Buddhist Charms and Meanings
Before we start – I am no ‘guru’ nor a spiritual expert. I just enjoy Meditation and Yoga and wanted to start a blog from my perspective of trying to create a daily routine that allows me a glimpse of the stillness they can bring. I try to link out to as many reputable sources within these posts as I can, some of these external links enable me to earn a commission which helps towards the running of the blog.
Are you exploring the principles of Buddhism and are attracted by the idea of owning some Buddhist charms or jewelry?
Perhaps you’re looking for different types of pendants, bracelets or necklaces featuring symbols that represent the essence of Buddhism.
Wearing beautifully made symbolic pieces can make you feel wonderful, but you may also be wondering if buying some form of Buddhist jewelry is actually in keeping with the principles of Buddhism, given that it teaches us that material possessions and external objects do not bring lasting happiness.
Following Buddhism is about integrating the practices of mindfulness, compassion, humility and tolerance into your life.
Wearing jewelry that reminds you of these principles can be helpful and act as a symbolic prompt for you to deepen your practice and truly embody the kindness and awareness that Buddhism is about. In short, if you are serious about spirituality, any symbolic jewelry can serve to increase your connection to whatever Buddhism means to you.
You just want to be aware that it can also be a bit of an ego-trap to define yourself as “spiritual” and to use Buddhist symbols on jewelry as a way to show off your spirituality rather living and breathing the ideals of Buddhism. You don’t want to get so wrapped up in the image of being Buddhist and somehow enlightened that you forget to actually practice the most important principles which teach us to move beyond the ego and self-grasping.
That said, don’t be put off buying symbolic jewelry because you feel you have not reached some perfect stage of enlightenment! You do not have to be a monk to practice meditation; you can embody Buddhist principles into your life easily. Start with learning more about meditation and how you can begin to incorporate it into your life.
Think about what you purchase and wear as a connection to your ideals and beliefs about life. Having Buddhist jewelry can be a profound way to remind you to live your life with wisdom, moving through experiences purposefully, mindfully and with grace and compassion for every living thing.
Looking for the right piece of jewelry to express your interest in Buddhism requires that you have a full understanding of the symbols and what they mean. You want to be informed before you choose which symbol you want and be able to wear it with pride, knowing that you understand the layers of meaning it represents.
There are so many symbols, words, mantras and meanings that are associated with meditation, it’s a good idea to get to grips with the basics in order to really get the most out of your practice.
Buddhist Charms and Their Meanings
Having a Buddha pendant can be gentle encouragement for us to act with patience, promote peace and go through each day mindfully, speaking with awareness and tolerance. The image of the Buddha is powerful; wearing it around your neck can help bring a calm acceptance to your everyday. A popular Buddha pendant will usually depict the Buddha’s head and hands but you can also buy a Buddha pendant for your necklace or bracelet that show the Buddha’s entire body in the meditation posture or earth touching posture. The symbolism of the Buddha seated this way is a representation of the time Buddha called the Earth to witness, before his Enlightenment.
The ancient symbol of the Lotus flower is a powerful reminder of what is possible in our lives. The conditions from which it grows act as the perfect analogy for our human lives. Just as the lotus blossoms from out of a muddy pond, we too can rise above suffering and achieve enlightenment. The Lotus is a symbol of the purity of speech, the body and the mind. It’s a flower that blooms clean from the muddy water, a sign that despite the challenges of our lives, spiritual ascension is possible from any difficult situation.
Wearing a lotus flower is a beautiful way to remind yourself of your choice in any given moment to practice positive, uplifting and calm thoughts. You too have the possibility to transform yourself from the conditions around you, fueling your determination with the knowledge that with time and diligence, beauty can emerge from the darkness.
The Wheel of Dharma
The Buddha offered a map of sorts to help us on our way to happiness and contentment; it’s known as the Eightfold Path and is represented by the wheel of dharma. Each of its eight spokes represents the eight elements of the path, Right Understanding, Right Aspiration, Right Action, Right Speech, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Concentration, and Right Mindfulness.
The order in which you see these elements does not matter, for each one really has the others hidden inside it too. They are all connected and on your journey to happiness you can start with any of them. It is after all a circle, which has no beginning or end. The wheel of dharma is an auspicious pendant to wear, to remind you of the ancient teachings and to help you live and breathe them. You may be in the middle of a difficult conversation or argument and your pendant wheel of dharma may urge you to reassess the intention behind the words you use or to pause for thought before replying.
Om Mani Padme Hung
These are Sanskrit syllables that form the sacred mantra of compassion in Tibetan Buddhism. Tibetan monks believe silently or vocally reciting this mantra will invoke the blessings and attention of Chenrezi, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. In other words, repeating this mantra can help cultivate compassion within oneself. The mantra is seen carved into stones and painted on rocks, prayer wheels or in other places where anyone can easily see it. It’s also said the entire teachings of Buddha are contained within this mantra so these six syllables are incredibly powerful and spiritual. You can often find bracelets, rings or pendants with the mantra inscribed on them.
The eternal or endless knot is another of the eight auspicious symbols associated with the teachings of the Buddha. A detailed pattern of interconnected loops, the eternal knot is a stunning design that catches the eye. The knot is symbol of divine significance, it represents the connection between compassion and wisdom and the eternal continuity of mind. The knot has no beginning or end and as such is a visual symbol of the endless cycle of suffering, birth, death and rebirth, the karmic cycle of humanity. It’s the link between divine consciousness and one’s spiritual path, the wisdom of the Buddha.
A vajra is a weapon used as a ritual object. In Sanskrit the word Vajra means diamond or thunderbolt and therefore holds the properties of each (indestructibility and huge force). In Vajrayana Buddhism the weapon has become a symbol of peace. According to Hindu mythology the Vajra belonged to Indra, the deity of thunder. It’s said that Buddha removed the weapon from Indra and closed its prongs, effectively making it a peaceful object. The vajra also symbolizes compassion above all things and in all situations. It’s often printed on meditation cushions as it’s associated with stillness and the ability to reach stability through meditation. Wearing jewelry with the vajra symbol can assist you as a visual link to practice compassion and to connect with your inner stillness.
Now that you have some background on the purpose and significance of these Buddhist symbols, you can choose your jewelry with confidence, knowing that by wearing any of these powerful and profound symbols, you will be forging a connection with their deeper meaning.