“Namo Tassa Bhagavato Araha Samma Sambuddhassa”
This Buddhist mantra is to highly respect the Lord Gautam Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The monks and devotees chant this mantra in front of Lord Buddha statue or picture to offer him homage. Idol worshipping in Buddhism has different views. Some branches of buddhism encourage the Idol worship of buddhism like in Mahayana buddhism while some do not believe in idol worship like HinaYana Buddhism. We will talk about Mahayana Buddhism here.
In Mahayana Buddhism, the followers are encouraged to worship the Buddha idol and offer him flowers, fruits, water and incense. But what does the statue signify?What does it mean to worship a statue? What are the benefits of worshipping Buddha statues? We are going to dive into the details about this.
Meaning of Worshipping Buddha Statue
Usually when we think about the idol worship, we worship the form of god, goddess or deity but here in buddhism it is a bit different when we talk about idol worship in buddhism, the statue stands as a personified symbol of his great virtues and his teaching that has helped to elevate the mankind.
In the earliest days of buddhism there were no statues but images and symbols that would represent Buddha. Some of those symbols were an empty chair, foot prints, Empty space under the parasol.
The making of the Buddha statue was popular around the First century AD. The oldest Buddha Statue was found in Jamal Garhi in present day Pakistan. This statue is from the Kushan empire during which the making of the statue originated or became popular.
The true meaning of Buddha statue is to remind the people and his followers about being compassionate, at peace, and remember his teaching.
Benefits of Worshipping Brass Buddha Statue
When we worship a Buddha statue we worship the qualities of the Great Lord buddha as well as his teaching. Many monks believe that praying to the Buddha is like meditating in front of him to keep reminding the person of the teachings of Buddha.
There are different statues of Buddha which signifies different meanings and bestows different blessings to their worshippers. We have listed some of them down below. Continue to read if you want to know about them.
Medicine Buddha: Medicine Buddha comes from the branch of Tibetan Buddhism. He is one the Bodhisattva of Mahayana Buddhism. He is known for his great healing qualities. He is said to be the colour of Lapis Lazuli which is blue.
He is shown with a bowl of herbs in his left hand while his right hand rests on his leg or in some statues and pictures his right hand is raised to his shoulder level to bless his devotees.
He is said to heal his people from sickness and injury. His healing capabilities don’t crease with physical healing but his powers are so pure and strong that he can heal the diseased mind and soul. His Brass Buddha statue is said to prevent the illness from entering in the surroundings he is kept in.
Meditative Buddha: The Meditative Buddha is well known with his name Amitabha in Mahayana buddhism. The word Amitabha translates as Infinite Light. His pure light is said to destroy the darkness of illusion of materialistic desire and dirt of bad deeds from the soul of his devotee. The place where the brass buddha Statue is kept receives his steady positive energy. Praying to the statue is said to prevent mishaps like accidents due to flood , fire and weapons.
He is called the buddha of West Pure Land, a land where only the purest of soul can enter. It is said in one of his vows that if a person chants or thinks of his name even ten times will enter his realm without a doubt or he (The Amitabha) might not attain perfect enlightenment given the person did not commit the 5 great sins of buddhism.
Sleeping Buddha: The most ancient and popular subject to sculpt a statue was Gautam Buddha’s life and the important events of his life. One of the greatest and final events of Buddha’s life was his demise.
This brass buddha statue depicts his last moment in the above picture. This stance is called Sleeping Buddha or reclining buddha. In the regions of India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the brass buddha statue is seen resting his head on his knee with his eyes either fully closed or half way open. In other East Asian Countries, Buddha is seen lying down on his right side with his head on a pillow or on his right hand.
No matter the representation, the core value that the Buddha shows is the same as his serene face which is to be kind, compassionate and achieve inner peace. The event of Buddha in his last moments is called the Mahaparinama. In this stage, Lord Gautam Buddha is about to enter the Perfect Nirvana escaping from the never ending cycle of Life and death and attain eternal peace.
Buddha Head: The Buddha Head is a fairly modern representation of Buddha compared to his counterparts. It is more into the modern contemporary portrayal of Buddha’s qualities and teaching. The Head of Buddha symbolises the wisdom and knowledge of Buddha. Different parts of the Buddha Head signifies the different meaning, teaching and life phrases of Buddha.
In this picture we can see that Buddha has short curls on his hair unlike the shaved head that monk wears, this is the representation of his journey that he is still on his path to attain nirvana. His calm and serene eyes show that he can see through the illusion of materialistic desire and expectations. His calm and joyful smile teaches us a great lesson which is to be calm in every situation in our life.
Just like we endure the season of scorching heat and freezing cold, we should train and teach ourselves that the ups and downs in life are not permanent and we should not let it affect us. We should be in control of our senses, not the other way around.
Here, we have discussed the significance of statues in Buddhism which includes the explanation of idol worshipping, different types of Buddha statues with their meaning. So long story short is that we can conclude, no matter which buddhism we follow or what type of Brass Buddha Statue we worship it all comes down to being kind, compassionate and at peace with ourselves.
Thank you for reading till the end!