A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z




Ashtamangala (अष्टमंगल)

Sanskrit. ‘Eight auspicious [things]’. Eight auspicious symbols, the first four of these being royal emblems associated with the Shakyamuni Buddha, the other four symbols of Buddhist religious belief. In Buddhism, these eight symbols of good fortune represent the offerings made by the gods to Buddha immediately after he gained Enlightenment. Some of these auspicious symbols were originally used at ceremonies in India, such as the inauguration or coronation of a king. Though there are some cultural variations, the eight auspicious symbols generally are: 1. the Chattra, parasol or umbrella (fig.), the symbol of a monarch, and representing spiritual authority and shelter for all living beings; 2. the Conch or shell (fig.), representing wisdom and victory; 3. the Kalasa or sacred vase, which holds the amrita, and symbolizes longevity, abundance and prosperity; 4. the Royal Banner or victory banner, which symbolizes charity and the incorruptible official, as well as the Buddha's victory over Mara, known as maravichaya, with Tibetan tradition having eleven different forms of this banner, representing the eleven levels of the World of Desire; 5. the Dhammachakka or wheel of life, which represents the ever-turning wheel of perpetual reincarnation, as well as the teachings of the Buddha, which are spread endlessly; 6. a Pair of Fish (fig.), often gold fish, which are symbol of tenacity, domestic felicity, as well as fertility and a state of fearless suspension in the harmless ocean of samsara, free and without danger of drowning; 7. the Endless Knot or Chinese Knot (fig.), a symbol of longevity and eternity, as well as a representation of the intertwining of wisdom and compassion, and the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs; and lastly 8. the Lotus (fig.), symbol of purity and Enlightenment, which refers to many aspects of the Eightfold Path. In Nepal, the eight auspicious symbols are often found on gates and doors (fig.), as well as on prayer wheels. Buddhist missionaries brought the Ashtamangala from India to China, where they became known as ba da ji xiang.