The posture refers to an important event in the life of the Buddha. The Buddha-to-be was meditating under a Bodhi tree. Just before reaching enlightenment Mara the demon arrived accompanied by his armies and his three beautiful daughters. Mara’s armies attacked the Buddha while his attractive young daughters tried to distract and seduce the Buddha in order to stop him from meditating and reaching enlightenment.
The Buddha-to-be touched the Earth with his right hand, calling upon Mother Earth to be his witness. The earth Goddess Phra Mae Thorani appeared in the shape of a young, beautiful woman. By wringing the waters out of her long hair she drowned the armies of Mara, allowing the Buddha to continue meditating and reaching enlightenment. The story is seen depicted in murals in a great number of temples across Thailand.
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