Shakyamuni Buddha (or Prince Siddhartha Gautama) is a famous Buddhist founder. The depictions of this iconic figure have changed over the years. Although early representations of the Buddha did not depict a physical Buddha in its original form, this has changed over time. The following are some of the most common features:
- Ears with long, rounded ears
- The position of the feet
- Serene / neutral facial expression
- Gestures of hands
Buddhism was established in the 6-th century BC when Siddhartha Gautama began preaching about topics like pain and suffering, enlightenment, and Rebirth. His teachings were illustrated and illustrated with many images.
But it wasn’t until three centuries later that Buddhist-inspired art began to appear in India. Several Buddhist symbols are now recognized around the globe.
Each symbol is unique and has its own meaning. While some symbols, such as the lotus flower or the dharma wheel with three jewels, are older than others, others are more recent.
As Buddhism spread more widely in Asia, so did the popularity of Buddhist symbols. It is safe for us to say that Buddhism has made its mark today, not just in Asia but all over the globe.
Here is our list with the most significant symbols of Buddhism.
Eight Auspicious Symbols Of Buddhism
The Eight Auspicious Symbols in Buddhism are a collection of eight objects that symbolize enlightenment. They also serve as teaching tools. These symbols were first used in India during the coronation ceremony of kings. The eight symbols of Buddhist tradition are a conch shell and a conch shell. A treasure vase, victory banner, a dharma wheel, dharma jewels, a pair of golden fish, an endless knot, and the lotus flower. These symbols are easily found and used throughout religion. These symbols can be found on metalwork, ceramics, carpets, and furniture.
These eight auspicious symbols are common in Tibetan religious art. These symbols are especially prevalent in sand mandalas, and they are believed to represent the transient universe. Each symbol is unique and has its own meaning. While some symbols, such as the lotus flower or the dharma wheel, are older than others, others are more recent.
1. Parasol Buddhist Symbol
It is an Indian symbol of protection and royalty, the parasol is its origin. Traditional wisdom dictated that the number of parasols an individual owned was a sign of their social status. Royalty usually had around 13 parasols. This tradition was later adapted to Buddhism and the early depictions on the Buddha. His thirteen parasols were symbolic of his sovereignty as the Buddha.
2. Conch Shell
Conch shells were originally an Indian attribute that represented heroes and gods. Shells symbolized victories in battle. The shell is depicted in the Buddhist tradition as being white and turning to the right. It is a symbol of Buddhism that represents the Buddha’s teachings as well as the fearlessness of sharing such ideas with others.
This shell like one of the Buddhist symbols symbolizes Buddhism’s fearlessness in teaching the truth and working for others. It symbolizes spreading the beliefs and teachings of Buddha, which would be spread as the sound of the horn through it. This shell also symbolizes honest speech.
According to Indian legends, every hero of that time wore a white conch shell. Each shell had its own name and power. These shells have been used since ancient times as horns.
3. Treasure Vase
The treasure vase in Buddhist style is inspired by traditional Indian clay waterpots. It is used primarily as a symbol for certain wealthy deities but also symbolizes the infinite quality of the Buddha’s teachings. The typical Tibetan vase has lotus petals and rich gold color. You will often find precious gemstones on the vase and a sacred silk scarf wrapped around its neck.
Buddhists believed that the vase could bring happiness and wealth. They also believed that it could bring health and abundance.
This vase is symbolic of wealth and abundance. It’s also symbolizes a beautiful Buddhist symbolism: no matter how much you give to others compassion or any other, Buddha’s teachings are abundant and will fill your heart and make you feel whole.
4. Victory Banner
The Indian Warfare army developed the victory banner as a standard for military operations. The deity the banner was intended to represent and lead would dictate how it is decorated.
The victory banner is also symbolic of Buddha’s triumph over illusions like greed, fear, and anger. It was originally a sign used in Indian warfare and comes to Buddhism culture. It displayed the logos for each tribe or clan.
The Dhvaja (Sanskrit; Tibetan: རྒྱལ་མཚན་, THL: gyeltsen), “banner, flag”, was an ancient Indian military standard. The symbol is a representation of the victory of the Buddha over the four maras or hindrances on the path to enlightenment. These hindrances include pride, desire, and disturbing emotions.
The Tibetan tradition lists eleven forms of the victory banner to symbolize eleven methods of overcoming defilement. You can see many variations of the dhvaja’s design on Tibetan monasteries’ roofs to signify the Buddha’s victory over the four maras. Banners are often placed at the corners of temple and monastery roofs. Many times, the cylindrical banners that are placed on monastic roofs are made from beaten copper.
