By Amy Underdown, London, UK
During the pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued across the world, many individuals have taken the time to look inwards. With Buddhism centered around discovering inner peace, perhaps it is no wonder that this has become a popular avenue amongst those seeking for new meaning. In this vein, it is important to remember that Buddhism is all about a personal journey, meaning there are many reasons to bring a Buddha statue into the home as well as many different types of Buddha statue to choose from.
The key element of Buddha statues is that they help communicate and remind individuals of the Buddha’s teachings by helping to focus on spirituality. Having a Buddha statue in the home can transform a space by bringing in an aura of positivity and guiding the spiritual journey. Whilst some may therefore own a Buddha statue purely for reasons of Feng Shui or decorative purposes, the real meaning behind Buddha statues is to lead individuals towards the state of serenity that the Buddha encouraged. In turn, this helps individuals replace fear, greed and hatred with more positive emotions. This is especially true of the Teaching Buddha; this type of statue specifically supports those who are seeking to work on their spirituality.
A lot of Buddhist learning and teaching is achieved through meditation. The Buddha himself reached the state of enlightenment via the practice of meditation, which is why he is so popularly depicted in a meditative state and why meditation is so crucial to Buddhism in general. Many people buy Buddha statues to therefore assist with this foundational practice as they both represent a source of inspiration and cultivate a true, meditative space and atmosphere in the home. A Meditation Buddha is often the choice of statue for those with this particular focus.
And yet, whilst there is emphasis on the self-disciplined side of Buddhism and being able to overcome material attachments, there are many other reasons that mean people buy Buddha statues. The meanings of different statues can bring all sorts of energies into the home, ranging from protection and positivity, through to prosperity and good luck. One of the most recognisable Buddha statues (which actually depicts an eccentric Chinese monk rather than the Buddha himself), is the Laughing Buddha. Rubbing his large belly is said to bring joy and prosperity into the home.
The Laughing Buddha therefore makes a popular choice for those wishing to gift a Buddha statue to a friend. Generosity and selflessness are at the heart of the Buddhist way of life, meaning that another reason many purchase Buddha statues is to give them away as a gift (to both Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike.) Gifting a Buddha statue gives recipients the chance to experience the serenity and positivity associated with the Buddhist philosophy. In line with this is the recognition that each type of Buddha statue has an entirely different meaning and purpose, so you are able to carefully select the style and pose that fulfils entirely what the recipient of your gift may be seeking.
The divine origins of such statues are what makes people resonate so strongly with the different aspects that they can bring into their space. One query that many have is whether it is disrespectful to own a Buddha statue. To understand the different meanings behind these depictions of Buddha and which one is most suited to you is to overcome this barrier and truly benefit from having such a statue.
If you’d like to read more in depth about the different positions of the Buddha and what these mean, feel free to read our piece here.