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This attractive little statue shows Buddha defeating the devil Mara. His deep meditation and utter tranquility shows in this moment when he has achieved enlightenment. His outstretched right hand is reaching to earth, while the left hand rests in his lap, with the palm pointing to the heavens
When the demon Mara sought to challenge Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha, he claimed that Siddhartha had not achieved as many spiritual feats as he himself had. He demanded that his demon army affirm the truth of this. However, Siddhartha calmly reached to the earth and was tumultuously acclaimed as the more spiritually accomplished, thus defeating the devil.
He had reached enlightenment whilst sitting under the Bodhi tree, and was calling forth the Earth Goddess as a witness to this momentous event. This is the moment when he became Buddha.
In this carving the soapstone has been skillfully worked to show the serenity of the Buddha performing the Bhumisparsha mudra, or “earth touching posture”. The minute detail in the headdress is a time-consuming piece of work by one of our skilled craftsmen or women. The choice of soapstone gives warmth and softness to the work. Soapstone is a relatively soft stone, largely composed of talc, which is ideal for carving. It also naturally develops an attractive patina as it ages.
Having this work of art on your shelf will allow you to appreciate its craftsmanship, and reflect on the values it represents, on a daily basis.