Buddhism is a religion based solely on Buddha's teachings, who spent a better part of his life teaching that material possessions were not the key to happiness. Instead, he taught that morality, wisdom, and being content played a major role in contributing to one’s happiness.
To date, religion has over 500 million followers worldwide, with a larger portion being in the Asian continent.
Buddhists make use of a particular set of symbols to represent certain aspects of dharma. These Buddhist symbols are used in Buddhism as a way of illustrating Buddha’s teachings. According to East Asian cultures, most of these symbols represent the various gifts that God made to Buddha when he achieved enlightenment.
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The meaning of life in Buddhism
The sole purpose of life in Buddhism is to end suffering. As humans, the teachings state that we will continue to suffer if we are continually striving after material things that do not give a long-lasting solution to happiness. The unending quest to hold on to these things often leads to desperation and causes sorrow.
It’s undeniable that material things give us joy, but none of them lasts forever, which means that their loss often causes more suffering.
Buddha usually focused his teachings on this problem and its solution. He taught the importance of recognizing the impermanence of material things to free ourselves from excessive attachment.
When a person is not very much attached to material things, it lessens the suffering and eventually ends the rebirth cycle.
The Buddha and early Buddhists advocated the monastic life as the surest way to accomplish enlightenment. It’s generally believed in Buddhism that one has to be reborn as a nun or as a monk before attaining enlightenment.
One can also attain enlightenment through contemplation, yoga, and other ritual means through mantras and special postures.
A brief history of symbolism in Buddhism
Buddhism is a religion that is centered on compassion and wisdom and dates to way back. For this reason, it has a bucket load of history. 7.1 percent of the total world population is Buddhist- this translates to over 500 million followers worldwide. Buddhism has numerous teachings and symbols that help people to learn about the religion itself.
Buddhism's symbolism is believed to date back to a couple of centuries that immediately followed Buddha’s death.
At this time, people started representing Buddha’s teachings through art and symbols. One of the earliest symbols was the wheel of dharma, which Buddha used to illustrate his teachings. The historical Buddha lived during the 6thcentury BCE.
The use of symbolism in Buddhism may also be attributed to the fact that Buddha used quite a several images in his teachings. After his death and as Buddhism continued to spread, Buddhism symbols became more common.
The first archeological evidence was first comprised of art symbols, mainly stone carvings that date back to the period when Emperor Asoka reigned. He played a huge role in popularizing Buddhism and helping it spread inside India and beyond.
Some of the earliest and most popular symbols in Buddhism include the lotus flower, the stupa, and the Dharma wheel. The lotus flower is used in different instances to represent different things.
The wheel also features 8 spokes, and all of them have different meanings. The first actual Buddha images appeared around the first century BCE, so the artwork was largely symbolic in nature.
A whole lot of artwork and symbolism appeared around the 6thcentury, including mandalas and other Tantric symbols. Initially, in East Asia Cultures, Buddhism did not portray the Buddha himself; the first hint of human representation appeared with the Buddha footprint.
Buddhist Symbols And Their Meanings
There are several symbols used in Buddhism, most of which stem from the teachings of the Buddha. Some of them arise from different cultures, as Buddhism is passed down to represent the peoples’ faith and religious beliefs.
The symbols in Buddhism are pretty interesting to learn about. These symbols are considered sacred and used in various ceremonies, such as the inauguration of a newly-chosen king and ceremonies to represent offerings to the gods. The symbols are also used as decorative art in monasteries or as a focal point during meditation.
Here are some of the prominent yet standard symbols found in the Buddhism culture:
- The image of the great Buddha
This is the most recognized image in Buddhism. This, however, does not mean that the other symbols are not important.
The symbol contains some minor symbols, such as the 3 curved lines on the neck area, symbolizing Buddha’s deep voice.
You will find it mainly in Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos, Cambodia, and China. It appears in infinite sizes and shapes, but the general outlines are the same, and there is no mistaking the Buddha.
2. The Triratna or The Three Jewels
The three jewels symbolize the three things that we, as humans, take refuge in. These are the Buddha, the Dharma (the teachings), and the Sangha (the monastic community).
The symbol of the “Triple Gem” is an important part of Buddhism since way back and is also an integral path of the Buddhist path.
