Hindu God Shiva: Destroyer & Creator

Hindu God Shiva as Lord of Dance Nataraja

Shiva destroys and creates the world anew as the Lord of Dance, Nataraja!

When many first hear of the Hindu God of Destruction, Shiva, they automatically think of something evil or alarming.  They think him something to be feared.    Yet, his powers are constructive, not just destructive.   He brings about necessary and beneficial transformation.   It can be said that the world is in a constant state of flux.   Just as life is given at birth, so too must it eventually cease to exist.   In that same regard, the world is constantly evolving and partaking in birth, deaths, and rebirths.

Hindus believe that Hindu God Shiva is responsible for the destruction of the universe in order that he may then re-create it into a more perfect form.  They believe that even now he infiltrates the world in order to shed illusion and destroy the worlds many imperfections.  Not only is he the Destroyer, he can also be thought of as a god of change or formation, causing a constant cycle of destruction and creation in order to bring about necessary good.

There is no doubt that the world as we know it houses many flaws.    In order to bring about real change, Hindus look to Shiva to re-create the world in a better image.  Worshipers look to him for guidance in ridding their troubles.  They may pray upon a Shiva statue so that he may bring about renewal in the world.  Many worship Shiva as their primary God.   Join Hindu’s around the world in worshiping Hindu God Shiva for both his destructive and constructive qualities.

Bring a Shiva or other Hindu statues into your home or place of worship from Lotus Sculpture.

Postures of the Buddha

Large_Chiang_Saen_Buddha_Statue

View all Buddha Statues from Lotus Sculpture

The Buddha is often depicted within art and sculpture holding many different poses or postures.  A lot of times these poses include specific hand gestures as well as positioning of the legs.  Many people wonder the meanings behind these certain hand gestures and seated positions.  The Buddha is often seen with either his ankles tucked, called the Double Lotus position, or with one leg resting atop the other which is called a Single Lotus position.  These seated positions are in combination with certain hand gestures called Mudras.

One such posture that is commonly seen is the Buddha sitting with crossed legs (Double Lotus) and both hands resting palms up upon his knees.  This stance represents meditation and is the most common posture due to the Buddha’s enlightenment through meditation underneath the Bodhi Tree.  This stance, called the Meditation Buddha, represents inner wisdom, emotional stability, and clarity of the mind.

Another important posture is that of the Buddha with legs crossed (Double Lotus), left hand resting face up within his lap, and right hand pointing to the ground with his palm facing towards him.  This pose is regarded as the Buddha calling the earth as witness to the moment he reached enlightenment.  This stance, called the Enlightenment Buddha, signifies gaining insight, achieving great character, and having self-discipline.

Here are a few more common postures of the Buddha:

Protection Buddha: The Buddha sits in either Double or Single Lotus position with right hand raised facing outward and left hand in the lap.  This position represents having courage and offers the bearer protection against fear, delusion, and anger.

Teaching_Budda

Teaching Buddha Statue

Teaching Buddha: The Buddha sits in a Double Lotus position with hands up at chest level.  His hands form a circle by joining thumbs and index fingers with the right palm facing in and the left facing out.  This position brings about wisdom, understanding, and finding the truth behind your life’s path.

Contemplation Buddha:  The Buddha stands with legs together and both arms against the chest, palms in, and right hand on top of the right.    This pose represents patient understanding.

View all Buddha Statues from Lotus Sculpture

10 Famous Buddhist Temples Around the World: Part 2

5) Boudhanath: Located within Kathmandu Nepal, Boudhanath boasts on of the largest stupas in the world.  Kathmandu is the most prominent city within Buddhist Nepal and this temple is often visited regularly by the devout.  The Boudhanath temple is best known for the Buddha eyes located on each side of the temple.

Boudhanath-temple-nepal

Boudhanath Temple, Nepal

4) Mahabodhi Temple: Translated to mean the Great Enlightement, the Mahabodhi is a large Buddhist temple located in India.  It is said that a portion of the temple holds a related tree to the original tree sat under by Siddhartha Gautama during his enlightenment.  For this reason the Mahabodhi temple is thought to be one of the most sacred sites within the Buddhist religion.  The current temple still stands from the 5th century.

