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Updated by Jenny steph on May 22, 2019
Headline for 05 Types of Buddha statues you will find in Sri Lanka – Buddha statues that will leave you overawed
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05 Types of Buddha statues you will find in Sri Lanka – Buddha statues that will leave you overawed

Buddha Statues you see in Sri Lanka vary according to their symbolism/ mudra/hand gesture. If you are a history buff trying to into all the details of the religious history of the country, read on!


Dhyana Mudra

This is the most common type of Buddha statue you can see in Sri Lanka. The statue sits with the back straight and both hands on the lap. The right hand usually rests on the left hand – also, the thumbs touch each other at the tips which form a triangle of sorts. A lot of the yogis use this gesture when they meditate. Furthermore, Dhyana Mudra is the gesture used by Lord Buddha while he was getting through his final meditation session.


Bhumisparsha Mudra

Just like Dhyana Mudra, Bhumisparsha Mudra is also quite common and can be seen at almost every religious site – especially in Anuradhapura. If you are travelling to Anuradhapura with your family, you can first choose one of the Sri Lanka resorts – preferably a hotel like Amaya Resorts and Spas – and then you can make your way over to the long list of temples that's there. Bhumisparsha Mudra has the meaning 'touching the earth' – which is apparent from the hand gesture. The statue is in a sitting down position with the left hand rested on the lap, and the right hand is in a downward direction with the fingers stretched out. Bhumisparsha Mudra signifies the moment Lord Buddha attained enlightenment. It also carries the meaning 'calling the earth to witness the truth'.


Abhaya Mudra

This statue is in a standing position – a position that carries out the meaning of Abhaya; in other words, 'fearless'. The right hand is usually bent from the elbow with the palm facing outwards while the left hand is directed towards the earth with the palm facing outwards. Abhaya Mudra demonstrates inner security and strength – the qualities Lord Buddha acquired right after the enlightenment.


Vitarka Mudra

Vitarka Mudra signifies intellectual debate, teaching and discussion. The hand gesture of this statue is quite similar to Abhaya Mudra – though the left-hand position slightly varies from that of Abhaya Mudra – the right arm is bent from the elbow, and the hand is at the shoulder level with the index finger and thumb touching each other at the tips. The left hand is rested on the lap, and the palm is faced upwards.


Namaskara or Anjali Mudra

This indicates adoration, devotion and greetings. The hands are met at the centre in a vertical position with palms touching each other. The hand position is usually used as a welcoming gesture in South Asian countries including Sri Lanka. It is also said that this position is only used by Bodhisattvas (those who seek enlightenment) not Buddhas (those who are enlightened).


Karana Mudra

Karana Mudra is when the hand is stretched out with the two middle fingers bent downwards which are touched by the thumb. This mudra symbolises expelling negative energy and demons.