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Designed by Loo Jia Yu Mentored by Nanci Takeyama Source: Buddhist Symbols in Tibetan Culture by Dagyab Rinpoche The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs by Robert Beer The Complete Guide of Chinese Knotting by Lydia Chen Printed in Singapore Š Simple Digital Pte Ltd 2013 All rights reserved. No part of the materials including graphics or logos, available in this Web site may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machinereadable form, in whole or in part, without specific permission

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part i: research Tibetan Thought

tendrel karma perception

Tantra, Sutra Ch’i, Animated Energy Tibetan Astrology Eight Auspicious Symbols Endless Knot

symbolism, tendrel, ch’i swastika, wan tzu knot with silk feng shui

Chinese Macramé

part ii: concept

luck, spirit, harmony tying blessings

Theme: Centre

endless knot

Endless Knot

binding destiny manifestation of ch’i

part i: research Tibetan thought: tendrel

In Tibetan terms, ten means “support, basis” and drel means “dependence and conditionality”. Ten conveys that everything in existence is based on things that already existed and is determined by causes and conditions. Drel shows that nothing, not even the supporting factors, exists independently in its own right. In that way, all phenomena are subjected to this conditional arising, existing in dependence with one another and are empty of any existence of their own.

Tibetan thought:

consciousness, karma

Perception will reveal to us a wider view of reality through expanding our consciousness and contacting with tantric reality. In the waking state of consciousness, the physical reality of the external world appears to have a pristine logic and belief, yet it is all but a karmic projection on the screen of pure consciousness.

Karma is the sum total of our experience. Cause and result, spans the past, present and future through beginningless time. The incoming consciousness of one seeking rebirth perceives dreamlike vision of its future parent’s sexual organs, causing attraction and aversion. A karmically destined boy has his consciousness attracted to the mother and experiences aversion towards the father, triggering the ‘white drop’ of the father. The consciousness of predestined girl experiences the reversal and springs from the fertile ‘red drop’ of the mother.

Tibetan Symbolism: perception

Every reality is composed of appearances. This creation of phenomena follows a certain pattern, dynamics and laws of which are not easily understood. The use of symbols displays the interrelations between immaterial thought and material appearances, to help us apprehend the significance of reality. This awareness enables us to perceive and influence reality.

The colour white, for instance, has numerous associations in Tibetan context: pictures of deities, white silk scarves for ceremonial decorations, chalk drawings, vessels, milk, yogurt, and white rice. Most of which are used in rituals and signifying purity, peace, liberation and good fortune.

Tantra, Sutra:

weaving the thread

One interpretation of the word tantra is ‘weaving’, and one interpretation of the word sutra is ‘thread’. This implies that weaving depends on the basis of a continuous thread. Without a firm grounding of the sutra teachings, one may easily end up weaving a veil of illusions. It requires working energetically and sensitively with the given forces and conditions to extend the potential network of threads.

Ch’i, Animated Energy: vigor, content

Ch’i means “essence and vigor”, or “contents”. Essence and vigor

refers to the pure “quality” of living beings, environments and energies while “vessel-and-contents” means the whole world. The natural environment is endowed with chi; its forces connecting all phenomena. By absorbing and interacting with the natural flow, we immerse in vitality that in turn brings physical comfort and cultivate stronger perception.

Tibetan Astrology: tortoise diagram

The tortoise diagram functions as an amulet for protection against all astrological and spirit complications. It is frequently hung on doorways to protect a building from evil spirits and also displayed at major or transitional events such as birth, marriage, moving to destinations, illness and death to create favourable environment. These diagrams are collectives of auspicious symbols, of which includes the endless knot.

Eight Auspicious Symbols divine, fortune

Presented during ritual worships and ceremonies, the eight auspicious Buddhist symbols consists of: a parasol, a pair of golden fishes, a treasure vase, a lotus, a white right-spiraling conch shell, an endless knot, a banner of victory and a golden wheel. These symbols represent the offerings made by the gods to Shakyamuni Buddha immediately after he attained enlightenment. In Chinese context, they represent Buddha’s eight vital organs while in Tibetan context, they relate to Buddha’s anatomy. In other interpretations, they were drawn as body markings on the palms, soles, breast or throat of divine beings or gods.

Endless Knot:

symbolism, tendrel, ch’i

The endless knot with no beginning and end, is composed of a single continuous line. Being one of the Eight Auspicious Symbols, it represents the mind of the Buddha and his inifinite wisdom and compassion. Besides, it is known to be the Hindu srivastsa ­— the hair curl found on Vishnu’s breast signifying his love for his wife, goddess Lakshmi. The endless knot, associated to the fortunate and wealthy Lakshmi, then becomes auspicious. In another interpretation, the symbol is refered to as the nandyavarta. Shaped like a swastika, it implies happiness.

