8 Auspicious Symbols & Its Significance

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It won’t take longer than a five minute stroll through any monastery, street, or bridge in Bhutan to find artistic representations of the 8 auspicious symbols of Buddhism. But these symbols aren’t present just for aesthetics. They represent the offerings received by Buddha from the gods after his enlightenment.

Buddhism started as early as 6th BCE, when Siddhartha Gautama began preaching his teachings of suffering, enlightenment and rebirth in India. Siddhartha himself was antagonistic to accept images of himself, and used many diverse symbols to illustrate his teachings. There are eight different auspicious symbols of Buddhism, and many say that these signify the gifts that God made to the Buddha when he achieved nirvana.

By searching for deeper meaning in these symbols, we can become better people, and perhaps just as importantly, better whitewater enthusiasts.

 

The Most Precious Parasol

(Skt. sitātapatra; Wyl. gdugs)

Protects from suffering, destructive emotions, illness, harm and obstacles.

  

The Auspicious Golden Fishes

(Skt. kanakamatsya; Wyl. gser nya)

They stand for fearlessness, freedom and liberation, as well as happiness, fertility and abundance.

 

The Wish-fulfilling Vase of Treasure

(Skt. nidhighaa; Wyl. bum pa)

An inexhaustible source of long life, wealth, and prosperity, which fulfils all one’s spiritual and material wishes.

 

The Exquisite Lotus Blossom

(Skt. padmakuñjara; Wyl. pad ma))

Stands for purity of mind and heart, and transformation, as well as compassion, and all perfect qualities.

 

The Conch Shell of Far Renown

(Skt. śakhavarta; Wyl. dung dkar g.yas 'khyil)

Symbolizes the far-reaching melodious sound of the spiritual teachings.

 

The Glorious Endless Knot

(Skt. śrīvatsya; Wyl. dpal be'u)
The sign of interdependence, of how everything in the

universe is interconnected.

 

The Ever-Flying Banner of Victory

(Skt. kundadhvaja; Wyl. rgyal mtshan)

Means victory over all disagreement, disharmony or obstacles, and the attainment of happiness, both temporary and ultimate.

 

The All-powerful Wheel

(Skt. suvaracakra; Wyl. chos kyi 'khor lo)

Symbolizes the teaching of Buddha, and is the source of spiritual values, wealth, love and liberation.

Photos by Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia


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