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Buddhist Symbols, Symbolism and Meanings
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Buddhist Symbols and symbolism are very different than what we in the western culture are familiar with. The most well known of are the eight auspicious symbols. They represent good fortune, and are representative of the eight gifts that the gods gave to Shakyamuni Buddha when he attained enlightenment.
The eight auspicious symbols are a parasol, two fish, the great treasure fish, a lotus flower, a conch shell, an endless knot, a banner representing victory, and the wheel of dharma. The concept of these eight symbols originated as gifts that were presented during the coronation of kings in India.
The first symbol is an umbrella or parasol. It is a symbol of the sky and of the world above. The umbrella (the divine forces above) cast a protective shade over the world below. It represents protection from suffering and desire through spiritual means.
The second of the Buddhist symbols are two golden fish. They are symbolism of happiness, fertility, and abundance. The origins of it can be traced back to a symbol of the Yamuna and Ganges rivers in India, the two main sacred water ways that are revered by the Indian people. They are representative of the sun and the moon. (The fish in symbolism can also be traced back to other cultures. Early Christianity adopted the image of a fish as an emblem for Jesus Christ, and ancient Egypt used similar fish imagery to represent the Nile river.
The third of the Buddhist symbols is known as the great treasure vase. The great treasure vase provided the Buddha with long life and an abundance of health. It is a common Indian water vessel, made of clay. A silk scarf from the gods wraps around it, along with a tree. The great treasure vase can never be emptied. Not matter how much is removed from it, more will return to it. It provided the Shakyamuni Buddha with long life, and health.
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