Three Symbols of the Buddha Found in Buddhist Art

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Artistic expression and the interpretation as it relates to religion are often misunderstood and constantly changing. For example, in Christianity, the cross a prominent symbol in the Christian religion was understood within the confines of Jewish culture and Christendom as an object of suffering and pain. Nailing a criminal to a cross was the preferred method of execution for the Romans in ancient times. Today this same symbol is proudly displayed on numerous art pieces, jewelry, and clothing. Unfortunately this symbol that once was widely understood to signify suffering, now represents a fad among numerous modernized cultures. Symbols specifically related to Buddhism unfortunately have also been affected by the modernization of society and the secularization of its religious culture. This paper will discuss 3 “auspicious” symbols found within Buddhist art; I will attempt to accurately explain each piece as it relates to the ancient religion of Buddhism. The first symbol we will discuss is the Conch Shell. The Buddhist conch serves a variety of purposes; in Tibetan Buddhism it can b...

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