His flowing drape covers only the left shoulder and leaves the right side bare. It is a richly decorated robe, with a particularly ornamental border. The folds of the garment collect and fall at the feet of the Buddha - as if paying their own homage to the 'Blessed One.'
The hands of the Buddha are raised to the chest making the Dharmachakra mudra. Dharmachakra in Sanskrit means the 'Wheel of Dharma'. This mudra symbolizes one of the most important moments in the life of Buddha, the occasion when he preached the first sermon after his Enlightenment in the Deer Park at Sarnath. It thus denotes the setting into motion of the Wheel of the teaching of the Dharma. In this mudra the thumb and index finger of both hands touch at their tips to form a circle. This circle represents the Wheel of Dharma, or in metaphysical terms, the union of method and wisdom.
The three remaining fingers of the two hands remain extended. These fingers are themselves rich in symbolic significance. Those of the right hand represent the three vehicles of the Buddha's teachings, namely:
The middle finger represents the 'hearers' of the teachings.
The ring finger represents the 'solitary realisers.
The Little finger represents the Mahayana or 'Great Vehicle'.
The three extended fingers of the left hand symbolize the Three Jewels of Buddhism, namely, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
Significantly, in this mudra, the hands are held in front of the heart, symbolizing that these teachings are straight from the Buddha's heart.
This sculpture was created in the small town of Aligarh in North India.
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