Buddhist symbols of religion

The Golden FishIt is believed that of all the countries that Buddhism spread to, Tibet has by far, had the maximum influence on this religion. The Tibetan way of Buddhism holds the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’ or the Ashtamangala as the centre of their religious beliefs. If one looks closely, one can see the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’ printed on Tibetan prayer flags and on Buddhist monasteries. This symbol encompasses another symbol that holds a lot of importance in the Tibetan form of Buddhism. It is known as the ‘Wheel of Life’. The ‘Wheel of Life’ symbolizes the universe to the Tibetan Buddhists.

Eight Auspicious Symbols

The ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’ of Buddhism are one of the most frequently witnessed symbols of this religion. According to Buddhist beliefs, each of the eight symbols incorporated in the ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’ have a special significance and meaning. Each of them represents a specific teaching of Lord Buddha. When all these eight symbols come together, they form a powerful union. The Ashtamangala not only has a strong Tibetan influence as mentioned in this article earlier, but also shares an Indian connection, especially in terms of its iconography.The Lotus The ‘Eight Auspicious Symbols’ consist of the following:

  1. Parasol or chattri
  2. Golden fish or suvarnamatsya
  3. Treasure Vase or kalasha
  4. Lotus or padma
  5. Conch shell or sankha
  6. Endless knot or shrivasta
  7. Victory banner or dhvaja
  8. Dharma Wheel or dharmachakra

The Parasol

The parasol or the chattri in Buddhism stands for ‘protection’ as well as ‘royalty’. It symbolizes the protection of the followers of this faith against the ‘heat of defilement’. The parasol signifies protection from earthly emotions such as suffering and desire. The Buddhists believe that just like the ‘axis mundi’ holds the parasol in its place, the central axis upholds this world. The parasol also signifies the importance of the person underneath it. According to Buddhist beliefs, the person or symbol underneath the parasol is the center of the universe. Once can come across several pictorial depictions of Lord Buddha, where he has a parasol over his head.

The Golden Fish

The next important symbol under the Ashtamangala is the Golden Fish. This symbol consists of two fish, standing in a vertical position with their heads turned inwards, towards each other. It is believed that the symbol of the two golden fish actually belongs to the pre-Buddhist era, where the two fish represented the holy Indian rivers of Ganga and Yamuna respectively.

These rivers in turn stand for the breathing pattern of the human body. In Buddhism however, the symbol of golden fish represents happiness. This is because the fish have complete independence when they are in water. Just as the fish procreate at a rapid rate, the symbol of golden fish also signifies fertility.

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Popular Q&A

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Why the Taliban have to destroy the Buddhists religion symbols?

The Talibans destoyed the big statues of the buddhists as they conqer the afganistan in about 2000

They are religious fanatics with no tolerance for other religions.

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