Beautiful land with magnificent culture and tradition, Tibet holds plenteous symbolic representations of the transient universe. Every sacred monastery and religious shrine showcases artistic representations. Eight auspicious symbols or signs make up the Ashtamangala. The philosophies are considered teaching instruments that indicate aspects of enlightenment.
Ashtamangala is the symbol of good fortune in Buddhism. They are offerings made by the gods to Buddha upon receiving enlightenment. Here, we will dive into the most popular interpretation of these 8 symbols and their meaning in Tibet.
8 Auspicious Symbols
A collection of 8 Auspicious Symbols that underpin Buddhism, Hinduism, and other Dharmic traditions are held in high regard in Buddhist Tibet. In Sanskrit, it is known as Ashtamangala, which means Auspicious. These 8 symbols represent the gift Buddha received when he attained enlightenment.
Juccini Tingsha Bells have engraved these auspicious symbols to represent enlightenment, learnings, and the gift of nature.
The Precious Parasol, or Precious Umbrella, is a traditional Eastern symbol of both royalty and protection. The shade's coolness represents protection from the aching heart of sorrow, temptation, impediments, sicknesses, and negative energies.
In Buddhism, the wheel is considered the dharmachakra or the ‘wheel of dharma’ of the Buddha’s teachings. The wheel turning is believed to be the growth or spiritual transformation of followers at all times and all levels of existence. The Noble Eightfold Path, one of the early Buddha teachings, is represented by the eight spokes of the wheel.
The early Buddhists embraced Kamadeva's emblem of the crocodile-headed makaradhvaja as a symbol of the Buddha's victory over the four maras. The Victory Banner is acclaimed as a symbol of Tibetan Buddhist absolute victory over hostile and negative factors like ignorance, disharmony, and even death.
The Endless, or Auspicious, Knot is a geometric symbol that expresses the idea that everything is interconnected in reality, and that every action has a reaction. The knot, like Buddha's wisdom, has no beginning or end and connects the noble qualities of wisdom and compassion. In China, it is a symbol of longevity, continuity, love, and harmony.
Right Coiled Conch Shell
The white conch shell, which spirals clockwise towards the right, is an old Indian symbol of the heroic gods, whose massive conch shell horns announced their prowess and victories in battle. The sound from Conch Shell is believed to awaken Buddha’s disciples from a deep sleep of ignorance and urges them to devote their energy to the benefit of mankind.
The Lotus flower is a major Buddhist symbol of purity and renunciation. It exemplifies the flourishing of healthy activities that are carried out without the constraints of cyclic existence. The flower, although being rooted in sludge and compelled to push up through the water, eventually achieves a condition of fragrant beauty and perfection. This process represents the soul's ascension from the sludge of materialism into the golden light of perfect enlightenment.
Vase of Treasure
The Vase of Treasure illustrates the boundless wealth inherent in the Buddha's teachings. His resources were never spent, no matter how much wisdom and spiritual insight he shared. Vases packed with sacred and costly artifacts are put on altars and other sites in Eastern culture, where they are considered to attract harmony and wealth.
In Sanskrit the pair of fishes is known as Matsyayugma, meaning ‘coupled fish’. In Tibetan Buddhism, the sea signifies the samsara cycle or the endless circle of suffering. The Golden Fish represents contentment and fearlessness as it navigates stormy oceans without drowning. As the golden fish have complete liberation of movement in the water, it signifies happiness and impulsiveness.
Astamangaladevi, the goddess of good fortune, is associated with the Eight Auspicious Symbols. According to Buddhist tradition, these eight symbols represent the gifts Sakyamuni Buddha received upon attaining enlightenment from the Great Vedic gods. The Buddhist symbols are placed on pedestals topped with lotus leaves in some Chinese monasteries. It is used primarily for decoration or as a focal point for meditation and reflection.