Today, at the Rubin Museum, for my Himalayan art class, I learned how to instantly recognize an image of the Buddha. That’s The Buddha, not the 16 buddhas or the bodhisattvas.
There’s the hand-touching-the-earth gesture, in which Buddha calls the earth to witness his enlightenment. Only The Buddha makes this specific hand gesture.
Then there are his very long earlobes, the result of wearing heavy earrings while he was an earthly prince. The earlobes remind us of what the Buddha renounced.
But my favorite is the ushnisha, the bump on top of his head. The ushnisha results from so much knowledge and wisdom that his head needs to expand to accommodate it all.
Now I can feel the top of my head (this ain’t your mother’s phrenology), and alas, no bump where the Buddha has his. How about you?