Ceramic mug with auspicious symbols
The eight auspicious symbols - Tashi Daki
The parasol (in Sanskrit chatta, in Tibetan gdugs) the symbol of royal dignity and represents spiritual power. Derived from Indian art, it is represented in different forms and variations. Simple or triple, in yellow, white or even multicolored silk, it is shown open and large enough to accommodate four or five people. Eight ribbons of multicolored or one-colored silk, decorated with fringes, hang from the upper edge.The symbolic meaning of the parasol derives from the possibility it offers in case of bad weather or excessive sun, to protect oneself, a possibility that has always been identified as sign of wealth. For this it has become a symbol of power and royalty. The other Tibetan religious dignitaries were equipped with silk parasols. The parasol symbolizes compassion and its protection of all sentient beings from pain, from malattie, from mental poisons and ignorance.
The golden fish
The golden fish (in Sanskrit suvarnamamatsya, in Tibetan gser-nya) is a religious symbol used since ancient times. Originally in India the sacred rivers of the Ganges and Yamuna were represented with fish. The two fish are parallel and face each other vertically or cross slightly. In Tibet the two gold fish are represented only together with the other eight symbols and have no specific meaning. The fish represent the overcoming of all obstacles, the victory over all suffering and the achievement of liberation, free in having acquired awareness of the ultimate nature, just as fish swim free in the water by their own nature.
Vase of wealth
In Tibetan images the vase of wealth (in Sanskrit kalasa, in Tibetan gter-chen-poâi bum-pa) is a round vessel with a short and narrow neck which then widens to form a decorated rim. The opening of the vase is closed with a large jewel that indicates precisely that it is a vase of wealth. The use of vases of this type dates back to the early days of Buddhism and other religions and symbolizes the idea of obtaining and satisfaction of material desires. In Tibetan Buddhism, vases of different shapes are used according to the ritual practices, especially for tantric rituals. The vessel of wealth symbolizes spiritual fulfillment, Dharma perfection, longevity and prosperity.
The lotus flower (in Sanskrit padm, in Tibetan padma) does not grow in Tibet, which is why it is drawn in a much simpler and more stylized way than in Indian or Japanese art representations. The fact that it is present in Tibet indicates how much its iconographic use is strictly symbolic and indicates purity and beauty.One of the best known Tibetan symbols symbolizes purity as, although it is rooted in the mud of the ponds, it produces white flowers above the water. It therefore represents purity, particularly spiritual purity, and it is for this reason that images of Buddha and Bodhisattvas are often represented seated on a throne shaped like a lotus flower.
The symmetry of the petals of the lotus flower, from eight to twelve petals, represents the order of the cosmos and for this reason it is used as a model for making mandalas. The lotus image is used in the Ngalso self-healing practice to identify and rebalance our five chakras.
The shell (in Sanskrit sankha, in Tibetan dung gyas khyl) is represented with rather large dimensions, of white color, generally with screwing to the right and with the terminal part pointed. The shell, a natural object and not artificially produced by man, has been used for this since ancient times as a ritual tool. It was already used in pre-Buddhist times as a symbol of female deities, as a container and as a ritual musical instrument.In Tibetan Buddhism it is often used as a musical instrument and its powerful sound is used to call monks to meetings, to make offerings of sound during pujas or even as a container for water with saffron. It represents the glory of the teaching of the Dahrma, which like the sound of the shell spreads in all directions, and the abandonment of ignorance.
The endless knot (in Sanskrit srivatsa, in Tibetan dpal beàu) is a closed knot made up of lines intertwined at right angles. It is one of the favorite and most used symbols of Tibetan iconography. There are no precise indications on its iconographic origin. It is often compared to the nandyavarta symbol, a variant of the swastika that has several similarities with the infinity knot.For Tibetan Buddhism it is a classic symbol of the way in which all phenomena are interdependent and depend on causes and conditions that are represented by the geometric lines that intersect each other. Having no beginning or end, it also symbolizes the infinite knowledge and wisdom of the Buddha and the eternity of his teachings. Due to its importance and graphic simplicity, this symbol is also used alone. For example, if drawn on a greeting card, it favors the creation of a stable bond between the giver and the recipient of the gift, as well as reminding the giver that future positive results are determined by present positive actions, such as that of giving.
The banner of victory (in Sanskrit dhvaja, in Tibetan rgyal-mtshan) refers to various objects of Tibetan culture. It is made of wood and fabric, but metal copies exist. Classically it is a narrow cylinder of fabric with three or more silk stripes adorned with ribbons of five colors (white, red, green, blue, yellow). It serves as a decoration and is generally found inside temples and monasteries, suspended from the ceiling as an ornament of the roofs or at the end of long prayer poles. Sometimes it is also used on the roof of private homes. It represents the victory of the Buddhist teachings, the victory of knowledge over ignorance and fear, the victory of the Dharma over all obstacles and the achievement of ultimate happiness.
Wheel of Dharma
The Dharma wheel (chakra in Sanskrit, khor-lo in Tibetan) consists of a central hub, eight or more spokes and an outer rim. The image of the wheel is a universal symbol and is present in all cultures. Already in pre-Buddhist India it was very widespread, with the double meaning of weapon or sun.In Buddhist culture the wheel is immediately associated with the concept of the Dharma wheel set in motion by Buddha on the occasion of the first public exhibition of his doctrine in Sarnath , not far from Benares, today's Varanasi where the gazelle park is located (for this reason the Dharma wheel is often represented by two gazelles). The meanings of the Dharma wheel can be manifold. According to the three teachings of Buddhist practice, the hub represents training in the moral discipline that stabilizes the mind. The rays represent the understanding of the emptiness of all phenomena which allows us to root out our ignorance; the outer rim, finally, identifies the concentration that allows to keep steady the practice of the Buddhist doctrine. It also represents the eightfold noble path that leads to liberation, the Dharma and the Buddha Shakyamuni himself. More generally, among the eight auspicious symbols, the Dharma wheel symbolizes Buddhist teaching as a whole. It reminds us that the Dharma embraces all things, has no beginning and no end, is in motion and immobile.