The Coy or Koi fish has a colorful history in religions and beliefs...One of the Buddhist Ashtamangala (Eight Auspicious Signs) is a pair of golden Koi fish called in Sanskrit, Suvarnamatsya (in Tibetan, gSer.nya) that generally symbolize happiness.
In the Indian tradition, they represent the two rivers of north India, the Ganges and the Yamuna.
Besides their universal appeal as symbols of the beauty and the abundance of the natural world, they also represent the condition of all samsaric beings.
Koi fish live in the upper level of water and know only about water. They generally have little or no awareness of the world just above and unless something intrudes into their sphere, are not concerned by it. Hence, the fish is a potent symbol for embodied consciousness, such as ordinary human awareness.
While we are caught in the confusion and ignorance of our minds, we may be unaware of the potential that is inherent in our nature -- just like fish with their ignorance of the world outside the water. But like them, a few manage to experience the wider reality often unknowingly, seeing as they are not attentive to it (leaping after an insect, perhaps) and sometimes, at great risk to their lives.
Koi fish are thought to move smoothly and swiftly, able to leap barriers and obstacles so they are also understood as indomitable, determined travelers.
In the Matsya Purana a sacred Indian myth, a cycle of Brahma is about to end when an immortal saint called Markandeya, who has been wandering inside the body of Lord Vishnu, creator of the cosmos, slips out of His mouth and falls into the Ocean. It is there that terrified, he begins to question the nature of Reality and the nature of Maya, or illusion. Then the holy man notices a gigantic Fish and, helpless to prevent it, is swallowed up.
This fish which was a KOI is the first of ten manifestations, or avatars, of Vishnu. Vishnavites [worshippers of Vishnu] count Buddha Shakyamuni as the ninth of these.
To Chinese, the carp is the king of fish, and once it was thought it could turn into a dragon. Like our salmon, it has to reach the headwaters of a stream to spawn, so it was observed leaping the Wu Men cataract and swimming the Long Men rapids in the third month of the year. Due to this remarkable display of power and perseverance, the carp was held up to the young as an example.
The Chinese word for "fish" (yu) is a homophone for "surplus," while "carp" sounds like "profit." This fish is a traditional component of the Chinese New Year's meal, but one doesn't actually eat them.
Hope I have been able to share my knowledge about KOI with you.
Fishfanatic since 1999
· 1 decade ago