Mudras are the gestures or poses performed since early times. It helps to stimulate different parts of the body involved with breathing and to affect the flow of prana bindu, boddhicitta, amrita or consciousness in the body.

  1. Dharmachakra mudra: Dharmachakra in Sanskrit means the ‘Wheel of Dharma’. This mudra symbolizes one of the most important moments in the life of Buddha, the occasion when he preached to his companions the first sermon after his Enlightenment in the Deer Park at Sarnath. It thus denotes the setting into motion of the Wheel of the teaching of the Dharma. In this mudra the thumb and index finger of both hands touch at their tips to form a circle. This circle represents the Wheel of Dharma. The three remaining fingers of the two hands remain extended symbolizing the middle finger represents the ‘hearers’ of the teachings, the ring finger represents the ‘solitary realizers’, the Little finger represents the Mahayana or ‘Great Vehicle’.

2. Varada mudra: This mudra symbolizes charity, compassion and boon-granting. It is the mudra of the accomplishment of the wish to devote oneself to human salvation. It is nearly always made with the left hand, and can be made
with the arm hanging naturally at the side of the body, the palm of the open hand facing forward, and the fingers extended. The five extended fingers in this mudra symbolize the following five perfections: Generosity, Morality, Patience, Effort,and Meditative concentration.

3. Dhyan Mudra: It is also known as Samadhi or Yoga Mudra. It is performed with the help of two hands, which are placed on the lap and place the right hand on the left hand with stretched fingers (thumbs facing upwards and other fingers of both the hand resting on each other.)

4. Abhaya Mudra: It is a gesture of fearlessness or blessing that represents the protection, peace, benevolence, and dispelling of fear. It is performed with the help of right hand by raising to shoulder height with bent arm, and the face of palm will be facing outward with fingers upright whereas the left hand hanging down while standing. This gesture is characteristic of Buddha Shakyamuni and Dhyani Buddha Amoghasiddhi.

5. Bhumisparasa: Earth Touching Mudra,is the most famous mudra. In this mudra the right hand is poised with the fingertips downward and “touching the earth”, with the palm facing inward. The left hand is in the meditation (dhyana) mudra. When the Buddha became enlightened, he touched the earth with this mudra during his meditation. The earth was touched and witnessed the awakening.

Categories: Culture and History