What is that ball, the Buddha and other sages are seen holding in their hands?

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I have a statue of a meditating Buddha with a ball between his hand and another one of Confucius standing with his hands joined, also with a ball in the middle of his hands.
What is that ball? What’s its significance?

3 Comments

  1. I believe it is a pearl, thought to confer wisdom, or to show the wisdom of the one who holds it. Statues and other representations of the Imperial dragon often show the dragon clutching one of the pearls of wisdom as well.

  2. The luminous ball or pearl often depicted under the dragon’s chin or seen to be spinning in the air, pursued by one or two dragons is thought to be a symbolic representation of the ‘sacred pearl’ of wisdom or yang energy. This pearl can be said to stand most often for ‘truth’ and ‘life’ – perhaps even everlasting life which is made available to those who perceive the truth and attain enlightenment.
    The dragon’s pearl can also be thought of as a symbol for universal Qi the progenitor of all energy and creation. The dragons seem to be depicted in attitudes of pursuit. He is seen to be reaching out eagerly to clutch at the elusive object, mouth open in anticipation and eyes bulging with anticipation of achieving the prize afforded by clutching the pearl. In connection with the dragon the pearl has been called the image of thunder, of the moon, of the sun, of the egg emblem of the dual influences of nature, and the ‘pearl of potentiality’. The pearl is most often depicted as a spiral or a globe.

  3. Although it’s difficult to be certain without seeing an image of your statue, it’s likely that your Buddha is Bhaiá¹£ajyaguru, or Medicine Buddha. This is the Buddha that represents the healing aspect of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. Medicine Buddha holds a “ball” that is actually a jar of medicine. In some traditions, the medicine is a kind of nectar, in others in is a plum with healing properties.
    Most images of Confucius show him with his hands clasped in a calm manner. I’m not aware of his association with any ball between the hands. Sorry I can’t be more helpful.
    The dragon mentioned by other answerers chases the Yo-I-Ju, or Pearl of Wisdom. The dragon represents the way-seeking mind. If your statue of Confucius has a ball, perhaps it is this pearl.

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