A guide to Buddhist hand gestures

Buddhist art frequently depicts Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and other deities with their hands forming a number of different ritualised and stylised gestures (Mudras). They may be holding different objects as well within these gestures. Each by itself and in combination with others have specific meanings. Some of the more common ones are depicted below.

One of these gestures in particular should be familiar to hard rock fans. If you think hand gestures have no place within Christianity however, think again. There is actually an extensive history of ritual hand gestures within Christian art. Here is just one example, by El Greco, of Christ offering a blessing:

El Greco, Christ blessing

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