It is not known what the role of images, or symbology, played in Early Buddhism. Although many surviving images can be found, their symbolic or representative nature was not clearly explained in early texts.
Along with the arts of Mathura and the Greco-Buddhist art of Gandhara, and a combination of previous symbols. Various symbolic innovations were later introduced, especially through Tibetan Buddhism.
Today, we are quite familiar with the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Nepali Buddhism, which are:
- Endless knot.
- Lotus flower.
- Dharmachakra (fly-whisk in Nepali Buddhism)
- Golden Fish.
These are called the Ashtamangala and their symbols are used to help with spiritual teachings. Hinduism also uses groups of eight auspicious symbols during ceremonies, for example, a kings coronation.
Below are just a few of the symbols used within Buddhism. Their meanings usually represent something within natural spirit and help teach followers methods to embrace the energies and life power. The symbols rarely idolise the subject.