Elongated Earlobes of Gautama Buddha

Many people who remember Lord Buddha due to various reasons such as earlobes of Shakyamuni Buddha, fat belly of Laughing Buddha, footprints of Buddha, crowned hair of Buddha etc.  Earlobes of Gautama Buddha is one of the important features of Buddha sculptures i.e. Buddha statues, Buddha images. In Buddhist tradition, Lord Buddha is mostly depicted with long earlobes which may longer even in some tradition while little shorter but comparatively longer in some Buddhist tradition.

According to Buddhist tradition, earlobes of Lord Buddha is shown elongated as well as pierced which is a soft nodule of ears that hangs under the pinna of the outer ear of Lord Buddha. The tradition of Buddha statues culture has been passed from ancient times and these statues had depicted these peculiar characteristics of earlobes in most of the Buddha statues. Many theories said that long earlobes of Lord Buddha are the part of Lord Buddha and Buddhist iconography. It is said that long earlobes and Ushnisha as well as Halo are the part of Buddhist iconography and are depicted in Buddha statues because of Lord Buddha achievement of Enlightenment and acquirement of great knowledge and wisdom.

Various Interpretations

There are various interpretations for Lord Buddha long earlobes. According to the Buddhist interpretation, Lord Buddha was born as young prince in the royal family of King Soddhodhana of Shakya clan who were ruling the land under the Himalayas, known as Lumbini. Due to royal born, young prince was made to wear heavy ornaments, jewels all over the body i.e. neck, head, ears, etc. Due to the ear ornaments in the year that young Prince was wearing from his childhood until his marriage, it is said these ear ornaments elongated these ears. This can be considered as the Buddhist history interpretations. But there are other various interpretations in Buddhism such as elongated earlobes are depicted to represents the all hearing ability of Prince Siddhartha before Enlightenment.

According to western interpretations, long as well as elongated earlobes are the representation of great wisdom, knowledge as well as revered by other peoples such as Lord Ganesha in Hindu religion, as well as Mahatma Gandhi in Indian history. The elongated earlobes are believed to listen the tales of other people sufferings. Even the Buddha statues of Laughing Buddha as well as Amitabha Buddha are depicted with long earlobes in most of the tradition.

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Reclining Buddha Statues

Reclining Buddha is one of the most popular Buddha figures in all history of Buddhism. Reclining Buddha postures have the important and significant meaning behind this posture. The postures is popular since it’s involvement in the lifetime of Lord Buddha. Just before attaining Parinirvana i.e. death of Buddha, Lord Buddha was laying due to his illness and was about to attain Parinirvana, he was lying on the right flank while Lord Buddha’s head was resting in on a cushion while relying on his right elbow supporting his head with his right hand.

During this event, just before Parinirvana, Lord Buddha was sitting in reclining postures, and all the disciples of Lord Buddha along with other senior Buddhist monks were present in the moment, and all of them were listening to Lord Buddha’s last preaching in Kushinagar, an important Buddhist pilgrimage sites. In present, Reclining Buddha statues and images are quite popular and there are number of large reclining Buddha statues all over the Buddhist countries. Some examples are Wat Pho temple which houses the most popular golden reclining Buddha statues with 108 symbols in the statues feet, The Monywa Buddha statue of Myanmar etc.

Let’s see some of these popular Reclining Buddha statues all around the globe. They are:

Wat Pho Buddhist temples

Wat Pho is an important Buddhist attraction that located in Bangkok, Thailand and mostly known as the temple of Reclining Buddha statues. Wat Pho temple houses a 46m long reclining Buddha statues, and has the largest collection of Buddha images. This reclining Buddha statues is plated in gold and one of the most important statues in Wat Pho temple. The feet of this reclining Buddha statues shows the 108 symbols of Buddhism.

The Monywa Buddha statue

The Monywa Buddha statues are one of the important Buddhist attraction in Buddhist land of Myanmar. The reclining Buddha statues of Myanmar is currently the largest reclining Buddha statues in the world which is about 300 m long and also contain 9000 small Buddha images and his disciples.

Nanzion Temple

Nanzoin Temple in Japan is the Shingon sect Buddhist temple and is popular for the largest reclining Buddha statues in Japan. It is said the reclining Buddha statues in Nanzoin temple is made of Bronze material and is said to be the largest Bronze Buddha statue in the world.

Gal Bihara Temple

Gal Bihara Buddhist temple is the rock temple of Buddha statues with different postures. Gal Bihara Buddhist temple is located in Sri Lanka, and is popular for big Buddha statues i.e. Walking Buddha statue, Standing Buddha statue, and Reclining Buddha figures. The four rock relief statues of Gal Bihara temple were carved into the large granite rock and that’s what makes Gal Bihara quite especial among other Big Buddha statues.