3. The footprint of the Buddha or the Buddhapada
This symbol may incorporate an imprint of either one or both of Gautama Buddha’s feet. It was one of the earliest representations of the Buddha's physical presence when there were no statues in Buddhism.
Today, the footprints represent Buddha’s absence since he has now entered nirvana.
The Buddhapada reminds us of two things:
- That the Buddha was also human, as he walked on this planet
- That there is a path to be followed, and the “Enlightened One” left the prints as a guide.
There are two forms of the footprints: those that occur naturally in stones and human-made ones. The artificial ones are replicas of the “real” footprints and are considered representations of Buddha’s footprints throughout Asia.
The footprints usually have marks that set them apart, such as the Dharma wheel found at the sole's center. Other distinctive marks that can be found on the footprints include the lotus flower, the swastika, or the three jewels.
Other footprints are quite large and very detailed. They feature the 32, 108, or the 132 auspicious signs of the Buddha are engraved on the sole following a checkerboard pattern.
The footprints are depicted with all the toes having a corresponding length. The sculptures are usually found in temples where they are protected using special structures where believers bring offerings to.
4. The Bodhi Tree or Leaf
Bodhi means “enlightenment.” The Bodhi Tree is also referred to as Bo. It plays a huge role in the religious beliefs of Buddhists and the history of Buddhism.
It is believed that Gautama Buddha was sitting under a Bodhi tree when he got enlightened. This specific tree was located in Bodh Gaya, about 100km from Patna in Bihar. It is a major destination for pilgrims and is the most important pilgrimage site among the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.
The sacred Bodhi Tree is depicted as a large and old fig tree with prominently displayed heart-shaped leaves. Today, there are only two sacred Bodhi trees in existence, which Buddhists believe originated from the original tree under which Buddha got enlightened.
One of the trees is in Anuradhapura, and the other is in Sravasti. It takes anywhere between 100 and 3,000 years for a Bodhi tree to become fully grown.
To Buddhists, the Bodhi Tree is a symbol of salvation and hope. The tree may also be used to represent Buddha’s victory over suffering as well as inner peace. The main reason the tree symbolizes liberation is that it is under such a tree that the Buddha achieved liberation in the form of enlightenment.
5. The Dharma Wheel
The Dharma Wheel is also referred to as the Dharmachakra, the “Wheel of Truth/Law,” or the “Wheel of Transformation.” It is one of the most important symbols in Buddhism that’s used to represent the teachings of the Buddha and represents Gautama Buddha himself.
After the Buddha achieved enlightenment, Brahma appeared to him and offered the Dharma wheel.
The turning of the wheel is a metaphor for the rapid spiritual change engendered by the teachings of the Buddha. The “first turning of the wheel of dharma” took place at the Deer Park in Sarnath while the “second and third turnings of the wheel of dharma” took place at Rajgir and Shravasti, respectively.
The Dharmachakra represents rebirth; it also teaches that reincarnation can only be escaped by following the Buddha's teachings. Yama is the name of the creature that turns the wheel. Yama is the Lord of Death and therefore represents the inevitability of death. However, the presence of the Buddha outside of the wheel represents liberation.
Wheel of Dharma, common decoration in India and Nepal
The basic parts of the dharma wheel that were a huge part of the Buddha’s teachings:
- The wheel’s hub represents a moral discipline that leads to a stable mind.
- The wheel’s spokes represent wisdom that one has to apply for them to beat ignorance.
- The wheel’s rim represents focus and concentration, which helps us to hold everything together.
The outer circle of the wheel represents the 12 links of dependent origination, as stated below:
- On the top right is a blind man with a cane. He represents our ignorance of the true nature of the world.
- A potter molding a pot, moving clockwise. He represents the fact that we shape our own destiny with our actions.
- A monkey climbing a tree. He represents the consciousness of our mind, which wanders out of control.
- The consciousness which gives rise to name and form. This is depicted as people who are traveling on a boat on the river of life.
- An empty house whose doors and windows represent the developing sensory organs. The six senses are sight, smell, taste, hearing, touch, and thought.
- Thought, which is the sixth sense, allows us to have contact with the world. This is represented as an embrace between lovers.
- An arrow piercing the eye. This represents the human feelings, which can either be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral. Once we have contact with the world, we can feel.
- A man drinking alcohol or a couple falling in love. They represent our desires or our attachment to pleasant feelings.
