Oct 20, 2009

Storefront symbols

If you happened to be an inexperienced Westerner strolling around the base of Emei Shan, you might come across this storefront:

Nothing too out of the ordinary. But then you might look more closely and notice that they have two right-facing swastikas under the sign:

What's going on here?, you might wonder. Is Emei Shan some sort of hideout for Third Reich Germans still on the run?

You'd be mistaken. It turns out that the swastika is actually an ancient Buddhist symbol, which was later corrupted by the Germans. Wikipedia, the source of all truth and fact, points out:
Buddhism originated in India in the 5th century BC and inherited the manji or swastika. Also known as a "yung drung" in ancient Tibet, it was a graphical representation of eternity. Today the symbol is used in Buddhist art and scripture and represents dharma, universal harmony, and the balance of opposites.
Emei Shan is in fact a sacred Buddhist mountain, which would explain why they've used a swastika over their storefront.


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