Buddhism is expressed and taught through many common symbols or icons. Originally Shakyamuni Buddha was not portrayed as a human form, but as a footprint or eight-spoke wheel that symbolized the eight-fold path. A stylized image of the “Wheel of Life” was painted on the walls of early temples and monasteries to help teach the 12 steps of dependent origination and the six realms of existence.
Temple architecture evolved in different countries to express the principles and concepts of Buddhism.
Stupas were erected to commemorate events in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha, mark important events in Buddhism, and to house the relics of great saints, but also to serve as representations of the Buddha and the power of the Buddha-dharma. They were thought as transmitters of peace and good fortune to all who came to see them.
Many of the most wonderful aspects of the dharma were symbolized in the “Eight Auspicious Symbols of Good Fortune.”
The Xuanfa Institute also has its own icon or logo that symbolizes how it brings the teachings of the Buddha to living beings in the “Seven Jewel Mirror.”