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Buddhist Symbols

Om Mani Padme Hum

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Om Mani Padme Hum

This mantra is the most well-known Tibetan Buddhist mantra. It is pronounces by Tibetans as om mani peme hung. This mantra is especially important to devotees of the Dalai Lama, because he is said to be an incarnation of Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara). Chenrezig is a very important deity to Tibetans in general, and is known as the Tibetan's Buddha. The exact translation of 'om mani padme hum' is 'hail to the jewel in the lotus'. But here are two experts on the subject.

 

From His Holiness the Dalai Lama

It is very good to recite the mantra Om mani padme hum, but while you are doing it, you should be thinking on its meaning, for the meaning of the six syllables is great and vast …. The first, OM … symbolizes the practitioner’s impure body, speech, and mind; it also symbolizes the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha….

The path is indicated by the next four syllables. MANI, meaning jewel, symbolizes the … altruistic intention to become enlightened, compassionate and loving….

The two syllables, PADME, meaning lotus, symbolize wisdom….

Purity must be achieved by an indivisible unity of method and wisdom, symbolized by the final syllable HUM, which indicates indivisibility….

Thus the six syllables, om mani padme hum, mean that in dependence on the practice of a path which is an indivisible union of method and wisdom, you can transform your impure body, speech, and mind into the pure exalted body, speech, and mind of a Buddha….

— His Holiness the Dalai Lama, www.sacred-texts.com* and Wikipedia

 
From Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

The mantra Om Mani Päme Hum is easy to say yet quite powerful, because it contains the essence of the entire teaching.

When you say the first syllable Om it is blessed to help you achieve perfection in the practice of generosity, Ma helps perfect the practice of pure ethics, and Ni helps achieve perfection in the practice of tolerance and patience.

Pä, the fourth syllable, helps to achieve perfection of perseverance, Me helps achieve perfection in the practice of concentration, and the final sixth syllable Hum helps achieve perfection in the practice of wisdom.

So in this way recitation of the mantra helps achieve perfection in the six practices from generosity to wisdom. The path of these six perfections is the path walked by all the Buddhas of the three times. What could then be more meaningful than to say the mantra and accomplish the six perfections?

— Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Heart Treasure of the Enlightened Ones,  ISBN 0-87773-493-3

The Eight Auspicious Symbols, The Ashmatangala

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These eight auspicious symbols of Buddhism are:

1.) The Conch Shell- The conch shell represents the thoughts of Buddha. The conch shell also symbolizes a way for the teachings of Buddhism to be spread throughout the world.

2.) The Lotus Flower- The lotus symbol in Buddhism represents the true nature of humans, that can rise above the darkness and become enlightened.

3.) The Dharma Wheel- The dharma wheel has eight spokes, which represent the eight-fold path of Tibetan Buddhism.

4.) The Parasol (Umbrella)- The parasol symbolizes the protection of the dharma for all humans.

5.) The endless Knot (The Eternity Knot)- This symbol represents the interconnectedness of all things, and the union of compassion and wisdom.

6.) A Pair of Golden Fishes- This symbol was originally representative of the two rivers, the Ganges and the Yumana, and is now a symbol of good fortune for Buddhists, Hindus, and Jains as well.

7.) The Victory Banner- This symbol represents the victory of the teachings of the Buddha over harmful forces in the world.

8.) The Treasure Vase- The vase of treasure symbolizes good fortune and a long and happy life.

The Seven Chakras

What are the Chakras? The seven Chakras are certain spots in our bodies where energy flows. Chakras are important energy centers in our bodies, because a blocked Chakra is believed to cause physical and emotional illness. We offer singing bowl sets that help heal all your Chakras at once, and we also have special noted singing bowls where you can buy exactly the note you need to heal your Chakras. We also offer prayer beads for healing Chakras.

Here is a list of the Chakras and the colors associated with each Chakra for your reference…

  1. Root Chakra- The root chakra is located at the base of the spine. (Close to your tailbone.) The root chakra is also called the base Chakra, and this Chakra deals with the idea of being connected to the earth, grounded, and in control of finances.
  2. Sacral Chakra- The Sacral Chakra is located in the lower part of your stomach, two inches below your naval. The Sacral Chakra deals with our connection to those around us, and our ability to get along with new people we meet and to embrace new experiences. The correction of the Sacral Chakra will lead to a better sense of fulfillment, happiness, desire and acceptance of pleasure, and being comfortable with our own sexuality.
  3. Solar Plexus Chakra- The Solar Plexus Chakra is located in the upper abdomen. This Chakra is connected to our ability to feel like we control our own destiny and our feeling of being an important asset to the world.
  4. Heart Chakra- The Heart Chakra is located in the center of your chest, above your heart. The heart chakra concerns our ability to give love and receive love, and our feeling of love, happiness, peacefulness, and our sense that all is well in the world and in our lives.
  5. Throat Chakra- The Throat Chakra is located in the center of your throat. The throat chakra deals with our ability to speak and be heard, and listen to others. A strong throat chakra will allow us to communicate and be open with those around us, express our thoughts and feelings to others, and helps us speak the truth without fear.
  6. Third Eye Chakra- The Third Eye Chakra is located in the center of the forehead between your eyes. The third eye chakra concerns our ability to see the whole picture, and our ability to mull over things, come to a conclusion, and make good decisions. The idea of the third eye is an extra eye to intuit and use more than our five senses.
  7. Crown Chakra- The Crown Chakra is located on the top of your head. This chakra deals with an ability to connect spiritually, find peace in meditation and other forms of spirituality, and our acceptance of the inner and outer beauty found within ourselves, and those around us.

Dragons in Tibetan Buddhism

The dragons of the east are far different from their western counterparts. In Western mythology the dragon is always a fearsome creature, but in the East dragons are known to bring luck. The dragon as a symbol became enshrined in Buddhism when Buddhism was brought to China and it mixed with China’s dragon, a creature with the power to give rain, unlike the fire-breathing cave dragons of the West.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the dragon has positive connotations as well. The dragon is a protector of Buddhism and one of the four dignities, along with the tiger, the snow lion, and the garuda. The Four Dignities are mythical creatures, representative of strength, protection, and cheerfulness. The dragon is a powerful symbol in Buddhism, who brings power and is symbolic of the water element, and the dragon also symbolizes compassion. If you hang a banner with a dragon in your home, it protects you from the effects of gossip and slander.

Many countries in Asia also use the Chinese zodiac calendar, including Tibet. So the dragon is one of the 12 signs. People born in the year of the dragon are said to be artistic and creative, powerful, and possess good fortune. Negatively, people born in the year of the dragon are said to be stubborn and intent on winning. In Chinese mythology the dragon is a spirit animal, and is joined by the phoenix, the unicorn, and the tortoise. Dragons are common symbols in Tibetan Buddhist art and jewelry. The dragon is commonly shown with his counterpart, the phoenix.