What are the symbols of Buddhism and their meanings?

If you are here, you are certainly asking yourself this question, and you are in the right place to know the answer! discover now the most represented Buddhist symbols.

Buddhism began as early as the 4th or 6th century BCE when Siddharta Gautama began spreading his teachings on suffering, nirvana and the renaissance in India. Siddhartha himself was opposed to accepting images of himself and used many different symbols to illustrate his teachings.

symbols of Buddhism

There are eight different auspicious symbols of Buddhism, and many say these represent the gifts God gave to Buddha when he achieved enlightenment.

    What do the different Buddhist symbols mean?

    The role of the image in early Buddhism is not known, although many surviving images can be found because their symbolic or representational nature is not known. was not clearly explained in ancient texts.

    Among the oldest and most common symbols of Buddhism are the stupa, the wheel of Dharma and the lotus flower. The wheel of dharma, traditionally represented by eight spokes, can have different meanings.


    At first it only meant royalty (a concept of the "monarch of the wheel, or chakravatine), but began to be used in a Buddhist context on the Pillars of Ashoka in the 3rd century BC

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    The Wheel of Dharma is generally considered to refer to the historical process of teaching Buddha Dharma; the eight rays refer to the noble eightfold path. The lotus, as well, can have several meanings, often referring to the intrinsically pure potential of the mind.


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    Other ancient symbols include the Trisula, a symbol used since the 2nd century BC. BC which combines the lotus, the diamond vajra staff and a symbolization of the three jewels (The Buddha, the Dharma, the Sangha).

    The Swastika (The Swatika) was traditionally used in India by Buddhists and Hindus as a sign of good luck. In East Asia, the swastika is often used as a general symbol of Buddhism. Swastikas used in this context may face left or right.

    Early Buddhism did not depict the Buddha himself and may have been aniconic. The first indication of human representation in Buddhist symbolism appears with the footprint of Buddha.

    Ashtamangala the eight Buddhist signs

    The eight auspicious Buddhist Symbols form the body of Buddha. (Ashtamangala)

    1. The parasol represents the head of Buddha
    2. The two fish represent the eyes of Buddha
    3. The vase, the neck of Buddha
    4. The lotus represents his language
    5. The golden dharma wheel represents his feet
    6. the victory banner represents the body of Buddha
    7. the conch represents the words of Buddha
    8. And the endless knot represents the mind of Buddha.

    It is a sacred suite of Eight Signs endemic to a number of Dharmic Traditions such as Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism , Sikhism.

    Symbols or "symbolic attributes" are the yidam and teaching tools. Not only do these attributes, these energetic signatures, point to qualities of enlightened spirit, but they are the investiture that adorns these enlightened “qualities.”


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    Many enumerations and cultural variations of the Ashtamangala still exist. Originally, groups of eight auspicious symbols were used in India during ceremonies such as the inauguration or the coronation of a king.

    A first group of symbols included: throne, swastika, swastika, handprint, hooked knot, vase of jewelry, libation gourd of water, pair of fish , bowl with lid.

    In Buddhism, these eight symbols of good fortune represent the offerings made by the gods to Shakyamuni Buddha immediately after he achieved enlightenment.

    1. The Buddhist parasol or umbrella (The Chatra)

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    An umbrella can protect people of different elements, like the sun or the rain. In this context, a parasol or umbrella can mean protection from suffering and harmful forces. It can also mean the pleasure of enjoying the cool shade it provides.

    Learn more about Buddhist parasol

    2. The Two Golden Fish

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    Two golden fish In ancient times, the two fish were drawn to symbolize the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Through interpretation, it has become synonymous with luck and fortune. It is also the courage and fearlessness to face the ocean of suffering and to be able to swim freely like fish in water.

    Learn more at the two golden fish

    3. The Conch

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    This large shell was used in many countries as a traditional battle horn. In Buddhism, the white conch shell curling to the right can signify the deep, joyful sound of Dharma teachings. It is representative of the awakening that the disciples receive when they hear these teachings. The conch shell can also mean people's awakening from ignorance.

    Find out more: The Symbol of the Buddhist conch

    4. The lotus flower

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The lotus has been used in many Buddhist teachings to convey the true nature of all humanity. The roots of the lotus plant are buried deep in the mud, but it still grows above the murky water and blooms into a beautiful, sweet-smelling flower. The lotus can be analogous to how we rise from our suffering to achieve enlightenment, beauty and clarity. Different colored lotus plants mean different things in Buddhism.


    A white lotus is a symbol of mental and spiritual purity. Other colors and their meanings include:

    • Red - This represents heart, love and compassion.
    • Pink - This represents the historical Buddha.
    • Purple - This represents mysticism.
    • Blue - This represents wisdom, as well as control of the senses.
    • Red - This represents heart, love and compassion.
    • Pink - This represents the historical Buddha.
    • Purple - This represents mysticism.
    • Blue - This represents wisdom, as well as control of the senses.

