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.
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.
Various interpretations of the symbol are:
- The eternal continuum of mind.
- The endless knot iconography symbolised Samsara i.e., the endless cycle of suffering or 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.
In other cultures
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.