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Right-coiled White Conch

The white conch which coils to the right symbolises the deep, far-reaching and melodious sound of the Dharma teachings, which being appropriate to different natures, predispositions and aspirations of disciples, awakens them from the deep slumber of ignorance and urges them to accomplish their own and others' welfare.

The precious umbrella symbolises the wholesome activity of preserving beings from illness, harmful forces, obstacles and so forth in this life and all kinds of temporary and enduring sufferings of the three lower realms, and the realms of men and gods in future lives. It also represents the enjoyment of a feast of benefit under its cool shade.

Precious Umbrella

The victory banner symbolises the victory of the activities of one's own and others body, speech and mind over obstacles and negativitities. It also stands for the complete victory of the Buddhist Doctrine over all harmful and pernicious forces.

Victory Banner

The golden fish symbolises the auspiciousness of all living beings in a state of fearlessness, without danger of drowning in the ocean of sufferings, and migrating from place to place freely and spontaneously, just as fish swim freely without fear through water.

Golden Fish

Dharma Wheel

The golden wheel symbolises the auspiciousness of the turning of the precious wheel of Buddha's doctrine, both in its teachings and realizations, in all realms and at all times, enabling beings to experience the joy of wholesome deeds

and liberation.

The auspicious drawing symbolises the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs. Similarly, it represents the union of wisdom and method, the inseparability of emptiness and dependent arising at the time of path, and finally, at the time of enlightenment, the complete union of wisdom and great compassion.

Auspicious Drawing

The lotus flower symbolises the complete purification of the defilements of the body, speech and mind, and the full blossoming of wholesome deeds in blissful liberation.

Lotus Flower

Vase of Treasure

The treasure vase symbolises an endless rain of long life, wealth and prosperity and all the benefits of this world and liberation.

White lotus
This symbolizes Bodhi, the state of total mental purity and spiritual perfection, and the pacification of our nature. It generally has eight petals corresponding to the Noble Eightfold Path of the Good Law. It is the lotus found at the heart of the Garbhadhatu Mandala, being the womb or embryo of the world. It is characteristic of the esoteric sects, and the

lotus of the Buddhas.

Red lotus
This symbolizes the original nature of the heart (hrdaya). It is the lotus of love, compassion, passion, activity and all the qualities of the heart. It is the lotus of Avalokitesvara.

Blue lotus
This is the symbol of the victory of the spirit over the senses, of intelligence and wisdom, of knowledge. It is always represented as a partially opened bud, and (unlike the red lotus) its centre is never seen. It is the lotus of Manjusri, and also one of the attributes of Prajnaparamita, the embodiment of the 'perfection of wisdom'.

Pink lotus
This is the supreme lotus, generally reserved for the highest deity, sometimes confused with the white lotus it is the lotus of the historical Buddha.

Purple lotus
This is the mystic lotus, represented only in images belonging to a few esoteric sects. The flowers may be in full bloom and reveal their heart, or in a bud. They may be supported by a simple stem, a triple stem (symbolizing the three divisions of Garbhadhatu: Vairocana, lotus and vajra), or a quintuple stem (symbolizing the Five Knowledges of Vajradhatu). The eight petals represent the Noble Eightfold Path and the eight principal acolyte deities of the central deity on the mandalas. The flowers may also be depicted presented in a cup or on a tray, as a symbol of homage.

Ritual offering of beads

Beads are mainly used to count mantras, which can be recited for four different purposes: To appease, To increase, To overcome, or Tame by forceful means.

The beads used to count mantras intended to appease should be of crystal, pearl or mother of pearl, and should at least be clear or white in colour. A rosary for this purpose should have one hundred such beads. Mantras counted on

these beads serve to clear away obstacles, such as illness and other calamities, and purify one of unwholesomeness. The beads used with mantras intended to increase should be of gold, silver, copper or lotus seeds and a string of beads is made of 108 of them. The mantras counted on these serve to increase life span, knowledge and merit. The beads used with mantras, which are intended to overcome, are made from a compound of ground sandal wood, saffron and other fragrant substances. There are twenty-five beads on this mala. The mantras counted on them are meant to tame others, but the motivation for doing so should be a pure wish to help other sentient beings and not to benefit oneself. The beads used to recite mantras aiming at subduing beings through forceful means should be made from raksha seeds or human bones in a string of sixty. Again, as the purpose should be absolutely altruistic, the only person capable of performing such a feat is a Bodhisattva motivated by great compassion for a being who can be tamed through no other means, for example extremely malicious spirits, or general afflictions, visualized as a dense black ball. Beads made of Bodhi seed or wood can be used for many purposes, for counting all kinds of mantras, as well as other prayers, prostrations, circumambulations and so forth. The string common to all beads should consist of nine threads, which symbolize Buddha Vajradhara and the eight Bodhisattvas. The large bead at the end stands for the wisdom which cognises emptiness and the cylindrical bead surmounting it, emptiness itself, both symbolize having vanquished all opponents.

Gesture of Turning the Wheel of Dharma


The thumb and index finger of the right hand stand for wisdom and method combined. The other three raised fingers symbolize the teaching of the Buddhist doctrine, which leads sentient beings to the paths of the beings of three capacities. The position of the left hand symbolizes the beings of the three capacities, who follow the combined path of method and wisdom.

Gesture of Meditation
The nerve channel associated with the mind of enlightenment (Bodhichitta) passes through the thumbs. Thus, joining of the two thumbs in this gesture is of auspicious significance for the future development of the mind of enlightenment.

Gesture of Bestowal of Supreme Accomplishment


The gesture of the right hand symbolizes bestowal of supreme accomplishment. That of the left hand symbolizes meditation. Together, they stand for the Buddha's power to bestow supreme and general accomplishments on his disciples, while he meditates.

Gesture of Pressing the Earth


The right hand gestures pressing the earth to bear witness. The position of the left hand symbolizes meditation. Together, they stand for the Buddha's overcoming of hindrances while meditating. This gesture 'of touching the earth' or 'calling the earth to witness', commemorates Gautama Buddha's victory over temptation by the demon Mara.

Gesture of Turning the Wheel of Dharma while in Meditation


The gesture of the right hand stands for turning the wheel of Dharma, while that of the left hand symbolizes meditation. The two conjoined symbolize teaching the Dharma while