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Understanding the Symbols of Buddhism

There were offerings made to Shakyamuni Buddha immediately after attaining his enlightenment. These were the eight symbols of good fortune.

The Two Golden Fishes
The two fish in the design represented the main and sacred rivers in India, the Ganges and the Yamuna. The rivers have been associated with the solar and lunar channels and represent Prana. The golden fish symbolizes the auspiciousness of all living beings in a state of fearlessness. The fish are free to swim in the water from place to place spontaneously just as a fish is free to swim in the ocean.

The Lotus Flower
The lotus flower symbolizes the purification of the body, speech and mind. It is a symbol of purity and divinity.

Vase of Treasure
The vale of treasure is also known as “the vase of inexhaustible treasures” indicating that no matter how much is removed from the vase it will always be full. It symbolizes an endless rain of long life, and wealthy and prosperity.

Precious Umbrella
Symbolically, the protection provided by the parasol is from illness, obstacles, and heat of suffering and harmful forces. It is also stated that the king of nagas presented The Buddha with a jeweled umbrella.

The Right Spiraling Conch Shell
Shells that spiral to the right are very rare. This makes them a very sacred object. In Buddhism, the conch symbolizes the deep, far-reaching, melodious sound of the truth of the Dharma.

Victory Banner
This celebrates the victory over one’s own body and others body. It symbolizes the complete victory over all harmful and pernicious forces by the Buddhist Doctrine.

The Golden Wheel
The Dharma Wheel is a symbol of the Buddha’s first teaching at the Deer Park in Sarnath. This is referred to as the first turning of the wheel. In all realms and at all times it is believed to bring the joy of wholesome deeds and liberation. The eight spokes are said to symbolize the Buddha’s Noble Eightfold Path.

Auspicious Drawing
This endless knot shows the mutual dependence of religious beliefs and secular affairs. It also represents the union of wisdom and method.

Sources:
www.buddhistinformation.com
www.buddanet.net