Buddha Statue Meanings: 12 Symbolic Poses and Postures

Updated March 10, 2021
Giant Buddha Statues

Buddha statue meanings depict a certain time in the spiritual life of Gautama Buddha, commonly known as Buddha. A Buddha statue pose or position, especially the hand gestures (mudras), have specific meanings you can use in feng shui applications.

Buddha Statue Meaning

In feng shui, different types of Buddha statues are used to attract chi energy and redirect it throughout your home, office, and garden space. You have many choices of Buddha statue styles and poses. However, before you go shopping, it helps to understand the meaning and symbolism of each statue in relationship to the area you desire to place it.

Different Types of Buddha Statues

Before you make your final Buddha statue selection, consider the different types of Buddha statues available. Each has a different meaning and placement within your home, office, or garden.

Meditation Buddha Statue Meaning

The Meditation Buddha is known as Amitabha, Buddha of Boundless Light. The statue depicts The Buddha in a sitting position known as a double or single lotus pose. Both hands are resting in his lap in the meditative position called the cosmic mudra. The overall profile of this pose creates a triangle shape that is meant to represent stability.

Other specific features of this pose include:

  • The Buddha's eyes are either closed or half-way closed to depict his meditative state.
  • The Buddha's hands overlap each other with his right hand resting on top of the fingers of his left hand with both palms facing up.
  • The thumb tips touch each other to form an oval, symbolizing the turning of one's attention inward.
Meditation Buddha Statue Meaning

The Meditation Buddha statue is a popular pose for a Buddhist home altar. The statue should face the east direction since the Buddha meditated on the sun rising during his search for enlightenment. You can also place the Meditation Buddha statue in a place you find peaceful and calming.

Laughing Buddha

Laughing Buddha is a robust, bald man with a pot belly. The model for this Buddha was a jolly Buddhist monk, Hotei, from around the late tenth century AD. Unlike some Buddha statues, the Laughing Buddha has various poses and meanings, depending on the sector and facing direction you place him. The overall meaning of the Laughing Buddha is one of abundance and good luck.

  • The standing Laughing Buddha meaning is one of welcoming and celebrating great wealth and happiness.
  • The traveling Laughing Buddha meaning is one of prosperity and wealth.
  • The sitting Laughing Buddha meaning is one of balance and maintaining balance in all aspects of life.
Laughing Buddha statue in the home

Standing Laughing Buddha Statue

In Western culture, the Laughing Buddha statue is probably the most widely recognizable one that is used. It's also known as the good luck, prosperity, or abundance Buddha. It depicts Buddha in his later years as happy and with a large belly from an abundant lifetime. He'll either be in a sitting position or standing with his hands over his head supporting a real or imaginary Ru-Yi pot (vessel or bowl of plenty).

Standing Laughing Buddha Statue

This statue is affectionately dubbed Happy. It's tradition to rub his belly to ensure even greater luck is bestowed upon you. Place this statue in your personal wealth corner or southeast sector of your home. It's great for an office on the north wall facing all who enter.

Laughing Buddha With Children

The laughing Buddha is depicted with children, often five little ones, either sitting by his feet or climbing all over the jolly Buddha. The meaning of the Laughing Buddha with children is one of prosperity for your family, especially your children. The sitting Buddha meaning is one of keeping life and priorities in balance.

Laughing Buddha With Children Statue

You will place the Laughing Buddha with Children in the west sector (descendants' luck) of your home. If you place it in a garden, you want the Buddha statue to face your home.

Laughing Buddha With Beads or Wealth Ball

The Laughing Buddha with beads or wealth ball meaning is one of meditation with the beads as a symbol of pearls of wisdom. The meaning of the wealth ball depiction is a sign of not only wealth, but prosperity.

Laughing Buddha With Beads or Wealth Ball

The Laughing Buddha with beads can be placed in the northeast sector (education luck). The Laughing Buddha statue with a wealth ball or wealth balls should be set in the southeast sector (wealth luck). If you know your Sheng Chi (wealth) direction based on your Kua number, you can place this statue so it is facing your Sheng Chi direction.

Laughing Buddha Holding Bowl Meaning

The Laughing Buddha with a bowl is a true depiction of the life of a monk who depends on the alms of food each day. The Buddhist monks walk down the streets with their sacrifice bowls, so the faithful can fill them with daily rations. This daily display signifies the monks' oath of rejecting material possessions in their mission to attain enlightenment. Some statues feature an orange in the bowl or substitute the bowl with an ingot.

