Buddhism started around five centuries before Christ when Siddharta Gautama explained his techniques of suffering, nirvana and rebirth in India. He didn’t want to use images of himself in the scriptures, so instead he used symbols to illustrate the gifts given to him.
The very famous eight auspicious symbols are:
– The parasol to protect from negative powers but also to enjoy fresh shadow.
– The two golden fish Ganges and Gamuna, to swim free and cross the ocean of problems.
– The right turning conch represents the awakening with the sound of Dahrma teachings.
– The lotus flower to indicate that there’s beauty in every horrible place. The best lotus flower can grow in the dirtiest mud!
– The victory banner reminds of when Buddha won the battle to Mara who stands for the sins.
– The pot to fill it after illumination with positive stuff only.
– The wheel of Dharma, Dharmachakra represents the eighfold path.
– The endless knot to show the interconnection and rebirth of everything in life.
For a true practitioner these symbols are the most important ones, much more that the dorje, trishul, yantra, mantras, etc.
When you get them tattooed it can be a proof of your will to learn buddhism.