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Entries in abhaya mudra (2)


Peace, Benevolence, Dispelling of Fear

The hand gesture displayed by all of these statues at Wat Preah Keo is the abhaya mudra so common in Theravadan iconography (see Abhaya Mudra). Signifies protection, peace, benevolence, and dispelling of fear. Was said to have been first used by the Buddha to calm a charging elephant.

Abhaya Mudrā

The abhaya mudrā, a gesture of peace and benevolence produced by raising the hands to shoulder height with the palms facing outward, is portrayed on many Buddhist statues in Laos. According to tradition, the Buddha made this gesture immediately after obtaining enlightenment. To Western eyes, this gesture is strangely reminiscent of the response to a police admonition to "put your hands up". [NOTE: A similar gesture is used a lot by New Yorkers to sidestep responsibility for a comment, e.g. "I'm just saying...".]