The Eight Auspicious Symbols, or Ashtamangala are present in Buddhism, Jainism, Hinduism and Sikhism. The specific symbols can vary between each faith. The Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism are the Conch Shell, the Lotus, the Wheel, the Parasol, the Endless Knot, the Pair of Golden Fishes, the Banner Proclaiming Victory, and the Treasure Vase. These symbols are another way of reminding Buddhist followers of the benefits of the Dharma. The road to enlightenment is a long one, but these symbolic cues can help keep Buddhists on the right path.

Conch Shell
The conch shell represents the omnipresent, far-reaching and harmonious teachings of the Dharma. The shell has been utilized in many cultures as a power horn used in battle, and the Buddhists compare the shell to a bugle that fearlessly declares the truth of the Dharma. The conch shell can be readily seen in many depictions of the Buddha, usually on his neck, to illustrate his melodious speech.

The lotus flower represents the purification of the body, speech, and mind, or the attainment of enlightenment. Enlightenment basically involves rising above the egocentric preoccupation of desire. The roots of the lotus grow in the mud, the stem rises through the water, and the bloom ascends past all the murky liquid to bloom in the sunlight. The lotus in bloom is compared to one’s Buddha nature blooming in a state of blissful liberation. The mud, of course, is akin to the fog of Samsara. Lotuses of varying colors can hold different meanings. A white lotus represents mental purity and spiritual perfection. Red lotuses signify the original nature of being and purity of heart. Blue is the wisdom of knowledge and mastery over the senses. The pink lotus is associated with the Buddha himself, as it is the greatest lotus of all.

There are three parts to the symbol of the wheel. The first part is the hub, which represents the training in moral discipline. The hub is the center and support of all spiritual growth. The second is the spokes, which signify the proper application of the teachings. The spokes connect the hub to the third and final part, which is the rim. The rim signifies concentration. As a whole, the wheel represents utilizing the Dharma to experience virtue and eventual liberation from suffering.

The parasol represents the sky, in that it protects the world from the sun’s intense heat. The parasol is a protector – a provider of safe haven to all. The parasol inspires followers to protect others from illness, obstacles and other harmful influences. It also reminds one that they can always take refuge in the Dharma.

Author's Bio: 

The Eight Auspicious Symbols as a whole, and specific symbols such as the Parasol and the two fish symbol, are interesting symbols to Sylvia Smelcer, who is the owner of e-commerce Buddhist websites.