My colleagues at work, I am a librarian, expressed an interest in the jewellery that I wear. I explained that I am a Buddhist and that the three items that I generally have on every day have specific meaning in Buddhism and to a Buddhist. Firstly, the Buddha necklace that I wear is a constant reminder of his teachings and the importance of the symbolism. In the one I have, the Buddha hanging on my chain is meditating in the earth-touching posture. This was when he was reaching Enlightenment and called on the Earth to witness it. There are many different postures to choose from and this is my particular favourite. though there are actually more than a hundred different Buddha poses, also called asanas or attitudes. All of them demonstrate the life of the Buddha and his key teachings.
Of the other two Buddhist necklaces that I wear, the Wheel of Dharma, otherwise known as the Dharma Chakra, is symbolic of the wheel of life and our efforts to gain enlightenment in order to escape it. The wheel has eight spokes representing the eight-fold path which must be followed to gain enlightment. The circle represents the fullness and perfection of Buddha’s teachings. It’s an ideal reminder about how we must strive to progress along a spiritual path in this life and through continued practice become awake and experience peace.
Whilst the other two described above are gold, the third one I wear is a silver Lotus on a silver chain. In Buddhism the Lotus symbolises enlightenment, the beautiful flower having flourished from the mud of ignorance and wrong thinking. Its simplicity is quite different from my Buddha necklace or the Dharma Chakra in that it is almost totally abstract but the message is powerful and clear. Through mindfulness we become more humble, tolerant and kind, but we must take care that this does not reinforce our ego and become a kind of spiritual materialism which creates negativity. And wearing a good Buddha gold necklace is for balance and harmony in all things. I think my colleagues understand where I’m coming from, even though they might not believe where I’m going!