“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha
“Just as treasures are uncovered from the earth, so virtue appears from good deeds, and wisdom appears from a pure and peaceful mind.” – Buddha
This hand carved Cambodian Buddha is seated in the ‘earth touching’ gesture or ‘earth witness’ also known as bhumisparsha mudra. This gesture is performed by extending the right hand downwards to touch the ground with its fingertips. It symbolizes the precise moment when the awakening Buddha, Shakyamuni, vanquished the army of Mara beneath the bodhi tree and summoned the goddess of the earth, Sthavara, to bear witness to his countless acts of sacrifice. Shakyamuni Buddha is commonly represented upon his enlightenment throne with his right hand touching the earth, and his left hand resting upon his lap in the gesture of meditation. This symbolizes the union of his method or skillful means in overcoming Mara (right hand), through the perfect wisdom of his deep meditation upon emptiness (left hand).
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Soapstone also known as “steatite” or “soaprock” is a stone which is notable for its high degree of resistance to heat. In Cambodia, soapstone, which mostly comes from the province of Pursat (in the western part of the country) has been used to carve religious effigies since the 17th century. Any variation in the color of the stone is inherent to the very nature of the material, its array varies from yellow-green to gray and deep purple.
This Buddha has a distinct Cambodian style. Lord Buddha is in the the ‘earth touching’ gesture or ‘earth witness’ also known as bhumisparsha mudra. He is seated on a separately carved single lotus base. Lord Buddha is depicted with heavy eyelids that evoke a mood of introspection and detachment, enhanced by the hint of a smile on the full lips. The distended earlobes, a legacy of Prince Siddhartha’s discarding his heavy gold jewelry further indicates the Buddha’s enlightened status. A simple yet elegant carving. It is unpolished and thus has a matte finish.
This sculpture is a one of a kind statue, hand carved by the very talented artists of Cambodia. Every piece is truly unique!
This piece is inspired by the Adorned Orant of Angkor Wat, a XVth century piece found in the National Museum of Phnom Penh. Orants are compassionate beings, disciples of the Buddha. They are also symbols of good luck and are often placed in the entrance of homes welcoming guests. This Orant is kneeling, expressing humility. His hands are in anjali mudra, the universal greeting and gesture of respect throughout the Buddhist world. This mudra is formed by placing the palms together at the level of the heart, with the fingertips pointed upward.
These 3 beautiful antique wood Buddha statues have unique blush tones. The Buddha’s are marked with symbols of Lord Buddha’s enlightened state such as the cranial protuberance (ushnisha), which symbolizes the Buddha’s wisdom and openness as an enlightened being as well as elongated earlobes, a vestige of the Buddha’s life as a prince when he wore extravagant jewelry. They display the protection gesture also known as the abhaya mudra. These wood sculptures are one of a kind statues, hand carved by the very talented artists of Cambodia.
These beautiful Rama and Sita carvings are made from a hibiscus flower tree. The gradation of color in the wood is absolutely striking and the details are just brilliant! You can immediately see how the artist has succeeded in creating exceptional detail, as evidenced in the emotive faces and very intricate crowns which adorn each piece. It took the artist 3 months to carve these stunning masterpieces.
Lord Rama is the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Rama represents an ideal man. In the story of Ramayana, Rama’s personality depicts him as the perfect son, devoted brother, true husband, trusted friend, ideal king, and a noble adversary. Rama is always ready to destroy evil and protect righteousness. He is himself an embodiment of dharma. Sita symbolizes an ideal daughter, wife, mother, and queen. Whereas Rama symbolizes standards of perfection that can be conceived in all the facets of a man’s life, mother Sita represents all that is great and noble in womanhood, the perfect embodiment of purity in thoughts, words, and deeds. She is revered as an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, the divine consort of Lord Vishnu.
These masterpiece wood sculptures are entirely hand carved by the very talented artists of Bali, Indonesia. Every piece is truly unique!
This beautiful hand made incense burner and incense storage box is decorated with the eight auspicious symbols (Ashtamangala in Sanskrit). They are a group of Buddhist symbols that appear on many Buddhist textiles, objects and paintings. Each symbol represents an aspect of Buddhist teaching and when they appear together, their powers are multiplied.
The Parasol (Chhatra) symbolizes the wholesome activity of preserving beings from illness, harmful forces, obstacles and so forth in this life and all kinds of temporary and enduring sufferings of the three lower realms, and the realms of men and gods in future lives. It also represents the enjoyment of a feast of benefit from under its cool shade.
