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Tibetan Buddhism Symbolism
 
 

Tibet is a vast place, lies between India and the Himalayas. The traditional nomadic culture was greatly influenced by the introduction of Buddhism from India, to an extent that nearly all the cultural achievements of Tibet are related to the Buddhist religion. Because of the predominance of Tantra with its rich tradition of symbolism, it is no surprise that symbols and symbolic artifacts of all sorts are found in Tibet.

Wheel

The wheel consists of three basic parts: the hub, the rim, and spokes (generally eight in number). Its underlying form is that of a circle, which is recognized across all traditions as a shape that is complete and perfect in itself, qualities which inform the teachings of the Buddha to. Individually, the rim represents the element of limitation, the hub is the axis of the world, and the eight spokes denote the Eightfold Path set down by the Buddha, which leads to the cessation of all suffering.

Endless Knot

The endless knot is a closed, graphic ornament composed of right-angled, intertwined lines. It is conjectured that it may have evolved from an ancient naga symbol with two stylized snakes.
The intertwining of lines reminds us how all phenomena are conjoined and yoked together as a closed cycle of cause and effect. Thus the whole composition is a pattern that is closed on in itself with no gaps, leading to a representational form of great simplicity and fully balanced harmony.

Golden Fishes

This symbol consists of two fishes, which usually appear standing vertically with heads turned inwards towards each other. The pair of fishes originated as an ancient pre-Buddhist symbol of the two sacred rivers of India, Ganga and Yamuna. Symbolically, these two rivers represent the lunar and solar channels, which originate in the nostrils and carry the alternating rhythms of breath or prana. In Buddhism, the golden fishes symbolize happiness, as they have complete freedom in water. They represent fertility and abundance as they multiply very rapidly. Fish often swim in pairs, and in China they represented conjugal unity and fidelity, where a pair of fishes would often be given as a wedding present. Both Jesus Christ and Buddha are known as 'fisher of men,' because they save mortals from the ocean of suffering.

Treasure Vase

The vase is a fat-bellied vessel with a short, slim neck. On top, at the opening, there is a large jewel indicating that it is a treasure vase.
Its symbolic meaning was almost always associated with the ideas of storage and the satisfaction of material desires. In the sagas and fairytales of many different cultures, for example, there is the recurring idea of an inexhaustible vessel.

 
     
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