Rethinking my over use of Buddhist statues

Please note I said OVER USE not use
Can someone point me to the exact suttas Buddha discusses not having images of himself. I’m not in any way saying it’s wrong to have them. I just feel I have over used them. I have them at work at home and iPhone wallpaper. Want to learn more about what the Pali canon says about this.

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There is almost nothing at the sutta.
There is a reference to worshipping Bodhi Tree in Jataka prose.

But Anathapindika got to hear of it; and on the return of the Tathagata visited Elder Ananda and said to him,—“This monastery, Sir, is left unprovided while the Tathagata goes on pilgrimage, and there is no place for the people to do reverence by offering fragrant wreaths and garlands. Will you be so kind, Sir, as to tell the Tathagata of this matter, and learn from him whether or no it is possible to find a place for this purpose.” The other, nothing loth, did so, asking, “How many shrines are there?”—“Three, Ananda.”—“Which are they?”—“Shrines for a relic of the body, a relic of use or wear, a relic of memorial “—“Can a shrine be made, Sir, during your life?”—“No, Ananda, not a body-shrine; that kind is made when a Buddha enters Nirvana. A shrine of memorial is improper because the connection depends on the imagination only. But the great bo-tree used by the Buddhas is fit for a shrine, be they alive or be they dead.”

This usually used as justification. Since Buddha has died, shrine of memorial can be made.
Statue is a memorial relic

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Bhante Sujato’s post here (along with the rest of the thread) might be of use.


I heard a monk describe the typical Buddha statue as a teaching tool, the eyes shut to the world, the mouth closed (right speech) the hand held withholding etc. so there’s that to consider as well

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True. In fact, statues—and sacred art in general, whether they depict an individual or not—have been used for centuries as vehicles for teaching sublime truths. They help evoke ideals in the minds of those who look at them. They also serve as expressions of devotion and affection towards the individual or ideal represented.

I was an Eastern Orthodox Christian for years and that is kind of like the use of holy icons but In turn we also taught they were windows into heaven, so there that aspect. Which I would call just a metaphysical assumption.


Yes. If I am not mistaken, that is the formulation given by St John Damascene during the Byzantine Iconoclasm controversy. From my personal point of view, the symbols, statues, and art related to the Buddha serve as reminders, and they work way more effectively… For example, seeing the Dhammacakka makes me think of the sutta, but also of the Noble Eightfold Path in a way that no text does.

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Further discussion here should any still be interested in this topic: