What Do the 8 Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism Mean?

Auspicious Buddhist Symbols

The Ashtamangala is a collection of eight ancient and sacred symbols used in the spiritual traditions of Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. Originally, the eight auspicious symbols were used in India at ceremonies. In Buddhism, it is told that the eight symbols were sacred offerings given by the gods to the Buddha after he attained enlightenment. These symbols are used as teaching tools to symbolize the qualities of an enlightened mind. They are also symbols of auspiciousness and good fortune. You may find some or all of the Ashtamangala symbols used in our products, especially on our japa mala bags.

The eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism:

  1. The Endless Knot. The origin of this auspicious symbol is believed to be the icon of snakes, which is a symbol of duality. Additionally, the symbol is linked to Vishnu, and it shows his devotion to consort Lakshmi, who is the goddess of wealth as well as good fortune. It appears on clay tablets from the Indus Valley Civilization as well as on a historic era inscription. The Endless Knot represents endless wisdom and compassion of Buddha, as well as continuity as life’s underlying basis. It indicates the relationship between an individual’s spiritual path, the omnipresence of Buddha, and the movement of time.
  2. The Treasure Vase. It represents longevity, health, wealth, wisdom, prosperity, and space. It symbolizes the quality of the teachings of Buddha. It indicated that the treasure did not reduce even after sharing many teachings.
  3. The Lotus Flower. It is a symbol of renunciation, divinity, and purity. Although the roots of the lotus are in the mud, the flowers blossom above the water. Buddha uses the flower as symbolism to indicate that he raises from the world, free from the defilements taught in specific Buddhist scriptures.
  4. The Golden Fish. Originally, the two fish represented two main rivers of India that is, Yamuna and Ganges. In Buddhism, they are a symbol of happiness since they are completely free in the water. They are a representation of abundance and fertility. The symbol is more often drawn as carp and is regarded as sacred due to their size, beauty, and life-span.
  5. The Parasol. Symbolically, the parasol provides protection from illnesses, obstacles, desire, harmful forces, and suffering. It represents the canopy of the sky. Therefore, its expansion, protection, and unfolding quality of the Sahasrara (seventh primary chakra).
  6. The Conch Shell. The deep history of the Conch Shell is in river rafting that was used on commercial trips down the Grand Canyon for enlightenment. It was used to awaken guests for coffee. Originally, it is thought to have horn-trumpet. In Buddhism, it is a symbol of religious sovereignty with an emblem, which fearlessly proclaimed dharma’s truth. It represents good actions that awaken ignorance from people and brings about enlightenment.
  7. The Dharma Wheel. The wheel symbol was noted to appear mostly in Indus Valley civilization artifacts, especially on the seals. It is a solar symbol and first appeared on clay seals before 2500 BCE. It appears in a sequence of ten signs within the signboard of Dholavira. It is a sign of teachings of Buddha and is referred to as the wheel of transformation or change of spirituality. The hub is a symbol of moral discipline, while the spokes symbolize insights analytically through rim-meditative concentration. The spokes show directions, and they symbolize the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddha. These include right effort, concentration, right speech, right livelihood, right thoughts, right understanding, right action, and mindfulness.
  8. The Victory Banner. The symbol was placed on Mt Meru, and it symbolized the victory of Buddha over the universe. It was traditionally taken to battles as it represented the victory of Buddha against the armies of Mara, which is the hindrances and defilements. These hindrances include fear of death, pride, disturbing emotions, and desire. The banner victory symbolized eleven methods that can be employed to overcome Mara. These include unity of samadhis (emptiness, lack of desire, and formlessness), wisdom, meditation, ethical vows, selflessness, development of knowledge, getting rid of false views, generation of spiritual aspirations, taking refuge in Buddha, skillful means, and compassion.

These eight powerful symbols appear in Eastern spiritual iconography individually and all together. You may find these symbols used as adornments in meditation centers, monastery, temples, or private homes. In Tibet, one or more of the Ashtamangala are drawn on the ground using flour or colored powders to create an auspicious condition and to welcome a distinguished guest. You will also commonly find these symbols on pendants, bracelets, wall hangings, and various spiritual tools like singing bowls and prayer wheels.

You can use one or more of these potent symbols to help support your meditation practice. You can wear clothing or jewelry with the symbols or place items with the symbols around your home, or on your meditation altar. Let these serve as visual reminders to focus on your good fortune and to be mindful throughout your day. These eight ancient and popular symbols can also bring you hope and comfort during times of unease and distress.