These reclining Buddha statues are popular in the Buddhist world but are an important part of tourist attraction for the world too. These statues are the important figures that tells the important part of Buddhist history.       

The Endless Knot in Buddhism

The Endless Knot is one of the important and auspicious symbols among the eight other Auspicious symbols in Buddhism. As mentioned in the previous posts about the importance of Lotus i.e. bloomed Lotus flowers, Endless Knot is considered as the most important symbols being the only meaningful symbols in the entire religion in the world even though the design and architecture of endless knot is nothing sort of eye catching and deeply intriguing. The Endless knot is depicted as an intricate pattern of various lines interlacing. And these interlacing lines are interlaced in never-ending loops.

The endless knot is considered as the important religious as well as cultural marker in Tibetan Buddhism which is vastly followed in Tibet, Mongolia, Tuva, Buryatia etc. But the endless knot is also found in various Buddhist countries tradition such as Chinese Buddhism, especially Chinese cultural art as well as Celtic art. The meaning behind this auspicious symbol is quoted below:

“Without Beginning or End, It is an intricate design of looped interlaced lines that weave in and out of each other to form a beautiful lattice pattern.”

Interpretation of Endless Knot

Every symbols in Buddhism has their unique Spiritual representation. But the most significant and divine significance of Endless knot is the connection one’s spiritual path, the movement of eternal time. The endless knot is also the connection between one’s spiritual path with Omnipotent Lord Buddha himself.

The endless knot provides the perspective to the Buddhist practitioner especially sitting in front of Buddha statues to let go of the situation that are quite challenging and to see the opposing sides of the situation in order to see in to the new lights.

All the twisted turns and opposite turns in this symbols clearly represents that all the sentient beings in this world are interconnected through this interlaced lines. This symbols is quite the different than the duality that existed in Buddhist tradition because the endless knot is the perfect representation of unity in all the space and universe.

As the Dhammapada said:

“Conquer the angry man by love.
Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness.
Conquer the miser with generosity.
Conquer the liar with truth.”

Meaning and Importance of Lotus in Buddhism

In many religious traditions, Lotuses are represented as the symbols of purity and also represent divine birth. Being the symbol of purity, in Buddhism the lotus bloomed profusely in both Buddhist art as well as Buddhist literature. The lotus flower is one of the eight most auspicious symbols that are found in the Buddhism i.e. lotus blossom, the parasol, two golden fish, the conch shell, the vase, dharma wheel, the eternal knot. The roots of Lotus flower is muddy water, but even though beautiful lotus flower blossoms even more beautiful, clean and fragrant. The blossomed lotus flower represents the beings who rise through the life of samsara and attained enlightenment of beauty and clarity.

Some other meanings of lotus flower is the purification of spirits. It signifies the purification of spirits that are born in the world of murkiness and darkness. Another meaning of Lotus flower is considered as faithfulness i.e. in the sense, the beings who are trying and working to rise up from the muddy water must be faithful to the blossomed lotus flower. Rising above of the mud for sole purpose of blooming in to beautiful lotus requires a great faith in oneself, the teachings of Buddha, and the practice related to Buddha teachings.

Types of Lotus flower in Buddhism

In Buddhism, the blossomed Lotus flower is categorized according to the colors of lotus and their groupings. There are around 5 types of lotus flowers. They are:

White Lotus

White Lotus is the representation of Bodhi i.e. Bodhi is the state where one have pure metal states, spiritual perfection. The White lotus flower consists of eight petals that signifies eight path of Noble Middle Way.

Red Lotus

Red Lotus is the representation of nature of pure heart. This red lotus flower symbolizes true love, compassion, activity, all pure qualities of the heart. The red lotus flower is depicted with one of the important Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

Blue Lotus

Blue Lotus is the representation of all the holy spirit’s victory over the intelligence, wisdom, senses, as well knowledge. Blue Lotus flower is mostly depicted as partially opened bud and that is the main reason that the center part of Blue lotus is never seen. Blue lotus is mostly associated with Bodhisattva Manjushree and is the embodiment of the “Perfection of Wisdom” i.e. Prajnaparamita.

Pink Lotus

Pink Lotus is considered as the supreme lotus flower, and is mostly associated with the highest deity. But pink lotus is sometimes confused with white flower which is the historical lotus flower of Lord Buddha.

Purple Lotus

Purple Lotus is one of the mystical Lotus flower. This purple lotus flower is sometimes depicted as full bloomed flower or sometimes depicted as bud.