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Buddhist Photo Gallery - Top 10 Tibetan Symbols

Top 10 Tibetan Symbols

01 Prayer Wheel A prayer wheel contains mantras on a spindle. Spinning the wheel clockwise will have much the same effect as orally reciting the prayers. Prayer wheel range from hand held ones spun by pilgrims, to huge ones at temples. The most common manta is Om Mani Padme Hum, the mantra of the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara, spoken by most pilgrims as they spin their prayer wheels.

01 Prayer Wheel

02 Mantra A mantra is a short prayer chanted repeatedly during meditation as an object of concentration. The most famous is Om Mani Padme Hum, the mantra of the Bodhisattva of compassion Avalokiteshvara, spoken by most pilgrims as they spin their prayer wheels.

02 Mantra

03 Prostration A prostration is one of the fundamental practices of Tibetan Buddhism to purify our pride, body, speech and mind. You begin with your palms pressed together at the level of your heart, and then touch your hands to your crown point between the eyebrows (mind), the throat (speech), and the heart (body), then stretch your entire body on the ground and stretch both of your hands as far as possible away from your head. Then rise up quickly and repeat at least two more times.

03 Prostration

04 Prayer Flags Prayer flags are coloured panels of cloth, printed with prayers and mantras, which are thought to be carried heavenward by the wind. Horizontal prayer flags (Lung Ta) are square shaped coloured panels of cloth connected along their top edges to a long string or thread. They are commonly hung on a diagonal line from high to low between two objects in high places such as the tops of temples, monasteries, stupas or mountain passes. From high to low the colours are blue (symbolizing sky/space), white (symbolizing wind/air), red (symbolizing fire), green (symbolizing water), and yellow (symbolizing earth). Vertical (darchor) prayer flags are usually large single rectangles attached to poles along their vertical edge, commonly planted in the ground or on rooftops.

04 Prayer Flags

05 Circumambulation Circumambulation is the act of walking clockwise in reverence around a sacred object such as a stupa, statue, temple, mountain or lake. It is usually done three times as a sign of respect to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

05 Circumambulation

06 Dharma Wheel A Dharma Wheel, also called the Wheel of Law, represents the Buddha's teaching of the path to enlightenment. The hub stands for discipline, the rim refers to mindfulness, and the eight spokes denote the Eightfold Path set down by the Buddha, which leads to the cessation of all suffering. Since the original turning of the wheel occurred when the Buddha taught the five ascetics at the Deer Park in Sarnath, the dharma wheel is often seen with a deer on each side.

06 Dharma Wheel

07 Thangka A thangka is an embroidered painting set inside a broad, coloured border that allows it to be easily rolled up and transported. Thangkas play an important role in Tibetan Buddhist rituals by providing support during the process of visualization

07 Thangka

08-1 Chakrasamvara Mandala Painting A mandala, meaning circle, is a graphic, geometric representation of the universe with a deity's palace at the centre used to support meditation. Usually a mandala takes the shape of an elaborate 4-gated city where the practitioner enters, approaching the centre to achieve a state of mystical unity with Buddha. Each object in the palace has significance, representing some aspect of wisdom or reminding the meditator of some guiding principle. The Kalachakra Mandala, Avalokiteshvara Mandala, and Chakramsamvara Mandala are some of the most common mandalas.

08-1 Chakrasamvara Mandala Painting

08-2 3-D Kalachakra Mandala The Chapel of Kalachakra in the Potala Palace in Lhasa is a stunning gilt-copper three-dimensional mandala, 6.2m in diameter, and finely detailed with over 170 statues.

08-2 3-D Kalachakra Mandala

09 Mani Stone A mani stone is a stone or rock inscribed with Om Mani Padme Hum, the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

09 Mani Stone

10 Stupa A Stupa (Tib. chorten) is a mound-like structure supposedly designed by the Buddha himself on his deathbed. Buddha instructed his disciples to cremate his body and enclose his relics in four monuments at Lumbini where he was born, Bodhgaya where he attained enlightenment, Sarnath where he gave his first teaching, and Kushinagar where he would die. A stupa is normally made up of a square base symbolizing earth, a hemispherical dome symbolizing water, a conical spire symbolizing fire, a crescent moon symbolizing air, and a circular disc symbolizing space.

10 Stupa