Endless Knot

The endless knot or eternal knot (śrīvatsa; 盘长结; 盤長結; pánzhǎng jié; དཔལ་བེའུ། dpal be’u; Түмэн өлзий) is a symbolic knot and one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols. It is in important symbol in both Jainism and Buddhism. It is an important cultural marker in places significantly influenced by Tibetan Buddhism such as Tibet, Mongolia, Tuva, Kalmykia, and Buryatia. It is also found in Celtic and Chinese symbolism.

In Jainism it is one of the eight auspicious items, an asthamangala, however found only in the Svetambara sect. It is often found marking the chests of the 24 Saints, the tirthankaras. It is more commonly referred to as the Shrivatsa.

Vector Auspicious Symbol Mongolia Buddhism

Endless Knot, Auspicious Symbol – Mongolia

History

The endless knot symbol appears on clay tablets from the Indus Valley Civilization (2500 BC), and the same symbol also appears on an historic era inscription.

Interpretations

One common form of the Endless Knot

One common form of the Endless Knot

Buddhism

Various Buddhist interpretations of the symbol are:

  • The endless knot iconography symbolised Samsara i.e., the endless cycle of suffering of birth, death and rebirth within Tibetan Buddhism.
  • The inter-twining of wisdom and compassion.
  • Interplay and interaction of the opposing forces in the dualistic world of manifestation, leading to their union, and ultimately to harmony in the universe.
  • The mutual dependence of religious doctrine and secular affairs.
  • The union of wisdom and method.
  • The inseparability of emptiness (shunyata) and dependent origination, the underlying reality of existence.
  • Symbolic of knot symbolism in linking ancestors and omnipresence (refer etymology of Tantra, Yoga and religion) (see Namkha.)
  • Since the knot has no beginning or end it also symbolizes the wisdom of the Buddha.

Hinduism

In Hinduism, Srivatsa mentioned as ‘connected to shree’, i.e the goddess Lakshmi. It is a mark on the chest of Vishnu where his consort Lakshmi resides. According to the Vishnu purana, the tenth avatar of Vishnu, Kalki, will bear the Shrivatsa mark on his chest. It is one of the names of Vishnu in the Vishnu Sahasranamam. Srivatsa is considered to be auspicious symbol in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Jainism

In Jainism it is one of the eight auspicious items, an asthamangala, however found only in the Svetambara sect. It is often found marking the chests of the 24 Saints, the tirthankaras. It is more commonly referred to as the Shrivatsa.

Other uses

74 knot

74 knot

See 74 knot for decorations or symbols in other cultures which are topologically equivalent to the interlaced form of the simplest version of the Buddhist endless knot.

In mathematical knot theory, 74 is the name of a 7-crossing knot which can be visually depicted in a highly-symmetric form, and so appears in the symbolism and/or artistic ornamentation of various cultures.

A stylized version of the endless knot is also used as the logo of China Unicom.

Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia