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Ashtamangala symbols

Ashtamangala symbols - Buddhism Symbols - Ashtamangala Vectors

The Ashtamangala are eight auspicious symbols associated with Buddhism, Jainism and Hinduism, – though primarily with Buddhism and the teachings of the Buddha. Originally, the symbols were used at important cultural ceremonies, and coronations.
Buddhism originated in ancient between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE, spreading through much of Asia. The teachings about life, enlightenment and rebirth can be found in the associated symbolic meanings of the Ashtamangala symbols.
Dependent on history and situation, the order and meaning of the Ashtamangala symbols varies. However, it believed across contexts that meditation and contemplation of the symbols and their meanings may bring one closer to the teachings of the Buddha and, from there, to enlightenment.
Though is now widely accepted that there are eight auspicious symbols, in ancient times there were many more. Some of those that have fallen out of favor include a throne, swastika, ewer and a handprint.
The Ashtamangala symbols are said to bring good luck and good fortune, and are often seen embroidered on cloth or painted on objects in India, Tibet, Nepal and, to a lesser extent, China. The symbols are also used in ornamentation that decorates homes, shrines and monasteries.

Kumbha - Treasure Vase Ashtamangala

Kumbha – Treasure Vase

The Kumbha, or Treasure Vase, represents health, longevity, wealth, prosperity, wisdom and space. It is said to never empty, no matter how much of the contents is removed. The vase is depicted as similar to the a traditional clay water pot or Kumbha, having a flat base, round body, narrow neck and top by a large jewel.

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Padme - Lotus Ashtamangala symbol

Padme – Lotus

The Padme, or Lotus, represents purity, illumination, love, growth and transformation. If the Lotus has eight petals, it symbolizes harmony, while a lotus with one thousand petals symbolizes enlightenment. A lotus seed or bud represents potential. “Om mane padme,” is a Buddhist mantra, which translates as ‘the jewel in the lotus’. It means that there is potential for enlightenment in each of us. The color of the Padme can also change its meaning. White symbolizes purity and spiritual perfection. Red, passion and love. A blue lotus bud signifies intelligence and communication. A pink flower represents transcendence.
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Shankha - Conch Shell Ashtamangala symbol

Shankha – Conch Shell

The Shankha, or Conch Shell, was used in ancient times as a war horn. It was believed that the sound would allow those who heard it to overcome fear and evil, but that it would invoke terror in one’s enemies. Later, the conch shell became an instrument commonly used in rituals. In Buddhism, the Shankha represents the voice of Buddha and the truth of his teachings. The symbol may be depicted as right- or left-turning, and the right-turning conch is believed to be the more auspicious.

Dhvaja - Victory Banner Ashtamangala symbol

Dhvaja – Victory Banner

The Dhvaja which translates to ‘flag’ or ‘sign’, is also known as the Victory Banner. The victory represented is one over fear, ignorance, evil and death. Particularly, it symbolizes how enlightenment and knowledge defeat ignorance and the fear of death. Such a victory would, one assumes, coincide with the achievement of the state of nirvana. The Dhvaja is commonly depicted as cylindrical. Copper banners of this nature can be found displayed at the four corners of many Buddhist temples and monasteries.

Shrivatsa - Endless Knot - Ashtamangala symbol

Shrivatsa – Endless Knot

The Shrivatsa, or Endless Knot, is sometimes known as the “Mystic Dragon”. It represents eternity, unity and the interconnectedness of all things. It was believed to offer protection, as the endless looping design would confuse malignant spirits. In Buddhism, the knot symbolizes the unending compassion and wisdom of the Buddha. It is believed by some that the shrivatsa evolved over time into the protective dragons often seen in eastern iconography.

Ashtamangala dharmachakra symbol

Dharmachakra – Wheel of Law

Dharmachakra translates to ‘Wheel of Law’, or sometimes ‘wheel of transformation’. In Buddhism, it represents the teaching of the Buddha. It also symbolizes spiritual change and the cycle of birth and rebirth. It can also, in the Hindu tradition, represent the overcoming of obstacles. The wheel is typically depicted as having eight spokes, representing the path to enlightenment: faith, intention, speech, action, livelihood, endeavour, mindfulness, and meditation.

Suvarna Matsya - Golden Fishes Ashtamangala symbol

Suvarna Matsya – Golden Fishes

The Suvarna Matsya, or golden fishes, represent joy, freedom and fearlessness. They are symbols of fertility and abundance. The two fish are typically depicted swimming vertically downwards, with their heads coming together. For this reason, they also represent fidelity and marriage.

Parasol Ashtamangala symbol

Parasol

The parasol represents protection, especially from harmful force or illness. It may symbolize the sky and is linked to the element æther. The expansiveness of the canopy, as much as it represents the heavens, is associated with the sahasrara or crown chakra. The parasol, being held aloft, represents honor and respect. It is a symbol of high status. The parasol is normally depicted as a standard umbrella with a single, vertical handle. It is often ornamented with jewels and fabrics.

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