Laughing Buddha Holding Bowl Statue

The ideal placement for this Buddha is your meditation room. In lieu of such a room, you can place the Laughing Buddha with a bowl in a reading niche or other area where you spend time in contemplation or prayer.

Laughing Buddha With Fan

The Laughing Buddha with a fan statue is another symbol of happiness. Many Buddhists believe that waving a fan in front of the Buddha statue will banish their troubles. The Buddha statue reminds you to enjoy life and your good fortune. If the Buddha is also holding a Wu Lou (gourd) of enlightenment suspended from a stick while holding a fan in his other hand and wears a prayer bead necklace.

Laughing Buddha With Fan Statue

You can place the Laughing Buddha with a fan in your home office or business office. This Buddha statue placement eliminates your competition and fans away anyone with ill intentions toward you. The Laughing Buddha statue with the fan and Wu Lou can be placed in the northeast sector (education luck) or southwest sector (love and relationship luck).

Traveling Laughing Buddha Statue

The Laughing Buddha with a cotton-sack over one shoulder or tied to the end of a stick often depicts the monk holds a wealth ball in his other hand. Some statues feature the Laughing Buddha carrying a fan in one hand. The sack represents a bag filled with blessings, with the fan offering protection in your travels.

Traveling Laughing Buddha Statue

The Traveling Laughing Buddha statue is an excellent choice if you travel for work. You can place this statue in your office in the north sector to bring you good luck in your work-related travels with business success and wealth gains.

Blessing Buddha and Protection Buddha Statue Meaning

The Blessing Buddha and Protection Buddha statue are the same pose, but are used for different reasons in feng shui. The pose depicts Buddha bestowing blessings with his upper hand gesture of the right hand palm facing out. This hand gesture is also used to dispel fear and is commonly viewed as a gesture of a shield. This is known as the mudra, Abhayamudra or gesture of fearlessness. The pose is meant to give a feeling of reassurance and divine protection. The other hand rests in the Buddha's lap, open and facing upward as a gesture of compassion. Some depictions feature the other hand extended out in a gesture of comfort.

Blessing Buddha and Protection Buddha Statue

Good areas for placing the Blessing Buddha or Protection Buddha statue include your home office and living room. You can apply this as a cure for any area inside or outside your home that suffers from weak or afflicted chi. This is an especially good for any area suffering from a negative flying star placement, such as #2 black star of illness and death, #5 yellow star, and #7 injuries and violence. You can place either of these Buddhas in any sector where you need blessings or protection.

Teaching Buddha Pose Meaning

The Teaching Buddha symbolizes wisdom, understanding, and fulfilling your destiny. Known as Dharma Chakra Buddha, the Teaching Buddha statue is in a sitting or standing position. The most popular is the sitting pose, since this is the position the Buddha assumed when teaching. This is an important period in the Buddha's life. It symbolizes his sharing of the knowledge he gained during his enlightenment in the deer park, Sarnath, located in Uttar Pradesh, India. In the statue pose, Buddha shares this knowledge with his disciples.

Teaching Buddha Pose Statue

Since the Buddha's teachings came from his heart, both hands are positioned in front of his chest. The index fingers and thumbs touch to form a circle to represent his teaching of the Wheel of Dharma (union of wisdom and method). The other three fingers of both hands always remain extended.

Most statue hand gestures include:

  • Right hand palm turned inwards, left hand palm turned up to receive knowledge
  • Left hand often positioned in Buddha's lap, palm up
  • Both handheld in front with thumbs and forefingers touching

You should place the Teaching Buddha statue in the northeast (education) sector of both inside your home or office and your garden. This is an ideal Buddha statue for a student, especially if you are focused on your spiritual learning and growth.

Alternate Buddha Teaching Statue Touching Ring Finger Meaning

Some Teaching Buddha statues depict the thumb touching the ring finger instead of the forefinger. This changes the meaning to one of good fortune. This style can be placed in the north sector (career) or southeast sector (wealth).

Long Life Buddha Statue Pose

This Buddha sits or sometimes stands with the bag of blessings by his side or may hold the bag in his lap. In one hand, he cradles a wealth ball raised in front of him and a Ru-Yi pot in his other hand.

