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The endless knot is an ancient symbol with Eastern roots. While it’s significant in Tibetan Buddhism, the symbol can also be commonly found in jewelry and fashion around the world. Here’s a look at the history and symbolism of the endless knot.
History of the Endless Knot
The endless knot, also called the eternal knot or the glorious knot, is one of the oldest symbols, dating back thousands of years. Clay tablets from the Indus Valley Civilization that date back to 2500 BC were found featuring the endless knot symbol. The knot can also be found in Celtic and Chinese culture and Chinese-inspired artwork.
The symbol features no beginning or end and is made with a single cord that weaves within itself many times. It’s a closed design featuring interwoven, right-angled lines that link and overlap to create a symmetrical design. This is a fascinating example of sacred geometry.
The endless knot is a highly significant symbol in Buddhism. It is considered one of the eight auspicious symbols of Tibetan Buddhism representing the offerings made to the Shakyamuni Buddha when he achieved enlightenment.
The other seven symbols include the precious parasol, a lotus flower, the white conch shell, the eight spoked wheel (Dharmachakra or wheel of Dharma), the vase of great treasures, the victory banner, and the two golden fish.
Endless Knot Meanings and Interpretations
The endless knot is one of the most complex symbols to understand in Buddhism. It has many meanings and is often interpreted to symbolize the following concepts:
- As the endless knot has no beginning or end, it is believed to symbolize the infinite wisdom and compassion of the Buddha.
- The symbol represents the endless movement of time
- It symbolizes the eternal continuum of the mind
- The design featuring interlaced twists and knots represents the interconnectedness of all beings on earth
- It represents the dependence of religion on the secular world and vice-versa
- It is a symbol of samsara – the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth according to Buddhist beliefs
- It is a symbol of the omnipresence of the Buddha self
- The symbol represents future positivity and good fortune as a result of causes in the present. This is a reminder of cause and effect and one’s links to one’s karmic fate. In other words, if you pull here, something will happen there.
Endless Knot Today
The symmetry of the shape and the lack of beginning or end in its design lends itself beautifully to jewelry designs, especially for pendants, charms and earrings. As a symbol of good fortune, wisdom and eternity, items with this symbol makes for a meaningful gift, even among those who aren’t religious. The beautiful design can be appreciated by anyone, regardless of your religious affiliation.
The eternal knot features heavily in Tibetan souvenirs and artwork, including on greeting cards, Tibetan handicrafts, carpets and prayer flags, to name a few. It can also be seen on wall hangings, decorative items and jewelry.
As a Buddhist symbol, the endless knot carries complex significance, rooted in karma, enlightenment, and the interconnectedness of all things. As a fashion symbol, the endless knot is a popular choice in jewelry, decorative items and tattoos. Regardless of your religious beliefs, it’s easy to appreciate the beauty of this complex yet simple design.