5. Dharma Wheel
The Dharma Wheel was originally an Indian symbol of sovereignty, power, protection. The hub, spokes, and rim are the three main parts of the wheel. They represent wisdom, concentration, ethics, and wisdom. Buddha the dharma eight-spoked wheel represents the aspects of the Noble Eightfold Path. These practices are said to help one escape the cycle of rebirth. The wheel was used as a symbol for the Buddha in some early Buddhist sites.
It usually has eight spokes that represent Buddha’s Eightfold Path and dharma three swirls in the middle which symbolize the dharma three jewels within Buddhism. These are the Buddha, the teacher, the teaching, and the sangha, which is the community. There are dharma wheels not only with eight spokes.
The oldest representations of Buddha were found on pillars built in India by Emperor Ashoka (268 – 232 century BCE). He was a passionate Buddhist and built these pillars in order to spread the teachings of Buddha within his country.
6. Golden Fish
The two fish made of gold were originally meant to represent the two great rivers in India, the Ganges (and the Yamuna). They were used to represent happiness and spontaneity in Buddhism. The freedom symbolized by the fish is freedom from the cycle and rebirth.
This Buddhist symbol was created before Buddhism. It was originally depicted as two holy rivers of India, the Ganga, and the Yamuna. This allowed life to flourish on its shores.
Buddhists consider fish to have a high symbolic value. Because they are completely free in the waters, they can represent happiness and freedom. They are also a symbol of fertility and abundance as they reproduce quickly.
In Buddhism, they are also a symbol of living in fearlessness and not worrying about sinking into the ocean of misery or suffering.
7. Endless Knot
An image that is common in many cultures and religions is the endless knot. The endless knot is a symbol in Buddhism of the Buddha’s infinite wisdom and compassion, as well as eternal harmony. It is a symbol of the endless cycle that is rebirth when applied to Buddha’s teachings.
It has many symbolic meanings and is widely used to represent many things. It symbolizes three things: birth, death, and rebirth.
It also symbolizes interconnectedness. This symbol shows that everything is connected and nothing can be separated. This symbol was thought to be a relic of an Indian symbol: the two entwined serpents.
8. Lotus Flower
The lotus flower, a common plant in South and Southeast Asia, is well-known for its ability not to be stained by murky water. Its ability to remain pure even in the presence of dirt and filth made it a symbol of Buddhism for purity and renunciation. The lotus is also a symbol for birth and the divine origins of deities when it’s used in art. The lotus shape is used in architecture to signify the purity and presence of Buddha. It is also associated with Padmasambhava who is reputed to have introduced Buddhism into Tibet.
It can still grow and blossom into beautiful flowers, no matter what the water is like. It is also known to represent the purity and human condition that awakens from the suffering of Samsara. The whole flower can be interpreted as representing mind, body, and speech.
Old stories also claim that lotuses grew behind Buddha’s birth. This belief is likely why the Buddha has been depicted many times sitting on top of huge Lotus flowers.
The lotus blossoms abundantly in all aspects of Buddhist art and literature. The Lotus Sutra is one of the most significant representations of lotus flowers in literature.
These 8 symbols may surprise you. These 8 symbols are considered “auspicious” as they represent success. These 8 symbols can be seen on many holy altars, as well as murals, that are in front of Buddha. There are also some three-dimensional, carved shapes.
These 8 symbols are often the focus of meditation and contemplation in Buddhist traditions. These symbols may be confusing to Westerners. These symbols are important for believers because they can help with future success, spiritual victories, or favorable events in the future. These symbols can help you have a better future and to develop your spirituality. These are the meanings of 8 symbols from Tibetan Buddhism.
Tibetan Prayer Flags
Prayer flags in Tibet are placed at various locations and spread prayer when the wind blows through them. To prevent damage, flags should be hung on sunny and windy days. Prayer flags are available in five colors, with the colors changing as you go. In that order, the colors are: blue, white red, green, and yellow. Blues are said to represent sky and space. White is for air and wind, red is for fire, green represents water, and yellow for the earth. The flag’s writing usually contains mantras that are dedicated to different gods. The flag holder can also pray for good fortune by using the mantras.
Other Buddhist Symbols
In addition to the eight auspicious symbols, Buddhist symbols are also represented by a number of others. They appeared at one time or another, and each of the symbols carries a special meaning for believers.
