One day on a sunny afternoon, Buddha sat down under the tree and start to meditate. He became so immersed in his meditation that he didn’t notice the time. As time passed by, the sun ray was directed to his bald head.
At that very moment, snail was making its way along ground. Snail noticed that the Buddha was in deep meditation on such hot day. Even though Buddha had sat under the tree, the sun rays were directed towards his head. Thinking Buddha was soon going to be distracted and loose focus on his concentration due to sun rays, without a second thought, Snail made its way up to the Buddha’s head and sat there, with his lubricated body cooling the Buddha’s smooth and bare skin. Other snails also followed the first one, went up to the head and sat down there. Snails on the head looked like a neat cap of spiral shells.
Snail’s cool and damp bodies helped to maintain the Buddha’s meditation continue for hours. The snail became dehydrated and dry due to the heat rays. Later in the evening when Buddha stood from the meditation, he learned that he was wearing a cap of 108 snails, all of whom had given their lives to make a distraction-free environment for Buddha’s path to enlightenment.
Since snails had given their lives for the Buddha, they are now honoured as martyrs. Hence, they are displayed on Buddha statues to remind us of their sacrifice.