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Buddhist Divinity

( Originally Published 1911 )

Od-dpag-med, Amitabha or Amida. Amida in the attitude of bearing witness and holding the patra or bowl to receive alms.

The position of the hands designates the functions which are being carried on by Buddha or by his followers at any given time. These gestures are each illustrative of some idea, and are classified under the name "mudras." For instance, the hands placed over one another or reposing wrapped up in the lap indicate meditation; the right hand raised, left hand extended downwards, both with palms outwards, imply teaching and charity; the same with the index fingers only extended is a sign of the possession of the world; right hand extended and palm outward signifies charity; fingers clasped with tips together is the world-wide expression of adoration or of prayer for mercy ; right palm on the leg of sitting Buddha with left palm held upwards and outwards is the position for bearing witness; the right hand raised palm outwards with fingers extended is the attitude of blessing; the right hand clasping the index of the left is the habitual attitude of the Buddha supreme and eternal; the head resting on the right palm turned upward signifies meditation on the means of saving mankind. Other magical or mystical positions are: Palms upwards, tips of the thumbs and fingers of each hand touching each other, indicating teaching and direction; right hand extended downwards palm outwards, left hand closed, signifying perfection of conduct; right hand elevated and left closed, as in the last attitude, showing love to others in active charity. The study of the "mudras" is quite interesting though unfamiliar.

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