The Buddhas Hand Gesture Bhumisparsa Mudra relates to a specific event in the life of the Buddha, it depicts his victory over Mara and his demons. There are only a few hand gestures commonly found in Burmese Buddha statues and iconography, the most popular one being the Bhumisparsa mudra.
There are 24 asamyuta (one hand mudra’s) and 13 samyuta (mudra’s where the two hands are joined).
The Buddhas Hand Gesture Bhumisparsa Mudra shows the left hand resting on his lap, palm upwards with the right hand palm facing down extending over the right knee touching the pedestal or throne on which he is seated, this is commonly referred to as “touching earth”. This mudra illustrates the story of The Buddha calling the earth as his witness for testifying to his attainment of perfect knowledge and enlightenment.
Mara, the evil one or demon, whilst attacking the Buddha with his fourfold army in its endeavors to keep him from attaining enlightenment, challenged him by saying that there was nobody near at hand to witness his attainment of perfect knowledge or enlightenment.
The most well know story relating to this Mudra refers to The Buddha calling on the earth goddess Prithivi or Vasumdhari to come and bear witness to his perfect knowledge by touching the earth with his fingertips.
The Bhumisparsa Mudra indicates the moment when he ceased to be a Bodhisattva and became a Buddha.
Buddhist iconography and paintings show scenes whereupon Mara tries to seduce the Buddha through his three beautiful daughters named Desire, Pleasure and Passion. When this failed Mara himself also attacked The Buddha by shooting arrows at him. When this failed Mara’s army of followers represented as demons attacked The Buddha with whirlwind, floods and earthquakes.
Iconography depicting the scene of the seduction of the Buddha by Mara’s daughters is shown in Buddhist iconography, wall murals and on the front of the base on this Pagan Buddha statues.