Eight Auspicious Signs or Symbols of Good Fortune བཀྲ་ཤིས་རྟགས་བརྒྱད་།

Eight Auspicious Signs or Symbols of Good Fortune བཀྲ་ཤིས་རྟགས་བརྒྱད་།

Eight Auspicious Signs or Symbols of Good Fortune

The eight auspicious signs or symbols of good fortune are the important part of the Tibetian culture. When you are travelling in Tibet, there are many signs and symbol in Monastery, hotel decorations, restaurant decoration and the decoration on the big public structures like bridges and airport. Today we are going to write about the Eight Auspicious signs or symbols of good fortune.Eight Auspicious Signs or Eight symbols of good fortune

In Buddhism, many different signs or symbols are used to illustrate abstract meanings. Among them, the most popular and common ones are the eight auspicious signs. We can see them on ceremonial scarfs and decorative-hangings of monasteries and in wall paintings on public buildings in Tibet.

To talk about their origin, in Buddhism these Eight symbols of good fortune represent the offering made by the gods to Buddha Shakyamuni immediately after he attained enlightenment. Brahma, the great god of the realm, was the first to appear with an offering of a thousand-spoked golden wheel, requesting Shakyamuni to turn the teaching wheel of the Dharma.

The great sky god Indra appeared next, presenting a white, right spiralling conch shell as a symbol of the proclamation of the Dharma. The earth goddess Sthanara (Tibet Sayi Lhamo) who had borne witness to the Buddha’s enlightenment, presented Shakyamuni with a golden vase full of the nectar of quaintly represented to the left and right of Buddha’s enlightenment throne, offering the golden wheel and the white conch shell.

8 auspicious symbols

Early Buddhist aniconic representations

Early Buddhist aniconic representations of Buddha’s footprints invariably depicted auspicious symbols as divine marks on the soles of his feet. These included the lion throne, victory banner, Vajra, water flask, elephant goad, hair-curl, eternal knot, swastika and conch shell; but the most common of these marks were the lotus and wheel.

As an insignia of the Chakravartin, an eight or thousand-spoked wheel adorns the palms and soles of Buddha images or bodhisattvas. One of the meanings of the word deva is “auspiciously drawn”, referring to the body markings on the palms, soles, breast or throat of divine beings or gods. Indra, for example, bears the insignia of the Shrivatsa or eternal knot on his breast.

In early India Vajrayana Buddhism the eight auspicious symbols were deified into eight goddesses, known as the Ashtamangala Devi, who each carry one of the auspicious symbols as their attribute.

Tibetan tradition identifies the eight auspicious symbols as forming the body of the Buddha, with the parasol representing his head, the golden fishes his eyes, the lotus his tongue, the treasure vase his neck, the wheel his feet, the victory banner his body, the conch his speck, and the endless knot his mind.

The representational meanings and the symbols of the eight Auspicious Signs are briefly presented below:

1. The White Parasol

The White Parasol

 

Represents the wish that Buddha’s teaching or the Dharma will be the protection for all the beings from the heat of ignorance

 

 

2. The Pair of Golden Fish

The Pair of Golden Fish

 

Represents the wish that all the beings attain wisdom and may be free from the ocean of suffering

 

 

 

3. The Lotus-flower

The Lotus-flower

 

Represents the wish that the Buddha and his followers be free of worldly stains

 

 

 

4. The White Conch Shell

The White Conch Shell

 

Represents the wish that all beings will hear the voice of Dharma

 

 

5. The Vase

The Vase

 

Represents the wish that all beings will have the holy knowledge of Dharma and that the Dharma itself is the greatest nectar

 

 

 

6. The Victory Banner

The Victory Banner

 

Represents the wish that the Buddha and his teachings will triumph over suffering

 

 

7. The Dharma Wheel

The Dharma wheel

 

Represents the teachings of the Buddha and the wish that they will always remain active or alive

 

 

 

8. The Eternal Knot

The Eternal Knot

 

Represents that the Buddha’s knowledge and deeds are boundless and profound.