- A monkey picking fruit(s). This represents the grasping of things that we desire
- From grasping, there arises existence. This is represented by a man and a woman making love.
- Existence culminates in birth, which marks the entry into the human realm. This is represented by a woman giving birth.
- After birth, we all age and ultimately end up dead. This is represented by an older man carrying a burden.
The wheel's middle ring symbolizes the six realms of existence: humans, gods, demi-gods, animals, hell-beings, and hungry ghosts.
Within the wheel’s inner circle, you will find symbols of the three root delusions: a snake symbolizing hatred, a rooster symbolizing ignorance, and a pig symbolizing greed.
The wheel’s spokes represent the Noble Eightfold Path that the Buddha set out during his teachings. Here are the eight steps that help us to achieve liberation from the cycle of rebirth and suffering on earth:
- Right View: Actions have consequences, even after death. This is where the concepts of karma and rebirth are included.
- Right, Resolve: Create an environment of kindness and impermanence.
- Right Speech: Avoid lying, rudeness, gossip, and other negative types of speech.
- Right Conduct: Don’t steal, injure, assault, or kill others.
- Right Livelihood: Limit possessions to only the essentials that you require for a normal life.
- Right Effort: Work to prevent unwholesome states and thoughts which can disrupt meditation.
- Right Mindfulness: Always remain conscious of your thoughts and actions.
- Right Samadhi. Practice the four stages of meditation to unify the mind.
Today, you will often find the Dharmachakra on images of the mandala or the Buddha; the Dharma Wheel appears on the palms of the Buddha’s hands and the soles of his feet.
Some wrathful deities are depicted brandishing the Dharma Wheel as a weapon to conquer evil. The Hindu god Vishnu uses the wheel to conquer earthly desires and passions.
The Dharma Wheel is the final stage on the path towards a permanent relief from suffering; it’s the final goal according to the Buddha's teachings. The Victory Banner and the Knot of Eternity combine and lead towards the Dharma Wheel.
6. The Umbrella or The Parasol (Chhatra)
Normally, the umbrella offers protection against different elements such as rain and the scorching sun. The parasol is the Buddhist symbol for strength and protection from harm, illness, obstacles, and difficulties.
In East Asian Cultures, the umbrella or parasol symbol represents the safety and refuge offered by the Buddha and his teachings.
The symbol not only represents protection but is also a symbol of dignity, wisdom, and compassion. The parasol could also be used to represent the peace and cal that it provides. The meaning of the symbol varies depending on the shape of the umbrella. Sometimes, the dome's shape is octagonal to represent the Eightfold Path—other times its square to represent the four directional quarters.
Because one had to be rich to possess an umbrella, it represents wealth or royalty by extension.
7. The Lotus (Padma) Flower
Among all the symbols in Buddhism, the lotus flower is the most famous and widely recognized of the peace symbol images. It symbolized inner peace, humanity, and life. The concept of inner peace being able to lift us is an important cornerstone of Buddhism.
The Lotus Flower is a Buddhist Symbol for enlightenment. It also symbolizes “primordial purity” of the bid, speech, and mind, floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire.
What beautiful flower can teach us?
The mud represents suffering, which is a vital part of human life to make us stronger. The struggle and suffering teach us to break free and resist the temptations of the evil one.
Choosing the right path makes us one with the Buddha. Purity is an essential aspect for you to progress down the path of enlightenment to emulate the Buddha's purity.
The lotus flower is significant teaching, not only in Buddhism but also for humanity. It brings hope and represents faith. The lotus’ beauty hides a dark underside. This is very uplifting teaching.
The lotus represents our ability to live with wisdom and purity above the murky waters below. What this means is that the lotus grows out of the muck and into something beautiful. Even though the roots are stuck deep in the mud, the lotus still gives beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers.
For this reason, the lotus is used to symbolize the full blossoming and transformation from suffering into blissful liberation. The lotus flower has eight petals, which also represent the Eightfold Path of the Good Law. Once all the petals are fully open, that represents total enlightenment.
In Buddhism, different-colored lotus flowers have different meanings. Here is their significance:
This represents the purity of the mind, body, and spirit. White symbolizes the heart of the Buddha. The color is associated with the White Tara and proclaims her perfect nature, a quality that gets reinforced by her body's color.
