Monday, October 21, 2013

Windhorse, Lungta and Tengrism


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"The Wind Horse (Tib. Lung-ta), a mythical Tibetan creature from pre-Buddhist times, combines the speed of the wind and the strength of the horse to carry prayers from earth to the heavens. Not surprisingly in a country where the horse was used by the traditional nomads of Tibet. It is associated with success and the space element. The Wind Horse carrying the “Wish Fulfilling Jewel of Enlightenment” is the most prevalent symbol used on prayer flags. It represents good fortune; the uplifting life force energies and opportunities that make things go well. When one’s lung-ta is low obstacles constantly arise. When lung-ta is high good opportunities abound. Raising Wind Horse prayer flags is one of the best ways to raise one’s lung-ta energy.....The traditional Wind Horse Prayer Flags are ancient designs. In the center of the flag is the Wind Horse, the uplifting energy that carries good fortune to all beings. In the corners are the "Four Dignities": the Garuda (wisdom), the Dragon (gentle power) the Snow Lion (fearless joy), and the Tiger (confidence). The Eight Auspicious Symbols are depicted around the perimeter."

"In Tengriism, the meaning of life is seen as living in harmony with the surrounding world. Tengriist believers view their existence as sustained by the eternal blue Sky, Tengri, the fertile Mother-Earth, spirit Eje, and a ruler who is regarded as the holy spirit of the Sky. Heaven, Earth, the spirits of nature and the ancestors provide every need and protect all humans. By living an upright and respectful life, a human being will keep his world in balance and maximize his personal power Wind Horse."…..

State Emblem of Mongolia

"Tengrism (Tengriism), occasionally referred to as Tengrianism , is a modern term for a Central Asian religion characterized by features of shamanism, animism, totemism, both polytheism and monotheism, and ancestor worship. Historically, it was the mainstream religion of the Turks, Mongols, Hungarians, and Bulgars as well as the Xiongnu and the Huns. It was the state religion of the six ancient Turkic states: Göktürks Khaganate, Avar Khaganate, Western Turkic Khaganate, Great Bulgaria, Bulgarian Empire and Eastern Tourkia…….As a modern revival, Tengrism has been advocated among intellectual circles of the Turkic nations of Central Asia, including Tatarstan, Buryatia, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, in the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1990s to present). It is still actively practiced and undergoing an organised revival in Yakutia, Khakassia, Tuva, and other Turkic nations within Russia. Burkhanism is a movement kindred to Tengrism concentrated in Altay."….

"Khukh and Tengri literally mean "blue" and "sky" in Mongolian and modern Mongolians still pray to "Munkh Khukh Tengri" ("Eternal Blue Sky"). Therefore Mongolia is sometimes poetically referred to by Mongolians as the "Land of Eternal Blue Sky" ("Munkh Khukh Tengriin Oron" in Mongolian). In modern Turkey Tengriism is also known as the Göktanrı dini, "Sky God religion", Turkish "Gök" (sky) and "Tanrı" (God) corresponding to the Mongolian khukh (blue) and Tengri (sky), respectively."…….

"It is said that the Huns of the Northern Caucasus believed in two gods. One is called Tangri han (that is Tengri Khan), who is thought to be identical to the Persian Aspandiat….

"Historical Tengrism surrounded the cult of the sky god and chief deity Tengri and incorporated elements of shamanism, animism, totemism and ancestor worship. It lost its importance when the Uighuric kagans proclaimed Manichaeism the state religion in the 8th century."….Buddhist studies review, Volumes 6-8, 1989, p. 164.

"There is no doubt that between the 6th and 9th centuries Tengrism was the religion among the nomads of the steppes" Yazar András Róna-Tas, Hungarians and Europe in the early Middle Ages: an introduction to early Hungarian history, Yayıncı Central European University Press, 1999.

"The wind horse is an allegory for the human soul in the shamanistic tradition of East Asia and Central Asia. In Tibetan Buddhism, it was included as the pivotal element in the center of the four animals symbolizing the cardinal directions and a symbol of the idea of well-being or good fortune. It has also given the name to a type of prayer flag that has the five animals printed on it. Depending on the language, the symbol has slightly different names:
རླུང་རྟ་, rlung rta, pronounced lungta, Tibetan for wind horse
хийморь, Khiimori, Mongolian literally for "gas horse," semantically "wind horse," colloquial meaning soul.
Rüzgar Tayi, old Turkic for foal of the wind.