    Learn more at The lotus flower and its meaning

    5. The Banner of Victory

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    This symbol represents how Buddha defeated the demon Mara. This demon, in Buddhism, is synonymous with passion, lust and pride. The Victory Banner is used to remind people that one must overcome one's own pride, lust and passions in order to achieve enlightenment.

    Learn more about, The Vase of Treasures / The Urn of Wisdom (Bumpa)

    6. The treasure vase or urn of wisdom

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    A vase can be filled with many different things. The vase, in Buddhism, can mean the rain of health, wealth, prosperity and all the good things that come with enlightenment.
    It represents health, longevity, wealth, prosperity, wisdom and the phenomenon of space.

    Learn more thewisdom urn

    7. The wheel of Dharma or Dharmachakra

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The Wheel of Dharma This wheel is also called the dharma chakra or the Dhamma chakra and is often used to represent Buddha himself .


    It has also become universally the symbol of Buddhism. The dharma wheel has eight spokes, which represent the eightfold path of the Buddha.

    Learn more about The wheel of Dharma (Dharmachakra) Symbol of Buddhism

    8. The eternal knot

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The interweaving of lines in the eternal knot is said to symbolize how everything is connected. It can also represent how religion and secular affairs, as well as compassion and wisdom, are united and related to each other.

    The "endless knot" or "eternal knot" represents the intertwining of wisdom and compassion; represents the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs.

    Learn more at The symbolic meaning of the endless knot in Buddhism

    Other Buddhist Symbols with a significant high

    Bodhi Leaf and Bodhi Tree

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The Bodhi Tree, also known as Bo (from the Sinhalese Bo), was a large and very old sacred fig tree located in Bodh Gaya (about 100 km from Patna in the Indian state of Bihar), under whom Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual master and founder of Buddhism later known as Gautama Buddha, is said to have attained light , or Bodhi.

    In religious iconography, the Bodhi tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually in plain view. It takes 100 to 3000 years for a bodhi tree to fully grow.

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    The term "Bodhi Tree" is also widely applied to existing trees, particularly the Sacred Fig which grows at the temple of the Mahabodhi, which is a direct descendant of the original specimen.

    This tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

    Other sacred Bodhi trees that have great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi tree.

    Other sacred Bodhi trees that have great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Both are believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi tree.

    Learn more The Meaning of the Bodhi Tree

    Buddha Footprint

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The Buddha footprint is a print of one or both feet of Gautama Buddha. There are two forms: natural forms, as found in stone or rock, and artificial forms.

    Many of the "natural" ones, of course, are recognized as not being actual footprints of the Buddha, but replicas or representations of them, which can be considered Cetiya (Buddhist relics) as well as an anionic and symbolic representation of the Buddha in his early days.


    Buddha footprints abound throughout Asia, dating from different periods. They often bear distinctive signs, such as a Dharmachakra in the center of the sole, or the 32, 108 or 132 auspicious signs of the Buddha, engraved or painted on the sole.

    Learn more about Meaning of the Buddha's Footprint.

    Empty Throne

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    An empty throne resides in the concept of "emptiness", an important element of mysticism. This symbol also symbolized the kingship of Siddhartha Gautama.

    Find out more The Empty Throne in Buddhism

    The Buddhist lion

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The lion is one of the most important symbols in Buddhism.The lion is the symbol of royalty which symbolized what < strong>Buddhawas part before attaining enlightenment.


    This is also the power of the Buddha's teaching and is often compared to the roar of a lion.

    Learn more The Lion in the Buddhist Religion

    Swastika or Swastika

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    In Buddhist tradition, Swastika or Swastika symbolizes the feet or footprints of the Buddha and is often used to mark the beginning of texts. Modern Tibetan Buddhism uses it as clothing decoration.


    With the spread of Buddhism, it passed into the iconography of China and Japan where it was used to designate plurality, abundance, prosperity and long life.

    Learn more at Swastika, the Buddhist Swastika

    The Four Heavenly Kings

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The Four Guardian Kings - In the Buddhist faith, the four heavenly kings are four guardian gods, each of whom watches over a cardinal direction of the world.

    Find out more The Four Heavenly Kings of the Buddhist Religion

    The eyes of Buddha

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    Eyes of Buddha - Also called the Eyes of Wisdom, this pair of eyes is commonly depicted on all four sides of Buddhist shrines known as Stupas. The symbol indicates the all-knowing, all-knowing eyes of Buddha and is representative of the presence of the Lord all around.

    The curly line under the eyes in the middle (where the nose is on a face) is the Sanskrit number that symbolizes the unity of everything and also means that the only way to achieve enlightenment is through the teachings of the Buddha. The point between the eyes is indicative of the third eye, which represents spiritual awakening.

    Learn more about The Eye of the Buddha | Meaning & History


    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The Vajra is a Buddhist tantric symbol representing great spiritual power and steadfastness of mind. It symbolizes one of the three main branches of Buddhism, Vajrayana.

    Shaped like a club with a ribbed spherical head, the Vajra symbolizes the attributes of a diamond (purity and indestructibility) as well as the properties of lightning (irresistible energy) . It also represents endless creativity, skillful and powerful activity.

