Angkor Wat: Buddha seated on Adishesha with the Dhyana Mudra gesture

Buddha seated on Adishesha with the Dhyana Mudra gesture in Angkor Wat

Buddha seated on Adishesha with the Dhyana Mudra gesture

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Buddha seated on Adishesha
The image shows the statue of Buddha sitting on a seven-headed serpent known as Adishesha (king of serpents). It is situated on the eastern gallery of the uppermost terrace, also known as the Bakan, of Angkor Wat Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Buddha is considered as one of the avatars of Vishnu, one of the Hindu Trinity. Vishnu uses Adishesha as a bed in Hindu mythology. By placing Buddha on top of Adishesha, this carving affirms the fact that Buddha is indeed an avatar of Vishnu.

Notice how Buddha’s hands are placed on his lap. With both the palms facing upwards, his right palm is on top of the left palm. This type of hand gesture is called Dhyana Mudra, which is a symbolic way of representing meditation. See a Buddha statue with the Dhyana Mudra gesture in Borobudur.

Note: In Sanskrit, dhyana means meditation and mudra literally means seal but refers to the hand gesture.

Adishesha is known by many names, including Shesha, Sheshanaga, and Ananta. Interestingly, two mathematical concepts are buried in these names. In Sanskrit, shesha means one that remains (i.e., remainder), and ananta means endless (i.e., infinity). What this means is that Shesha remains even after the end of the universe, and Ananta exists for eternity.

Related Images
The following images from the temples in Karnataka, India, dedicated to Vishnu:
Maha Vishnu seated on Adishesha – A beautiful sculpture carved in the mukhamantapha (veranda) of Cave – 3 of Badami caves
Maha Vishnu reclining on Adishesha – An intricately carved relief on the outer wall of the Belur Chennakeshava Temple
Maha Vishnu seated on Adishesha

Related Pages
Angkor Wat, Angkor WatBas-Reliefs, Angkor Thom, Bayon, Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei
Phnom Kulen, Tonlé Sap, Cambodia
Somanathapura Keshava Temple – A Masterpiece of Hoysala Temple Art
Belur Chennakeshava Temple – Garbhagriha Outer Wall
Badami Cave – 1, Badami Cave – 2, Badami Cave – 3, Badami Cave – 4

Copyright © 2018 – 2020 by Lawrence Rodrigues. All rights reserved.

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