This represents the heart, love, and compassion. Red lotus flowers symbolize the emotional attachment of the heart and other heart-centered emotions such as passion.
This represents wisdom, intelligence, knowledge, and learning. The blue lotus flower is used to symbolize the victory of the spirit over the senses. It’s often depicted as being only partially open, so its center is not seen.
This represents the Supreme Buddha as well as the traditional and historical Buddhism. The pink lotus flower is considered to be the true lotus of the highest deity- the Buddha.
This represents mysticism and spirituality. Usually, the purple lotus is depicted as having either one or three stems. The petals are shown closed and opened; at times, it’s depicted as a bud, and other times, it’s depicted as being fully bloomed. These representations symbolize the different mystical and spiritual stages in the journey that we take towards enlightenment and self-awareness.
This represents total enlightenment and is often used to represent the Buddha.
8. The Lion
The lion is another important Buddhist symbol that represents the Buddha’s royal past. The lion represents the power of the Buddha's teachings, which are considered to be as powerful as a lion’s roar.
In addition to representing the strength and power of the Buddhist message, the lion's symbol is also a representation of royalty.
The lion symbolizes the royalty that the Buddha was a part of before he attained enlightenment- tradition has it that he was a prince. The lions are usually depicted on the throne that the Buddha sits on.
9. The Two Golden Fish
The two golden fishes are a symbol of happiness and freedom. Initially, the two fishes represented the two main rivers of India- the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. These two rivers are associated with the solar and lunar channels that originate in the nostrils and carry the alternating rhythms of breath.
In Buddhism, the fish are a symbol of luck and fortune. They also symbolize happiness and fearlessness.
This is because the fishes are free to move around in the water with enough courage to face the unknown dangers in the ocean. Symbol of luck and fortune
Just as the fish swim freely in the water, it teaches us that we also have the ability to move around freely in this world of suffering and delusion.
The fish also represent abundance and fertility. This symbolism can be attributed to the reproduction rate of fishes.
The symbol of the two golden fishes also represents conjugal unity in marriage. This is because fishes swim side-by-side- a pair of fishes is a common gift to newly-weds during weddings. The fishes appear standing vertically, with their heads downward (inwards towards each other) and their tails in the air. They’ve often depicted swimming just above a half-ring of red waves.
The symbol of the two golden fishes represents the two main pillars of all Buddha teachings: peace and harmony. These two are a critical part of the journey towards enlightenment.
10. The Conch Shell (Sankha)
In Buddhism, the Conch Shell is used as a symbol of the sound of the Buddhadharma awakening beings to their ‘Buddha nature.’ The sound reaches far and wide and is intended to make us see our ignorance and awaken from the deep slumber of ignorance.
The realizations that fill up our mind on the journey to enlightenment are known as the Dharma Jewel.
The deep, melodious, and pervasive sound urges believers to accomplish their welfare and the welfare of others.
The shell is white in color and features a coil that coils to the right. The rightward spiral is extremely rare in nature and, therefore, represents the rare gift of the Buddha to us through his teachings.
At some point in the East Asian traditions, the conch was used as a battle horn.
11. The Treasure Vase/ The Urn of Wisdom (Bumpa)
In Buddhism, the vase is a symbol of bountiful treasure, which is the knowledge that is the Buddha's teaching.
It may also represent health, wealth, prosperity, long life, spiritual growth, and all the good things that come with enlightenment.
The treasure vase can be filled with many sacred things that we receive as gifts for practicing the dharma.
These gifts and treasures include mindfulness, compassion, and loving-kindness.
It is believed that no matter how much of the gifts are taken out, the vase always remains full of bountiful treasures. For this reason, the vase is a symbol of longevity and unending blessings that come with enlightenment.
The type of treasures that the vase represents can never be exhausted. However, the treasures aren’t monetary. Instead, they represent an inner wealth of faith, more discipline, wisdom, and others' consideration.
The treasure vase symbol is depicted as a fat-bellied pot with a narrow, short neck and a large jewel. Some traditions involve the story of a treasure vase at a certain location, such as in monasteries, to generate more wealth.
Treasure vases that have been sealed with precious substances can often be found placed upon altars, on mountain passes, or buried at water springs to ensure that they consistently attract wealth and remain perpetually full.
