Buddhism celebrates the Three Refuges, a blend of the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha; and in his book Living Buddha, Living Christ Thich Nhat Hanh points out that this is very similar to Christianity’s Holy Trinity. Likewise, Buddhism shares an exciting historic tidbit with Islam. Mohammad refused to allow depictions of himself because he didn’t want Islam to become related with anything physical. He wanted the Koran to remain ignorant of race or gender. Likewise, Buddha did not wish people to depict him in art, and instead various Buddhism symbols were created to represent Buddha and his teachings.
Malas are strings of beads used in Buddhism similar to how rosaries are used in Catholicism. The mala is used to keep count of practice of a mantra or prayer. They range in how many beads are on a mala, but a standard mala has 108 beads on it.
Mudras were already a Hindu symbol when Buddhism beliefs came into being. Mudras are positions in which one holds his or her hands, and they are said to have various effects on mood and healing. A popular Buddhist mudra is the universal mudra in which one hand holds the other and they are places in the meditator’s lap.
The lotus flower is one of the most well-known Buddhism symbols. In Buddhism beliefs, it is considered a very important metaphor for almost everything. It signifies enlightenment and all of life itself. The way it grows from the mud and blossoms in the sunshine shows our own quest for enlightenment.
A common symbol in Buddhism, though one that is not often fully understood, is the Dharma Wheel. The Dharma Wheel is a meaningful symbol, neck-deep in metaphors despite its aesthetic simplicity. The eight spokes of this wheel represent Buddha’s prescribed path to enlightenment, the very middle of the wheel stands for meditating which each element of the path is rooted in, and the wheels circular shape represents the cycle of life and death which brings everything together.
The Bodhi Tree is one of the more favorite Buddhism symbols as, after much trial and much error, it was under a Bodhi Tree that Gotama finally found his enlightenment. Supposedly, the original Bodhi Tree is a direct ancestor of the Bodhi Tree at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya.
Buddhism symbols are rich in the Buddha’s original teaching, and each one shows an element of Buddhism beliefs instead of physical disruptions regarding the Buddha’s appearance. While there are plenty of depictions of Buddha, his support of meaning has caused beautiful works of art that ultimately teach people exactly how the Buddha found enlightenment. for more articles click here…