By Amy Underdown, London, UK
Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular. The practice of mindfulness encompasses a wide variety of ideas and beliefs, but it’s ultimate aim remains the same: to enjoy the present whilst not overriding the past. It helps individuals to accept and work with their emotions rather than burying them, which is largely done through meditation.
Meditation is just one of the links between Buddhism and mindfulness. Another is the overarching goal – like mindfulness, the aim of Buddhism is to overcome suffering (or duhkha), as expressed in the Four Noble Truths. By aiming to view oneself above the material world, Buddhists also believe in the transcendence of the self, aligning with the mindful idea of living in the present.
When thinking of what to get someone who likes mindfulness, it is useful to think of what would make a good gift for someone who practices Buddhism. Buddha statues and icons, for example, are thoughtful presents to gift someone who meditates. The reason behind this is that bringing a Buddha statue into the home curates a space that is conducive to a true meditative state. This sense of serenity, with the Buddha statue as a focal point, means that the meditation journey can be guided and fruitful.
A Buddha statue is therefore perfect for someone who likes mindfulness as it helps the meditator to channel their emotions and reach a tranquil place. In addition to this, there are different types of Buddha statue, meaning you can choose a specific piece that is tailored to what your giftee may wish to focus on in particular.
A Meditation Buddha, for instance, helps those in its presence to channel their meditative journey and strive for balance. A Teaching Buddha instead encourages those who wish to work on their spirituality. These different types of Buddha are identifiable through not only their bodily positions but also the positioning of their hands, otherwise known as mudra. The Teaching and Meditation Buddhas can often steal the headlines, but there are plenty of other choices which are a little more niche in how they can guide mindfulness and meditation.
Take the Reclining Buddha which, as the name suggests, depicts the Buddha lying on his right side. This type of statue is said to represent the Buddha in his last few earthly hours prior to his entry into Nirvana. This state is called ‘paranirvana’, a condition reserved only for enlightened beings at the end of their life. Usually, the Buddha is seen to support his head on a pillow with his right hand, but this is not a specific Buddhist mudra. A Reclining Buddha could be an ideal gift for someone practicing mindfulness, as meditating in its presence is intended to encourage a strive for harmony within the self.
Another type of Buddha statue that would be well-suited to someone focused on mindfulness would be the Contemplation Buddha. It is distinguishable by the position of the hands, with both arms crossed against the chest. The right arm should always be above the left and the palms faced towards the heart. This Buddha is supposed to create a sense of contained confidence and considerate self-reflection. Meditating with a Contemplation Buddha is therefore supposed to reinforce ideas of self-determination, humility, and tolerance, all of which are reflective of mindful values.
If you’d like to read about other types of Buddha statue (as there are many!), feel free to read our longer piece about just this here. The beauty of gifting such a statue is that your gift can be both personal and useful to the recipient’s practice of mindfulness and meditation.