Choosing a Buddha Statue for Your Garden

A garden shrine is really a beautiful thing. We bought our garden shrine Buddha statue online. At over 3 feet tall, it was even nicer in person than in the pictures. There is a large, Thai statue of Buddha Shakyamuni in our kitchen, and one Japanese version in my shrine room. There is a small (7”) statue of Avavlokiteshvara (read the Heart Sutra) on an indoor garden table.

There are a few things you may like to consider when choosing and placing a Buddha statue for your garden.

First, determine if your statue actually represents the historical (Gautama) Buddha. If it’s the historical Buddha you want, then learn the various images of Buddha in meditation and earth poses and get familiar with the authentic Shakyamuni, versus, say, the popular Laughing Buddha. (Our Shakyamuni Buddha is in earth pose.)

There are also any number of Hindu and other god statues that, while much revered, are not the historical Buddha you’re probably looking for. There is also the Compassion Buddha, Amitaba (the Buddha of Infinite Light), Medicine Buddha, and more. These are not the historical Buddha, but they are wonderful all the same.

Once you have found an accurate representation of Shakyamuni Buddha that you want for your garden shrine, think about placement. As a rule, it is desired that the Buddha be seated at or above eye level; this is simply a matter of respect for the image. I know that in a garden that’s pretty hard to do. You can construct a simple rock wall or other platform that raises the statue to a preferable height.

Another thing to consider is keeping the base of the statue from touching the ground directly. Again, it’s a matter of respect for the image, and also of Right Practice. A uniform layer of rocks, or a large rock itself, can be placed under the statue to keep it off the ground.

Place it where it will not get terribly dirty. Many Buddhists will not place their statues in the kitchen for this reason. I spend a lot of time cleaning my kitchen Buddha. But I will not have a statue in the bathroom. It’s probably not a good idea to place your statue near your compost pile or another area where things are discarded or collected, and where insects may be numerous.

If you’re really lucky, and live near a Buddhist center, you can have your garden Buddha blessed by a monk, and even filled with holy objects, like sutras or sandalwood.

But in spite of all this do-it-this-way talk, if you simply set out to buy and place a Buddha statue in your garden, and you do it with good motivation, you’re doing it right. Your garden Buddha will remind you of the power of meditation and your spiritual potential, and will act as an aid for your practice.


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