How to Tie a Buddhist Decorative Knot

Updated February 21, 2017

The Chinese consider knot-making an art and have been making intricate knot designs since ancient times. Many knots carry significance beyond their beauty. Many of these knots have ties to the Buddhist religion. The Buddhists believe in a cyclical nature of existence, including reincarnation. Decorative Buddhist knots typically have an endless appearance demonstrating these cyclical beliefs. Two decorative knots that demonstrate this endless nature are the Chinese button knot and the sauvastika knot.

Measure out and cut 20 inches of cord. Place a safety pin in the middle of the cord. Place the cord over your left hand, holding your hand horizontally, with the safety pin resting in the middle. The pin will be resting on your index finger and not your palm.

Drape the right portion of the cord between your index and middle fingers. Make a loop with the right cord using your right hand. The loop should be located at the top and centred over the left cord. The remaining end of the right cord should be brought back to parallel with the left cord.

Use your right hand to grasp the loop where it crosses over itself. Turn the loop upside down. The end of the right cord should now be pointing upward. Hold this loop in place using the thumb on your left hand.

Take the left cord with your right hand and run it under the loops. Weave the cord through the loops. The weave should be over the loop, under the centre and over the loop. Drape the remaining cord over your hand.

Pull the ends of the cords gently to create a pretzel shape. Do not tighten all the way down. Use the thumb on your left hand and create a hole between the two X's formed in the pretzel shape. Use your right hand and grasp the lower cord and bring it up through the hole from underneath the knot. Take the upper cord and push it through the centre hole from underneath the knot. The cords should now hang parallel at the bottom of the knot.

Start to work the knot up toward your left index finger, which the knot has been built around, using your right hand. Remove your finger and remove any excess from the knot. Remove the safety pin last, once the knot has become a ball.

Cut a piece of cord 20 inches long. Arrange the cord in the shape of a lower case "t." Both ends of the knot should be located at the bottom of the "t" shape. The other sections will be doubled, creating what looks like a bubble letter.

Bring the loose ends of the cord up to the right and rest them next to the top of the "t" shape.

Take the right arm of the "t" and have it cross over both the loose ends of the bottom and the top portion of the "t" by moving it left. Pull the top arm of the "t" down to the left, going over both the right and left arms of the "t."

Cross the left arm over the top of the upper arm. Weave the left arm under the loop created by the lower arm when it was raised upward.

Pull gently at each arm created to keep the "t" shape. The knot will be created in the middle of the "t."


These knots can be very tricky to tie. Keep practicing to become proficient at these knots.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety pin
  • Cord
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Michael Carpenter has been writing blogs since 2007. He is a mortgage specialist with over 12 years of experience as well as an expert in financing, credit, budgeting and real estate. Michael holds licenses in both real estate and life and health insurance.