The 7th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Abhaya Mudrā or Abhayaṃdada Mudrā
shīwúwèi yìn 施无畏印 施無畏印
This gesture vanquishes both fear and hostility.
It is said that once a vicious demon named Devadatta sent a drunken elephant to trample the Buddha.
The Buddha raised his hand gently, and immediately the elephant was subdued.
(This is probably a mythologized variant of the story told in chapter 25 of the on-line biography of the Buddha.
The mudrā has therefore come to represent protection and peace and the dissipation of all fear in the believer.
(Some say it is a pre-Buddhist sign used in greeting another person and signaling one’s good intentions.)
This mudrā is often combined with the Wish-Granting Gesture (varada mudrā)