Also commonly referred to as the eternal knot, the endless knot is one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols in Buddhism. These symbols represent the gifts given to the Buddha when he attained enlightenment.
The endless knot is called such because it has no beginning and no end. The endless knot has many symbolic meanings, but it is popularly interpreted to represent the endless wisdom and compassion of the Buddha. It also symbolizes samsara or the endless cyclic existence one suffers from before attaining enlightenment.
The endless knot symbol is significant in both Jainism and Buddhism, but it is also found in Celtic as well as Chinese symbolism.
This symbol is often featured on Tibetan tents and buildings. It is also a popular image used in body art, jewelry, greeting cards, Tibetan handicrafts, prayer flags, and many others.
Endless Knot Symbol – History and Meaning
If you want to learn more about the Endless Knot symbol, read on to find out the meaning, history, and significance of this Buddhist symbol.
Endless Knot History
The endless knot, one of the eight auspicious symbols in Buddhism, is a crisscross pattern of never-ending lines and loops. The said eight auspicious symbols were presents the gods gave the Buddha after he attained enlightenment.
The endless knot symbol dates back to the Bronze Age—about 2500 BC—in South Asia. It is featured on clay tablets from the Indus Valley Civilization. The same symbol with neither beginning nor end also appears on a historic era inscription.
The endless knot is believed to have evolved from an ancient naga symbol with a couple of stylized snakes.
There is another endless knot symbol in China that is believed to have been around since 960 CE. This one symbolizes long life and is used as a good-luck charm.
The Endless Knot Symbol
The Buddhist endless knot is an ornament made up of interlaced lines without a beginning or an end. It is a symbol of the Buddha’s endless wisdom and compassion. It demonstrates symbolically how all phenomena are attached together as a closed cycle of cause and effect, which is the concept of karma. The pattern having no gaps represents harmony and simplicity.
The auspicious endless knot symbol denotes the mutual dependence of religious doctrine and non-religious affairs, as well as the union of method and wisdom. It is also symbolic of samsara or the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth in the Buddhist tradition.
Since the endless knot symbol has no beginning or end on it, it also signifies the eternal wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.
The endless knot, like all the other symbols of good luck, is employed in various ways. It is often seen on Buddhist ceremonial scarves called kataks or khatas.
Endless Knot Symbol Meaning
The Buddhist endless knot is also referred to as “the eternal knot,” “the infinite knot,” or “the glorious knot.” It is called “palbeu” in Tibetan and “shrivasta” in Sanskrit.
The endless knot has various symbolical meanings and is one of the eight auspicious symbols in Buddhism. The remaining seven of which are a white parasol (chatra), a pair of golden fish (gaurmatsya), a wish-fulfilling treasure vase, a lotus flower (padma), a conch shell (sankha), a victorious flag (dhvaja), and a golden wheel (dharmachakra or wheel of law).