Lotus (Sanskrit: Padma,Tibetan: པད་མེ)
Lotus represents 'primordial purity' of body, speech, and mind. The roots of a lotus are in the mud, the stem grows up through the water, and the heavily scented flower lies above the water, basking in the sunlight. This pattern of growth signifies the progress of the soul from the primeval mud of materialism, through the waters of experience, and into the bright sunshine of enlightenment.
The colour of the lotus too has an important bearing.
White Lotus : This represents the state of spiritual perfection and total mental purity. It is associated with the White Tara and proclaims her perfect nature, a quality which is reinforced by the colour of her body.
Red Lotus : This signifies the original nature and purity of the heart. It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion and all other qualities of the heart. It is the flower of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.
Blue Lotus : This is a symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, and signifies the wisdom of knowledge. Not surprisingly, it is the preferred flower of Manjushri, the bodhisattva of wisdom.
Pink Lotus : This the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest deity. Thus naturally it is associated with the Great Buddha himself.
Wheel: (Sanskrit: धर्मचक्र, Tibetan: འཀོར་ལོ།)
The wheel symbol is represented as a chariot wheel with eight or more spokes. It is one of the oldest known Buddhist symbols.
In Buddhism number of spokes of the wheel represents various meanings:
8 spokes representing the Noble Eightfold Path.
12 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination
24 spokes representing the Twelve Laws of Dependent Origination and the Twelve Laws of Dependent Termination.
31 spokes representing 31 realms of existence (11 realms of desire, 16 realms of form and 4 realms of formlessness).
Its overall shape is that of a circle, representing the perfection of the dharma teaching. The hub stands for discipline, which is the essential core of meditation practice .The rim, which holds the spokes, refers to mindfulness which holds everything together. Its underlying form is that of a circle, which is recognized across all traditions as a shape that is complete and perfect in itself, qualities which inform the teachings of the Buddha too.
Parasol: (Sanskrit: छत्ररत्न, Tibetan: རིནཆེན་གདུགས)
The Parasol is symbolized by the umbrella, whose important function is to cast a shadow, the shadow of protection. The parasol or umbrella is a symbol of both protection and royalty. The coolness of its shade symbolizes protection from the heat of suffering, desire, and other spiritually harmful forces.
The dome of the umbrella is held aloft by a vertical handle (just like the mountain upholds the sky), which is identified with the central axis upholding the world. The umbrella is carried above an important dignitary or the image of a deity, to indicate that the person or symbol below the umbrella is in fact the centre of the universe, and also its spiritual support.
In Tibet, depending on their status, various dignitaries were entitled to different parasols, with religious heads being entitled to a silk one and secular rulers to a parasol with embroidered peacock feathers. Exalted personalities such as the Dalai Lama are entitled to both, and in processions, first a peacock parasol and then a silk one is carried after him.
The dome symbolizes wisdom, and the hanging skirt, compassion. Thus the composite form of the parasol signifies the union of these dual elements.
Octagonal and square parasols are also common, representing the Noble Eightfold Path and the four directional quarters respectively.
Eternal knot (Sanskrit: श्रीवत्स, Tibetan: དཔལ་བེའུ)
The endless knot is a closed, graphic ornament composed of right-angled, intertwined lines. This image signifies the dramatic interplay and interaction of the opposing forces in the dualistic world of manifestation, leading to their union, and ultimately to harmony in the universe. This fact is amply reflected in the symmetrical and regular form of the endless knot. It represents the inter relatedness and interconnection of:
Wisdom and compassion
The mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs
The union of wisdom and method
The inseparability of emptiness and Dependent Co-arising
The union of wisdom and great compassion
The linking of ancestors and omnipresence and the magical ritual and meta-process of binding
The intertwining of lines reminds us how all phenomena are conjoined and yoked together as a closed cycle of cause and effect. Thus the whole composition is a pattern that is closed on in itself with no gaps, leading to a representational form of great simplicity and fully balanced harmony.
Since all phenomena are interrelated, the placing of the endless knot on a gift or greeting card is understood to establish an auspicious connection between the giver and the recipient. Since the knot has no beginning or end it also symbolizes the infinite wisdom of the Buddha.
Fish (Sanskrit: मत्स्य , Tibetan: གསེར་ཉ)
The fish represents the state of fearless suspension in the huge ocean. The pair of fishes originated as an ancient pre-Buddhist symbol of the two sacred rivers of India, Ganga and Yamuna. Symbolically, these two rivers represent the lunar and solar channels, which originate in the nostrils and carry the alternating rhythms of breath or prana. In Buddhism, the golden fishes symbolize happiness, as they have complete freedom in water. They represent fertility and abundance as they multiply very rapidly. Fish often swim in pairs, and in China they represented conjugal unity and fidelity, where a pair of fishes would often be given as a wedding present.
The Victory Banner (Sanskrit: Dhwaja, Tibetan: རྒྱལ་མཚན)