The Buddha of Enlightenment is the founder of Buddhism, also known as “The Awakened One”. The Buddha while fasting under the Bodhi Tree attained Nirvana, or the ultimate form of divine knowledge.
In this statue the Buddha sits on the lotus. Lotuses are symbols of purity and ‘spontaneous’ generation and hence symbolize divine birth, ‘the spirit of the best of men is spotless, like the new lotus in the [muddy] water which does not adhere to it’, and the heart of the beings is like an unopened lotus: when the virtues of the Buddha develop therein the lotus blossoms. This is why the Buddha sits on a lotus in bloom.
One striking feature in this figure is showing the Buddha with elongated earlobes: these are to remind us that the Buddha was once a prince who wore a great deal of jewellery including heavy earrings which stretched out his earlobes. Although he gave up the wearing of any jewellery when he gave up his life of luxury, his earlobes remained elongated.
The figure is hand crafted from natural lapis lazuli gemstone in a “dispelling fear pose”. Stories from Buddhist mythology frequently refer to the Buddha’s use of the dispelling fear pose to pacify the enemies who threatened him. Only a Buddha statue or bodhisattva sculpture would show this Mudra, as it is only useful to those who have achieved enlightenment.
This statue signifies wisdom, understanding, and fulfilling destiny. As do most images of the Buddha, the Teaching Buddha depicts a particular moment in the life of the Buddha, namely, the first sermon the Buddha gave after reaching Enlightenment.