One of the best methods to increase our faith in the Buddhas and to receive their blessings is to gaze at an image of a Buddha again and again, regarding it as an actual Buddha who is supremely kind to all living beings. When we see a Buddha statue, for example, instead of thinking of it as an object made of metal or stone, or focusing on its artistic faults or merits, we should feel that we are in the presence of a real living Buddha and develop deep faith. By viewing images of Buddhas in this way, it is as if we are opening a window in our mind through which the blessings of the holy beings can enter. This special way of viewing Buddha images is based on wisdom, not ignorance, and serves to increase our faith and help us to receive blessings. The representations of Buddha's body, speech, and mind are so blessed that, even if we have no faith, just seeing them blesses our mind.
Buddha was born around 563 B.C.E. in the town of Kapilavastu, India (now located in Nepal.) Siddhartha's parents were King Shuddhodana and Queen Maya, who ruled the Sakyas. His history is a miraculous one. One night, Queen Maya dreamed that an elephant with six tusks, carrying a lotus flower in its trunk, touched her right side. At that moment her son was conceived. Brahmins (learned men) came and interpreted the dream. The child would be either the greatest king in the world or the greatest ascetic (a holy man who practices self-denial.) The future child would be named Siddhartha, which means "he whose aim is accomplished."