The form of the endless knots resembles two intertwining nagas. The act of weaving reminds us of how all phenomena are intertwined and dependent on causes and conditions. This interconnectivity denotes our roots, future and remind us of our karmic destiny as the underlying basis of existence. Uninterrupted in a never-ending motion, it indicates timelessness of our spirit as we experience samsara — cycles of life, death and rebirth. The union in duality and the interaction of opposing forces gives harmony and balance, at once expresses motion in the state of rest. The vigor and vitality manifested in vessel runs its power to protect and bless.

Endless Knot:

swastika, wan tzu

The swastika, identifies with the endless knot symbolically, as in Hinduism, both were recognised as the auspicious mark srivastsa, adorned on Vishnu’s chest as the ‘beloved of good fortune’. The swastika was also related with Shiva and the snake cults of the Naga civilization; its origin from the intertwining of serpents indicates its relevance to the endless knot. Similar to its Tibetan meaning of eternity, its never-ending motion represents the Taoist principle of wan tzu — ‘ten thousand things under heaven’, translating ideas of dependency in phenomenal interconnectivity. Its constant rotation and accumulation of energy renders its power in protection held in common with the endless knot.

Endless Knot: knot with silk

The endless knots are often entertwined with white silk, giving it an added meaning of gracefulness, purity, and inspiration - qualities of divinity which resonates with Buddha, Vishnu and Lakshmi. Attaching cloth to the endless knot enhances the flow of ch’i, probably to concentrate more energy for the manifesting of power, as to serve as a strong amulet for protection and as a lucky diagram to bless with good fortune.

Endless Knot: feng shui

Feng means “Wind” and shui means “Water”. Feng shui is based

on the belief that the natural world is animated with energy, Ch’i, constructed of two opposing forces yin and yang. The key to achieving greater sense of well-being and contentment is through balancing these two forces. Being a compound of six infinity symbols, the endless knot is innately auspicious. In geomantic practice, it is placed at the south-west to bring harmony and good fortune . Its total symmetry and continuous route displays its uninterrupted flow and constant equilibrium, blessing its owner of a long life filled with stability, success and happiness.

Chinese Macramé: luck, spirit, harmony

Chinese knots were first used in the Paleolithic period as a tool for communication, recording historical events through a system where the size of the knot denotes the prominence of events. It progressed into becoming a folk art during the Tang and Song dynasty. 结(jié), the Chinese character for knot means vigor, harmony, and unification and 吉(ií), one of the constituents of 结 (jié), means luck. The knot made of rope, 绳(shén), relates to its homophonic meaning of 神(shén)—god, divinity and spirit. Imbued with profound meanings of spirituality, ch’i and auspiciousness, knots are deeply cherished and are often presented as gifts to bless and ward off evil spirits in the Chinese culture.

Chinese Macramé: tying blessings

The Chinese knot is based on eleven basic knots named according to their distinctive shapes, usages, or origins — double coin knot, double connection knot, the sauvastika knot, the cross knot, the clover-leaf knot, the good luck knot, the button knot, the panchang knot, the round brocade knot, tassel knot and plafond knot. All tied using one string, these basic knots are combined and arranged into patterns to convey different meanings. Multiplying the clover-leaf knot for instance, forms Chinese characters such as 寿(jí), longevity, and 如意(rú yì), which means “everything according to your heart’s desires”.

Double-layered and symmetrical on both sides, these knots showed Chinese pursuit for balance and perfection. These hand-made knots contain blessings from the weaver, which accumulates when the blessing is passed on to another. Unlike those from Tibet, these knots are commonly made in red due to its significance in luck and prosperity.

part ii: concept

Theme: Center the endless knot


Interlocking Intersection






The Knot Unity


Fate Duality





Continuity Point of origin= Point of return Symmetry Equilibrium


The Endless Knot: binding destiny

The endless knot is a symbol of tendrel, the reality of existence. Its intersecting lines reflect the interconnectivity of all phenomena, dependent on causes and conditions. The idea of binding destinies within the universe is expressed by the endless knot, as any independent on its own would be non-existing. Our spirit of timeless nature, experience cycles of death, life and rebirth in the web of karma — the never ending journey illustrated by the continuous pathway of the knot.

The knot presented as a gift, binds the giver and recipient in destiny. It acts as an amulet, blessing the recipient with good karma. This duality and the union of two opposites repeats itself in a marriage where originating from ancient Celtic custom of hand-fasting, the bride and groom tie their hands together with an endless knot. The knot complicated like a koan, protects their love from being unraveled Their destinies binded inextricably, the couple then unite in the fusion of the white and red drop.

The Endless Knot: manifestation of ch’i

The weaving of the knot is a manifestation of ch’i. Mapping in space in continuous motion, the knot expands potential and gathers energy as it connect points and distance. Intersections formed bind opposites in unity, and harmony creates equilibrium as forces distribute through the vessels. These union points are locking forces, concentrati ch’i and accumulate power. In its rounds of circulation, the chasing of yin and yang animates the timeless nature of eternity.


Opposites in Harmony Concentration Protection

Locking forces

Endless Knot


Energy Flow Mapping in space Expanding potential

Continuous Pathway




Connecting points and distance



Knotting destiny  

A project and research on the Endless Knot

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