Buddha Statues and Figurines in Home and Garden Design

(photo by michael hoefner @ http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buddha_1251876.jpg)
(photo by michael hoefner @ http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Buddha_1251876.jpg)

Statues of Buddha have become increasingly popular and so, are more widely available than ever. A Buddha statue or figurine placed in the home or garden shows the inhabitants hope for peace and tranquility and not necessarily the home owner's adherence to that particular religion.

Religious art is often displayed by people who do not belong to the religion depicted by a piece of art. Some people find mere beauty in religious art; others seek inspiration or comfort by being reminded of the values represented by that particular statue.

The display of Buddha statues or figurines remind us of our spiritual potential, of an inner quest to find harmony and balance, and to live a life based on moral values and compassion.

Buddha statues are not worshiped by Buddhists but stand as a focal point for meditation, a symbol of truth, and the path toward enlightenment.

A Buddha Statue is Not an Idol

Buddha is not and never was the name of a man, but an honorific bestowed upon a man named Siddhartha Gautama. Buddha means 'one who has awakened to the truth.'

Born into a wealthy family in Lumbini (an area that is now in Nepal) around the 5th century BC, young Siddhartha was a cossetted prince. His doting parents, hoping to spare him life's pain and suffering, sheltered him from anything unpleasant, anything that would cause him to wonder if life was not perfect in every way. He knew nothing of poverty, disease, death, or any of the common problems of everyday life.

When, as a young man, he wandered off and observed the suffering of others first hand, he abandoned his privileged place to seek the life of an ascetic in search of truth. After years of wandering the county-side living a life of deprivation, Siddhartha decided to seek a middle way. He thought there could be a compromise between abject self denial and life in the normal world.

After much meditation, Siddhartha became an enlightened one - Buddha.

Buddha Under a Tree

(photo by Dolores Monet)
(photo by Dolores Monet)

The Four Truths That Buddha Taught

Upon Buddha's enlightenment, he came to understand Four Truths:

  • Life is filled with disappointment and suffering
  • Suffering is a result of the desire for pleasure, power, material goods, and continued existence.
  • To be enlightened, one must stop the disappointment that comes from inappropriate desires.
  • In order to prevent disappointment and desire a person should follow an Eight Fold Path

The Eight Fold Path

Buddha stands beneath a pine tree

(photo by Dolores Monet)
(photo by Dolores Monet)


Right views

Right intention

Right speech

Right action

Right livlihood

Right effort

Right awareness

Right concentration

The middle way seeks an avoidance of extremes, self indulgence, or self mortification. The first step on the path to enlightenment is compassion.

Siting a Buddha Statue in the Home or Garden

Keeping a statue or figurine of Buddha in a home or garden inspires us to develop our better qualities of kindness and compassion. These beautiful statues can uplift the mind and spirit and lend our home and garden the feeling of a sanctuary, a place to meditate and find peace.

Traditionally, Buddha statues should be placed in a high, uncluttered, clean place. The statue should not be set in a spot beneath the soles of the feet, such as a table at the bottom of the bed.

A Buddha statue set on top of something beneath a tree recalls the place of Buddha's enlightenment.

Do not place the Buddha statue where it would face inappropriate items or activities.

The placement of a Buddha statue facing an entryway is thought to repel evil spirits.

Keep in mind that certain materials are not designed for outdoor use. While I keep several statues in my garden, I usually bring them in for the winter just to stay on the safe side.

Standing Buddha

(wikimedia commons, photo by Hdamm)
(wikimedia commons, photo by Hdamm)

Buddha Statues - Position of the Hands

The position of the hands on a statue or figurine of Buddha are called mudras and are taken from Hinduism and recall Buddha's Indian heritage. Here are some of the mudras:

Abhaya Mudra - Buddha's right hand is raised with the palm facing outward. The left hand is down with palms facing out. This signifies peace.

Bhumisparsha Mudra - 5 fingers of the Buddha's right hand reach toward the ground. This recalls the moment of enlightenment of Buddha under the Bodhi tree. Buddha meditated all night and fought the fears and temptations sent by the demon, Mara. But Buddha called the Earth goddess who washed the demons away in a flood.

Dhyanna Mudra - one or both hands of the Buddha are in his lap which signifies wisdom. He may hold a bowl in his lap which can refer to the begging of alms or signify medicine, thought to be a gift of the Buddha.

Dharmachakra Mudra - the thumb and index finger of both hands touch at the tips to form a circle, the Wheel of Dharma, the union of wisdom and action.

Varada Mudra - both hands at waist level with the palms facing outward. The right hand is up and the left hand down.

A raised hand is a protection from evil and wards off fear, often depicted on a standing Buddha.

The right hand down, palms facing outward bestows a blessing.



Buddha Sits on Stack of Rocks

(photo by Dolores Monet)
(photo by Dolores Monet)

Thai Day of the Week Buddha Statues

Thai cultural tradition offers different poses for the days of the week. Find the day of the week that someone was born and give them the appropriate Buddha statue or figurine, an excellent and thoughtful birthday gift!

  • Sunday - Buddha statue is standing with arms crossed before stomach, right over left hand, with the back of the hands facing outward, and eyes open signifying mental insight.
  • Monday - Right hand is raised to ward off trouble, and keep peace in the family
  • Tuesday - Buddha reclines, lies on his side with his right hand under his head. The statue's left arm is stretched out along the left side of the body and signifies the time just before Buddha left the world to enter Nirvana.
  • Wednesday morning - Buddha sits with an alms bowl in front of his chest.
  • Wednesday afternoon - Buddha is depicted with a monkey and an elephant.
  • Thursday - Buddha is depicted in meditation in the lotus pose with hand in his lap, palms up.
  • Friday - standing Buddha with arms across chest, right hand above left hand and the backs of the hands outward.
  • Saturday - the Buddha is depicted seated under a 7 headed serpent, in meditation, protected from rainfall by the serpent.

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Comments 4 comments

gouraff profile image

gouraff 4 years ago from Kathmandu

Hello Dolores Monet,

I would like to make a correction about wrong concept. Siddhartha Gautama was not born in India. He was born in Lumbini, Nepal as a son of Suddodhana (the Shakya king of Nepal) and Mahamaya. He was married to Yasodara and gave birth to a son named as Rahul.

At the age of 29, he left his luxurious royal life and went in the search of enlightenment. He reach Gaya, India and meditated under a Bodhi tree where he achieved enlightenment.

So, kindly please correct the mistake. I would appreciate it.

Thanks.


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States Author

gouraff - I understand that Lumbini is in an area that was once part of northern India and now is Nepal. Thanks for the info.


gouraff profile image

gouraff 4 years ago from Kathmandu

FYI Lumbini was never a part of India. Lumbini was in Nepal since its existence. I am a Nepali and I know it better. Please kindly let this word spread. Thanks


Dolores Monet profile image

Dolores Monet 4 years ago from East Coast, United States Author

gouraff - well us Westerners often refer to the larger area as India, meaning the part of the continent as referred to in the old days. Of course Nepal did not exist at the time of Buddha's birth. But the correction is well taken. Thanks!

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