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Statues

Himalayan Trade carries a large assortment of Buddha statues.  We have bronze buddha statues, gold plated buddha statues and resin buddha statues.  We also sell bronze, metal and resin statues of Hindu gods and goddesses.  See our page of Ganesha gifts and Tara gifts for Ganesha statues,Green Tara statues and White Tara statues.

Buddhism and Statues

Statues of Buddha and Bodhisatvas are commonly found in Buddhist homes and temples.  They are both works of art and symbolic objects of reverance. Buddhists do not worship the Buddha or assign mystical or divine properties to statues or carvings of the Buddha. Buddhists find that gazing upon the image of the Buddha gives them a clear role model in their own paths toward enlightenment. Aspirants gain inspiration as they contemplate the qualities embodied by the Buddha during his lifetime. In societies with no written language, specific teachings and wisdom were conveyed in the rich symbolism present in different statues.

No representations of the Buddha were made for about four or five centuries. It is sometimes said that prior to this time it was 'forbidden' to make statues or pictures of the Buddha, but this is unlikely and there is no evidence of such a prohibition. A more likely explanation is that until then symbols of the Buddha (stupas, footprints, an empty throne etc.) and written descriptions of him were deemed sufficient. Whatever the reasons, the first Buddha statues were produced in about the 1st or 2nd century AD in Bactria (Afghanistan and northern Pakistan).

The Buddha is depicted in one of several postures- standing, sitting in meditation or lying down. Statues sitting in the so - called 'Western fashion' are usually not of the Buddha but of Maitreya. Statues lying down are not of the Buddha sleeping, as is commonly supposed, but of him dying. The hands of the Buddha statues are shown in different gestures (mudra), each indicative of important things the Buddha did and which we should do also. The hands nestled in the lap suggest meditation, held in front of the chest suggest teaching the Dhamma, one hand held up with the palm facing outwards suggests the giving of confidence or fearlessness. The ear lobes of the Buddha statues are nearly always shown elongated, this is indicative of renunciation in that while a layman, the Buddha wore large ear plugs which he stopped wearing when he became a monk, but which left his ear lobes stretched. Buddha statues can be seen sitting or standing, smiling or laughing, and with his hands in a number of different gestures -- called mudras. These postures and gestures all carry different symbolism and relate to different qualities embodied by the Buddha, including grace, balance, compassion, wisdom, determination and courage. Each of these Buddhas also has a unique name. The length of the Buddha's hair, the modesty of his vestments, his size, and the accessories and props with which he is presented are all testaments to the Buddha at different phases in his life.

You need not consider yourself a Buddhist to procure a likeness of the Buddha for your home or place of business. The Buddha is recognized as a symbol of peace of mind. Some psychotherapists and alternative healers place statues of the Buddha in their lobbies and waiting rooms to encourage an atmosphere of well-being and calm. A glimpse of the sublime Buddha, with his eyes gently closed and his lips curved into a subtle smile, may provide inspiration to deepen your own practice of inner peace.

Hinduism and Statues

The use of statues in Hinduism has some similarities to how they are used in Buddhism, however Hindus often use statues of deities in their worship practices.  The many deities of Hinduism, which may be seen as reflecting different aspects of the one true God, Brahman, are represented by images. Use is made of such features as posture, dress, multiple arms and symbolic objects to represent each deity. It should be noted, however, that there may be a range of different ways of representing a particular deity, particularly when the deity is seen to represent several different qualities. In some cases, symbols are used to show that a deity belongs to a particular 'family', e.g. there is a range of deities associated with Vishnu. In addition some symbols belong to the common heritage of Hinduism or more generally of India. Images may be made from metal, stone, wood or plastic. The images found in temples will tend to be much more majestic than those found in Hindu homes. The image only becomes a "murti", an embodiment of Brahman, through a special act of consecration when it is installed in the temple or home. It then becomes a focal point for worship. Some images are consecrated on a 'permanent' basis and will continue to be used on the temple or home shrine unless they become damaged. Broken or damaged images are discarded as they no longer fulfill their purpose of representing the deity. Sometimes an image will only be consecrated for a specific period of time, e.g. a festival, after which it will be destroyed, perhaps as part of the concluding ritual of the festival.