Bronze Figure of the Buddha Shakyamuni with a Mandala

20th Century
14¼” h. 7½” w. 6½” d.

This bronze figure portrays the Buddha wearing a simple monk’s robe, seated on a lotus throne in dhyanasana (meditation position). His left hand rests on his lap, his upwardly-open palm holding a beggar’s bowl. His right hand rests on his right knee, with fingertips touching the earth in a “Calling to Earth to Bear Witness” (for not succumbing to temptations) mudra. The swastika, or “wan” on his chest is an old Buddhist symbol meaning “eternal, everlasting”. The mandala on his back literally means “a ring of fire”. It is a portrayal of the process of intense thought, of practicing, believing self, according to the notion that the divinity is called up in one’s own heart. On the mandala are three Dhyani Buddhas, mystical meditation buddhas who are invisible. However, these buddhas can be given form, namely as Buddha figures. If a dhyani buddha preaches to his bodhisattvas (beings who want to attain enlightenment), he is attired as a lord. When not preaching, he is dressed in normal monk’s robe, without accessories.