Symbols

 

Origins of Harmony – 12 Insights about the Yin Yang

The yin yang is one of the most well known symbols in Eastern philosophy, seen across art, literature, music, philosophy and science over thousands of years. Rooted in history, the yin... Read More

 

Chakras 101

Chakras are invisible centers of subtle energy aligned on a central channel alongside  the spine. Chakras are filled with mystic energy called pranic or life-force. As it spins and draws... Read More

 

Buddhist Mudras (Hand Gestures of Buddha)

The serene smile of the Buddha is his most distinguishing feature. Along with this, the viewer’s attention cannot help but be drawn towards the Buddha’s graceful hands,... Read More

 

The Parasol in Tibetan Buddhism

In nature, the dome of the sky arches above the mountain. The parasol in Buddhism is symbolically a device which casts a shadow, and therefore, offers protection from heat.... Read More

 

The Urn in Tibetan Buddhism

The urn closely resembles the round-bellied, slim-necked kalash of Hinduism. A large jewel on top gives the urn its other name, the Vase of Treasure. The urn is symbolic of... Read More

 

Vajra Mudra – Mudra of Enlightenment

In this mudra, the extended forefinger of one hand is enclosed within the fist of the other, a Tantric gesture more common to Buddhism in Japan and Korea. One interpretation... Read More

 

Anjali Mudra – Mudra of Offering

Anjali Mudra is also known as Namaskara Mudra, the oldest of Indian gestures. The word “anjali” means “two handfuls”, derived from the cupping of both hands together... Read More

 

What is the Yin Yang symbol?

Eastern philosophy and religious thought have historically emphasized the non-duality of the universe. In Chinese metaphysics, this principle is symbolized by a circle... Read More

 

What are “Eyes of Buddha”?

Visitors to Buddhist stupas in Nepal cannot help but notice the huge pair of eyes painted around the main towers. These are the “Eyes of the Buddha” that stare out in all... Read More

 

About Vajra and Bell, Buddhist Ritual Tools

Vajra in the original Sanskrit translates both as “adamantine” and “thunderbolt”. A Buddhist ritual object resembling a small scepter, it symbolizes the eternal... Read More

 

Kalachakra

Kalachakra, varyingly known as Wheel of Time or Circle of Time is both a Buddhist Tantric doctrine and its emblem. Each of Sakyamuni’s doctrines is termed a “Turning of... Read More

 

Om

The sacred symbol Om (Aum), which in Hindu philosophy is said to represent the primordial sound of the universe, is widely used in mainstream Buddhism, though it has... Read More

 

Double Vajra

The double vajra or vajra cross has its origins in Buddhist myth: In the emptiness of space, a mild wind began blowing. Over time, it filled the great Void, growing in power... Read More

 

Endless Knot

Dharma is continuous and inexorable, while Time is but an illusion. The Knot of Infinity symbolizes that truth. The search for enlightenment need not mean giving up worldly... Read More

 

Sharagamana Mudra – Refuge Giver

The mudra of protection or refuge-giving is commonly seen in Tibetan art on the various images of Avalokitesvara. The gesture may be made in several ways – with the palm... Read More

 

Dharmachakra Mudra – From the Heart of the Buddha

Buddha’s first sermon on the Four Noble Truths, delivered after attaining enlightenment at Sarnath was a moment of seminal importance. The occasion signifies his setting in... Read More

 

Vitarka Mudra – Teaching

The Buddha’s hand, held close to his heart with thumb and forefinger tips touching symbolizes the transmission of the knowledge he has gained after attaining enlightenment.... Read More

 

Varada Mudra – The Gesture of Giving

This mudra denotes the act of charity and benevolence, with the associated emotions of sincerity and compassion. It is conveyed with the left arm extending downwards, palm... Read More

 

What are Mandalas?

A mandala (in Sanskrit ,‘manda’ = core, quintessence ‘la’ = container) is  typically a square or circular chart with geometric designs. It symbolizes the cosmos and... Read More

 

Bhumisparsha Mudra – Touching the Earth

In Bhumisparsha Mudra, the left hand lies palm facing up on the seated Buddha’s lap. The right hand lies curved over the Buddha’s crossed knee, fingers just touching the... Read More

 

Abhaya Mudra – No Fear

Often seen on standing, sitting or walking statues of the Buddha, the Abhaya Mudra conveys protection from all the fears that beset us in material life. With arm bent, the... Read More

 

Dhyana Mudra – Meditation Mudra

This gesture predates Buddhism, having been used for long by Hindu yogis to develop powers of concentration and healing. In this mudra, the seated Buddha is seen with hands... Read More

 

The Wheel of Dharma

The eight-spoke wheel Dharmachakra (chos kyi in Tibetan), also known as the Wheel of Law is among the oldest and best known of Buddhist symbols, going back to the time of... Read More

 

Singing Bowl – Buddhist Ritual ToolWhat are Thangka Paintings?

Thangka paintings originated in Tibet. The concept of Thangka paintings evolved between the 7th and 12th century. Thangka paintings are painted or embroidered paintings made... Read More

 

Eight Auspicious Signs of Good Fortune in Tibetan Buddhism 

Signs of good fortune have been established in Hindu mythology since ancient times. Tibetan Buddhism has a group of eight symbols that are considered to be the oldest and most well... Read More

 

The Golden Fish: Auspicious Sign in Tibetan Buddhism

As human beings, we must live through samsara, or the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth that entails suffering at every stage. The Buddha’s teachings set us on the... Read More

 

Endless or Infinite Knot Symbol in Tibetan Buddhism 

Dharma is continuous and inexorable, while Time is but an illusion. The Knot of Infinity symbolizes that truth. The search for enlightenment need not mean giving up worldly... Read More

 

The Wheel of Life

The Wheel of Dharma is loaded with symbols representing the Buddhist view of life and its doctrines. The fearsome deity who turns it is Yama, Lord of Death; he is symbolic of... Read More

 

The Lotus Symbol in Tibetan Buddhism

The lotus is called padma in both Sanskrit and Tibetan. Rooted in muddy slime, the lotus rises through water to emerge into the sun, a progress that mirrors the journey of... Read More

 

The White Conch Symbol in Tibetan Buddhism

A right-spiraled conch is a rare find and is considered sacred in Buddhism. Its direction is thought to be consonance with the movement of celestial bodies in the universe.... Read More

 
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