Symbolism

This bit is here in case you missed the link on top of the page telling you all about Buddhism

The Significance of Gold in Buddhism.

Thailand is awash with gold everywhere you look. Shining golden temples and golden and glinting jewelry shops on every street. But why is there so much and where does the significance of gold in Buddhism come from?

The significance of different materials is incredibly important in Buddhist culture, and none more so than gold. Gold is not only a major noticeable decoration in Thailand but across all Buddhist nations. In the western world we covet gold because of its rarity, price and aesthetic properties. This is, of course, partly the same in Thailand. But there are far deeper meanings too.......

The Symbol of Fire.

The main symbolism of gold is either the sun or fire. The sun is one of

the purest and most revered energy sources in our solar system and is regularly recognized in Buddhism. It is considered inappropriate and dishonorable to mix gold with other metals or (in the case of painting) other colours. If the natural brilliance of gold is tainted with other materials then it is spoilt and therefore the highest of qualities is required to maintain purity.

As Seen On Temples.

Explore any Buddhist temple or sanctuary and you’ll see gold. This has been the case for as long as the Buddhist faith has existed. Statues in particular have always been adorned with gold. In these cases, some are either covered in very fine gold leaf or are completely gilded in gold.

 

The Ashtamangala is a collection of 8 divine symbols found in Buddhism. They are:

  • The Jewelled Parasol

  • The Wheel of Law

  • The Banner Flag

  • The Endless Knot

  • The Conch Shell

  • The Lotus Flower

  • The Treasure Vase

  • The Pair of Golden Fish

These symbols are found around all traditional temples and in many adherents houses. Three of the symbols are directly associated with gold. The Wheel of Law (traditionally known as the Dharma Chakra) is an eight spoked wheel that represents Buddha’s eightfold path to enlightenment. These are golden in colour to signify the purity of one’s belief.

The traditionally white/pink and yellow lotus flower takes on a golden form to symbolize the purity of one’s body and spirit whilst floating amongst the world of desire. It’s essentially a reminder that one cannot gain happiness through material goods.

Finally the two fish, generally depicted as a type of carp, usually face each other to form a circle with their bodies. They are always presented with golden paint, gilded or made entirely of gold. Significantly, they represent the two main sacred rivers in India, the Ganges and the Yamuna.