illustrated landscape with a bird, building, and statue

Buddhist Religious Symbols

Symbols icon
  • sketch of a Buddhist canopy (Dhvaja)

    Canopy (Dhvaja)

    The canopy is often carried as a banner representing the victory of Buddha’s teachings.

  • sketch of Buddhist umbrella (Chattra)

    Umbrella (Chattra)

    The umbrella is thought to stand as protection against all evil. It is also carried by high ranking officials and nobles as a symbol of royalty.

  • sketch of a pair of Golden Fish (Matsyayugma)

    Golden Fish (Matsyayugma)

    In Buddhism, the golden fish, often shown in pairs, represents salvation from suffering and is the symbol of fertility.

  • sketch of an intricate knot (Shrivasta)

    Infinite Knot (Shrivasta)

    Also known as the endless knot, the infinite knot symbolizes long life and never ending love.

  • sketch of Lotus flower (Padma)

    Lotus (Padma)

    The Buddhists consider the lotus as divine because it serves as Buddha’s throne. The lotus also symbolizes divine birth, sovereignty, and spontaneity because the flower reproduces from its own matrix, unlike other flowers.

    The lotus flower grows in the mud, then rises and blooms above the water surface. This is analogous to Buddha who was born into the world but now exists above it. As a result, the lotus also symbolizes perfection, purity, enlightenment, fruitfulness, and spiritual strength. When worshipers offer the lotus to Buddha, it represents their surrender to his divine rule and existence.

  • sketch of conch shell (Sankha)

    Conch (Sankha)

    The conch has a special quality in that one can blow into it to emit different sounds. It was used in ancient India to transmit military orders among the troops. Thus, the conch became associated with authority and royalty. It is this symbolic association that was later adopted into Buddhism.

    In Buddhism, the conch symbolizes the propagation of the law in the world. The conch also represents the universality and strength of the law. Conch shells were held sacred because of their clockwise spiraling structure, which was believed linked to the sun and heavenly constellations.

  • sketch of a Vase (Kalasha)

    Vase (Kalasha)

    The vase of abundance contains the water of immortality. It also represents spiritual wealth.

  • sketch of wheel (Dharmachakra)

    Wheel of Law (Dharmachakra)

    The wheel of law is a symbol of Buddha’s teachings. The eight spokes represent the eightfold path. Together, they embody completion and salvation through Buddha’s teaching.