The main symbols in Tibetan Buddhism are the Eight Auspicious Symbols. The Eight Auspicious Symbols can often be found on Buddhist and Tibetan jewelry.
These eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism are:
The lotus flower is an image that is very well known in Buddhist symbology. This is because nearly all Buddhist deities have some degree of association with this symbol.
There are three parts to the lotus flower. A lotus flower’s roots are found in the mud, the lotus flower’s stem then rises up through the water and above the water sits the flower. The three parts to this plant are very symbolic in Tibetan Buddhism because it symbolizes a person’s soul rising from the mud of materialism, up into the water of experience, and finally through to the sunshine of enlightenment. This symbol is extremely common on Buddha jewelry.
Two Golden Fishes
The golden fishes in Buddhism symbolise numerous different things. They symbolise fertility because of how rapidly they multiply and happiness because they can roam freely in the water. The pair of golden fishes also represent unity and fidelity. Sometimes Buddha is referred to as the ‘fisher of men.’ This is due to the fact that he saves people from the ocean of suffering. This symbol is commonly found on Buddha jewelry.
There are three parts to the wheel. These are the hub, the rim, and spokes. The wheel is in the shape of a circle, which is known across the world as being a shape that is complete and perfect, like the teachings of the Buddha.
A Conch Shell
In India, heroes of war (often mythological figures) were often depicted carrying a big white conch shell.
It is used in Tibetan Buddhism in the modern day to call together assemblies and other religious meetings. It is also used during rituals, as a place to keep holy water and to make music.
A Treasure Vase
In Buddhism the treasure vase symbolises the spiritual abundance of the Buddha, which lasts no matter how much spirituality he gave away.
An Endless Knot
The endless knot symbolises the interaction of dualistic forces culminating in their union which will lead to greater harmony in the universe. This is reflected in the regular design of the endless knot.
The endless knot also symbolises Buddha’s infinite wisdom because there is no beginning or end to it.
A Banner Proclaiming Victory
The victory banner symbolises Buddha’s enlightenment, and the triumph of knowledge over ignorance. Traditionally it was thought that this banner was put at the top of Mount Meru by Buddha to glorify his victory over the universe.
The parasol symbolises royalty and protection. By holding it over someone’s head it symbolises respect and honour. This symbol was so important in Vajrayana Buddhism that it became the symbol of the goddess Sitapatra
The eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism are always included to some degree in any religious ceremony whether in a banner, art or jewelry. Most Buddha jewelry will have one of the eight auspicious signs of Buddhism engraved into the silver locket.