There are many different styles of Buddha images and statues. These different styles can be exhibited in the facial features, the body type, the hair and clothes. Different Buddha images also exhibit different poses both with the body and with the hands and arms. The poses using the hands and arms are called mudras and each has a different symbolic meaning related to the teachings of the Buddha.
The body poses of the Buddha are sitting western style in a chair, standing, reclining or sitting cross legged either in the half lotus or full lotus position.
There is supposedly up to forty different mudras but the ones most frequently seen in Buddha images and statues are:
The Bhumispara mudra is the commonly seen mundra in Thailand. It symbolizes victory over Mara and calling the earth to witness. The left hand is held facing upward on the lap in front of the belly while the right hand rest over the right knee with the fingers pointing downward.
The Dhyana mudra is also known as the meditation mudra. Both hands are facing upward one on top of the other in front of the lower belly. This Buddha is also sitting in the half lotus pose, only one foot can be seen facing upward.
The Vitarka mudra symbolizes the Buddha teaching his disciples. The right hand is raised in front of the chest and the palm faces outward. The index finger and the thumb are held together at the tips to form a circle.
The Abhaya mudra symbolizes the dispelling of fear. The gesture is made with the hand raised in front of the chest with the palm facing outward.
Symbolizes the wheel of law. Both hands are held in from of the chest and the fingers from the left hand rest inside the palm of the right.
The Varada mudra symbolizes charity and compassion. The gesture is made with the open palm facing outward and the fingers pointing down.