How Old Was Buddha When He Left The Palace The Symbolism Behind the Large Ears on Buddha Statues

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The Symbolism Behind the Large Ears on Buddha Statues

It is a common feature of Buddha statues around the world that they all have large elongated ears which is contrary to the western culture which considers small ears as a thing of beauty. In Eastern cultures, large ears are considered auspicious and represent both wisdom and compassion. As the Buddha himself is known in history and in practice as an exemplary compassionate being, it is only natural that his depictions in art and culture would represent the same.

With large ears he can hear all the voices of the world and the cries of the suffering masses and is in a position to respond by his teachings and guidance. As a Western observer we can see that these large ears are largely symbolic and show his openness of mind and his receptiveness to the world’s suffering.

So what matters to us is not how big our ears are, but how open our “mind ears” are.

Other theories have his distinctive ear lobes representing the Buddha’s past sacrifices when as a prince he wore large earrings and jewelry—which was the standard attire of a prince during that time. He would have stopped wearing them when he left the palace and renounced his former royal life but his ears were stretched and enlarged as a result. Whatever the reason and the tradition and nature of history have led to this particular representation, and among other attributes of the Buddha’s face, the serene and contemplative image of the Buddha image – one of the characteristics that can be instantly recognized around the world. Buddha – Wise and Compassionate.

Contemplation of these images reminds Buddhists to always seek compassion. Because it is not the size of one’s ears that matters, but how open one’s heart is to the suffering of other beings and how to respond with compassion as taught by Siddhartha Gautama – the first Buddha in history.

Hearing and meditating with the ears, one can perceive things as they are; They are constantly changing, often unsatisfactory, and not by themselves. By actively listening beyond the world and the myriad complexities of words and games of human endeavour, we can transform our relationship to the world of people as well as to nature. When we listen as the Buddha intended, we see beyond our own self-defined space of impermanence and become aware of the infinite wholeness of which we are and have always been and always will be. By opening our ears we can open our hearts and that is the path to true happiness

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