Lladró's Earth Buddha: The Witness To A Spiritual Awakening

In one of Buddhism’s iconic images, Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni sits in meditation with his left palm facing the sky on his lap, whilst his right hand is outstretched to touch the earth. A statue in this pose signifies Buddha’s spiritual awakening or enlightenment.

The Earth Buddha (or Bhumisparsha Buddha) is by far the most popular statue to have at home or at the office for what it means to not just devotees of Buddhism, but as a reminder of his teachings. Buddha is depicted in over one hundred poses (called Asanas), each with distinctive hand gestures (mudras) that conveys a different message.

Buddha’s Earth Witness Story

The story goes that Siddhartha Gautama was sitting under a bodhi tree, meditating to seek the truths he sought, when demon Mara threatened him. Siddhartha Gautama did not move or react to Mara’s actions. Mara challenged Siddhartha’s quest for enlightenment, saying that his accomplishments were far greater than Siddhartha’s. Mara’s soldiers supported his claim, “I am his witness”. Mara tried to provoke Siddhartha “Who will speak for you?“.

Siddhartha remained calm, reached out his right hand to touch the earth, and the earth itself roared, “I bear you witness!“. Mara quickly disappeared, and a picture formed in his mind and Siddhartha finally saw the answer to the questions of suffering that he had been seeking for so many years. At that moment, he realised enlightenment. The sun rose, and the morning arrived, and Siddhartha Gautama became the Buddha.

The Earth Witness Mudra

Lladro’s Shakyamuni Buddha in Earth Witness position

A mudra is a gesture or pose with symbolic meaning. The earth witness mudra is also called the Bhumi-sparsha ("gesture of touching the earth") mudra. This mudra represents steadfastness, just like in the story when Siddhartha Gautama remained immovable to the demon’s actions and disturbance. His left-hand faces the sky on his lap in a meditation position, whilst his right hand is outstretched, touching the earth, the combination of both mudras symbolising the union of skillful means.

Buddha’s Enlightenment

The Earth Witness story is important as it teaches us that nothing exists independently. We live in a world where we interact with the other beings, nature, and the elements. This is different to other religions as other religions involve gods and angels from out worldly realms. Buddha achieved enlightenment himself, confirmed by the earth as a witness to his efforts.

The existence of all things on earth is interdependent. Buddha believes that we are not separate from the earth, nature and other beings - that it is ignorant for us to separate ourselves as we human beings depend on earth, air water and other forms of life to live. Our existence depends on these things, but these things also exist because of our interconnected existence. In a sense, when the earth confirmed the Buddha's enlightenment, the earth was confirming itself, and the Buddha was confirming himself.

Buddhism is a deep religion, comprising of hundreds of schools of thought, with many texts and Suttas. However, at the core of it, people find that many of the teachings of Buddha to be relevant and helpful to their lives, whether they agree on the fine details of Buddhism or its teachings.

A Buddha statue reminds us of spiritual practices. It reminds us of any practice of serenity within oneself, focusing on the positive and whilst overcoming negative emotions and thoughts. This goes far beyond religion, a Buddha statue also represents a school of thought, a practice of looking into oneself, that a lot of people resonate with.

Lladró's Earth Buddha (Shakyamuni/Bhumisparsha Buddha)

This large limited edition statue of Earth Buddha is made with Lladró’s expertise in ceramics. The piece is made of Gres, with natural enamels emphasising the earth warm-hued colours of brown, red and ochre. Each of the 1000 pieces is numbered, making this piece highly collectible. It is also available in a unique blue and golden lustre treatment.

Read more about Gres Porcelain here.

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