Known as astamangala in Sanskrit, Tashi Tagye is the 8 auspicious symbols associated with different parts of the Buddha’s body and also shown as hand implements of 8 Offering Goddesses. Celestial and human kings offered these symbols to the Buddha after attaining enlightenment. Today, in Bhutan, the symbols are crafted into artifacts or carved and painted on different surfaces in dzongs, temples, monasteries, home and offices.
1. Jeweled Parasol
The parasol or an umbrella decorated with precious jewels represents the Buddha’s unfathomable head and protection from the heat of suffering. The parasol with its silken cloth, golden shaft and the jewel ornaments represents the various aspects of the Buddha’s teachings, which give peaceful solace and protection from suffering.
2. Golden Fish
The golden fishes represents the Buddha’s compassionate and clairvoyant eyes, and the agility and swiftness of the Buddha’s enlightened spirit. The two fishes symbolize the two types of penetrating and transcendental wisdom of the Buddha. The golden fishes also represent happiness and impulsiveness, as they have complete liberty of movement in the water.
3. Wish Fulfilling Vase
The wish fulfilling vase represents the Buddha’s throat, which is considered an inexhaustible treasury of vast and profound teachings. It also symbolizes the wealth of spiritual qualities, a container of nectar for immortality, and in the worldly sense, a receptacle filled with the essence of various riches.
The lotus flower represents the tongue of the Buddha which is free from flaws of speech, is endowed with the eloquence and other good qualities, and which relishes the profound taste of the dharma. Lotus is also a symbol of purity and renunciation as it grows from the dark watery swamp but unblemished by it.
The conch shell, which spirals clockwise, represents the deep, melodious and pervasive voice of the Buddha and the sound of dharma which awakens sentient beings from the slumber of ignorance. It also symbolizes fearlessness and resounding victory.
6. Endless Knot
The endless know represents the profound and mystical nature of the Buddha’s heart or mind. Its intertwining structure symbolizes the interdependence and interpenetration of reality and the complex and intricate nature of all phenomena. The eternal and endless design indicates the immutable and adamantine state of enlightenment and ultimate nature of things.
7. Victory Banner
The banner of victory represents the Buddha’s body and his victory over the four kinds of evil forces and other opponents. Originally based on the use of banners in warfare, the victory banner in the Buddhist context symbolizes the victory of positive virtuous forces over negative ones and the invincibility of an enlightened being.
8. Wheel of Dharma
The wheel of dharma represents the Buddha’s feet on which is clearly embossed the pattern of a wheel, one of the 32 Marks of the Enlightened. It symbolizes the teaching of Buddha: the source of spiritual values, wealth, love and liberation.