Eight Sacred Buddhist Symbols

Some symbols recur on the walls of almost every temple, shrine, and monastery, or on the walls of private houses. The most common decorative motifs of all are the Eight Sacred Emblems of Buddhism, as follows:

1. Conch Shell (dun) - used in Buddhist worship as a trumpet or offertory vessel and symbolizes the spoken word of Buddha.

2. Vase (bum-pa) - used as the storage urn of a sacred receptacle and thus symbolizes hidden treasures.

3. Umbrella (gdugs) - a token of loyalty and symbolizes the protection of the Dharma (faith).

4. Endless Knot (apal-be) - an auspicious geometric diagram, it symbolizes devotion.

5. Dharma Wheel (chakra) - represents the unity of all things and symbolizes Sakyamuni himself.

6. Golden Fish (gser-na) - as water allows fish to swim freely, so Buddhist belief emancipates the soul. They symbolize spiritual liberation.

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