The Buddhism Unalome- An Homage to the Buddha
Similar to the Hindu philosophy, the Buddhist believe the unalome is a representation of the path to enlightenment. Full of twists and turns, conflicts and struggle, distractions and confusion, the path we take eventually becomes straight and narrow. The top of the unalome symbol is, again, where we gain wisdom, mental and emotional freedom, and reach a state of complete awareness and awe.
However, the Buddhist depiction of the unalome slightly varies from the Hindus. In the Buddhist version, the Buddha is usually seated at the base of the symbol, most often with a half moon over the seated Buddha’s head, representing enlightenment in the dark. Buddhism sees the intricate knots of the line just above the half moon as the crown or the actual head of the Buddha, symbolizing the scrutinization of one’s own actions and the importance of learning from them.
“No Mud, No Lotus.”—Thich Nhat Hanh
In both Eastern religions, but more often in the Buddhist version, there may be a lotus flower resting at the top of the unalome instead of dots. The lotus flower is a highly revered symbol of both Eastern philosophies, representing the path to spiritual awakening. Like Vietnamese Thiền Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh simply yet elegantly put, “no mud, no lotus.”
This Thich Nhat Hanh quote is a beautiful way to interpret the unalome symbol regarding the Buddhist way. The lotus flower cannot grow and bloom without the mud-like conditions the roots burrow through in order to find the nutrients required for sustained growth. If there is no mud present, there is simply no lotus flower. Similarly, without struggle, pain, grief, tough lessons, and darkness at times, there is no contentment, beauty, appreciation, wisdom, spiritual awakening, or enlightenment. The path of the Buddhist unalome is a path through the “mud” in order to reach the purity that life, and the lotus flower, can attain.