Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tiger,Lion,Garuda,Dragon & Ancient Shambhala


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"The Four Dignities......These four animals: the Garuda, the Sky Dragon, the Snow Lion, and the Tiger, are seen in the corners of many Tibetan prayer flags. Known collectively as "The Four Dignities," they represent sacred qualities and attitudes that Bodhisattvas develop on the path to enlightenment; qualities such as confidence (Tiger), clear awareness (Snow Lion), fearlessness (Garuda), and gentle power (Dragon).

"Certain Shambhala practices derive from specific terma texts of Trungpa Rinpoche's such as Letter of the Black Ashe, Letter of the Golden Key that Fulfills Desire, Golden Sun of the Great East, and the Scorpion Seal of the Golden Sun, in long and short versions. Trungpa Rinpoche is believed by his students to have received these teachings directly from Gesar of Ling, an emanation of Padmasambhava, and the Rigden kings. Their terma status was confirmed by the Nyingma master Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche....The Shambhala dharma practices derived entirely or in part from these texts include those of werma, drala, Wind Horse (Tib. lungta), and meditations on four "dignities of Shambhala": tiger (tib. tak), lion (Tib. seng), garuda (Tib. kyung) and dragon (Tib. druk). Jamgon Ju Mipham Gyatso, a great 19th century Nyingma lama and the predecessor of Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, wrote about many of these practices and concepts as well. Some, such as the "stroke of Ashé", have no known precedents"....

"Prayer Flags in Tibet are called lungta ("wind horse"). Traditionally, the flags would always be recognizable by the drawings of a horse at the center of the composition surrounded by four other animals—a lion, tiger, bird, and dragon....The identities of the four animals have not always been consistent. On early Bon prayer flags, a white yak was counted as one of the four. In addition, the bird depicted on Buddhist flags is believed to be a garuda, which has its origins in Indian culture and literature, while the bird image on Bon flags has a different meaning and history.....Buddhist prayer flags are generally amalgams of Indian Buddhist banners and Tibetan lungta. Chief among Buddhist texts displayed on the Indian banners, and now on Tibetan prayer flags, is the long dharani, a string of letters or syllables very similar to a mantra, of the wrathful female deity Dvajagrakeyura. She is an emanation, or creation, of the Buddha, just like the long-life goddess Ushnishavijaya, who was born from a ray of light emanating from the ushnisha atop the Buddha's head.".....Himalayan Buddhist Art 101: Prayer Flags, Part 2 by Jeff Watt....

FOUR DIGNITIES OF THE WARRIOR'S PATH: There is a developmental process for deepening and furthering authentic presence. ...called the warrior's path of the four dignities. (The) "developmental path of deepening and furthering authentic presence"... "This path is connected with how to incorporate more and more space into your world, so that ultimately you can achieve the realization of the universal monarch. As your world becomes more and more vast, obviously any notion of self-centered, egotistical existence becomes increasingly remote. So the path of Four Dignities is also connected with realizing egolessness. The four dignities are meek, perky, outrageous and inscrutable."... This month’s newsletter is dedicated to tigers, that fearsome carnivore of eastern Eurasia. These creatures are part of the cultural and artistic heritage of many peoples in the region. Similarly, there is much fascination with tigers in Tibet, a symbol of divine power, martial prowess and magical ability. We shall examine the tiger of Tibet through Tibetan texts, the natural sciences and Upper Tibetan rock art.
A brief introduction to the tiger in Tibetan culture......For a very long time tigers have been the stuff of legends in Tibet. To this day robes trimmed in the skins of the tiger and leopard are considered a desirable embellishment and status symbol. It is written in Bon and Buddhist historical texts that an ancient insignia of superior distinction (rtsigs) was a robe (thul-pa or slag-pa) trimmed in the fur of a tiger (alternatively leopard or clouded leopard skin). Such robes were awarded to valiant warriors and saints alike. According to Bon historical texts such as G.yung drung bon gyi rgyud bum, this tradition endured until the reign of King Trisong Deutsen (Khri-srong lde’u-btsan, 755–797 CE). This text also notes that circa the 5th century CE, Tritsennam (Khri-btsan-nam, Tibet’s 25th king,) and Thothori Nyentsen (Tho-tho-ri gnyan-btsan, the 27th king) presented bon and gshen priests with tiger skin trim and headgear as a badge of courage (che-rtags) for their aid in defeating foreign enemies.
Anyone familiar with the Ling Gesar epic or the cult of mountain deities would have heard of the tiger-skin quiver and leopard-skin bow case. These are stock-in-trade accoutrements of the ancient warrior in Tibet. These men-at-arms carried the appellation ‘tiger-dress hero’ (dpa’-bo stag-chas), and their costumes and weapons were referred to as the ‘equipment of the tiger’ (stag-chas). The greatest exploits of the warrior were epitomized in the phrase: ‘conquering male tigers in their prime’ (skyes-pa stag-’gugs). Like the tiger itself, these military heroes of yore, were given the epithet ‘wild one’ or ‘brave one’ (rgod-po). The proud and imperious swagger of the warrior known as the ‘tiger’s gait’ (stag-’gros) was adopted in wrathful ritual procedures. Tiger Gait is also said to be the secret name of the Bon tutelary deity connected to an ancient sage known as Shebu Rakhuk (Shad-bu ra-khug) and his consort Odenma (’Od-ldan-ma). This couple is recorded as residing in Yakpa (G.yag-pa), a region in the eastern Changthang.
Given this costumery tradition, it is not surprising that a wide spectrum of indigenous Tibetan deities is clad in tiger skins. Mountain gods, sprites of the earth, personal protective divinities, spirit allies in battle, and many other classes of deities are dressed, in whole or in part, in tiger fur. The use of tiger skins as vestments and other attributes extends to Buddhist deities as well, especially the protectors known generically as chos-skyong. Some of these Buddhist protectors have tigers and other wild felines in their entourages. Certain Tibetan deities are mounted on tigers such as the god of blacksmiths, Damchen Garwa Nakpo (Dam-can mgar-ba nag-po). As in Tibet, in ancient India, the tiger was held in high esteem and crept into many myths, legends and customs....

