About the Fragile Palm Leaves Logo

The Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation logo depicts a conch shell (saṅkha, śaṅkha), and is based on a Dvāravatī period coin from Thailand. It was designed by Jane Francis (Victoria, BC).

The significance of the conch symbol is threefold:

  • Firstly, it symbolizes purity and clarity.
  • Secondly, it is one of the eight lucky signs or objects, an idea shared by all Indian traditions. It is a non-sectarian symbol of blessing.
  • Finally, in Buddhism it can also symbolize the speech of the Buddha.

What follows is excerpted from Claudio Circuza's Buddhapadamangala, published by the Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation and the Lumbini International Research Institute.

dakkhiṇāvaṭṭasetasaṅkho ti ayaṃ hi bhagavā tilokānaṃ parisuddhaṃ kusaladhammaṃ desetvā dasa-akusalakamma-pathadhammehi aparisuddhehi parivattetuṃ parisuddhesu dasakusala-kammapathadhammesu patiṭṭhāya setasaṅkhaṃ viya parisuddhaṃ dasakusalakammapathadhammaṃ pi jānituṃ | yathā saṅkhacakkāro attano tikkhasarena tilokānaṃ ativirocamāno hoti | tathā aparisuddhaṃ malasamphassabāma-hatthaṃ sīlajalena parisuddhaṃ dakkhiṇahatthena parisuddhakusala-dhammena visodhitaṃ setasaṅkhaṃ viya parisuddhakusala-dhamme ṭhitaṃ hoti | taṃ pana kusaladhammehi ṭhitaṃ hoti | taṃ pana kusaladhammehi parivattaṃ parisuddhadhammaṃ dakkhiṇāvaṭṭasetasaṅkhaṃ viya maṅgalajātaṃ hoti | tasmā taṃ dakkhiṇāvaṭṭasetasaṅkhaṃ buddharatanan ti vuttaṃ | [ed. pp. 56–57]
The dextral white conch [should be interpreted as follows]. The Blessed One has taught [all] wholesome and perfectly purified dhammas to [beings of] the three world in order to turn them away from the absolutely impure ten unwholesome courses of kamma, [thus] establishing [them] in the perfectly pure ten wholesome courses of kamma, and also to let them know that the ten wholesome courses of kamma are as completely purified as the white conch. Just as a spoke of a conch’s wheel is extremely shiny in [all] three worlds in virtue of its own sharp point, in the same way the left hand, which becomes impure when it touches physical impurities, becomes purified when it has been washed with the water of moral discipline by the right hand, which corresponds to the extremely purified wholesome dhammas. [Then the left hand] can belong to the extremely purified wholesome dhammas, like a white conch, thanks to these very wholesome dhammas themselves. And what has been turned around by wholesome dhammas becomes an auspicious sign, an extremely purified one, like the dextral white conch. Therefore the dextral white conch is called the Buddha-jewel. [tr. pp. 155–156]
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