The Eight Auspicious Symbols

lotus The Lotus

The Lotus flower grows pretty much always in swampy dirty places, during the day the flower grows above the water and blossoms into a most beautiful flower. In the night the flower closes again to creep underneath the water. The flower itself in Thangka Symbolism represents purity, divinity, and strength.




wisdomknotThe Endless Knot.

In Thangka painting, and Buddhist symbology the endless knot represents the Buddhas endless wisdom and compassion for infinite sentient beings. How is this so? When you look at an endless know, it is forever interweaving in and out of itself, and has know end or beginning. So to does a Buddhas endless wisdom and compassion. This to ties in with the Buddhist philosophy of interdependent origination.



umberallaThe Parasol.

The Parasol or Umbrella is a traditional Indian symbol for both protection and royalty. Its shadow protects from the blazing heat of the sun and gives the coolness of the shade. Symbolically it represents protection from suffering, desire, obstacles, illnesses and harmful forces. In many thangkas you may see a large Parasol depicted above Buddha Shakyamuni’s head, or as a implement in a deities hand. The parasol can also mean to protect sentient beings from all fears.



fish The Golden Fishes.

In Buddhism the Golden fishes symbolize happiness, as they have complete freedom to roam where ever they like in the the water. They are drawn in two, as one is male, and the other is female. Its said that fish swim groups of two, and can multiply very fast, so to can ones happiness .




victorybannerThe Victory Banner.

The Victory Banner is an interesting symbol. Its was traditionally used as a symbol of war. In Tibet and regions of Indian, they would have these long shaped umbrellas attached to horse carts, leading the way in regiments to war. Their belief was by having this banner it would bring them prosperity. Later Buddhism took the use of the symbol over, so that it represents the Buddhas victory in attainment of his own enlightenment.



bombavaseTreasure Vase.

The treasure vase, or bompa vase, is often described as a vase of inexhaustible measures. It contains the water of long life or longevity, oceans of precious jewels. What ever is taken out of this vase is automatic replaced. Here its depicted drawn in gold with carvings around the sides, and jewels around the top of the vase. Then its sealed with a flaming jewel.



 conchThe Conch Shell.

The conch shell is a naturally occurring phenomena, a rather large shell that can be found in certain parts of the world. When its found it can be played as a musical instrument by blowing through the shell at one end, it makes a lovely deep sound. This symbolizes the Buddhas perfect speech as when its found it makes such a beautiful sound, so do modern day lamas when they give discourse.



dharmawheelDharma Wheel

Traditionally the Dharma wheel was a Indian weapon used in war. In the symbol you can see the beginning of the sword at the base, as it was used as a weapon it had either 8 or 12 swords coming out of the base. During the time of Buddha Shakyamuni, he saw what harm such a device could do, so he decided to use it for good by cutting the sharp ends off the swords and making it into what is called a Dharma wheel. In Buddhism this symbol signifies the first turning of the Buddhas teachings, (the four noble truths).


(reference text, The Encyclopedia of Tibetan symbols and motifs, Robert Beer)


Copyrighted Image