This is the very first Buddha that we had carved to cast and share!
It was clear what the feeling of the Buddha inspires me and my practice, but I had never seen him. I searched in books and temples and galleries for an image that emanated those qualities. Finally, on a smoggy day in Bangkok in the early 1990s, after too much walking on noisy streets and hot concrete, in my Blue Elephant flip flops that a nun at Suan Mokkh Forest Retreat had helped me choose, I stumbled into the shade of the Marble Palace—andd there he was.
There is a gentle, calm dignity to many Burmese Buddhist images. And the one I had carved based on the Marble Palace inspiration is even more comforting to me. Having him in my life has been a continual reminder of the stillness and presence that is available to us.
His mudra is called the Bhumisparsha mudra, 'Touching the Earth' or 'Calling the Earth to Witness'. This is the gesture the Buddha made while sitting under the Bodhi tree. He called the earth to witness his right to enlightenment and she did.
I have always liked the connections with nature and the feminine in this, the most important hand symbol in the life of the Buddha. It can be seen in several other helpful ways. It is a symbol of his unwavering commitment to sit right there, right then, under the Bodhi tree until he saw things as they truly are.
It also calls to mind Thich Nhat Hanh's phrase, "This moment only moment." Being present right here right now is where the fullness of life and liberation resides