For example, let’s talk about such symbols as the lion. It’s has been a symbol for royalty, strength, and bravery for thousands of years. The lion is a symbol of royalty and strength, as well his courage in challenging injustices and alleviating suffering. His teachings are powerfully acknowledged by him being called “Lion of Shakyas”. The “Lion’s Roar” is the Buddha’s voice, roaring out the Dharma to all. The symbol meaning of the lion’s sound reminds us that we must strive with the courage of the lion king to overcome all obstacles and create harmony and happiness in our lives as well as in society.
They are guardians and can be found in pairs at the entrance to shrines, temples, or monasteries. They represent the Bodhisattvas, also known as “Buddha’s lions”, and are found supporting Buddhas and Bodhisattvas on the throne and acting as their mounts. Manjusri is the Bodhisattva with great wisdom who mounts a Lion. This symbolism can be found in The Flower Adornment Sutra.
1. The Bodhi Tree
Bodhi tree, also known as the “Tree of Awakening”, is one of the sacred symbols of Buddhism. Bodhi tree like one of the Buddhist symbols literally means ‘enlightenment. It is the large fig tree that Buddha received Nirvana or spiritual awakening.
Bodhi trees are therefore symbolic of Buddha’s awakening. Bodh Gaya, India is the original location of the Bodhi tree. However, many Buddhist temples in Asia have Bodhi Trees, which are believed to be the offspring of that original tree.
2. The Buddha’s Eyes
The eyes of the Buddha are a popular symbol of Buddhism. They are composed of a pair, a dot between them, and a curly form. This Buddhist symbolism is meant to show that the Lord is always present and is not restricted.
You will see them on each side of a Buddhist shrine. The potential to see reality and the outside world through the two eyes, while the dot or third eye symbolizes Buddha’s awakening.
The curly line represents unity and the interconnectedness of all things and highlights the fact that Buddha’s teachings are the only way to enlightenment.
3. The Bell
The bell is a popular Buddhist symbols and Christianity. It has a different meaning in Buddhism. The sound of the bell symbolizes Buddha’s voice and his teachings. It also represents wisdom as well as empathy.
It is used to contact higher beings to protect oneself from evil spirits. Many temples have bells at their entrances that one must ring to enter.
Bells have been used for a long time to gather monks for meditation practice. Its gentle sound induces a sense of calm, which is why it has been associated with meditation.
The “wish-fulfilling Pearl” is also known as pearl (Sanskrit: Chintamani). It is believed to grant wishes and pacify your desires. It is, however, a symbol of spiritual wealth in Buddhism. Its luminosity makes it easy to see all the teachings and treasures of Buddha. It could represent wisdom and compassion, which are the most desirable qualities of all. It can also be a symbol of the wish-fulfilling pearl in our minds that we can recover by practicing meditation and the Dharma.
The pearl is often represented in Buddhist art as a round ball with a pointed tip or as a trio of jewels, such as the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, or the monastic community. It may be surrounded by flames or on a cloud, or it can appear on a symbol or staff used in rituals. It often depicts a Buddha, Bodhisattva, or deity. As shown in the Earth Treasury Sutra, Bodhisattva Kshitigatbha (Earth Treasury) is often seen holding a six-ringed staff and one jewel in his left.
Vajra, a type of battle club, is used to symbolize both the properties of a vajra (indestructibility), and a thunderbolt (“irresistible force”) It is made of bronze or brass and has four prongs at either end to form a lotus-bud shape. These can be used as a symbol for peace or sharp points that can turn into deadly weapons. Both Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism use the vajra. It is almost always used in Tibetan Buddhism with a bell as a companion during rituals.
Vajra is a Buddhist term that means “durable, luminous, and capable of cutting”. Vajra, like the diamond, is able to destroy all devious influences and is also indestructible. See The Vajra Sutra. Its light, like the thunderbolt, breaks down the darkness. It is like sunyata, the nature of reality. It cuts away misguided views and afflictions.
One of the most ancient symbols on Earth is the ancient swastika. It is a symbol for peace, good fortune, and positivity. It is also used for Vedic mathematics. It is translated from Sanskrit as “to be good” or “being with the higher self.”
The swastika is a symbol of Buddhism and the heart of Buddha. It contains the whole mind of the Buddha. It can be found imprinted on Buddha images’ feet, hands, chests and palms. The number ten thousand (wan) in China is represented by the swastika, which means infinity and auspiciousness.
This is the same swastika the Nazis made a symbol for discrimination and slaughter by rotating it counterclockwise. The symbol’s original meaning of auspiciousness has been rediscovered with the introduction of Buddhism to the West.