Buddha Images

Certain events in the fulfilled life of the Lord Buddha are thought to have occurred on certain days. The Buddha images representing these events (two on Wednesday) are thus also associated with the days on which they occurred.

People may be interested in a Buddha image corresponding to the day they were born. I was born on a Monday.

By the way, the above picture is not photoshopped but was taken as is in the Wat Phra That Khao Noi in the Nan Province in Thailand. This temple and Buddha image is sited at the top of Khao Noi Hill, overlooking the city of Nan about two kilometers west of the town.

Monday

Preventing Calamities Pang Ham Samoot
(standing with the left or both hand(s) raised to shoulder height with the palm out and the fingers extended)

The city of Vesali was tormented by three evils: Poverty, cholera and devils. The King of Vesali was advised to seek the help of the Buddha. Accepting the invitation, the Buddha with company, arrived at Vesali. With his transcendental powers, he caused heavy rain to pour down, so heavy that it cleaned the city of all dead bodies and uncleanliness.

The image on the left is rather unusual. It is called Bidding Farewell to Vesali. It is unusual because he is looking back over his shoulder taking a last look at Vesali knowing he will soon die and never return.

Later on, Ananda, his disciple went around the city, reciting portions of the Tipitika, and sprinkling lustral water around the city. Suffering humans were healed while all devils were frightened and fled the city.

The first two images may also refer to an incident when the Buddha was invited to stay in a hut near the banks of a river that was about to burst its banks. The Buddha raised his hands which caused the water to subside  The image with both hands raised is similar to another one called Descent From Tavatimsa Heaven. In that one, however, the thumb and index finger of each hand are joined.

Pacifying the RelativesPang Ham Yati
(note the right hand raised to shoulder height with the palm out and the fingers extended)

This Abhayamudrā “gesture of fearlessness” is a mudrā that is the gesture of reassurance and safety, which dispels fear and accords divine protection and bliss. The Buddha can be depicted either sitting or standing, and the left hand may either be extended outward or palm up in the lap.

This statue signifies courage and offers protection from fear, delusion and anger. This image represents Buddha pacifying the relatives. When Buddha returned from heaven after three months, his relatives were arguing about the rights to water flowing through their land. Buddha persuaded them to compromise.

Tuesday

Reclining Buddha / Realizing Nirvana → Pang Sai Yat
(left arm along the body, right arm serves as a pillow with the hand supporting the head)

The giant Asurindarahu wanted to see the Buddha, but was reluctant to bow before him. The Buddha, while lying down, presented himself as much larger than the giant. He then showed him the realm of heaven with heavenly figures all larger than the giant. After all this, Asurindarahu, the giant, was humbled, and made his obeisance to the Buddha before leaving.

That probably explains why most of the Reclining Buddha statues are displayed rather oversized.

However, there is yet another background legend: The statue represents Shakyamuni Buddha – the historical Buddha – at his death at 80. It is said that when the Buddha knew the end was near, he asked his disciples to prepare a couch for him in a grove, then reclined on his right side, facing west, with his head propped on his hand. On the last day of his life, instead of just turning ashen, he kept teaching. So, despite their decadent aura, the statues embody – as it turns out – the devotion to duty that the Buddha displayed at the last gasp.

Wednesday

Morning: Holding An Alms Bowl → Pang Umbat
(the Buddha is standing with both hands around an alms bowl)

This symbolizes the first morning after visiting his father at Kapilavastu. Buddha calmed his father informing him that the lineage of Buddhas was to perform “Pindabat” to be available to followers who devotedly bring food (in the early morning, monks make their alms rounds to collect food). Buddha did the same and in the morning, he went out to receive alms in the city.

Next Page

On the next page, learn about the daily Buddha images for the rest of the week.

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