Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new episode of our bi-weekly haiku meme Haiku Shuukan. This week I start with a new series here at Haiku Shuukan … all about Mudras. This episode is the first of those series and it’s about one of the most known hand gestures, or Mudras. Let me first try to explain what a Mudra is:
A mudra in Buddha statues is a gesture and body posture holding special meanings and commemorating few of the important moments in the Buddha’s life. One of the most common and popular mudras which are found depicted in Buddha statues is the Bhumisparshamudra, translated as the earth touching gesture. Buddha statues with this mudra are commonly known as the “earth-witness” Buddha and these iconographic representations are one of the most popular Buddhas you can find anywhere in the world.
In Buddha statues with the Bhumisparshamudra, the Buddha, more specifically, the historical Shakyamuni Buddha is seen seated with his right hand as a pendant over the right knee reaching toward the ground with the palm inward while touching the lotus throne. In the meantime, the left hand can be seen with the palm upright in his lap. This gesture represents the moment of the Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment. Just before he realized enlightenment, it is believed that the demon Mara tried to frighten him with the armies of demons and monsters including his daughters who tried to tempt him to get out of meditation under the Bodhi tree. While the demon king Mara claimed the throne of enlightenment for himself, his demon army claimed to be the witness for Mara’s enlightenment. Mara then challenged Siddhartha about the witness. Then the former prince reached out his right hand to touch the earth as it is believed that the earth itself roared “I bear you the witness!” Hearing the roar from the earth herself, the demon king disappeared. The following morning saw the first appearance of the one who is awakened, the Buddha. Hence, it is believed that the Bhumisparshamudra, or “the earth witness” mudra commemorates the Buddha’s victory over the temptation by the demon King Mara.
In Buddhism, it is believed that the Bhumisparshamudra helps us to bring about the transformation from rage and anger to wisdom.
in touch with the earth
feeling the soothing coolness
on bare feet
This episode is open at noon (CET) and will remain open until July 29th at noon (CET). Have fun!