Buddhist Symbols and Icons:Buddha ImagesStupaLotus FlowerBuddhapadaThe Wheel of LifeMandala
Buddhism is very rich in symbols the are a way to help clarify the abstract teachings of the Buddha.
The next few slides will outline some of the major symbols and icons used in the Buddhist tradition.
Buddha ImagesThe portrayal of the Buddha differs according to the part of the world where his image is foundHe often appears standing, seated in the lotus position, or lying downHe is often dressed as a monk with his left shoulder covered and right shoulder bare
Buddha Images TibetanChineseReclinedMalaysian
MundrasMundras are hand gestures that Buddhists developed from the Hindu tradition
They are used in meditation or seen on Buddha images
There are many mundras which represent different states of mind
Types of MundrasTurning of the Dharma WheelMeditationPressing the EarthBestowal of Supreme Accomplishment Turning of the Dharma wheel while in meditation
StupasStupas are domed shaped mounds that were built to house the relics of the Buddha or other holy figuresAlmost every Buddhist temple has one
A pilgrimage to a stupa and the construction of a small stupa are considered to be merit-gaining activities
Images of Stupas
The Lotus FlowerThe Lotus Flower is one of the eight Buddhist auspicious symbolsSoon after Siddharthas enlightenment, he had a vision of the human race as a bed of lotus flowers. Some where stuck in the muck, others were emerging from it, while others were about to bloom. In the same way, all people have the ability to develop their potential and rise from an undesirable life (style).
BuddhapadaThe representation of Buddhas footprints are found in all Buddhist countriesThey are usually carved in stone The toes are all the same lengthUsually a dharma wheel is centered on the sole of each foot print
The Wheel of LifeThe wheel of life is a complete visual representation of samsara the endless cycle of uncontrollable rebirths
The wheel is held in the teeth of Yama, lord of death. No-one being in the wheel is outside of the control of death.
Mandala These designs, created with colored sand, are a representation of the center of the universe in which a fully awakened being standsOnce the mandala is completed, prayers and chants are recited before it is swept away this represents the impermanence of the world.