Mudras are symbolic gestures, used symbolically in Buddha images and in practice to evoke particular ideas or buddhas in the mind during Buddhist meditation or ritual.
Like symbols held by saints in Christian art or by gods in Hindu art, Buddhist mudras indicate the identity of a Buddha or a particular scene being depicted.
Mudras are also used in ritual meditation, especially in Tibetan Buddhism, to generate forces that invoke a particular Buddha or deity. While there are a large number of esoteric mudras, there are ten main ones, of which five are most commonly used in Buddha images. Each of the Five Dhyani Buddhas is assigned one of the five mudras, with which they are invariably depicted in art.
Follow a link below to learn more about each of the five main mudras and see examples of Buddha images featuring those mudras.Sources
- Mudras: Sacred Hand Gestures - BuddhaNet
- Buddhist Art and Architecture: Hand Mudras - BuddhaNet
- The Ten Most Important Mudras - Neurotopia
- Buddhist Hand Gestures - Government of Tibet in Exile
- Mudras: Hand Positions of the Buddha - Lotus Sculpture