Essay on Buddhist Art and Iconography

2333 Words Feb 7th, 2010 10 Pages
Buddhist Art and Iconography

As Asian culture became popular, Buddhist art became very familiar to Americans. We can find statues of Buddha not only at Asian restaurants but also at bars, night clubs and even at furniture stores. Buddhist art is becoming less associated with religion; however statues of Buddha and other Buddhist motifs such as lotus flowers have significant religious meanings behind them. Although some of people who are interested in Buddhist art are non-Buddhist, there are millions of followers in the United States today. The followers include non-Asian converts as well as Asian Americans. Buddhism was brought to America mainly by immigrants, Western scholars, writers and artists. The number of Buddhists
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It shows that the hand is empty of weapons symbolizing friendship and peace. It is said to be the gesture of the Buddha immediately after attaining enlightenment (MacArthur, 2004). Finally, there is Dharmachakra Mudra, a wheel-turning gesture. In this Mudra, the right hand is facing outwards with the thumb and the index finger joined to make a circle and. There are some variations, but usually the other hand is in the same form and often facing inwards. The three remaining fingers of both hands remain extended and the hands are held close to each other in front of the chest. The thumb and the index finger of the right hand represent wisdom and method combined, and the three extended fingers represent teachings of Buddhist doctrine (Buddhist studies, 1995). The three fingers of the left hand each stand for the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. This Mudra symbolizes the Buddha’s first sermon after his enlightenment, and the position of the hands in front of the chest means that the teachings are straight from the Buddha’s heart. The circle formed by the thumb and the index finger represents the Wheel of Dharma, one of the most popular Buddhist symbols. As mentioned before, in early Buddhist art, the image of the Buddha in human form was not used. Instead, elaborate symbols were developed. Eventually, the Buddha in human form became the most popular image. However, many symbols remained important in Buddhism

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