In Buddhism, the dhyana mudra may be made with one or both hands. When made with a single hand the left one is placed in the lap, while the right may be engaged elsewhere.
The left hand making the Dhyana mudra in such cases symbolizes the female left-hand principle of wisdom. Ritual objects such as a text, or more commonly an alms bowl symbolizing renunciation, may be placed in the open palm of this left hand.
When made with both hands, the hands are generally held at the level of the stomach or on the thighs. The right hand is placed above the left, with the palms facing upwards, and the fingers extended. In somecases the thumbs of the two hands may touch at the tips, thus forming a mystic triangle.
The esoteric sects obviously attribute to this triangle a multitude of meanings, the most important being the identification with the mystic fire that consumes all impurities. This triangle is also said to represent the Three Jewels of Buddhism, mentioned above, namely the Buddha himself, the Good Law and the Sangha.
The Dhyana mudra is the mudra of meditation, of concentration on the Good law, and of the attainment of spiritual perfection. According to tradition, this mudra derives from the one assumed by the Buddha when meditating under the pipal tree before his Enlightenment.
This gesture was also adopted since time immemorial, by yogis during their meditation and concentration exercises. It indicates the perfect balance of thought, rest of the senses, and tranquillity.
This mudra is displayed by the fourth Dhyani Buddha Amitabha, also known as Amitayus. By meditating on him, the delusion of attachment becomes the wisdom of discernment. The Dhyana mudra helps mortals achieve this transformation.References
- This article was written by Nitin Kumar of Exotic India Arts. Used by permission.
- Mudras: Sacred Hand Gestures - BuddhaNet Buddhist Studies
- 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