To Buddhism, the vase specifically represents the spiritual abundance of the Buddha-a treasure that can never run out, no matter how much is given away.
12. The Banner of Victory (Dhvaja)
The Banner of Victory or the Victory Banner symbolizes the victory of the Buddha over the demon Mara and what the demon represents, including anger, greed, pride, lust, hatred, disharmony, material desires, fear of death, and other unpleasant things. The banner is also a symbol of the victory of wisdom over ignorance.
Legend has it that the Buddha himself raised the victory banner over Mt. Meru to symbolize his triumph.
The banner is meant to remind people of Buddha’s abandonment of delusions and encourage people to win over their own pride, greed, and lust to reach enlightenment.
Such a triumph produces clarity about one’s self and the person’s role in this world.
The victory banner is basically a symbol of the Buddhist doctrine as a path to overcoming selfish desires to reach spiritual enlightenment. Traditionally, cylindrical victory banners made using copper were placed at all the four corners of the temple and monastery roofs to symbolize the Buddha’s triumph radiating to the four directions.
14. The Endless/ Eternal Knot (Shrivatsa)
In Buddhism, the endless knot is the symbol of intertwining wisdom, compassion, and love. It represents the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs. According to this perspective, everything is connected, having no beginning or end.
Symbol of intertwining wisdom, compassion, and love (credit: Dontpanic
The knot may also be used to represent the never-ending path of dharma. There is always growth to be achieved, wisdom to be cultivated, and truth to be seen.
The endless knot is portrayed as a single thread that flows and entwines in a closed geometric pattern symbolizing all phenomena' interrelation.
The knot lines represent all of creation and remind us to respect others because every action is connected to the larger universe. All that happens to us is a representation of a web of karma and its effects. This symbol teaches peace and harmony. It may also represent the unending and supreme wisdom of the Buddha. Also, the knot represents the illusory character of time, as it’s endless.
14. The Empty Throne
As we saw earlier, Buddha was a prince. This explains the origin of this symbol. The throne is also about the idea of the spiritual kingship of the Buddha.
The emptiness of the throne symbolizes the mysticism of Siddharta Gautama. The throne is depicted with decorations at the base from other symbols such as lions and deer.
Both of which are associated with the teachings of the Buddha.
The image shows the Buddhist empty throne, attacked by the demon Mara.
15. The Begging Bowl
This is the simplest symbol in Buddhism, and it’s essential in the daily life of a Buddhist monk. It simply represents the life that the Buddhist monks choose to live. This life is based on the Buddha's teachings that warn against forming an attachment with selfish desires.
Monks go from the monastery into the village each morning and live off what is put in the bowl by ordinary people.
16. The Swastika (Yungdrung)
The swastika is an ancient symbol of eternity, abundance, plurality, prosperity, well-being, and long life.
The symbol also symbolizes the footprints of the Buddha.
The swastika is usually used in Buddhism to mark the beginning of Buddhist texts. It is also used to mark Buddhist temples on maps.
In some East Asian Cultures, the swastika is used as a clothing decoration, as a decorative border around paintings.
The symbol is found worldwide and is depicted as a cross with four arms of similar length. The ends of each arm are bent at a right angle. Swastikas are commonly used as charms to bring good fortune.
The Buddhist swastika is usually clockwise and is said to contain the entire mind of the Buddha. It is usually found imprinted on the palms, chest, or feet of the Buddha's images.
17. The Eyes of the Buddha/ Wisdom Eyes
The Eyes of the Buddha are often depicted as a giant pair of eyes on all the four sides of Buddhist shrines.
This is to denote the all-seeing eyes of the Buddha and is representative of his presence all around. The eyes symbolize a person’s potential to awaken and see clearly during meditation.
There is a dot that represents a ‘third eye’ between the eyes, which symbolizes spiritual awakening.
Where the nose is supposed to be is a symbol that looks like a question mark. This symbol is the Sanskrit character for the number 1 and signifies the unity of everything. The symbol also teaches us that the only way to attain enlightenment is by following the Buddha's teachings.
18. The Four Guardian Kings
The four guardian kings are symbols of protection. They are the protectors of the world's four cardinal directions and are often found at the entrance to temples and monasteries.
Each of the guardians has two hands and is dressed in a warrior king's ornate armor and clothing.