    In Tibetan Buddhism, the Vajra is also a ritual tool and is known as Dorje. It is used with a bell by lamas and other sadhana practitioners.

    Learn more at Vajra, five-branched ritual object widely used in Tibetan Buddhist ceremonies.


    In Zen Buddhism, ensō is a sacred symbol often called "The Circle of Enlightenment". It is a circle drawn by hand in one or two brush strokes to express a moment when the mind is free to let the body create. Some artists draw ensō as an open circle, while others complete the circle.

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    At first, ensō may seem like a crudely drawn circle, but it symbolizes many things: strength, elegance, the universe, our true self and the more intimate, the beauty in imperfection, and the oneness of all things in life.

    It also symbolizes the perfect meditative state or enlightenment. Ensō is a visual expression of the Heart Sutra. Form is empty and emptiness is form - a circle in which everything is contained within, or equally excluded by its boundaries.

    Learn more at Ensō | The Circle of Enlightenment in Buddhism

    Aum (Om)

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    Om, also written as Aum, is a mystical and sacred syllable that originates in Hinduism, but is now common to Buddhism and other religions.


    In Hinduism, Om is the first sound of creation and symbolizes the three stages of existence: birth, life and death.

    The best known use of Om in Buddhism is in Om Mani Padme Hum.


    By chanting or looking at the syllables, we invoke the compassion of the bodhisattva and instill his qualities. The letters AUM (Om) symbolize the body, mind and speech of the Buddha; “Mani” is for the path of teaching; “Padme” for the wisdom of the path, and “hum” denotes wisdom and the path to it.

    Learn more about What does the Aum/Om symbol mean?

    The Three Buddhist Jewels

    The Three Jewels are also called the Three Refuges. When a person accepts Buddhist teaching and wants to integrate it into their life, the traditional path is to take refuge with the three jewels, the most precious elements of the Buddhist path.

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The first jewel is the Buddha, enlightened or awakened, as well as our own Buddha nature. The second jewel is Dharma, the path that follows the teachings of the Buddha and leads to enlightenment. The Sangha is the third precious jewel.

    The three jewels are also a symbol for the spirit of the diamond, which can cut through all illusion. The yellow jewel symbolizes the Buddha, the blue jewel symbolizes the Dharma and the red jewel symbolizes the Sangha.

    Learn more at the Three Jewels

    The alms bowl

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The alms cup is one of the main symbols of monastic life. Every monk and nun receives a cup when they are initiated and carries it with them wherever they go. They accept any food offered for their nourishment and serve as a blessing to the giver. In this way, the bowl symbolizes the middle way between the giver and the receiver.

    According to legend, the aesthetic Siddhartha practiced austerity until he almost starved. A young woman offered him a golden bowl filled with rice and milk, which he took. After eating, he threw the bowl into the river, as a symbol of renunciation. This story symbolizes another aspect of the Middle Way, which is avoiding extreme practices and extreme attachments.

    Learn more at, Buddhist Object | The Alms Bowl

    Buddhist Bell

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    Since ancient times, temple bells have invited monks and nuns to meditation and ceremonies.

    The gentle sound of a bell during singing helps the disciples focus on the present moment and free themselves from daily worries.


    A feeling of peace and calm can beenhanced by the sound of the bell. For this reason, Wind bells are often hung from the eaves of stupas and temples to create peaceful, meditative spaces, with their ringing sounds.

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    The ringing of the bell is a symbol of the voice of the Buddha. It also represents wisdom and compassion, and is used to call celestial deities for protection and to ward off evil spirits. Many old temples have bells at the entrances that must be rung before entering. Bells are available in a wide range of sizes and styles.

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    Learn more about The Meaning of Buddhist Bells

    See also: Furin, Wind Chime & Wind bell

    Buddhist flag

    Buddhist Symbols and Their Meanings

    The six colors of the Buddhist flag represent the six colors of the Buddha's aura when he achieved enlightenment. Blue represents universal compassion, yellow for the middle way, red for blessings, white for purity and liberation, and orange for wisdom. The sixth color is the combination of the other colors and is not shown.


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    The flag was designed in 1880 by an American journalist, Colonel Henry Steele Olcott. The horizontal stripes represent harmony between races, and the vertical stripes represent peace between nations, all under the shield of Buddha's wisdom.

    Learn more about: Buddhist flags | History and significance


    PION Jean-Jacques

    Le bouddhisme m’a permis de faire taire le “murmure des fantômes” lié à 18 ans de maltraitance et de retrouver une santé physique et mentale. Grâce à lui, j’ai pu atténuer le poison de l’égo et avoir de la compassion pour ceux qui m’avaient profondément méprisé ou me méprisent encore. Je sais enfin qui je suis et le long chemin qu’il reste encore à faire. Quelqu’un a dit: “ce n’est pas le chemin qui est difficile, mais le difficile qui est le chemin”. Bon chemin à tous !

    Dohet Marthe

    Je suis très intéressée par le bouddhisme et ce qu’il représente. Merci beaucoup pour les enseignements qui sont mentionnées


    Le bouddhisme est très interressant

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