Long Life Buddha Statue

In feng shui, the east sector (health) is the ideal placement for the Long Life Buddha statue. Place in your home or garden in the west (children, descendants) or southeast (wealth) sector. You can also place it in your office in any of these directions.

Happy Home Buddha Statue Pose Meaning

The seated Happy Home Buddha holds a parasol over his shoulder. The white parasol or umbrella is said to be a goddess. The legend tells how she came out of Buddha's forehead. She is a protector against many of life's challenges, disease and various negative threats.

Happy Home Buddha Statue

You can place the Happy Home Buddha statue in the southwest sector (love and relationships) to protect your marriage and/or relationship. You can also place the statue in other sectors you wish to imbue with happiness and protect from negativity.

Earth Buddha Statue Pose Meaning

Also known as the Calling Earth to Witness, the Earth Buddha sits on the ground with his right hand extended, so his fingers point to the earth beneath him. This statue honors the time when The Buddha was repeatedly tempted by the demon, Mara, but resisted and finally reached enlightenment.

Earth Buddha Statue Pose

You can place the Earth Buddha Statue in any sector that you're being tempted to reject. If you're having difficulty in a relationship, place it in the southwest sector to bolster your resolve and commitment. If you're becoming complacent at work, put this in the north sector (career) to strengthen your dedication to your job.

Reclining Buddha Statue Meaning

Buddha awaits his transition from this life to death, which is viewed as a mere transition into a different state of being. If you're in any type of transition period, this is a good choice for inside your home or garden.

Reclining Buddha Statue

You want to place the Reclining Buddha statue in the sector that represents the area of your transition. For example, you can place the statue in the north sector of home or office if you're changing jobs. If a relationship has ended, place the statue in the southwest sector to attract a new love interest. If you're a new empty nester, place the statue in the west sector to ease this life-changing transition.

Medicine Buddha Statue Meaning

The Medicine Buddha statue meaning is one of health and healing. Some Medicine Buddha statues are blue, mimicking ancient painting depictions. The Medicine Buddha pose places his right hand with the palm facing outward and pointing to the ground. Some statues feature a vine, flower, or other plant growing out of this hand. In his lap, his left hand cradles a bowl filled with healing herbs.

Medicine Buddha Statue

In feng shui, the Medicine Buddha statue is used to restore and protect your health. You can place a Medicine Buddha statue in the east sector (health luck) of your home or office.

Buddha Head Statues

Buddha heads are a popular home décor item. These decorations ignore Buddha as a religious figure.

Buddha Head Statue

Buddha head statues or Buddha face statues are considered disrespectful. To a Buddhist, this is a religious figure and therefore should be treated with the respect it deserves. A decapitated Buddha isn't found among Buddhist's statues. The rampant black market for priceless ancient Buddha statues throughout Asia and other parts of the world often decapitate statues in order to sell the statue heads. This makes commercial Buddha head statues sold as home décor especially offensive.

Placement Rules for Buddha Statues

Some rules about placement:

  • Never place directly on the ground or in a bathroom; both are considered disrespectful placements.
  • Don't place in your bedroom unless the statue is kept in a cabinet with doors closed when not being used for meditation.
  • Always place the statue facing into your room unless placed at the entrance of the home where it should face those entering.
  • Garden Buddha statues should always face your home to bestow great abundance.

Material Types of Buddha Statues

Each sector is ruled by a specific element. You can capitalize on using a Buddha statue for your home, office, or garden by selecting the material of the statue to match the element of the sector. For example:

  • Wood element: You can add a carved wooden Buddha statue to activate the wood element in the east and southeast. You can also add this Buddha statue to fuel the fire element in the south sector.
  • Metal element: Choose a bronze, copper or other metal Buddha statue for the west and northwest sectors to activate the metal element. You can also use this statue in the north sector since metal produces water in the productive cycle.
  • Earth element: A sculpted Buddha made of clay or carved from a crystal can be placed in the northeast or southwest and center of the home to activate the earth element.

Choose Buddha Statues for the Home and Garden

Buddha statues for homes and gardens can be used in feng shui applications to enhance your personal directions as well as energize weakened sectors of your life. It's important to understand the symbols of each statue design so you can optimize the chi energy it attracts.

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Buddha Statue Meanings: 12 Symbolic Poses and Postures