The eight auspicious symbols, which play a central role in Tibetan Buddhism, have been considered since time immemorial as the original presents that the Vedic gods handed to the newborn Buddha.
The present book throws a different light on the millennia-old history of these auspicious symbols, retracing their origins in the Stone Age and revealing their earliest manifestations on various continents. The Tibetan auspicious symbols reflect a cultural world heritage of overwhelming colourfulness and almost inexhaustible richness of meaning. They are symbols of universal validity for outer, worldly realities as well as for inner, spiritual processes. In his preface, the Dalai Lama writes: I am glad that the Institute is coming out with this book that not only explains the meaning of the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism, but also places them in context with the cultures of other historical traditions. It thus symbolises the very objective behind the setting up of the Tibet Institute:
spreading awareness about Tibetan Buddhist cultural values and placing them in relation to the broader world. “Presents for Buddha” was first published in 2018 on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the Tibet Institute Rikon (Switzerland), the first Tibetan monastery in Europe. The monastery is under the patronage of the Dalai Lama and, according to his wishes, “has been a facilitator of dialogue between Tibetan Buddhist and Western cultures”. This has become especially evident in this book: while in the first part Tibetan people, including the Abbot of the Rikon Monastery, explain the meaning of the auspicious symbols in their lives and their faith, in the second part Rudolf Högger leads through an illustrated cultural history of the symbols that goes far beyond Buddhism. Thus, the originality of this book lies in the combination of personal accounts of religious lives and a cultural-historical portray.