Buddhist symbols

The Buddhist symbols, The Eight Auspicious Signs, are very meaningful religious symbols of Buddhism, revealing our progress along the Buddhist path to enlightenment. The following explanation of The Eight Auspicious Signs, was given by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, as presented in the booklet The Kadampa Buddhist Temple at Manjushri Mahayana Buddhist Centre.

The Eight Auspicious Signs

Precious UmbrellaThe umbrella symbolises the umbrella of the Buddhist community and teaches us that first we should enter the Buddhist family.
Precious FishThe fish symbolises harmony indicating that under this umbrella we should always live in harmony and peace.
Precious VaseThe vase symbolises wealth and teaches us that we should enjoy the inner wealth of our faith, moral discipline, our study and practice of Dharma, benefiting others, sense of shame, consideration for others, and wisdom.
Precious FlowerThe lotus symbolises purity which indicates that we should always strive to become a pure being by practicing the Bodhisattva’s way of life.
Precious ConchThe conch shell symbolises the Dharma Jewel and teaches us that we should accomplish the Dharma Jewel, the realisations of the stages of the path, within our mind.
Precious KnotThe knot of eternity symbolises an uncommon quality of Buddha’s realizations, namely his realization of omniscient wisdom.
Precious BannerThe victory banner symbolises an uncommon quality of Buddha’s abandonment, his abandonment of the delusions and mistaken appearance.
These last two together (‘The knot of eternity’ and ‘The victory banner’) indicate that through gaining the Dharma Jewel, the realisations of the stages of the path to enlightenment, we shall attain these two uncommon qualities of Buddha.
Precious WheelThe Dharma Wheel indicates that, having attained these two uncommon qualities of Buddha, we are able to lead all living beings to permanent liberation from suffering, principally by turning the wheel of Dharma, that is by giving Dharma teachings. This is our final goal.
From this explanation we can see that the symbolism of the eight auspicious signs shows how to begin, progress along, and complete the spiritual path.
The Buddhist symbols, the Eight Auspicious Signs, are exhibited in all Kadampa Buddhist Temples – find out more about the International Temples Project.