Buddha Statues: Decoding Their Meaning and Diverse Forms

It is an undying reality that statues are crafted with a specific purpose. Most of the time, they are created as a means of homage to a deity or a personality. Otherwise, they act as a remembrance of a loved one who has passed away. 

As such, throughout history, statue-making has reflected all kinds of emotional or divine relationships associated with humans. Many statues are so common, whether huge or just small decorative ones, that they have become a mainstay in the overall art and architectural spheres. One such prominent statue is that of Lord Buddha! 

Why are Buddha statues so famous? 

There is no denying that Buddha statues have found a mainstay in the homes of people of all age groups and economic brackets. Most use the Buddha statue for decorative or astrological reasons rather than religious. 

The proliferation of the harmonious and egalitarian teachings of Lord Buddha has also been an essential reason for the rise in demand for Buddha statues.

People worldwide who keep a Buddha statue feel it will induce tranquility and harmony, leading to substantial philosophical awakenings. 

Additionally, Buddha statues have taken various shapes over the years and continue to evolve depending on their shape and size. Various mudras of Buddha statues have been given different names and sold commercially according to those designs. We’ll discuss them elaborately below: 

The Most Popular Buddha Statues

Gautama Buddha Statue 

One of the most common Buddha statues that adorn homes and monasteries alike is the Gautama Buddha statue, which has his right hand touching the ground. Ideally, this symbolizes his Enlightenment and is referred to as the Shakyamuni Buddha. 

This meditative stance is the posture most notably associated with the great preacher, and the other features, such as the resting of his left hand on his lap or placement of the thumb and forefingers, signify the Vatika Mudra, which represents the eternal teachings of the preacher. 

Additionally, the statue is, in essence, a holistic structure that reflects all of Buddha’s teachings, namely enlightenment, meditation, suffering, redemption, and liberation. This statue can easily fit in religious surroundings as well as in the living area! 

Buddha Head Statue

After the Siddharata statue, the Buddha head statues are second in popularity! Its serene and antique qualities make it one of the most often used Buddha icons in home and workplace décor. Despite its small size and portability, the Buddha's head contains oceans of wisdom since it represents the eternal dwelling of enlightened consciousness and signifies an aura of intellectual fulfillment around the household.

The Buddha head statue usually consists of a cranial bump, a tuft of gentle hair between the brows, and half-closed eyes representing a balance of inward and outward consciousness. A perfect nose and gently curving lips provide the structure with all the necessary features to make a heavenly Buddha statue.

Buddhists and non-Buddhists have long welcomed the Buddha head statue and similar head decor into their homes. Beyond being a revered religious art, the Buddha head statue has a deeper meaning for both Buddha and his disciples and continues to find a place within every possible space! 

Standing Buddha

This Buddha image exemplifies the virtues of brilliant inner peace associated with the fruits of supreme wisdom. The figure usually has a lifted right hand in the typical abhaya-mudra gesture, dispelling fear and reassuring the people around. 

Additionally, the Buddha is dressed in a monk's modest, uncut fabric and a wide halo. Auspicious markings throughout the body further emphasize his devotion.  It signifies the natural and supernatural state of being, symbolizing Buddhahood (the state of complete enlightenment).

This particular portrayal has become the standard for the Buddha image throughout Asia as the culmination of aesthetic evolution during an era of Buddhist growth, and the structures and statues also reflect this trend.  

Laughing Buddha 

When it comes to Buddha aesthetics and statues, the laughing Buddha holds a very prominent place. 

The laughing Buddha is said to represent wealth, contentment, and happiness. According to Feng Shui, placing numerous figurines throughout the house fills the space with positive energy and joy. 

The laughing Buddha is commonly found as a good luck charm in homes, offices, restaurants, and other locations where people want to fill the air with happiness.

As the laughing Buddha gained popularity worldwide, many diverse beliefs and stories arose. 

Different strands of beliefs, anecdotes, and practical ideas on how to fill your home with lively, happy energy have developed with the popularity of a laughing Buddha statue. As such, there are also different types of Laughing Buddha statues. Some of the popular ones are: 

  • Laughing Buddha with a fan 
  • Laughing Buddha with a sack 
  • Laughing Buddha with beads 

Preaching Buddha

Alongside all the different types of Buddha statues mentioned above, The preaching or reclining Buddha also holds an extremely high place.   

In this statue, the Buddha is reclining on his right side, his head supported by a pillow or his propped-up hand and elbow. Though this image of the Buddha can symbolize sleeping or relaxing, it is most usually associated with the closing moments of the Buddha's life and the ultimate enlightening sermon. 

This particular state is known as the Parinirvana and is said to be only experienced by people who have achieved enlightenment, or nirvana, during their lifetime. 

Those who achieve nirvana are free of samsara, the rebirth cycle, and karma. When they die, they instead achieve nirvana or the eternal self after death. All these ideals are fully incorporated into the statue, and the color is usually black or some other dark shade.  


In many ways, Buddha statues are more than just artifacts or antique structures; they act as instruments of Lord Buddha’s teachings and the knowledge he so emphatically preached. Every Buddha statue mentioned above signifies a specific virtue and impacts its beholder differently. 

Through these innate statues and structures, surroundings are beautified, and admirers relate to the preachings and ideals of the great preacher.