The Bhumisparsha Mudra (Earth-Witness mudra) is one of the most important mudras in Buddhism.
In this guide you will learn everything you need to know about Bhumisparsha mudra. But if you are new to mudras, you might like to start by reading my guide to mudras. It covers 60 mudras and explains everything you need to know to use mudras successfully.
How Buddha used Bhumisparsha mudra (Earth-Touching Mudra) when he found enlightenment
In our guide to reaching enlightenment we reveal the stage you can go through to achieve this highest of states.
Buddha found enlightenment while he was using Budhimsparsha mudra (Earth-Touching mudra).
One day, the Buddha, Siddartha Guatama, was sitting meditating by the Bodhi tree when he was attacked the the demon called Mara along with Mara’s monsters.
The attackers hoped to frighten Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha) from his place under the Bodhi tree. But Buddha remained unmoved.
Mara claimed his spiritual successes to be greater than Buddha’s and took his place under the tree.
“I am his witness” cried Mara’s monsters.
“Who will speak for you?” said Mara to Siddhartha.
Sidhartha reached his right hand down to touch the earth.
The earth roared, “I bear you witness.”
It was then Siddhartha Guatama realised enlightenment.
What the Bhumisparsha mudra means
All Buddhist mudras have a specific meaning.
The Bhumisparsha mudra (“Bhumi-sparsha”) literally means “Touch the Earth Gesture”. There is symbolism involved in the name too. It represents steadfastness, the Earth representing the grounding the Buddha needed in order to not be swayed by Mara.
Each hand also represents something in its own right:
- The right hand reaching down to touch earth represents upaya (skillful means)
- The left hands on the lap represents prajna (wisdom).
How To Do Bhumisparsha Mudra (Earth Touching Gesture)
- Sit comfortably with good posture (you can read more about meditation postures in our guide to Zen meditation)
- Close your eyes and meditate for a few moments.
- Now hold your left hand open palm up on your lap.
- Place your right hand over your leg so that your finger tip touch the earth.
- Meditate in this position for 30 minutes.
Benefits of the Bhumisparsha Mudra
This mudra has the following benefits:
- Helps to calm the mind
- Promotes meditation and makes it easier to focus when meditating.
- The left palm facing upwards is a very calming position. If you place both your hands upwards on your lap (try it now) you will notice that you feel more accepting and more relaxed.
- The fingers reaching down and touching the earth also help you to feel more grounded.
- For Buddhists, because this mudra is so symbolic of such an important time in the life of Buddha, the mudra makes you feel more connected to Buddha.
What do you think about this mudra, and what does it mean to you?
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