Do Buddha statues exist that portray Buddha as a person of white or European likeness? Where would I find them?

(Not sure what other than "white" or "European" to call it; you are free to correct me.)

If not, why not?

(I would like to explain in a few words why I am asking that question, but find it difficult to pin down the right words. It has something to do with the feeling of familiarity or likeness, and just plain fun of entertaining the idea that the Buddha can look like all the other people that are typically around me all day long. Plus, whatever drives people to make cover versions of songs, just seen as a "cover version" of the typical Buddha statue.)

EDIT: Replaced the word "caucasian" with "white", because this should be less offensive.

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    Not sure what other than "caucasian" or "European" to call it; you are free to correct me How about "white" or "white-skinned"? The term "Caucasian" comes from outdated racist terminology, I personally find it offensive.
    – michau
    Sep 28, 2016 at 12:53
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    There are no reasons to be fired up about race. He presented a legitimate question and his tone of writing was clearly not intended to be offensive. In Christianity, you will find an asian Jesus, black Jesus, white Jesus, middle eastern Jesus, hispanic Jesus, etc... which is used to help different races relate with Christ. Madoc is merely asking to find the same association (in Buddhist terms) by finding a white Buddha. I see no problems with that. Sep 28, 2016 at 17:15
  • @michau I am sorry to have offended you. My intention was to use the term in the same way that it is described in Wikipedia. As I have no disagreement with the term "white" in this context, I shall replace the term.
    – Madoc
    Sep 28, 2016 at 22:33

4 Answers 4


My impression is the original Buddha statues were of Greek origin. Try google 'Greco-Buddhist art'.

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The original Indian Buddhist art (below) did not depict a 'personal form' but usually showed a wheel, tree, footprint or empty space as a symbol of the Buddha. This is probably because the Buddha famously said:

"Enough, Vakkali! What is there to see in this vile body? He who sees Dhamma, Vakkali, sees me; he who sees me sees Dhamma. Truly seeing Dhamma, one sees me; seeing me one sees Dhamma."

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    It seems that there are so many interesting things to know about Buddhism that even such a trivial question such as mine can lead to interesting observations. Thank you!
    – Madoc
    Sep 28, 2016 at 22:40
  • I have add to the answer. Sep 28, 2016 at 23:16

Just to add to the above, it is unknown what the historical Buddha looked like, and it is a matter of debate if he was, indeed, one particular person. There are conjectures based on the Suttas and so on, but none of those are essentially good enough to make a strong conclusion on the subject.

So the ordinary response has been to make him look like whatever you like, and which helps you in your practice. The Buddha could look occidental, african or aryan and as long as the image was useful, it would be fine.

In the end, its about the practice and the result. The Buddha would probably be the first to say appearances are unimportant, and in this sense you don't get points for "getting it right".


I believe Sakaya (Buddha's clan) were Aryan (not the same context as Nazi would use it). And per sutta where Buddha explained his physical features, he said his eyes were complete green (this is up for academic debate because "complete green" in Pali could mean pitch black. Wiki says they were deep blue.
Here is modern day real Aryan race

  • While this is not a strict answer to the question per se, this actually blew my mind a little! I never knew this about the historic Buddha. Your answer is making my question a little less trivial. Thanks for pointing it out!
    – Madoc
    Sep 28, 2016 at 22:38

You're welcome. He also said his skin was like gold. This too is up for interpretation. But with support from other sutta, i believe the idea of beatiful skin tone at the time was not too white nor too dark. My take is that Buddha had tan skin. But for sure he shaved his head. In many sutta, it was one of the insults to Buddha by those of others beliefs. Said to Buddha as he was walking "stop right there you bald headed monk, stop right there you thug!"

Ah. I meant to put this on a comment.

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