"Garuda stands in the Wai position, hands together in greeting. He has large, bulging eyes as well as a hooked nose/beak. He has a horse shoe shapped Vaishnavite tilak, symbol on devotees forehead, known as a Urdhva Pundra or Namam. He has 9 cobras over his body encirlcing his knees, wrists, biceps, earrings and one on his crown. Garuda, being an eagle, eats cobras so he is closely associated with them for much different reasons than Shiva! His wings are outstretched and beautiful!....Garuda is the king of the birds and often acts as a messenger between the gods and men. Garuda has the head, wings, talons and and the body and limbs of a man.....Garuda's mother was Vinata and his father Kasyapa, the law-minded grandfather of the world, who did tapas at the banks of the Lamhitya."....

The garuda and the dragon have their origin in Indian and Chinese mythology, respectively. However, regarding the origin of the animals as a tetrad, "neither written nor oral explanations exist anywhere" with the exception of a thirteenth century manuscript called "The Appearance of the Little Black-Headed Man" (dBu nag mi'u dra chag), and in that case a yak is substituted for the snow lion, which had not yet emerged as the national symbol of Tibet....The four animals (with the snow lion replacing the yak) also recur frequently in the Gesar epic, and sometimes Gesar and his horse are depicted with the dignities in place of the windhorse. In this context the snow lion, garuda and dragon represent the Ling (wylie: Gling) community from which Gesar comes, while the tiger represents the family of the Tagrong (wylie: sTag rong), Gesar's paternal uncle.

Middle Neolithic J-shaped dragon....china-dragon-7000-years-ago....The Neolithic or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 10,200 BC.

Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche....Shambhala Root Texts.....The Tiger Lion Garuda Dragon Glory: The Auto-Commentary on the Text of the Golden Sun of the Great East
A beautiful hardbound edition of a Shambhala root text by Dorje Dradul of Mukpo. It features cloth binding with gold-lettered spine, a gold scorpion seal on the front cover, and saffron endpapers. This second edition of the text has been re-edited to more faithfully reflect the author's original 1976 dictation, and gender-inclusive language has been used wherever possible. The original Tibetan text appears alongside the English translation.
Vajradhatu Publications....Hardcover, 6" x 9".....68 pp......Available to students who have completed Shambhala Warrior Assembly.

"Persians adopted the same solar symbols, as seen in a relief depicting the sun god Mithra on a lion, in front of the king, who has his hands raised in a prayer. A Persian necklace with swastikas, from first millennium BC, was excavated from Kaluraz, Guilan. In Zoroastrian Persia, the swastika symbolized the revolving sun (Garduneh-e Khorshid), Mithra's Wheel (Garduneh-e Mehr), fire, infinity, or continuing recreation.

"The astrological combination of the sun above a lion has become the coat of arms of Iran. In ancient astrology the zodiacal Lion was the 'house' of the sun..... Since ancient times there was a close connection between the sun gods and the lion in the lore of the zodiac. It is known that, the sun, at its maximum strength between July 20 and August 20 was in the 'house' of the Lion.....Mesopotamian Sun God Shamash; Assyrian Palace of Nimrud ...865–860 BC."

