I get a tremendous kick out of the numbered lists that pop up throughout Buddhism: the Triple Refuge, the Noble Eightfold Path, the Four Noble Truths. In fact, it was Buddhism that inspired me to write my Four Splendid Truths (after I formulated the First Splendid Truth, I just had to assume that I’d end up with more than one).
However, it’s surprising to me that Buddhism, with its emphasis on gateless gates and transcending the bounds of rational thinking, has so many of these numbered lists. I love them, but still, it seems incongruous. There’s a koan to be written about it, that’s for sure. Let’s see…how about, “Use numbers to throw away enumeration.”
One of my favorite lists from Buddhism is the list of the eight auspicious symbols:
2. Golden fish
3. Treasure vase
5. Conch shell
6. Endless knot
7. Victory banner
8. Wheel of Dharma
I was inspired to come up with my eight – wait, make that nine — auspicious symbols for my happiness project:
1. Bluebird, to symbolize happiness
2. Ruby slippers, to remind me that what I need for happiness is with me, right here and right now
3. Dictionary, to stand for reading, writing, and invention
4. Blood…between my husband’s Hepatitis C, my sister’s diabetes, and St. Therese, blood has assumed great power in my life
5. Gold star, to symbolize virtue and right action
6. Dice, to reminder me of the influence of chance and fortune
7. Holstein cow, a symbol representing my family. Long story.
8. Peacock feather, a reminder of symbols beyond words
9. Cherries. Cherries are cheery.
What would your auspicious symbols be? Please post them! I’m so curious to hear what other people would choose.
From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.