I visited Yili Yining in Xinjiang Province last Sept
When I was leaving I decided to buy a few mementos, first an English language description of the SAR and its special touristic features. Then I bought a small bracelet that features a left facing svasticka symbol along with a set of nice stones.
More than one person has wondered why I should have bought such a controversial artifact. I have always said that the left facing svastika had some connection with Buddhism and peace. Here is an authentic sounding explanation copied in from Wikipedia:
The paired swastika symbols are included, at least since the Liao Dynasty, as part of the Chinese language, the symbolic sign for the character 萬 or 万 (wàn in Mandarin, man in Korean, Cantonese and Japanese, vạn in Vietnamese) meaning “all” or “eternality” (lit.myriad) and as 卐, which is seldom used. The swastika marks the beginning of many Buddhist scriptures. The swastika (in either orientation) appears on the chest of some statues of Gautama Buddha and is often incised on the soles of the feet of the Buddha in statuary.
My family and emotional connections with this fractious world is so varied and light that I feel ok about wearing a semi-religious symbol that is connected to so many East Asian cultures and quasi religious origins.
I kind of like the sense that I feel ok wearing a symbol that has such a complex history.
- Factbox: Language and politics in the Chinese world (reuters.com)
- Did the Buddha teach Traditional Reincarnation? (triangulations.wordpress.com)
- Yale Silk Road Database | Yale University Library (library.yale.edu)