Wooden Buddhist Statues


The Trisula:

The Trisual is a symbol that combines the lotus, the vajra diamond and a symbolization of the three jewels; The Buddha, The Dharma and The Sangha. Wooden statues of the Trisula are always present in Buddhist monasteries. Some Buddhist families keep miniature wooden Trisulas in their houses also.

Buddha Footprint:

The footprint of Buddha is the first indication of human representation. It is a symbolic representation of Buddha himself. The original imprint of Buddha's foot is on clay.
Replicas of this footprint can be found carved on wood. The wooden representations of Buddha's foot are very revered by Buddhists.

The Endless Knot:

The endless knot represent the inter-twining of wisdom and compassion. The endless knot represents the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs. The endless knot is carved on wood and is used as a decorative as well as religious item

The Golden Fish:

The golden fish represents the state of fearless suspension in a harmless ocean of “samsara”. The golden fish metaphorically refers to the buddha-eyes or rigpa sight. Wooden fishes painted golden are a common sight in many Buddhist areas. At times, many of these faishes are strung together.

The Sacred Umbrella:

The sacred umbrella is the representation of the protection from harmful forces that plague humankind. The umbrella represents the sky or the firmament. The wooden version of the umbrella is seen around wooden Buddha statues.

The White Conch Shell:

The white conch shell represents the beautiful, deep, melodious and pervasive sound of the Buddha dharma. It is appropriate to the various forms of human nature, their predispositions and aspirations of disciples. It awakens them from their slumber of ignorance and incites them to accomplish their own welfare and the welfare of others. Painted wooden conch shells are available in monastery shops. Some followers of Buddhism carry small wooden conch shells as a charm.

The Treasure Vase:

The treasure vase or urn represents health, longevity, wealth, prosperity, wisdom and the phenomenon of space. Wooden urns are placed near the worship area or payer rooms.

Wooden Statues of Buddha:

Wooden statues of the Buddha are found in various poses known as “mudras”. Abhaya Mudra: It is the “no fear” mudra. It denotes protection, peace, benevolence and dispelling of fear. The pose shows Buddha with the right hand raised to shoulder's height, the arm bent and the palm facing outward with his fingers upright and joined. The left hand hangs down on the left side of the statue in case it is standing. Bhumisparsa Mudra: The bhumisparsa or earth touching mudra shows the Buddha making the earth his witness. It is usually represented by showing Buddha sitting in the Lotus position. The right hand is touching the ground with the fingertips near the knee. The left hand is on his lap.

Dharmachakra Mudra:

This mudra represents a crucial moment in Buddha's life. It represents the moment when he preached his first sermon. This mudra shows him holding both his hands close together in front of his chest. The right palm is forward and the left palm is upward or facing the chest. this signifies the turning of the dharma chakra.

Dhayana Mudra:

This mudra is a gesture of meditation. It shows concentration on Good Law and Sangha. Both of Buddha's hands are placed on the lap, right hand is on the left and the fingers are fully outstretched. The palms face upwards and form a triangle. This triangle is symbolic of the spiritual fire or the three gems of Buddhism.
Apart from these mudras, there are five other mudras, namely;

  • Varada Mudra
  • Vajra Mudra
  • Vitarka Mudra
  • Jnana Mudra
  • Karana Mudra

Most Buddhists also keep wooden statues of Kanishka since he was responsible for spreading Buddhism far and wide. Many of Kanishka's statues are headless. They are replicas of the headless Kanishka statue. Another religious wooden object of buddhists is the prayer wheel. It is a wooden wheel mounted on a spindle. The wheels are meant to be spun clockwise. Doing this purifies one of their sins. The prayer wheel contains a paper which reads “Om Mani Padme Hum”. Spinning the wheel is equivalent to reciting the mantra, therefore, the faster the wheels are turned, the better.