Mudra Magic: Bhumisparsha, The Earth Touching Gesture

Bhumisparsha, The Earth Touching Gesture

Name: Bhumisparsha Mudra

Meaning: In Buddhism, Bhumisparsha means "touching the earth," and it is also known as the "earth witness" mudra.

This mudra symbolizes the Buddha's enlightenment under the bodhi tree, when he called upon the earth goddess, Sthavara, to bear witness to his attainment of enlightenment. Just before he reached enlightenment, it is believed that the demon Mara tried to frighten him with armies of monsters and demons who also tried to tempt him out of meditation. After the earth roared, Buddha was able to defeat the demon. 

In addition, according to Burmese Art, this mudra symbolizes the union of skillful means or Upaya which is well represented by the right hand touching the earth, and wisdom or Prajna, which is represented by the left hand with its palm facing upward on the lap in the meditation position. As the story tells about the earth being the witness of the Buddha's enlightenment, the Bhumisparshamudra depicts the Buddha's firm belief and effort while pursuing the path of enlightenment.  

How to Perform the Mudra: Place the right hand upon the right knee in earth-pressing mudra, and place the left hand with the palm facing up by your belly.

Effect: In Buddhism, it is believed that the mudra brings the transformation of rage and anger to wisdom. 

Photo: Parker Peterson