This hand gesture could be seen on the image of Buddha either in standing, sitting or walking position. The right hand bent and raised outward with open palm to the shoulder height with the extended fingers pointing upwards. The left hand hangs down at the side. The right hand symbolizing absence of fear and protection from danger and peace to those who go the Buddha. The left hand is a symbol of generosity and compassion.
Once while the Buddha was walking on the street accompanied by His disciples, an intoxicated elephant Nalagiri came to charge towards Him. It was discharged by a mahout under the direction of Devadatta, enemy of the Buddha.
Nearing the Buddha the elephant was no more in rage. Calmly, the Buddha posed Himself in the Abhaya mudra position and radiated loving kindness towards to the charging animal. It knelt down calmly to pay respect to the Buddha. A dangerous situation and a tragic had been averted.
This is the fifth mudra of a series of ten mudras. Next mudra – Varada Mudra.
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Contributor: Chin Kee Thou (YMBA, 3rd year)