The Golden Fish (Matsya) symbolizes the auspiciousness of all living beings in a state of fearlessness, without danger of drowning in the ocean of sufferings, and migrating from place to place freely and spontaneously, just as fish swim freely without fear through water.
The Treasure Vase (Kalasa) symbolizes an endless rain of long life, wealth and prosperity and all the benefits of this world and liberation
The Lotus Flower (Padma) symbolizes the complete purification of the defilements of the body, speech and mind, and the full blossoming of wholesome deeds in blissful liberation.
The Conch Shell (Sankha) which coils to the right symbolizes the deep, far-reaching and melodious sound of the Dharma teachings, which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own and others’ welfare.
The Endless Knot (Shrivasta) symbolizes the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs. Similarly, it represents the union of wisdom and method, the inseparability of emptiness and dependent arising at the time of path, and finally, at the time of enlightenment, the complete union of wisdom and great compassion.
The Victory Banner (Dhwoja) symbolizes the victory of the activities of one’s own and others body, speech and mind over obstacles and negativity. It also stands for the complete victory of the Buddhist Doctrine over all harmful and pernicious forces.
The Wheel of the Dharma (Dharmachakra) symbolizes the auspiciousness of the turning of the precious wheel of Buddha’s doctrine, both in its teachings and realizations, in all realms and at all times, enabling beings to experience the joy of good deeds and liberation.
The Nagas are the serpent spirits that inhabit the underworld. They have their origin in the ancient snake cult of India, which probably date back to the early Indus valley civilization (circa 2500 BCE). In the Hindu Puranic legends the Nagas were the offspring of Kadru, the sister of Vinata who gave birth to Garuda. Both the Nagas and Garuda shared a common father, Kashyapa, but due to an act of treachery by Kadru they became mortal enemies. Kadru gave birth to a thousand serpents, each with many heads, which populated Patala, the region below the earth. This subterranean realm is rich in treasures, with beautiful palaces ruled over by three great Naga kings named Sesha, Vasuki, and Takshaka, who figure prominently in several puranic legends. Historically the Nagas were an ancient Indian race, of whom very little is known other than the serpent cult legacy that they appear to have left within Indian culture.
This legacy was absorbed into Buddhism at an early date, with the Buddhist Nagas inheriting much of their ancient Indian symbolism. They dwell in the underworld below land and sea, especially in the aquatic realms of rivers, lakes, wells and oceans. In Buddhist cosmology they are assigned to the lowest tier of Mt. Meru, with their Garuda enemies placed on the tier above them. Nagas are the underworld guardians of treasures and concealed teachings and they can manifest in serpent, half-serpent, or human form. The great second century Indian Buddhist master and philosopher, Nagarjuna, was perhaps the first person to receive a ‘hidden treasure text’ or terma (Tib. gter-ma) from the Nagas, in the form of the Prajna-paramita-sutra.
Nagas can have a beneficial, neutral or hostile influence on human beings. Like their Chinese dragon counterparts, the Nagas are responsible for controlling the weather, causing droughts by withholding rain when they are offended and releasing rain when they are propitiated. Pollution of their environment or disrespectful acts such as urinating or washing soiled clothes in a Naga inhabited stream, can result in illnesses or Naga afflictions. Leprosy, cancer, kidney problems and skin ailments are all viewed as possibly being Naga related diseases.
Eight great Naga kings (Skt. nagaraja; Tib. klu’i rgyal-po) are commonly listed in Buddhism. These nagarajas are often described as being crushed underfoot, or worn as adornments by certain wrathful deities. The Nagas are also divided into a fivefold caste based upon the Hindu caste division or social order. In the east are the white kshatriya or warrior caste, in the south the yellow vaishya or merchant caste, in the west the red Brahmin or priestly caste, in the north the green shudra or laborer caste and at the center the black chandali outcastes or ‘untouchables’. This color placement corresponds with the traditional directions of the Five Buddha mandala, with blue-black Akshobya at the center. Wrathful deities often wear these eight nagarajas, or the five castes of Nagas, as one of the ‘eight great attires of the charnel ground’, known as the ‘revolting snake ornaments’. These consist pairs or clusters of ferocious, writhing, coiling and hissing poisonous serpents worn as body adornments by these wrathful deities. The coiling white serpents of the warrior caste are wreathed around the half-vajra on a wrathful deities crown. Clusters of yellow serpents of the merchant caste hand or coiled as the deity’s earrings. The deity’s necklace or sacred thread is formed from a wreath of red serpents of the Brahmin caste. As the sash or chest garland the deity wears an entwining bunch of long green serpents of the laborer caste. As bracelets, armlets and anklets, the deity wears encircling wreathes of small black snakes, which represent the outcaste or untouchable caste.