The guardian kings are depicted as either seated or standing.
The Unalome symbolizes the journey to enlightenment. It teaches that the path is not always straight or even in the right direction. It further states that the journey is filled with suffering, and all we have to do is keep moving and learn as we go.
Also, this is one of the most popular Buddhist symbols for Tatto.
The vajra is a Buddhist tantric symbol representing the great spiritual power and firmness of spirit. It symbolizes Vajrayana, which is one of the three main branches of Buddhism.
The symbol is depicted as a club that has ribbed spherical heads. It also symbolizes purity and indestructibility, and irresistible energy, which are attributes of a diamond and a thunderbolt.
The vajra also represents endless creativity, skillful activity, and potency.
Stupas are representative of the enlightened mind of the Buddha. The stupas started being built in the early days of Buddhism.
The stupas come in a wide variety of shapes and sices. One symbolism of the stupas is that they represent the five elements:
- The square base represents the earth
- The round dome represents water
- The cone shape represents fire
- The canopy represents air
- The volume of the stupa represents the space
In Buddhism, Mudras represent hand gestures that are used during ritual meditation. They serve as symbols in Buddhist art. They’re used to indicate a particular scene as depicted in Buddhist art and indicate the identity of a Buddha.
The hand gestures are used to generate forces that invoke a particular deity. It is worth noting that there are 10 main mudras, of which 5 are commonly used in the Buddha images. The five mudras are:
a. Abhaya Mudra
In Sanskrit, Abhaya means fearlessness. This hand gesture is a symbol of peace and protection; it’s made by raising the right hand to the shoulder's height with the arm bent and the palm facing outward.
b. Bhumisparsha Mudra
The Bhumisparsha Mudra is commonly referred to as the “Eye Witness” mudra. The word Bhumisparsha means “touching the earth.” The gesture is formed with all the five fingers of the right hand extended to touch the ground.
c. Dharmachakra Mudra
This gesture symbolizes one of the most important moments in the life of the Buddha. This moment is when he preached his first sermon to his companions after his enlightenment in Sarnath's Deer Park.
This mudra is formed by touching the thumb tips and the index fingers of both hands to form a circle. The remaining fingers remain extended. In this mudra, the hands are held in front of the heart to show that these teachings came straight from the heart of the Buddha.
d. Dhyana Mudra
This gesture may be made with a single hand (the left hand) or with both hands. To do it, simply place your hand at the level of your stomach or thigh with the palm facing up, and the fingers extended. When you use both hands, feel free to touch the thumbs at the tips to form a mystic triangle.
e. Varada Mudra
This hand gesture represents compassion, charity, and boon-granting. It’s often made using the left hand with the arm hanging naturally at the side of your body. The palms remain open, fingers extended, and the hand facing forward. The five extended fingers symbolize generosity, patience, effort, morality, and meditative concentration.
23. The Buddhist Flag
The colors on the original Buddhist flag represent the rays of light that shone around the Buddha after he became enlightened.
The waving of the flag symbolizes the hope that all nations will live happily under the shelter of the Buddha's wisdom.
However, a more modern flag was designed in 1880, and it acts as a symbol of peace and faith.
This is the flag that is now used worldwide to represent Buddhism.
There are 5 colors on the flag, and each one of them represents the colors of the aura that came from the body of the Buddha after he attained enlightenment.
24. The Mountains
There are two main mountains in Buddhist symbolism:
a. Mount Meru
This mountain has a pyramid shape and is the mythological axis of the Buddhist universe. It’s also believed to link the heavens above to the hell below.
b. Vulture Peak
This mountain is in Northern India. The Buddha is believed to have delivered a couple of sermons there.
25. Color Symbolism in Buddhism
In Buddhism, colors have a wide range of uses in their art and rituals. Each of the five main colors represents a state of mind, a Buddha, a part of the body, and a natural element:
Conclusion- The Power of Buddhist Symbols
Symbols are a great guidepost for anyone who is looking to learn more about Buddhism. While memorizing the symbols is very important, it is recommended that you look past the symbols to know their true meaning.
Buddhism is a concept, and you don’t need to know all the symbols to find inner peace. However, these powerful tranquility tools can help you find peace and serenity.
Originally published at east-asian-cultures.com on March 12, 2019.