 

 

 

You can read more about Eight Auspicious Signs here

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An Unique Tradition of Tibetan Prayer Flags or Lungta རླུང་དར།

An Unique Tradition of Tibetan Prayer Flags or Lungta རླུང་དར།

Tibetan Prayer Flags or Lungta

Tibetan Prayer Flags or Lungta are hung on all passes, bridges and on the roofs of houses. Prayer Flags or Lungta is unique to Tibetan Buddhism and they have a history well over a thousand years old. Originally the Lungta was used mainly as a military sign. Moreover, different tribes had their particular flag to represent their identity. Gradually, with the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet, the military flags were turned into religious prayer flags.

Tibetan prayer flags or Lungta

 

Therefore, Tibetan Buddhists for centuries have planted Tibetan prayer flags or lungta outside their homes and places of spiritual practice for the wind to carry the beneficent vibrations across the countryside. Tibetan prayer flags or lungta are inscribed with auspicious symbols, prayers, and mantras.  In general speaking, Tibetan Prayer flags have two distinguished types: – Vertical ones and Horizontal one. Vertical ones are known as Darchor meaning Flagstaff and Horizontal ones are known as Lung Ta meaning Wind Horse.  Vertical ones (Darchor) are rectangular cloth attached to the poles along their vertical lines. Whereas Horizontal ones (Lung Ta) are rectangular or square cloth connected along their top edges to a long thread.

Color of Prayer Flags or Lungta

They are hung in a diagonal line between two objects. Prayer flags come in sets of five different colors arranged from left to right representing the five elements of nature. The five colors are in a specific order. At first and foremost the color comes the blue which represents the sky, white represent cloud or wind, red represents fire, green represents water and yellow represents earth. Tibetan Medicine theory also starts with the five elements, mainly because the five elements form the entire universe. In our human bodies, the five elements combine to form the three Nyepa, or “elemental humor”.

Relation of Body, Energy, and Mind with Prayer Flags or Lungta

The three Nyepa form our characteristics of a body, energy, and mind. Each person has a special combination of the three Nyepa, called the Rang Zhin. This is their elemental personality or humoral constitution. Therefore, Tibetan prayer flags or lungta show that the harmony of these elements is important for the health of our human body. Moreover, it is also important for the earth. If the elements in our individual body or the earth are not balanced or harmonious then we will suffer from the disaster.

 

Wind horse

 

Corresponding five elements in the human body, The comparison between the macrocosm of the earth and the microcosm of the human body is also fascinating: Earth = body 20% Earth = body 20% Water = water and blood flow 80% Fire = heart and divine spark Air = lungs and oxygen Ether = mind and soul The elements also correspond to the five bodies, which are linked by the seven chakras (ether). Tibetans believed and prayed that the blessings of the sacred words are carried by the wind. And, it spread everywhere and the world remains in peace and happiness. So, they putting up Tibetan prayer flags or lungta up onto the mountains and on the roofs.

Tibetans believed and prayed that the blessings of the sacred words are carried by the wind. And, it spreads everywhere and the world remains in peace and happiness. As a result, people are putting up prayer flags up onto the mountains and on the roofs.

 

Chakras and five colors

Tibetan Prayer Flags or Lungta Hanging Time

The Tibetan prayer flags or lungta should be hanged at a particular time as well. The best time to put up a prayer flag is in the morning on windy days. It is believed that prayer flags become the permanent part of the universe as the images fade from exposure. Just as life moves on and new life replaces old one. Tibetans renew their hopes for the world continually mounting new flags alongside old ones. The symbols and mantras on the prayers flags are sacred, thus they should be treated with respect. They should not be placed on ground or used for clothing. The old Tibetan prayer flags or lungta should be burned once it is taken off.

 

Lungta

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