Buddhism has always paved the path for its followers to achieve Nirvana – which is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. Nirvana means achieving a transcendent state where there is nether suffering, desire or any sense of self. This state, according to many religions including Buddhism, is the only way to achieve the highest state of perfect peace and happiness.
Buddhist symbolism has significantly made its way into people’s lives to reflect the elements of dharma by using Buddhist art. The most popular of these symbols is the group of eight or “Ashtamangala”, which translates from Sanskrit to eight auspicious elements, related to the physical form of Lord Buddha. The Ashtamangala has found adequate expression in Buddhist art, and many people looking for Buddhist symbols have found restorative and divinity by surrounding themselves with it. The rich spiritual symbolism it carries has been prominent amongst all the aesthetic traditions beautifying the Buddhist art.
The eight auspicious elements associated with the physical form of Buddha are as follows:
1. A Conch Shell
Since the conch shells used in warfare in Indian epics, this auspicious element has graced its aesthetic value by surviving as the tool to call assemblies in the contemporary world. A conch shell symbolises the beams of Buddha’s teaching, which spread in all directions. Conch shells are classified on the basis of its spirals; shells which are spiral in the clockwise direction to right are considered sacred.
2. The Lotus
It considers the blossoming of the lotus and a comparison is drawn with the soul: the growth pattern of the soul from a mud of materialism, passing through the waters of experience and finally seeing the enlightenment of the sunlight, which is reflected in the symbol. Moreover, the Lotus symbol comes in different colours—White, Red, Blue, and Pink—each signifying a unique characteristic, one can choose the Buddhist symbol suitable for them accordingly.
3. A Wheel
The three parts of the wheel—the hub, rim, and spokes represent unique symbolism. The hub stands for moral discipline to uphold meditation over materialism, like the supporting axis of the world. The spokes denote application of wisdom and execution of ideas, which end suffering. The rim holds the entire meditation process, denoting concentration.
4. The Parasol
The parasol or the umbrella denotes protection from harmful forces and royalty. It projects that the person holding the umbrella is at the centre of the universe and also its spiritual support. When parasols are symbolised as domes, they also represent wisdom and compassion.
5. The Endless Knot
The Endless Knot symbolises spirally bound opposing forces in a world of manifestation, leading to their union. This union explains that there is harmony in the universe. The infinity knots also symbolise the wisdom of Buddha.
6. The Golden Fishes
The Golden Fishes symbolise joy as they experience complete freedom in water. They also signify fertility and abundance following traits of rapid multiplication.
7. The Victory Banner
The victory banner denotes the triumph of enlightenment over ignorance, which is the key to achieve nirvana. It is crucial to know the importance of Buddhist symbols while you brace one.
8. The Treasure Vase
The eight element for people looking for Buddhist symbols is the Treasure Vase, which means that the vessel is perpetually full with spiritual abundance of Buddha, which will never diminish. This vase of inexhaustible treasures is believed to attract wealth and harmony.
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