"Four rivers flow from Yungdrung Gutsek. The mountain has four sides that face in the four directions, and these rivers flow from the corners at the mountain's base, from formations that resemble the heads of four different animals. From the east, the snow lion is the source of the river Narazara; from the north, the horse is the source of the river Pakshi; from west, the peacock is the source of the river Gyim Shang; and from the south, the elephant is the source of the river Sindhu".....

"At the centre of the land of Tagzig (called Shambhala in the Kalachakra) was Olmo Lungring which had at its centre, Yungdrung Gutsek, a four-sided mountain similar to Mount Meru / Sumeru (see above). The mountain is surrounded by temples, cities and parks. To the mountain's south is the Barpo Sogye palace, where Tonpa Shenrab was born. The complex of palaces, rivers and parks with Mount Yungdrung Gutseg in the centre constitutes the inner region (Nang-gling) of Olmo Lungring. The intermediate region (Bar-gling) consists of twelve cities, four of which lie in the four cardinal directions. The third region includes the outer land (mTha'-gling). These three regions are encircled by snow-capped mountains and an ocean. ......The mountain Yungdrung Gutsek has nine Yungdrungs (swastikas) ascending like a staircase. It is not without significance that the swastika plays an important symbolic role in both the Bon and Vedic Hindu religions. In Bon, The nine swastikas represent the Nine Ways. The swastika (Yungdrung) itself is a symbol of permanence and indestructibility of the mind-stream, the wisdom of Bon. The full name of Bon is Yungdrung Bon meaning Everlasting Truth. .......The four sides of the mountain faced the four cardinal directions. From the four corners, each of which represent four archetypal thought forms, flow four rivers:
- From the thought form of a snow lion flows the river Narazara to the east,
- From the thought form of a horse flows the river Pakshi to the north,
- From the thought form of a peacock flows the river Gyim Shang to the west, and
- From the thought form of an elephant flows the river Sindhu (In Persian: Hindu which later became Indus) to the south.

...." the lion too has always had a close association with Persian kingship. The garments and throne decorations of the Achaemenid kings were embroidered with lion motifs. The crown of the half-Persian Seleucid king Antiochus I was adorned with a lion. In the investiture inscription of Ardashir I at Naqsh-e Rustam, the breast armour of the king is decorated with lions. Further, in some Iranian dialects the word for king (shah) is pronounced as sher, homonymous with the word for lion. Islamic, Turkish, and Mongol influences also stressed the symbolic association of the lion and royalty. The earliest evidence for the use of a lion on a standard comes from the Shahnameh, which noted that the feudal house of Godarz (presumably a family of Parthian or Sassanid times) adopted a golden lion for its devices."....

GARUDA..."The Garuda (Sanskrit: गरुड garuḍa, "eagle"), Indonesian: Burung Garuda which means Garuda Bird/Eagle is a large mythical bird or bird-like creature that appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology. Garuda is the Hindu name for the constellation Aquila and the Brahminy kite and Phoenix are considered to be the contemporary representations of Garuda....In Hindu religion, Garuda is a Hindu divinity, usually the mount (vahana) of the God Vishnu. Garuda is depicted as having the golden body of a strong man with a white face, red wings, and an eagle's beak and with a crown on his head. This ancient deity was said to be massive, large enough to block out the sun.....The Vedas provide the earliest reference of Garuda, though by the name of Śyena, where this mighty bird is said to have brought nectar to earth from heaven. The Puranas, which came into existence much later, mention Garuda as doing the same thing, which indicates that Śyena (Sanskrit for Eagle) and Garuda are the same. One of the faces of Śrī Pañcamukha Hanuman is Mahavira Garuda. This face points towards the west. Worship of Garuda is believed to remove the effects of poisons from one's body."....

Trungpa, Chogyam...."Dharma Art"....1996
Trungpa..."The Pon Way of Life" in Himalayan Anthropology...1978 (Reprinted in "The Heart of the Buddha": 1991)
Trungpa...."Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism"...1973
Chogyam Trungpa..."Shambhala, The Sacred Path of the Warrior"...1984

"In China, however, dragon lore (read “naga lore”) existed independently for centuries before the introduction of Buddhism. Bronze and jade pieces from the Shang and Zhou dynasties (16th - 9th centuries BC) depict dragon-like creatures. By at least the 2nd century BC, images of the dragon are found painted frequently on tomb walls to dispel evil. In this role, the dragon was often portrayed as one of the four celestial emblems of China, the one protecting the eastern compass direction. Buddhism was introduced to China sometime in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, and over time the Chinese identified the serpent-like Naga with their own four-legged dragon. By the 9th century AD, the Chinese had incorporated the dragon into Buddhist thought and iconography as a protector of the various Buddha and the Buddhist law. Japan's dragon lore comes predominantly from China.".....


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….December 2012


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