"In Tibet, a distinction was made between Buddhism (Lha-cho, wylie: lha chos, literally "religion of the gods") and folk religion (Mi-cho, wylie: mi chos, literally "religion of humans")……Windhorse was predominantly a feature of the folk culture, a "mundane notion of the layman rather than a Buddhist religious ideal," as Tibetan scholar Samten G. Karmay explains…..However, while "the original concept of rlung ta bears no relation to Buddhism," over the centuries it became more common for Buddhist elements to be incorporated. In particular, in the nineteenth century lamas of the Rime movement, particularly the great scholar Ju Mipham, began to "create a systematic interweaving of native shamanism, oral epic, and Buddhist tantra, alchemical Taoism, Dzogchen, and the strange, vast Kalachakra tantra," and windhorse was increasingly given Buddhist undertones and used in Buddhist contexts……Windhorse has several meanings in the Tibetan context. As Karmay notes, "the word [windhorse] is still and often mistakenly taken to mean only the actual flag planted on the roof of a house or on a high place near a village. In fact, it is a symbol of the idea of well-being or good fortune. This idea is clear in such expressions as rlung rta dar ba, the 'increase of the windhorse,' when things go well with someone; rlung rta rgud pa, the 'decline of windhorse,' when the opposite happens. The colloquial equivalent for this is lam ’gro, which also means luck."……

"Shambhala teachings of Chogyam Trungpa…. Tibetan Buddhist master Chogyam Trungpa incorporated variants of many of the elements above, particularly windhorse, drala, the four animals (which he called "dignities"), wangtang, lha, nyen and lu, into a secular system of teachings he called Shambhala Training. It is through Shambhala Training that many of the ideas above have become familiar to westerners."…..

Heraldry…."Wind Horse from the Coat of Arms of Mongolia……The wind horse is a rare element in Heraldry. It is shown as a strongly stylized flying horse with wings. The most common example is the coat of arms of Mongolia. In Europe, the equivalent symbol is the Pegasus."…..

"The windhorse ceremonies are usually conducted in conjuction with the lhasang (wylie: lha bsang, literally "smoke offering to the gods") ritual, in which juniper branches are burned to create thick and fragrant smoke. This is believed to increase the strength in the supplicator of the four nag rtsis elements mentioned above. Often the ritual is called the risang lungta, (wylie: ri bsang rlung ta), the "fumigation offering and (the throwing into the wind or planting) of the rlung ta high in the mountains." The ritual is traditionally "primarily a secular ritual" and "requires no presence of any special officiant whether public or private." The layperson entreats a mountain deity to "increase his fortune like the galloping of a horse and expand his prosperity like the boiling over of milk (rlung ta ta rgyug/ kha rje 'o ma 'phyur 'phyur/)…….

"The Stars in Tengrism…..The Star deities influence human happiness, wealth and cattle and each star corresponds to the Kut of a man on Earth, whose star falls to earth when they die. Someone who is happy and who’s fate seems protected is said to be “a man with a star.” Iron Stake – Timer Kazyk…..The Polar Star was a traveller’s reference point during the night. The name Iron Stake was given due to its seemingly static position. Two close stars move around it like horses on a chord tied to a stake and were named “The Two White Horses.” The Polar Star was also named “The Smoke Hole Of The Sky” as it acts as a passageway between two worlds. This is the story of Timer Kazyk; There was a time when the Sky and Earth were in disorder. The sky pressed on the Earth, which fragmented. Great chaos came upon the universe. The Black Storm grasped the Earth and the ashes of it were mixed with the clouds, whilst thunder roared, lightning flashed and hailstones fell the size of ducks’ eggs. People, animals and birds perished and only groans were heard upon the Earth. Fear, confusion, suffering and grief reigned. Mountains moved, rivers overflowed, fire destroyed forests and steppes. The moon, sun and stars lost their orbits and were swept into chaotic spinning. Chaos and disaster reigned for three years, until the Lord of the Sky, Tengri, in great anger hammered a Golden Stake into the Universe. This secured the Sky and Earth and became an axis to the world, which guides the path of the moon, sun, stars and comets. The end of this staff is seen at night and was named Timer Kazyk."…..

