Bhumisparsha Mudra – Earth Witness Mudra

As mentioned in previous articles, Mudras are one of the  important features that represents various importance of Buddha statues as well as the life event that may have occurred in the lifetime of Lord Buddha. Among these various Buddha hand gestures, Earth Witness Buddha gestures represent one of the most common images of Lord Buddha in Buddhism. The Bhumisparsha Mudra is also translated as earth touching mudra as well as earth witness mudra.

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Through different research some important details have been revealed with a help of local Buddha statues maker and seller. A Buddha gestures cannot be called Bhumisparsha unless five Buddha mudra statues are in a set i.e. if there is set of five different buddha statues with five different Buddha mudra like varada mudra, dhyana mudra, dharmachakra mudra, vitarka mudra, and Bhumisparsha mudra then and then only Buddha statues can be said to represent Bhumisparsha mudra and other various Mudras.

History of Bhumisparsha Mudra

It happened during the time when Lord Buddha was about to realized Enlightenment. There was a demon named Mara who became jealous of Lord Buddha and claimed that he attained Enlightenment in front of Lord Buddha. Even his army of demon claimed to be the witness of Mara demon enlightenment. It is believed that Demon Mara asked Lord Buddha about his witness for achieving Nirvana. Lord Buddha was calm even in such crucial moment and remain in his meditation from but his right hand touch the earth. There seems to different variation on how earth became the witness of Lord Buddha’s enlightenment. One story said that when Lord Buddha touched the earth with his hand, the earth itself spoke and claimed to be the witness of Lord Buddha. Another story said that when Lord Buddha touch the earth with his right hand, Earth God came from the earth and claimed to be the witness of Lord Buddha enlightenment. After the appearance of Earth god, Mara demon and his demon army fled off from Lord Buddha. This is how Bhumisparsha Mudra came to exist in the history of Buddhism.

Characteristics of Bhumisparsha Mudra

Most of Buddha statues with Bhumisparsha mudra, is depicted with the right hand of Buddha images as the pendant over the right knee toward the earth with palm of left hand upright in his lap. The legs are depicted in crossed seated position. Along with normal Buddha statues, one of Buddha among Five Dhyani Buddha, Buddha Akshobhaya also used Bhumisparsha Mudra and it is said that it was used by Buddha Akshobhaya in order to transform his anger and delusion into wisdom. That’s the sole reason that Bhumisparsha Mudra is also known for the transformation of anger to wisdom.

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