The lion is a very diverse symbol. Its most common traits are: majesty, strength, courage, justice, and military might. Commonly reffered to as "the KING of the beasts," it is a symbol of Kingly power and might, but as the lioness it is commonly related to the Great Mother and protection.
Lions in Buddhism: symbolizing the freedom and fearlessness of wisdom Buddha himself was represented by the lion. He was called “The Lion of the Shakya” (Shakya was his people or clan) — and he is frequently depicted sitting on a lion as a throne. His speech was the “lion’s speech.” His spiritual sons (in Mahayana Buddhism) were “Buddha’s lions.” The symbol of the lion — and the snow lion especially — often appeared with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They are also found at temple entrances. What do they symbolize? According to Venerable Jampa Choskyi: “They roam freely in the high snow mountains without any fear, symbolising the wisdom, fearlessness and divine pride of those dharma practitioners who are actually able to live freely in the high snow mountain of the pure mind, without being contaminated by delusions. They are kings of the doctrine because they have achieved the power to subdue all beings with their great love, compassion and wisdom.” In Tibetan Buddhism, there is also the symbolism of the “Lion-face Dakini” — wisdom that “illuminates the darkest corners.”  In Chinese Buddhism there are not only snow lions, but also lion-dogs — Fu or Fo dogs, usually placed at entrances not only to temples but, also, important institutions. The importance of the lion as a symbol and a parable continues today. If we can learn to “face the lion” instead of chasing the stick, we would be able to make progress in Buddhist practice.