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Symbols In Buddhism

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  • 1. Symbols in Buddhism Aim: To identify the main symbols used in Buddhism.
  • 2. Why Buddhism uses symbols?
    • Like all religions, Buddhism includes many ideas which are difficult to explain.
    • Using symbols helps to make things clear without having to use words.
    • In Buddhism, a symbol can express ideas about The Buddha and beliefs about life and enlightenment.
  • 3. The Three Jewels
    • The three jewels sum up the most precious part of Buddhist belief.
    • The 3 jewels represent:
    • The Buddha
    • The Dhamma
    • The Sangha (Buddhist community)
    • These remind Buddhists to follow the example of The Buddha and support others who are following the same path.
  • 4. The 8 Spoke Wheel
    • This is often used to represent Buddhism.
    • The 8 spokes represent the Noble Eightfold Path.
    • The wheel also looks like an ornate navigation wheel - a way to steer through out life.
  • 5. The Lotus Flower
    • A symbol of purity & goodness.
    • A lotus begins life in the mud at the bottom of a pond and rises to the surface to blossom.
    • It symbolises the passage from darkness to light, the passage from ignorance to wisdom – it represents enlightenment.
  • 6. Mandala
    • The mandala symbolizes the totality of existence, inner or outer.
    • It is a specially designed pattern made up of circles, squares and triangles – some include images of the Buddha.
    • Mandalas are used for focus in meditation.
    •  
  • 7. Stupa
    • The stupa is similar to an urn.
    • It is a symbolic grave monument where relics or the ashes of a holy monk are kept.
    • Stupas may also contain the ashes of lay Buddhists.
    • It also symbolizes the universe.
  • 8. Vajra
    • Translated as either Diamond or Thunderbolt.
    • Represents something hard and unbreakable like a diamond and also something sudden and powerful like a thunderbolt.
    • This symbolizes all that is powerful and determined about the Buddhist path. It is also a symbol of the indestructible state of enlightenment.
    • Often used in worship and ritual in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • 9. Symbolism on The Buddha
    • There are lots of symbols found on The Buddha himself (32)
    • The hand positions, mudras , and also the position of his body are significant.
    • A few of the most common symbols are…….
  • 10. Urna: Sometimes called the 3 rd eye in centre of forehead – this is a sign that Buddha can see things ordinary people could not. Flame above head (Ush nisha) : Illustrates enlightenment. Elongated Ears : Sign of wisdom. Half closed eyes : Sign of calmness. Curled hair: Represents a holy man.