A Buddha statue represents the Buddhist religion, and depending on the Buddha's pose, can also suggest meditation, the gift of fearlessness, the gift of confidence and teaching the Dharma. The first Buddha statues appeared in the 1st or 2nd century through Mathura and Bactria, according to the Buddha Dharma Education Association.
Buddha is typically shown with a head of short hair that is curled and his eyes are often half-closed as an example of meditation. He is often portrayed with a dot as well, which indicates the wisdom of the Buddha and the third eye looking inward at all things. There are many different poses that the Buddha will be in that can suggest different meanings. For example, a Buddha lying down is a Buddha that is dying and is a reminder of death.
While some people have said that Buddhists worship these statues and believe that they are actually Buddha himself, this is not the case. Buddhists use Buddha statues in the same way that Muslims use the Kabba or Christians use the cross. It is a reminder of the need to devote one's life to the religion and to the way of life that the religion promotes. Buddhists also may choose to face the statue when they pray or meditate to help create a more powerful devotion and keep attention focused.