In their individual iconography the Nagas are usually depicted with a human upper body and a coiling serpentine body below their waists. Nagas are most commonly white in color, with one face and two hands, often with their hands folded in supplication or offering jewels. A hood of one, three, five or seven small serpents arises like a crest above a Naga’s head and these serpents are often individually colored to correspond to the five castes of Nagas or to the eight great Naga kings. The motif of a multi-headed serpent crowning the head of an Indian Naga may possibly have originated from the seven or nine estuaries or mouths of the ancient River Indus.
The lotus (Sanskrit: Padma, Kamala) which grows from the dark watery mire but remains completely unstained by it, is a major Buddhist symbol of renunciation, purity and freedom from the faults of cyclic existence. As a hand-held attribute the lotus is most frequently colored light red or pink, with eight or sixteen petals, and often bears within its upper petals a specific ritual objects or deity emblem. The lower stem of the hand-held lotus often curls slightly in the form of a lotus root. The thumb and one of the first three fingertips of the deity, or lineage holder, are often positioned at the level of the heart in the gesture of teaching or giving refuge, and delicately hold this lower stem. The stem then curves gracefully upwards, putting out leaves as it ascends to blossom at the level of the deity’s ear. This symbolizes the nectar like transmission of the Buddhadharma, which attracts disciples like bees to the pure and unconditional fragrance of the spoken or ‘ear-whispered’ teachings. The main stem of the lotus commonly branches into three shoots as it ascends, culminating in a seed-pod at one side, the main blossom at the center, and a small unopened bud at the other side. These three stages of fruition represent the Buddha’s of the three times, past, present, and future respectively.
The lotus is primarily the emblem of Amitabha, the red Buddha of the west and the Lord of the Padma or Lotus Family, whose qualities of discernment represent the transmutation of passion into discriminating awareness or wisdom. Amitabha’s presiding bodhisattva is Padmapani Avalokiteshvara, the ‘Holder of the Lotus’, and the Bodhisattva of great compassion and the patron deity of Tibet. Padmapani, meaning ‘lotus-handed’ bears the attribute of an eight-petaled white lotus as a symbol of his immaculate purity, love and compassion. As emanations of Avalokiteshvara, the fourteen successive incarnations of the Dalai Lama are each commonly portrayed with his white lotus of compassion in their right hands. One of the main female Bodhisattvas of the Lotus Family is White Tara. Tara’s attribute of a sixteen-petaled white lotus symbolizes the perfection of all of her qualities, and her likeness to a sixteen year old maiden. The kumuda is a white lotus or water lily that is said to open only in moonlight. The pundarika or ‘edible white lotus’, is a specific symbol of the Buddha Shikhin, who attained enlightenment in a previous era whilst seated before this delicate flower. The pundarika is a symbol of rarity and transience, as this flower seldom blossoms from its peculiar leaf-tip and it delicate petals fall easily when touched.
Lotus blossoms may also be colored white, pink, red, yellow, golden, blue and black. The pink or pale-red lotus is commonly identified by the Sanskrit term kamala, which is also another name for the Hindu ‘lotus goddess’ Lakshmi. The term kamala derives from the root kama, meaning love, longing, sexual desire, and intercourse, and is a potent tantric metaphor for feminine beauty and voluptuousness. The term padma and kamala are both synonymous Sanskrit terms for the ‘lotus’ of the female vagina, which is soft, pink, and open. Likewise the vajra is synonymous with the male penis, which is hard and penetrative. The vajra represents form, the lotus emptiness, and their union symbolizes the perfect ‘coincidence’ of method and wisdom, or the spontaneous arising of great bliss and emptiness. The yellow lotus and the golden lotus are hand attributes of a few of the different forms of Avalokiteshvara and Tara, and generally identified by the term padma. The blue, indigo, or black lotus is specifically identified as the utpala or ‘night lotus’ in Indian Buddhist Sanskrit texts. Since the lotus does not grow in the high altitudes of Tibet, the Tibetans later adopted this term to cover all varieties and colors of lotus blossoms. The blue lotus was especially venerated in ancient Egypt, where its petals were steeped in water, tinctured in alcohol, or distilled into an essential oil to produce a potent and rejuvenating aphrodisiac panacea. The term utpala means ‘to burst open’ or ‘without flesh’. The name utpala-naraka is applied to one of the eight cold hells of Buddhist cosmology, where the skins of its denizens turns blue from the intense cold and bursts open into utpala-like cracks. The blue utpala lotus is an attribute of Green Tara and many other Vajrayana deities. It is also known by the Sanskrit terms nilabja, nilotpala, pushkara, and nilanalina.
