Eight Auspicious Symbols

Eight Auspicious Symbols on a Tibetan Banner
Detail of secret offerings from Attributes of Ma-cig dpal-gyi Lha-mo (protectress of Lhasa) in a Tibetan "rgyan tshogs" banner. Distemper painting by a Tibetan painter. unknown Tibetan painter

The Eight Auspicious Symbols (Ashtamangala in Sanskrit) are a group of lucky symbols that appear on many Buddhist textiles, objects and paintings. Each symbol represents an aspect of Buddhist teaching and when they appear together, their powers are multiplied.

The symbols derive from Indian iconography and have become especially popular in Tibetan Buddhism. The eight symbols are as follows:

  1. Parasol (chattra) - royalty and spiritual power
  2. Golden Fishes (suvarnamatsya) - good fortune, fertility and salvation
  3. Treasure Vase (kalasha) - spiritual and material abundance
  4. Lotus (padma) - mental and spiritual purity
  5. Conch Shell (sankha) - the fame of Buddha's teachings
  6. Endless Knot (shrivasta) - infinite wisdom of the Buddha
  7. Victory Banner (dhvaja) - victory of the Buddha's teachings and wisdom over ignorance
  8. Wheel (dharmachakra) - the teachings of the Buddha

Sources & Further Reading

  1. Kumar, Nitin. "The Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism - A Study in Spiritual Evolution." Exotic India Art. October 2003. Accessed 26 Jan 2017.
  2. McArthur, Meher. Reading Buddhist Art: An Illustrated Guide to Buddhist Signs and Symbols, 45. 2004.