What are the main Geometric Symbols of Buddhism?
The symbols of Buddhism are shared amongst other religions of Asian countries such as Hinduism and Jainism. Yet, most would probably see the Dharma Wheel with its meaning t be the central Buddhist symbol. In this article, we will introduce you to the main Buddhist symbols.
What is Buddhism?
Buddhism is based on he teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, which means enlightened one, who lived more than 2,500 years ago in India. With about 470 million followers, Buddhism os one of the major world religions. Followers of Buddhism focus on achieving enlightenment, it is a way of life to achieve a state of inner peace and wisdom, also known as Nirvana. Buddhism as a variety of Symbols that it shares with Hinduism and Jainism. Let’s explore the main ones related to geometry directly or indirectly.
Probably the most prominent Buddhist symbol is the Dharma wheel with eight spokes. Also known as the Dharma Chakra which is Sanskrit and means Wheel of Dharma, you see it a lot on Buddhist temples, and designs. It stands for the eight fold path, in Yoga also know as the 8 limbs of Yoga. Just as a wheel turns it is also related to the idea of time and Karma. The Dharma is central to the path of Dharma, which means living a life in happiness by adhering to material detachment.
Om, Ohm or Aum
Om or Aum (ॐ) is a sound as well as the central spiritual symbol in Indian religions. It represents the beginning of the Universe, the ultimate reality or the Atman. It is a three syllable word that is chanted before meditation or rituals in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.We find this iconography in many ancient buildings, temples and manuscripts. In Tibetan Buddhism, the most well known mantra is “Om mani padme hum”, where Om is the totality of sound and consciousness.
The 14th Dalai Lama describes Om being composed of A, U, and M, which when chanted raises the energy through vibration from the heart to the third eye. Event hough not a geometric symbol in its nature, it does contain the mathematical symbols of zero, one, two and three.
In Buddhism, the swastika symbolises the seal of the Buddha’s heart. It is primarily related to Hinduism as a symbol for Brahma, the creator.
The lotus is a common symbol in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism and stands for purity. In Buddhism the blooming Lotus Flower symbolises the path of enlightenment from a closed bud to the opening of the flower, i.e. it represents faith. Each stage of the flower opening represents the steps one as to take on the spiritual path.
The endless or eternal knot stand for the infinity of the Universe. It is the connection between one’s spiritual path, the movement of time, and the omnipresent Buddha self. It also exists in other philosophies such as in China, Tibet and Mongolia.
Similarly to Christianity, the Fish Symbol of Buddhism is based on the geometric symbol called the Vesica Piscis.
Eyes of the Buddha
The eyes of Buddha are found in many Buddhists temples and stupas, which stand for the all-seeing eye of Lord Buddha. Often display in four directions, the eyes stand for North, East, South and West orientation of our experience. Also as the inner and external eyes, it is believed it depicts the external, material world and the inner world, the third eye. Also known as the Eyes of Wisdom, the can see beyond the world of matter and ignorance.
More Buddhist Symbols