"Tengrism: The Wind God…..Wind symbolizes a mischievous, sometimes violent character. He is represented by a wild horse, and the term “born of the wind” is used to describe thoughtless mischievous people. Because of his restless nature Wind was never able to get on with Earth, Water and sometimes Fire. When angered, Wind brings down snowstorms and hurricanes bringing misfortune. People often spit three times when rustled by strong wind to dispel any evil kuts. If anything was destroyed by Wind it was abandoned and prayers were made to the forests and mountains. Western and Northern winds are considered ominous. In the Autumn they bring bad weather, rain, snow and clouds that covered the Sun. In January and February there are some very windy days and these months are called Jil Aiy, months of wind. Tengriist plea with Umai “do not admit malicious spirits nor any evil wind!” The wind is perceived as a stroke from the other world and a breeze is a cause for discomfort, as it may prove an “envoy of the lower world.” The ancient Tengriists esteemed the Wind God and in his honor constructed a temple called “Dispersing the Clouds.” Sacrifices were made in these temples if a victory was wanted. Wind creates change, heralds clouds and storms and plots disease. People trust the Wind God, a force of nature that gives energy. At the same time counter clockwise whirlwinds are seen as being evil, able to steal the kut of a man."…..

" The Tengriist sacred scripture is called the Orkhon Script. It was discovered in 1889 in the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia and was used to publish the alphabet of the Old Turkic language. There are many rock carvings and paintings dating back to the 4th century B.C.E, they read as principles of Tengriist belief."…..The script is named after the Orkhon Valley in Mongolia, where early 8th-century inscriptions were discovered in an 1889 expedition by Nikolay Yadrintsev…… The alphabet was usually written from right to left. Further Turkic Nestorian manuscripts, that have the same "rune-like" duct as the Old Turkic script, have been found especially in the oasis of Turfan and in the fortress of Miran…..Thomsen described the script as "Turkish runes""…..

-There are many sacred mountains and lakes in Tengriist belief.

"Sang-sol (pronounced as sāŋsöl) or incense offering is an integral part of the propitiation of gods/protective deities among Tibetan people. From the historical perspective, it appears to be a preliminary part in the rite of inviting gods/deities in removal of defilements within the human world. Commentary of Yangtse (of Bon), while narrating the descend of Nyatri Tsanpo from heaven, mentions that a trio of Bon priests were also sent along to clean defilements and great sickness of the human realm by offering sang. This testifies to the fact that the practice of removing impurity by burning incense had been there in Tibetan civilization from the earliest times….Everyone present picks up a handful of tsampa, faces the la-tse and shout in unison, Swa! Swa! Swa! (Swift! Swift! Swift!) three times and Ki Ki Swa Swa Lha Gyal Lo! (Victory to Gods!) in loud thundering voices as tsampa is tossed into the sky. This is called drawing the lha-gyal. ."….

"The oldest form of the name is recorded in Chinese annals from the 4th century BC, describing the beliefs of the Xiongnu. It takes the form 撑犁/Cheng-li, which is hypothesized to be a Chinese transcription of Tängri. (The Proto-Turkic form of the word has been reconstructed as *Teŋri or *Taŋrɨ.) Stefan Georg (2001) has suggested an ultimately Yeniseian origin, from a *tɨŋgVr-, "high." Alternatively, a reconstructed Altaic etymology from *T`aŋgiri ("oath" or "god") would emphasize the god's divinity rather than his domain over the sky. The Bulgarian form Tengri or Tanak-Ra (all means one and the same) The Turkic form, Tengri, is attested in the 11th century by Mahmud al-Kashgari. In modern Turkish, the derived word "Tanrı" is used as the generic word for "god", or for the Abrahamic God, and is often used today by Muslim Turks to refer to God in Turkish as an alternative to the Arabic Allah. The supreme deity of the traditional religion of the Chuvash is Tură.....Other reflexes of the name in modern languages include Mongolian: Тэнгэр ("sky"), Bulgarian: Тангра, Azerbaijani: Tanrı. The Chinese word for "sky" 天 (Mandarin: tiān) may also be related, possibly a loan from a prehistoric Central Asian language....Aspandiat is the name given to Tengri by the Persians."....


John Hopkins.....Northern New Mexico….October 2013


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