I came across the following image on China's Taobao online shopping site and was hoping someone could explain the content. (the seller could not) The central figure is Shakyamuni Buddha, that much is clear. I am unfamiliar with the rest of the setting.

enter image description here

1 Answer 1


The things I'm sure about - it's tough to see everything with the picture size, but this is a depiction of the Buddha's moment of enlightenment. The fingers pointed down and the palm up are the "world witnessing" mudra - the Buddha's response to Mara the tempter when asked who would bear witness to his spiritual accomplishments. The naked women on the lower right are Mara's three daughters - craving, passion, and antagonism (Tanha, Raga, Arati) who came to tempt the Buddha. All the wacky looking beasts raging around the Buddha is Mara's army.

Less sure about - the "Buddha" up top is probably Maitreya - the Buddha who will supposedly follow the Shakyamuni. I'm thinking maybe the folks in the two upper corners are depictions of the six paramitas (giving, concentration, energy, virtue, patience, wisdom)? No idea about the stuff at the bottom. Maybe that's Dipankara (the Buddha before the current one) in the middle with the attendants?

PS - This should be a comment, but I don't have enough text space!

  • That's more than enough of an explanation. Thank you!
    – Drew
    Jul 11, 2015 at 13:26

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .