This lovely and serene Shakyamuni Buddha statue, or Gautama Buddha carving, is seated in peaceful meditation with his hands in the dhyana position - the Gesture of Meditation, Samadhi or Yoga Mudra. Artfully hand carved in Indonesia from a solid piece of Suar wood, this striking wooden Buddha statue is dressed simply in his traditional robes and is depicted with a head full of tightly spiraled curls, or snail shells upon his head, depending upon which legend or myth explained below you believe.
This peaceful and calming wooden Buddha measures 6" H - 5" W - 2 1/2" D and would be a wonderful and tranquil addition to any home or office and is a must for any meditating space.
Please scroll down to add this item to your cart.
Since no carvings or paintings of Shakyamuni Buddha were done until roughly 200 years after his death, nobody really knows what Buddha actually looked like, but there are generally three representations, or versions if you will, of his hair style. The first is that a top knot, or bun on top of Buddha's head, that is known as an ushnisa, which symbolizes wisdom. This style was derived from Greek culture and the time of Alexander The Great who had conquered northwestern India. The other two hair styles are derived from two legends, or myths from India and Asia.
The first legend from India says that when Shakyamuni, then Siddhartha Gautama, renounced his princely heritage to become an ascetic he cut off all of his hair with a sword and from then forward, he only had tightly spiraled curls and never had to cut his hair again.
The second, and more interesting legend from Asian culture is that of the 108 Snail Martyrs. Legend says that one hot summer day Buddha had sat down underneath a tree to meditate. As time went by, Buddha became so deeply immersed in thought that he didn't notice the sun moving across the sky and that the hot sun was now beating down upon his bare head.
Just then, a snail was passing by and noticed Buddha sitting beneath the tree un-shielded from the hot summer sun and realized that very soon Buddha's head was going to become a painful distraction to his great thoughts. So as fast as he could, the snail made his way up to Buddha's head and sat there so his mucous covered body would cool Buddha's bare skin. Then another 107 passing snails saw what the first snail had done and followed suit, covering Buddha's head with a cap, or crown of spiral shells and their cool, damp bodies.
As the hours passed, the snails withered and died, giving up their lives to protect Buddha. As evening fell Buddha stood up and discovered that he had 108 snails upon his head and as a mark of gratitude, Buddha bore their shells on his head for the rest of his life. By making the supreme sacrifice, the Snail Martyrs were granted vastly improved births in their subsequent incarnations and are depicted on many statues of Buddha to remind us of their ultimate sacrifice.
The life of Shakyamuni Buddha:
Shakyamuni is regarded as the supreme or historical Buddha and is the founder of Buddhism. His first incarnation was as Siddhartha Gautama, a prince born into an aristocratic, wealthy warrior family in Lumbini around 563 BCE near the Nepalese and Indian border, or what is now modern day Nepal.
Surrounded by wealth and opulence his entire life and sheltered from the world, at the age of twenty nine he decided to venture outside of the palace walls, leaving behind his wife and son. On this excursion he discovered an aged man, a sick man and then a corpse, which sickened him. He then came upon a wondering ascetic, or religious mendicant who was completely at peace in the midst of all the suffering. Siddhartha returned to the palace, but could not understand how the ascetic could be at peace among all of this suffering, nor could he ignore or forget what he had seen. He then renounced his family and princely heritage by becoming an ascetic and wandered into the forest to seek enlightenment.
Siddhartha turned to the spiritual teachers of the day and learned all he could about their philosophies, meditation techniques and codes of conduct, but his questions still remained unanswered. He then became an extreme ascetic and it is said that for six years he only ate one sesame seed, one grain of rice and one drop of water a day. However after six years of starving himself he realized that he could no longer keep his mind clear or meditate, so he broke his fast with a little rice pudding that was offered to him by the girl Sujata who lived in the village of Uruvela.
Siddhartha returned to his life as an ascetic and with his body and mind restored, he sat down beneath a Pipal tree, which is now known as the Bodhi tree, and vowed that he would not to move until he understood the cause of human suffering. After forty nine days of meditation at the age of thirty five, he is said to have reached enlightenment and from that day forward, he has been known as Shakyamuni Buddha - Shakayumi means Sage of the Shakyas (the clan to which he was born) and the word Buddha is both a Sanskrit and Pali word meaning the awakened one.
After his enlightenment a Buddhist Order was formed and Shakyamuni, along with his disciples traveled far and wide throughout India teaching about the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, which are the foundation of Buddhism. Shakyamuni died at the age of 80, but it is said that he had 550 incarnations there after. In Buddhism he is referred to as Shakyamuni Buddha, or The Awakened One of the Shakya Clan and he is regarded as the supreme or historical Buddha and the founder of Buddhism.