3) Shwedagon Pagoda: Named the Golden Shrine, the Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred shrines in Burma.  What makes this temple so striking is the 326 feet high main stupa which is entirely covered in gold.

shwedagon-pagoda-temple

Shwedagon Pagoda Temple, Burma

2) Bagan: This sacred site is not simply known for just one temple, but its collection of many pagodas, stupas, and ancient ruins.  At its peak it was a center for Buddhist teaching and scholarship.

1) Borobudur:  Borobudur is the largest and most famous Buddhist temple in the entire world.  It took almost a hundred years to completed during the 8th and 9th centuries   After being abandoned in the 14th century it lay hidden underneath a great layer of volcanic ash for hundreds of years.

borobudaur-temple

Borobudur Temple

10 Famous Buddhist Temples Around the World: Part 1

If you are a wandering soul with a deep inclination towards travel, there are many very beautiful Buddhist temples throughout the world worth seeing in person.  These beautiful sites often include gorgeous statuary of the Buddha.  Although few original temples still stand from the date of construction, many still hold very ancient roots from rebuilding.  Here are 5 renowned Buddhist sites located about the world.

10) Haeinsa Temple: known as the ‘Temple of Reflection upon a Smooth Sea’.  This Buddhist temple located in South Korea is was first built in 1802.  Although a fire devastated most of the temple and its artifacts, a complete copy of Buddhist scriptures written upon 81,258 woodblocks was one of the few items to survive.  The temple was rebuilt to its former glory in the latter half of the 1800’s.

Haeinsa Temple in Korea

9) Wat Arun: the Temple of Dawn.  Wat Arun, located in Bangkok Thailand is an architectural masterpiece modeled after Mount Meru, the center of Buddhist cosmology.  It is one of the oldest landmarks standing in Bangkok.

8) Pha That Luang: the Great Stupa in Laos.  One of the most prominent landmarks in Laos, the tiered temple boosts several terraces, each representing a stage in the process of enlightenment.  Destroyed in 1828 it was later rebuilt by the French in 1931.

Pha That Luang in Laos

7) Jokhang:  Although not quite as extravagant as say Pha That Luang in Laos, Jokhang Temple in the holy city of Lhasa is one of the most important sites for Tibetan Buddhists.  Thousands flock in religious pilgrimage to the temple each year.  The temple was first constructed in the 6th century.  Although the Mongols sacked the temple on countless occasions, by way of miracle it still stands.

Jokhang Temple in Tibet

6) Todaiji:  the Great Eastern Temple.  Todaiji is one of the most famous Buddhist temples located in Japan.  Built in the 7th century by the emperor it was proclaimed to be the head Buddhist temple in all of Japan.  Few of the original buildings still stand although the Great Hall dates back to 1709 when it was rebuilt.

If travel is not in your near feature, you can bring home your very own handcrafted Buddha statute made by local artisans throughout Asia.  View all Buddha statues from Lotus Sculpture.

The Spread of Hindu God Ganesh into Buddhism

Many people are unaware that although a renowned Hindu deity, Ganesh is also worshiped by Buddhists.

View all our Hindu God Ganesh Statues

It is said that during the 10th century, merchants traveling from Asia began to worship Lord Ganesh.  As their devotion and teachings spread among the trading community, many other traders began to worship Ganesh as well.  His role as Remover of Obstacles was very much important to their journeys in trade as the hoped for safe voyages and safety from harm while at sea.  Lord Ganesh therefore became the primary deity associated with traders.  They would invoke his image before any other god whenever hardship would arise.

When Hindus began to spread across to the Malay Archipelago in Southeast Asia they took with them not only their culture but their particular fondness for Ganesh.  Statues were erected throughout the region in his honor.  Hindus migration further into Southeast Asia such as in Indochina, brought the practice of worship of Hindu deity’s right alongside Buddhists.  It is here that Buddhists alike began to adopt their fondness for Ganesh as Remover of Obstacles.  Even today in Buddhist Thailand Ganesh is worshiped as God of Success.  Within Mahayana Buddhism Ganesh is appears in the form of the Buddhist god Vinayaka.  His image often appears in Buddhist scriptures shown dancing.