The Wheel Of Life

The Wheel Of Life was drawn by Buddha in a rice field from grains of rice, to illustrate his teaching that the perpetual succession of cause and effect during life resembles the turning of a wheel; and the symbol is worn as a wheel of fortune, so that misfortunes may roll by and good fortune come uppermost. The wheel was also used to explain the vision seen by a disciple on other spheres, the five spokes divided the Hells, the place of Animals, Ghosts, or evil spirits, Gods, and men (illustrated Plate II, No. 34).

The Conch Shell

The Conch Shell was taken from a demon of the sea by Krishna, who used it for a horn (see Illustration No. 35, Plate II), and is prized as a Talisman for oratory and learning, as well as a bringer of wealth, the latter being no doubt suggested by the fact that shells were the current coin of primitive people.

The Fish

The Fish is the symbol of the first incarnation of Vishnu, who in this form saved Manu from the Flood to become the progenitor of the new race. Because of its fertility it is used as a Talisman for increase of riches, and is illustrated on Plate II, No. 32.

The Lucky Diagram

The Lucky Diagram is very common in Thibet, and is worn as a Talisman for Longevity (see Illustration No. 30, Plate II).

The Lotus

The Lotus expresses the idea of superhuman origin, as it grows from the body of the water without contact with the solid earth, and no matter how muddy the water may become still preserves its purity undefiled. It is one of the symbols of Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, who is the goddess of Fortune and of Beauty; it is worn as a Talisman of Good Luck and Good Fortune, and as Lakshmi is particularly favourable for children it is worn to avert all childish diseases and accidents, as well as to protect from the Evil Eye (see Illustration No. 33, Plate II).


Frogs made of amber or gilded metal are also frequently worn as amulets by children in Burmah, that they may not decline in health through the evil glance. Brightly coloured ribbons are hung upon houses and attached to the heads and tails of horses to distract the attention of the Evil Eye, and protect the animals from harm, which probably accounts for the origin of the gaudy decorations we frequently see in our own country tied to the heads and tails of fine cart-horses on their way to the fair or horse show.

The Three Gems Talisman

The Three Gems Talisman (Illustrated on Plate II, No. 31) is to be met with wherever Buddhism is established, and symbolises Buddha His Word, and the Church; it is worn to promote the three virtues, Endurance, Courage, and Obedience, the Buddhist Law.