legs crossed, the left hand in the lap, and the right hand pointing to the ground with the palm facing inward toward the Buddha. This posture is known as Calling The Earth to Witness, called Bhumisparsa Mudra. And it is the definition of the moment of enlightenment for the Buddha. This statue honors the time when Buddha was repeatedly tempted by the demon called Mara, but resisted and finally reached enlightenment.

You can place this statue in any sector inside or outside your home that you’re being tempted to reject. If you’re having difficulty in a relationship, place it in the southwest sector to bolster your resolve and commitment. If you’re becoming complacent at work, put this in the north sector (career) to strengthen your dedication to your job.

• The Nirvana Buddha / Reclining Buddha

This statue depicts the Historical Buddha in the last moments of life on earth. The Buddha awaits his transition from this life to death, viewed as a mere transition into a different state of being. Prior to the Buddha dying one last time before entering Nirvana.

If you’re in a transition period, this is a good choice for inside your home or in a garden. Place in the sector that represents the area of your transition. For example, place in north sector of home or office if changing jobs. If a relationship has ended, place in southwest sector. If you’re a new empty nester, place statue in west sector to ease this life-changing transition.

Learn More Deatail about: Reclining Buddha – The Nirvana Buddha

• Laughing Buddha / Happy Buddha / Prosperity Buddha / Ho Tai

In western culture, the Laughing Buddha is probably the most widely recognizable and used. It’s also known as the good luck, prosperity or abundance Buddha. It depicts Buddha in his later years as happy and with a large belly from an abundant lifetime. He’ll either be in a sitting position or standing with his hands over his head supporting a real or imaginary Ru-Yi pot (vessel or bowl of plenty).

Laughing Buddha, also called Happy Buddha, Prosperity Buddha and Ho Tai and so on. No matter what names he have, which is always associated with Happiness, Wealth and Good Fortune. But a word to the wise, Laughing Buddha is not the Buddha at all but actually a revered Chinese Monk. He is somewhat akin to the West’s Santa Claus, since Ho Tai was famous for his Buddhist sermons and for his bag full of gifts, which he brought to children in order to reward them for coming to learn about the Dharma. Ho Tai Buddha is worshipped as the first of the Seven Gods of Good Fortune in Japan.

Ho Tai is often depicted in various forms as well, either with his arms above his head, reaching skyward, or sometimes holding a bag or knapsack over one shoulder. This statue is affectionately dubbed Happy. It’s tradition to rub his belly to ensure even greater luck is bestowed upon you. Place this statue in your personal wealth corner or southeast sector of your home. It’s great for an office on the north wall facing those who enter.

Learn More about: Different Features and Postures of Laughing Buddha

• Kuan Yin / Avalokiteshvara

One of the Buddha statue commonly mistaken for the historical Buddha and most frequently confused are statues of the Chinese Boddhisattva Kuan Yin, as well as the male counterpart Boddhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Both of these Boddhisattvas are important to the Buddhist cosmology, as they have for saken the final step to Nirvana in order to help mankind reach enlightenment. But neither is, indeed, the historical Buddha.

You are more likely to come across the female form of Kuan Yin in Chinese temples, while the male from of Avalokiteshvara is more commonly encountered in the Mahayana schools of Buddhism found in Nepal, Tibet, and India.

Learn More Deatail about: Avalokiteshvara – The Boddhisattva of Compassion

• Walking Buddha / Sukhothai Buddha

This statue is particular to the Sukhothai period in Thailand which signifies grace and internal beauty. It represents a time when the Buddha was returning to earth after delivering a sermon on the Dharma in Heaven, and was being accompanied by Lord Indra and Lord Brahma. Right hand raised, facing outward, left hand dangles along left side of body. Standing with right foot behind, starting to raise off the ground.

This statue is particular to the Sukhothai period in Thailand. It represents a time when the Buddha was returning to earth after delivering a sermon on the Dharma in Heaven, and was being accompanied by Lord Indra and Lord Brahma. Buddha images were cast with the intention of depicting superhuman traits of the Buddha, and were designed to express compassion and serenity in posture and facial expression. The Walking Buddha often had a flame-shaped aureole, finely curled hair, a slight smile, broad shoulders and an oval face. A common pose was the subduing Mara, with the Buddha seated on a plain base.

Notable variations within the Sukhothai period include the Kamphaengpet, the Phra Buddha Chinnarat (such as the most famous Chinnarat at Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahatat Woramahawihan), and the Wat Ta Kuan groups of images. Wat Traimit Golden Buddha, which is a famous tourist attraction in Bangkok, is made in the Sukhothai style, so it may indeed date from that period.

• Alms Bowl Buddha / Begging Buddha

Arms bent at elbows, holding an alms bowl at chest level. This statue signifies compassion and caring for all beings. Contrary to what many think, monks and the Buddha did not beg for food. Instead, they collected alms. The difference is that collecting alms allows for those giving the alms to make merit (meaning, to acquire good karma). Devout Buddhists in Asia will prepare and give food to monks in the morning on their alms rounds.

• Repelling The Ocean / Stopping The Relatives From Fighting

This statue has two meanings based on two different stories. The first meaning of repelling the ocean comes from a story when the Buddha visited Bihar state in India. A hermit unleashed a wall of water hoping to cause a flood, but the Buddha used the power generated from meditating to stop the water from flooding the area. The forbidding the relatives from fighting is related to a period in the life of the Buddha where relatives of his father had an argument with relatives of the Buddha’s mother over water, as one of the rivers that both sets of relatives normally depended on was starting to run dry. The Buddha raised his right hand to draw attention to their own bickering and asked them what was more important. Water, or their family relations?

On the other hand, the Historical Buddha is usually depicted with the following characteristics:

• An elegant body;

• Hair arranged in tight, sea shell shaped curls;

• Peaceful expression with eyes downcast in quiet contemplation;

• Long earlobes;

• Full robes or only reveal one shoulder.