Eight Buddhist Symbol -- Conch Shell, Jar, Wheel of Life, Canopy, Lotus, Vase, Gold Fish, and Endless Knot

The Eight Buddhist Symbols are known as the Eight Auspicious Objects or ba1 ji2 xiang2 八吉祥. These eight objects are said to appear in the Buddha’s footprints.

Even though these Buddhist symbols have their origins in India and Tibet their religious meanings are all but lost by the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1911, and they are used as decorative and good fortune symbols.

  • Conch Shell
  • Conch Shell fa3 luo2 法螺 symbolizes a prosperous voyage. It signifies great travel luck and brings prosperity from being well known and respected far and wide overseas.

    In Buddhism, the conch represents the voice of Buddha and the spread of Buddha’s teachings (dharma) far and wide, strong and deep. The sea conch also symbolizes high rank and royalty.

  • Jar
  • The Jar bai2 gai4 白盖 is a receptacle for holy relics and thus highly valued by Buddhists.

    It is a Buddhist symbol of perpetual harmony and a triumph over life and death.

  • Wheel of Life
  • The Wheel of Life, fa3 lun2 法轮 also known as the Wheel of Truth, Wheel of Truth, Wheel of a Thousand Spokes, and Wheel of the Cosmos.

    The Wheel symbolizes the wisdom of Buddha’s teachings. The spokes of the wheel represent rays of light emanating from Buddha himself. The turning of the wheel represents the passing on of Buddha’s teachings through teachers or lamas.

    If you are looking for the meaning of life then the wheel is a Buddhist symbol you’ll like. The wheel is a symbol of inner peace and wisdom. It’s about inner growth and development and overcoming oneself to end suffering.

  • Canopy
  • Canopy bao2 san3 宝伞 is a symbol of protection against negative forces. It is also a sign of a person held in the highest respect. Thus a (picture of a) canopy or umbrella means victory and success in career.

    In the Buddhist sense the canopy is an auspicious sign meaning the conquest of one’s ego, an important step towards gaining enlightenment.

  • Lotus
  • Lotus lian2 hua1 莲花 is a symbol for faithfulness, purity and perfection. These stellar qualities of the lotus make it a very widely used symbol. The lotus symbol is described in detail here.

  • Vase
  • The Vase bao3 ping2 宝瓶 brings peace, happiness and harmony. Depending on what flowers are placed in the vase there are a variety of rich symbolic meanings. For instance, placing four season flowers in the vase creates peace all year round. The four season flowers are: plum blossoms for spring, peonies for summer, chrysanthemums for autumn and orchids for winter. Other items placed in the vase or designs on the vase can transform the vase into symbols of wealth and prosperity.

    As a Buddhist symbol, the vase is a receptacle for the blessings of Buddha, manifested in the form of pure nectar and white light.

  • Gold Fish
  • We already known the (gold) fish jin1 yu2 金鱼 represents wealth and abundance. Paired Fish shuang1 yu2 symbolizes marriage, conjugal harmony, and fertility. It is a very joyful symbol for lovers and spouses.

    From a Buddhist perspective the freely moving fish averts disasters. The double fish symbol worn as an amulet either as a pendant or kept in the wallet protects the wearer from bad things – accidents, bad intentions of others, evil etc.

  • Endless Knot
  • The Endless Knot pan2 chang2 盘长 is a Buddhist symbol that means infinity, eternity and longevity. This long twist “swallows its own tail”.

    This meaning is based on the Buddhist philosophy that life is an endless cycle of birth and rebirth – a state known as samsara. Pan chang reminds Buddhists of this truth of existence.

    At a less spiritual level, the endless knot symbolizes “a long life undisrupted by illness, setbacks or sufferings.”

    The knot is also a lucky love symbol (“endless love”) used to bless a marriage.

    It is a very popular decorative symbol and is carved into furniture, woven into carpets, embroidered onto clothing and accessories, painted onto porcelain, used in window grid designs etc.