Buddhist Mudras: Unveiling the Symbolism of Hand Gestures

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Buddhist Mudras: Exploring Hand Gestures and Their Spiritual Significance

The Concept of Mudra:

  • Mudra, derived from Sanskrit, signifies a hand position commonly found in Buddhist art and practices.
  • These gestures evoke specific mental states during meditation or rituals.

Types of Mudras and Their Interpretations:

  • Dharmachakra Mudra: Represents the “Teaching of the Wheel of Dharma,” depicting Buddha’s first sermon in Sarnath.
  • Dhyan Mudra: Also known as Samadhi or Yoga mudra, signifies meditation and spiritual attainment.
  • Bhumisparsa Mudra: Depicts the moment of Buddha’s enlightenment, symbolizing his connection to the Earth as a witness.
  • Varada Mudra: Expresses offering, welcome, and compassion, with the right hand extended forward.
  • Karana Mudra: Signifies protection against negative influences by warding off evil.
  • Vajra Mudra: Represents the five elements (air, water, fire, earth, metal) and signifies power and strength.
  • Vitarka Mudra: Portrays the discussion and transmission of Buddhist teachings.
  • Abhaya Mudra: Conveys fearlessness and protection, with the right hand raised.
  • Uttarabodhi Mudra: Symbolizes supreme enlightenment, with both hands connected at the heart.
  • Anjali Mudra: Also known as Namaskara Mudra, represents greeting, prayer, and adoration.

Origins and Symbolism:

In Indian sculptural art, images of deities carry symbolic meanings that reflect religious and spiritual beliefs. Buddhist Mudras have their roots in these artistic traditions, where they serve as physical manifestations of abstract concepts.


Buddhist Mudras provide a glimpse into the rich symbolism and spiritual practices of the Buddhist tradition. By deciphering the meanings behind these hand gestures, practitioners and enthusiasts can deepen their understanding of Buddhist philosophy and its teachings.

Author: Dr. Sunaina Singh
Credit and Rights: OMG I Yoga

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