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What are the different types of Buddha statue?

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Quick Answer

There are innumerable pieces of Buddhist iconography depicting various Buddhas, but the Buddhas of the Five Directions are a prominent and common example. These Buddhas are most often found together in shrines where they occupy an altar and symbolize various tenets and teachings.

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Full Answer

Each of the Buddhas of the Five Directions is depicted seated cross-legged in the lotus pose, palms together, head haloed with radiance. They are most commonly also seated upon lotuses, called lotus thrones.

The Li-Bu-Wei Buddha is the Buddha of the East and symbolizes consolation, calm, and courage. The Tuo-Pao Buddha is the Buddha of the center and of the true nature of wealth, which lies in appreciation of the spirit and in the forsaking of material things in favor of spiritual pursuits. The Amitabha Buddha is the Buddha of the West, and it stands for endless light and immortality in the afterlife.

The final two Buddhas are the Miao-Se-Shen Buddha and the Gan-Lu-Wang Buddha, symbolizing respectively South, beauty and dignity and North and purity. Temples incorporating the Five Buddhas also commonly incorporate hundreds or even thousands of much smaller Buddhas, known colloquially as Ten Thousand Small Buddhas, which serve in a myriad of capacities as the patrons of many different paths and virtues.

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