Buddhist Symbols - The Eight Auspicious Signs

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.

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The Eight Auspicious Signs

The umbrella symbolises the umbrella of the Buddhist community and teaches us that first we should enter the Buddhist family. The fish symbolises harmony indicating that under this umbrella we should always live in harmony and peace.

Buddhist symbol - The Umbrella
The umbrella

Buddhist symbol - The Fish
The fish

The 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. The lotus symbolises purity which indicates that we should always strive to become a pure being by practicing the Bodhisattva's way of life.

Buddhist symbol - The Vase
The vase

Buddhist symbol - The Lotus
The lotus

The 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. The knot of eternity symbolises an uncommon quality of Buddha’s realizations, namely his realization of omniscient wisdom.

Buddhist symbol - The Conch Shell
The conch shell

Buddhist symbol - The Knot of Eternity
The knot of eternity

The 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.
The 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.

Buddhist symbol - The Victory Banner
The victory banner

Buddhist symbol - The Dharma Wheel
The Dharma wheel

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.

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If you would like to attend meditation classes near you and learn about Buddhism, visit the main website for Kadampa Buddhism which has details of Buddhist Centres around the world.

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