The male and female bodhisattvas commonly bear their particular emblems on hand-held lotuses, with these attributes resting upon the domed pericarp or central pod of these lotuses. The human (nirmanakaya) and divine (sambhogakaya) manifestations of the eight great Bodhisattvas may bear upon their lotuses: (1) the sword and book of Manjushree; (2) the vajra, or vajra and bell of Vajrapani; (3) the wheel and water vase of Maitreya; (4) the sword of Akashagarbha; (5) the jewel of Kshitigarbha; (6) the sun of Samantabhadra; (7) the moon of Nivarana-vishkambhin; (8) the unadorned lotus of Avalokiteshvara. The goddess White Prajnaparamita bears the attributes of two texts on the ‘Perfection of Wisdom’ (Sanskrit: Prajnaparmita-sutra), which rest upon white and red lotuses that sprout from the palms of her right and left hands respectively.
The Indian lotus (Sanskrit: Padma, Kamala), which grows from the dark watery mire but is unstained by it, is a major Buddhist symbol of purity and renunciation. It represents the blossoming of wholesome activities, which are performed with complete freedom from the faults of cyclic existence. The lotus seats upon which deities sit or stand symbolize their divine origin. They are immaculately conceived, innately perfect, and absolutely pure in their body, speech, and mind. The deities manifest into cyclic existence, yet they are completely uncontaminated by its defilements, emotional hindrances, and mental obscurations.
As a sacred symbol the lotus was adopted by many of the world’s great civilizations, from Egypt to Japan, and widely incorporated into their arts and architecture. The lotus opens and closes with the sun, and in ancient Egypt the sun was conceived as of rising from an eastern lotus at dawn, and setting into a western lotus at sunset. Similarly Surya, the Vedic sun god, holds a lotus in each of his hands, symbolizing the suns path across the heavens. Brahman, the Vedic god of creation, was born from a golden lotus that grew from the nave of Vishnu, like a lotus growing from an umbilical stem. Padmasambhava, the ‘lotus born’ tantric master who introduced Buddhism into Tibet, was similarly divinely conceived from a miraculous lotus, which blossomed upon Danakosha Lake in the western Indian kingdom of Uddiyana. The lotus as a divine womb or vagina is a potent sexual metaphor in both Hindu and Buddhist tantra. Padma and kamala are synonymous Sanskrit terms for the ‘lotus’ of the female vagina, which is soft, pink, and open. Likewise the vajra is synonymous with the male penis, which is hard and penetrative. The union of vajra and padma is a sexual symbol for the union of form and emptiness, or skillful means and wisdom. On an inner level this union symbolizes the penetration and ascent of the psychic winds into the subtle body’s central channel, which pierces and opens the ‘lotuses’ of the channel-wheels or chakras.
The lotus is the emblem of Amitabha, the red Buddha of the west and the ‘Lord of the Padma or Lotus Family’. Amitabha’s qualities are indicative of the redness of fire, vital fluids, evening twilight, the summer season, and the transmutation of passion into discriminating awareness. Amitabha’s consort is Pandara, whose attribute is also a red lotus. Amitabha’s presiding bodhisattva is Padmapani Avalokiteshvara, the ‘Holder of the Lotus’, and the Bodhisattva of great compassion.
The Buddhist lotus is described as having four, eight, sixteen, twenty-four, thirty-two, sixty-four, a hundred, or a thousand petals. These numbers symbolically correspond to the internal lotuses or chakras of the subtle body, and to the numerical components of the mandala. As a hand-held attribute the lotus is usually colored pink or light red, with eight or sixteen petals. Lotus blossoms may also be colored white, yellow, golden, blue and black. The white or ‘edible lotus’ (Sanskrit: pundarika) is an attribute of the Buddha Sikhin, and a sixteen-petaled white utpala lotus is held by White Tara. The yellow lotus and the golden lotus are generally known as padma, and the more common red or pink lotus is usually identified as the kamala. The Sanskrit term utpala is specifically identified with the blue or black ‘night lotus’, but its transliterated Tibetan equivalent (Tib. ut-pa-la) may be applied to any color of lotus.
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