The Endless Knot

Black Onyx Hand Mala with Wooden  Endless Knot

Black Onyx Hand Mala with Wooden Endless Knot

by Thea Cowsky

The Endless Knot, or the Knot of Eternity, is a rich symbol in Buddhism and is frequently used in Buddhist art and iconography and malas. It is used from different perspectives in different traditions. In some traditions, it represents the interweaving and turns of the spiritual path, crossing and re-crossing.
The Endless Knot with no beginning and no end symbolizes the beginning-less of ultimate reality, the illusory nature of time, and the infinite wisdom of the Buddha.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the endless knot is one of the eight auspicious symbols. As such, it symbolizes the nature of reality interdependence of all things. It also represents the mutual dependence of religious and secular affairs, and monastic and lay communities, each supporting the other and dependent on the other for growth and nourishment. When we are on the path of spiritual training, it symbolizes the inseparability of emptiness (of an inherently existent nature of all things) and dependent arising of all things. This is the wisdom aspect of Buddhist training that develops as we deepen our understanding of reality.

Dark Bone Bracelet Mala with Bone Endless Knot

Dark Bone Bracelet Mala with Bone Endless Knot

The endless knot also represents the complete union of wisdom and method
(compassion) at the time of full enlightenment.
Like other images and symbols, contemplating the symbolism of the Endless Knot can help us question and break through our common conception of time and reality. At the very least, it can remind us that there is a deeper reality than that which arises in a linear fashion before our ordinary eyes. Used as such, it is an example of the power of symbols not only to enrich our spiritual practice, but more importantly to challenge and transform our limited finite perspective.

Contributing author Kate Cowsky


The Lotus, A Symbol of the Spiritual Journey

Mother of Pearl Lotus Necklace

Mother of Pearl Lotus Necklace

by Thea Cowsky

The lotus is one of the most common and best-loved symbols used in the Eastern traditions of Buddhism, Hinduism and yoga. It is rich in symbolism of the entire spiritual path.
The roots of the lotus grow, unseen, in the mud below the surface of the water. The stem with its tightly closed bud risesfrom the mud, grows up through the murky water, seeking the light and warmth of the sun above the water’s surface.
Smokey Quartz and Crystal Mala Bracelet with Lotus Charm

Smokey Quartz and Crystal Mala Bracelet with Lotus Charm

Breaking the surface of the water, the lotus blossom opens, clean pure and fresh, untouched and far above the mud and murkiness below. A seedpod forms as the blossom matures, and the seeds are dispersed in all directions.

We begin our spiritual journey in the darkness of the mud of our daily life and the ordinary mind, which is clouded and muddy due to our ignorance of True Reality.  But it is this mud that provides the anchoring and nourishing of our spiritual roots.
Lapis Mala Bracelet with Sterling Silver Lotus Charm

Lapis Mala Bracelet with Sterling Silver Lotus Charm

The stem of spiritual training begins to sprout and grow when we enter the spiritual path and begin to train our mind and actions toward deeper awareness and greater virtue. One of my teachers always emphasized that the strength and stability of the stem is the most important part of the lotus because without a strong stem, the blossom cannot grow and open fully. Just as the stem of the lotus starts in the darkness of the mud and grows up through the water toward the light, spiritual training can move us from the darkness of ignorance into the light of a deeper and deeper awareness of Reality. And, just as the stem of the lotus is long, a true spiritual path is long, with slow but steady growth if one perseveres on the path of training.

When the stem and bud have reached above the water it can receive the warmth and light of the sun. The blossom grows and eventually opens. It is unstained, above the water and mud, symbolizing the gradual clearing of ignorance through spiritual training. The lotus blossom is able to open because the causes and conditions for it to open (represented by the warmth and light,) were created through practicing the spiritual path. The blossom of the lotus is above and untouched by the water and mud, yet its roots remain in the mud and nourish both the stem and the blossom. Similarly, our daily practice is always rooted in the mud of day-to-day life and our human body, which are vehicles and nourishment for our path to awakening.
Lotus Seed Mala Bracelet with Lotus Charm

Lotus Seed Mala Bracelet with Lotus Charm

After the lotus has blossomed, the seedpod forms and the seeds are cast afar.  This symbolizes the sharing and spreading of the Dharma by the masters who teach and help others along the path.

Roots, mud, stem, blossom, the casting of seeds: the beauty of the lotus;
Daily life, spiritual practice, awakening, sharing: the beauty of the spiritual path.

Contributing author Kate Cowsky

The Medicine Buddha

by Thea Cowsky

Medicine Buddha MantraThe Buddha of Healing is the Medicine Buddha. He is the manifestation of the healing energy of all the Buddhas. His name in Sanskrit means “Master of Medicine and King of Lapis Lazuli Light”. The healing of the Medicine Buddha can be physical or emotional. And the ultimate, final healing is the spiritual healing that arises from his teachings.

