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The Eight Auspicious Symbols

Post by : Samal Dimdung    Date : 2015-02-22 01:55:00

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The Eight Auspicious Symbols

This set of symbols is very popular in Tibet and Nepal, but is also known in Sanskrit as ‘Ashtamangala’, ashta means eight and mangala means auspicious. The Umbrella or parasol embodies notions of wealth or royalty, for one had to be rich enough to possess such an item, and further, to have someone carry it. It points to the “royal ease” and power experienced in the Buddhist life of detachment. It also symbolizes the wholesome activities to keep beings from harm (sun) like illness, harmful forces, obstacles and so forth, and the enjoyment of the results under its cool shade. The Golden Fish were originally symbolic of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, but came to represent good fortune in general, for Hindus, Jain and Buddhists. Within Buddhism it also symbolizes that living beings who practice the dharma need have no fear to drown in the ocean of suffering, and can freely migrate (chose their rebirth) like fish in the water. The Treasure Vase is a sign of the inexhaustible riches available in the Buddhist teachings, but also symbolizes long life, wealth, prosperity and all the benefits of this world. (There is even a practice which involves burying or storing treasure vases at certain locations to generate wealth, eg. for monasteries or dharma centers.) The Lotus is a very important symbol in India and of Buddhism. It refers to the complete purification of body, speech and mind, and the blossoming of wholesome deeds in liberation. The lotus refers to many aspects of the path, as it grows from the mud (samsara), up through muddy water it appears clean on the surface (purification), and finally produces a beautiful flower (enlightenment). The white blossom represents purity; the stem stands for the practice of Buddhist teachings which raise the mind above the (mud of) worldly existence, and gives rise to purity of mind. An open blossom signifies full enlightenment a closed blossom signifies the potential for enlightenment.

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