Dharmapala Thangka CentreSchool of Thangka Painting


The Tibetan Eight Lucky Symbols

The Eight Auspicious Symbols is most popular in the Tibetan Buddhism. In Sanskrit they are known as Ashtamangala, ashta meaning "eight" and mangala "auspicious." In Tibetan, tasheemeans "auspicious," tag means "sign or symbol," and gyay means "eight."

Two Golden Fish

Two Golden FishThe bliss of all sentient beings is symbolized by the two golden fish [Sanskrit: gaurmatsya; tibetisch: gser na].

The two fishes originally represented the two main sacred rivers of India - the Ganges and Yamuna. These rivers are associated with the lunar and solar channels.

They have religious significance in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist traditions but also in Christianity [the sign of the fish, the feeding of the five thousand]. In Buddhism, the fish symbolize happiness as they have complete freedom of movement in the water. They represent fertility and abundance.

Umbrellar

UmbrellarThe jewelled parasol [Sanskrit: chatra; tibetisch: gdugs] is similar in ritual function to the baldachin or canopy: it represents the protection of beings from harmful forces and illness. It represents the canopy or firmament of the sky and therefore the expansiveness and unfolding of space and the element æther. It represents the expansiveness, unfolding and protective quality of the sahasrara: all take refuge in the dharma under the auspiciousness of the parasol.

Lotus Flower

Lotus

The lotus flower [Sanskrit: padma; tibetisch pad ma] represent the primordial purity of body, speech, and mind, floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.

The lotus symbolizes purity and renunciation. Although the lotus has its roots in the mud at the bottom of a pond, its flower lies immaculate above the water.

Bumpa

BumpaThe treasure vase [Sanskrit: kalasa; tibetisch: bum pa] represents health, longevity, wealth, prosperity, wisdom and the phenomenon of space.

The treasure vase, or pot, symbolizes the Buddha's infinite quality of teaching the dharma: no matter how many teachings he shared, the treasure never lessened

The wisdom urn or treasure vase is used in many empowerment [Vajrayana] and initiation.

Victory Banner - Dhvaja

Victory Banner

The dhvaja "banner, flag" [Sanskrit: Chatra; tib.: rgyal mtshan], was a military standard of ancient Indian warfare.

The symbol represents the Buddha's victory over the four maras, or hindrances in the path of enlightenment. These hindrances are pride, desire, disturbing emotions, and the fear of death.

Endless Knot

Endless Knot

The endless knot [Sanskrit: srivatsa; tibetisch: dpal be] "the auspicious mark represented by a curled noose emblematic of love", It is a symbol of the ultimate unity of everything.

Moreover, it represents the intertwining of wisdom and compassion, the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs, the union of wisdom and method, the inseparability of nyat "emptiness" and prattyasamutpda "interdependent origination", and the union of wisdom and compassion in enlightenment.

This knot also conveys the Buddhist teaching of interpenetration. In addition, the endless knot is considered a symbol of the cycle of rebirth.

White Conch Shell

Conch Shell

The White Right-Turning Conch Shell [Sanskrit: sankha; Tibetan: dung] represents the beautiful, deep, melodious, piercing and penetrating sound of the Dharma that awakens disciples from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to achieve their own welfare for the benefit of others.

It is believed that the conch shell was the original horn trumpet - in ancient Indian mythical epics, heroes wear these conch horns. The Indian god Vishnu is also described as possessing a conch shell as one of his main emblems.

Wheel of Dharma - Dharmachakra

Wheel of Dharma

The Dharmachakra or "Wheel of the Law" [Sanskrit: cakra; tibetisch: 'khor lo]; represents Gautama Buddha and the Dharma teaching.

This symbol is commonly used by Tibetan Buddhists.

Nepalese Buddhists don't use the Wheel of Law in the eight auspicious symbols.