The Medicine Buddha is often blue in color, and he sits surrounded by a halo of radiant blue light. His right hand rests palm forward over his right knee in the mudra of supreme giving, holding the stem of the arura or Myrobalan plant, an ancient healing plant. The combination of the hand mudra and the arura plant represent the giving the great medicine able to eliminate all illness.

 Medicine Buddha Altar Statue

Shakya Design Medicine Buddha Altar Statue

His left hand is in his lap in the mudra of meditation, and holds a lapis lazuli bowl of healing nectar, which symbolizes holding or possessing spiritual healing.

Repeating or concentrating on the name of the Medicine Buddha, Bhaisajaguru, or on the Medicine Buddha Mantra, is believed to have the power to free one from negative emotions and afflictions. Requests made to the Medicine Buddha, either for oneself or for others, can be for healing of all types, both physical and emotional and also for the ultimate healing that comes from spiritual realization that permanently eliminates suffering.

Read the mantra associated with the Medicine Buddha.

Contributing author David Cowsky

Yoga Friendly Items at Shakya Design

Elizabeth is an author, yoga instructor and long-time customer of Shakya Design.

Elizabeth is an author, yoga instructor and long-time customer of Shakya Design. Here she is seen practicing yoga on her rooftop in Greece wearing a few of her favorite Shakya Design bracelet malas.

by Thea Cowsky

Shakya Design offers many yoga friendly items. Yoga practitioners can find bracelet malas and jewelry that can be worn throughout the day including during yoga and meditation practice.

Smokey Quartz Bracelet Mala with 'Om' 
Smokey Quartz Bracelet Mala with ‘Om’

Malas and jewelry items include pendants and symbols with ‘Namaste’, ‘Om’, Lotus, the ‘Vitarka’ hand mudra, and Ganesh. We have also developed a nightlight and shadowbox with an ‘Om’ above a Lotus which provides soft gentle lighting to your practice space. You can read more about the symbols by visiting our ‘Symbols’ page.

Many of the symbols and icons that are meaningful in the yoga and Hindu traditions are shared with the Buddhist tradition. Both traditions are based in meditation and share the understanding of the unity of mind and body. Both originally come from India and so share several of the symbols and images such as the lotus and ‘om’ featured in many of Shakya Design items.

We have marked our ‘Yoga Friendly’ items with a Yoga Icon yoga-icon so that it is easy to locate them on the website. The many yoga friendly products such as bracelet malas, jewelry, statues, and night lights and can be found on the pages throughout our website.

Rose Quartz Bracelet Mala with Hand in Vitarka Mudra

Rose Quartz Bracelet Mala with Hand in Vitarka Mudra

We hope the symbols will help you find what inspires you and speaks to your heart.

Contributing author Kate Cowsky

Mantra of the Medicine Buddha

by Thea Cowsky
Medicine Buddha MantraMedicine Buddha Mantra Tibetan

{ Meaning: (May the) HEALING, [deeper] HEALING, and GREAT [ultimate] HEALING OF THE KING OF HEALERS [and profound path] MANIFEST [within me] LET IT BE SO!}

Sanskrit Pronunciation

Tad-ya-ta: Om Bhai-sha-jye Bhai-sha-jye Maha Bhai-sha-jye Ra-ja Sa-mud-ga-te Sva-ha

Tibetan Pronunciation
Tad-ya-ta: Om Be-kan-dze Be-kan-dze Ma-ha Be-kan-dze
Ra-dza Sa-mung-ga-te So-ha

Bhaisajya Guru in Sanskrit, Menla Buddha in Tibetan, is the Buddha of healing. He is the manifestation of all the healing energies of all the enlightened beings. He is called the supreme physician and his medicine is the Dharma, which leads us to the cessation of suffering, thus healing on all levels.

His body is azure blue. His right hand is in the mudra of supreme giving and holds a myrobalan plant (arura) a healing plant. His left hand is in the mudra of meditation and holds a lapis lazuli bowl of healing nectar. Thus lapis lazuli is considered a healing stone.

Reciting the Medicine Buddha mantra has the capability to heal the mind as well as the body. Mantra can gently open and transform emotional states, helping us to deal with any situation more clearly and directly. Medicine Buddha mantra meditation promotes a peaceful heart and mind. Thus, as positive and joyous feelings pass through each organ and circulate through our whole system, our physical and chemical energies are transformed and balanced, supporting deeper and deeper healing.

Recitation of the Medicine Buddha mantra is considered a powerful meditation practice for healing on all levels.

See Tara Mantra, Chenrezig (Quan Yin) Mantra, Aspiration for Peace Mantra

Contributing author Kate Cowsky