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mudra

Buddhas and Bodisattvas and other deities are represented in the Tibetan iconography mostly with different gestures or poses (mudras). Each of thesegestures has a special meaning.

Right-Hand Gestures:
"Gesture of Protection"
(abhaya) This gesture is also called "blessing-" or fearless mudra. Generally, this position is shown with the palms(s) facing outward and the fingers extended upwards. The arm is elevated and slightly bent. You can find abhayamudrâ sometimes also as a left-hand gesture. This mudra is characteristic of Buddha Shakyamuni and Dhyani Buddha Amogasiddhi.


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"Gesture of Argument"
(vitarka) This gesture is also called "discussion" mudra. In this gesture the tips of thumb and index finger touched forming a circle. All the other fingers are extended upwards. This is the mystic gesture of Taras and Bodhisattvas


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"Gesture of Witness"
(bhumisparsha) This gesture is also called "thouching the earth" mudra or "calling the earth to witness" mudra. The right arm is pendent over the right knee. The hand with the palm turned inward and all the fingers extended downward with the finger touching the lotus throne. The left hand lies on the lap with palm upward. This gesture symbolizes Shakyamunis victory over  Mara. The  Dhyani Buddha Akshobhya shows the same Mudra.


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"Gesture of  Charity"
(varada) This gesture is also called "conferring boon" or "grace"-mudra. The arm is extended all way down with palm facing outwards. You can find varadamudrâ sometimes also as a left-hand gesture. This is the mudra of Dhyani Buddha Ratnasamhava, Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara and (sometimes) standing Buddha Shakyamuni.


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"Jnana mudra"
The tips of the index finger and the thumb join, forming a circle, the other fingers are extended straight. This mudra is held against the chest, palm towards the chest. Inthis way, it differs from the vitarka mudra in which the palms face away from the body.


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"Kartari mudra"
This mudra is held with the hands at shoulder level. The thumb and the ring finger (third finger) touch the tips forming a circle. The index and middle finger extend straight resembling rabbits ears or the horns of  a deer. Frequently, symbols appear between these two fingers


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Both hands Gesture:

"Gesture of Meditation"
(dhyana) It is also called Samadhi or Yoga Mudra. Both hands are placed on the lap, right hand on left with fingers fully stretched and the palms facing upwards. This is the characteristic gesture of Buddha Shakyamuni, Dhyani Buddha Amitaba and the Medicine Buddhas.

source: http://www.thangka.de/Icono/Mudras/Mudras.htm

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