Thursday, February 21, 2013

Image of the Buddha

For most people, the word "Buddha" conjures up the image of a statue of an Asian male seated in meditation. It may seem contradictory for a religion that is otherwise considered relatively abstract to give such a central place to images of this kind.

These images, however, are generally not worshipped by Buddhists in the same sense that other religions are said to have worshipped their gods and saints. Rather, they are symbolic depictions of the sublime qualities possessed by Buddhas and bodhisattvas to which practitioners aspire. Ideally, they function as a kind of mirror to aid practitioners in perceiving the profound dignity of their own lives and in manifesting that dignity in their actions.

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