Symbols of Faith

Symbolism is important in the Jain tradition. It is manifested in temple designs, paintings and illustrations, printed matter such as wedding invitations and Diwali cards, and in rituals and worship. There is a broad range and there is no one core symbol or central emblem for all Jains. The swastika, however, is often seen as a key Jain symbol and there is a Jain Om which incorporates the Universe and symbols representing the three jewels of Jainism – right faith, right knowledge, right conduct. This is a very ancient symbol which is many thousands of years old and was possibly originally a representation of the shape of the Universe according to the Jains.

Symbols have meaning and remind the seer about the core values of the faith – such as the three jewels of right conduct, right knowledge and right faith as the key to liberation. This is expressed sometimes during the temple ‘puja’ ceremony using rice to draw the symbol. Symbols are used as an expression of belief and as a reminder of core wisdoms.

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