t h e   U s h i n i s h a

When we look at different Buddha statues there is one feature common to all - the bump on the top of the head.
This bump is called the 'Ushinisha'.
There are several reasons why this might be.

As we discussed earlier, Gotama was a Prince, and the first statues were based on the regal image with a topknot. This is the 32nd mark (page 28); which says his head is shaped like a turban (rather than having a turban on his head).

Another idea is that the bump was an artists idea of the stubble left after he cut off his hair. At the time of the great renunciation, according to one legend, having pulled his hair together on the top of his head, he cut it of and it went into fine curls and never needed cutting again. The 14th mark has the hair curling to the right which explains the small, spiralling bobbles.

Another possible reason for the bump is that a bulge on the top of the skull is a sign of having lots of brains, a sign of super-intelligence.

Sometimes the bump is more like a flame. This is a symbol of energy - the light of supreme knowledge - releasing from the crown chakra (see the drawing on page 26). It has a similar meaning as the halo except the flame is more a symbol of enlightenment than just holiness.


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