Reclining Buddha

A reclining Buddha is an image that represents Buddha lying down and is a major iconographic theme in Buddhist art. It represents the historical Buddha during his last illness, about to enter the parinirvana.[1] He is lying on his right side, his head resting on a cushion or relying on his right elbow, supporting his head with his hand. After the Buddha's death, his followers decide to build a statue of him lying down. They first built the reclining Buddha inside the Wat Pho Temple then, decades later, they started making the sculpture everywhere in South East Asia.

Buddha in parinirvana, Gandhara art, 2nd or 3rd century
Reclining Buddha of Galvihara at Polonnaruwa (Sri Lanka, 12th century)

This pattern seems to have emerged at the same time as other representations of the Buddha in the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara.

In Thai artEdit

For Thai Buddha attitudes (Thai: ปางพระพุทธรูป; parang Phra phut ta roupe), the reclining Buddha (Thai: ปางไสยาสน์; paang sai yat) can refer to three different episodes, whilst the attribute of each remains unclear.

  • Nirvana attitude (ปางปรินิพพาน; paang pari nipphan)
  • Teaching the Rahu Asurin attitude (ปางโปรดอสุรินทราหู; paang proad asurin tra rahu)
  • Sleeping attitude (ปางทรงพระสุบิน; paang song phra subin)

Notable examplesEdit

The reclining Buddha of Zhangye
The reclining Buddha of the Hpo win caves
Golden gilded reclining Buddha at Sambok Mountain in Kratié, Cambodia[2]
Butunehanzu (仏涅槃図) at Kongōbu-ji (Heian period)





  • Bhamala Buddha Parinirvana which is 1,800 years old, oldest in the world.[4]





Sri Lanka:



United States

Reclining Buddha at Linh Son Temple -- Santa Fe, Texas

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The Discourse on The Great Parinirvana" (PDF). p. 140. Retrieved 2018-12-07.
  2. ^ "Guide to the Wild East of Cambodia – what to do and where to go in the Green Triangle".
  3. ^ a b c d e f Ma Thanegi (February 2014). "Chaukhtutgyi Reclining Buddha Image" (PDF). My Magical Myanmar. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  4. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)

External linksEdit

  Media related to Reclining Buddha statues at Wikimedia Commons