Category Archives: Five Elements

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Pig

Tibetan astrological chart and symbols

In Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve-year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements is sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal is associated with a specific element for its life-force as well as a specific direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with specific years, they are also associated with specific months, days and hours.

Feb 05, 2019 begins the Tibetan New Year, or Losar, and the year of the Earth Pig.  People born during a Pig year will have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with the symbol of the Pig.  (These years correspond with the Tibetan lunar calendar and begin sometime between late January and early April.)   According to Tibetan astrology, the element which governs the life-force of the Pig is Water and its positive direction is North.  So, if a Pig person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of Water internally and externally.  Because the positive direction is North, facing this direction while meditating, engaging in healing practices or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general as an astrological symbol, the Pig person is honest and uncomplicated. A Pig person is straight-forward, but not in an aggressive way. They are often seen as “good, down-to-earth” people by others. This is because the Pig person does not harbor hidden agendas. They can be trusted and relied upon. In general, they have many friends to whom they are generous and jovial, and are always willing to be helpful. However, the Pig person can have difficulty setting boundaries and saying ‘no.’ And because they tend to be naive, it is possible for them to be taken advantage of by others. Although the Pig person is generous, they also enjoy having money for themselves and living in leisure and comfort. For this reason, the pursuit of pleasure and entertainment can become imbalanced and lead to excess.

The Pig’s soul day is Wednesday and its life-force day is Tuesday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Saturday.  This day is best for purification and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new activities or risky activities.

Pig years include: 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007, and 2019

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The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Dog

Tibetan astrological chart and symbols

In Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve-year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements is sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal is associated with a specific element for its life-force as well as a specific direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

Feb 16, 2018 begins the Tibetan New Year, or Losar, and the year of the Earth Dog.  People born during a Dog year will have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with the symbol of the Dog.  (These years correspond with the Tibetan lunar calendar and begin sometime between late January and early April.)   In astrology, the element which governs the life-force of the Dog is Earth and its positive direction is Northwest.  So, if a Dog person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of Earth internally and externally.  Because the positive direction is Northwest, facing this direction while meditating, engaging in healing practices or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general as an astrological symbol, the Dog person is loyal, straightforward, and honest. Because of their desire to offer their help and support, they are diligent and responsible with tasks. The Dog person takes great care in all that they do and is methodical and precise. Because of this, they do not like to be rushed in completing tasks or making decisions. Others can become frustrated at the Dog person’s seeming inertia when actually they are diligently analyzing the situation in order to be certain in making the correct decision. This tendency towards analysis and judgement can be in excess and lead the Dog person to overly analyze situations and consequently fall into despair or pessimism. For this reason, the Dog person can be seen as quite serious. However, they do not take their loved ones for granted and their relationships are long-lasting.

The Dog’s soul day is Monday and its life-force day is Wednesday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Thursday.  This day is best for purification and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new activities.

Dog years include: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, and 2018

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Harmony and Disharmony of the Five Elements

“From totally void emptiness, a totally clear light appeared. That light…came into being as a luminous wheel, whirling spontaneously. From the self-produced energy of the wheel, weightless wind came into being. The moving energy of the wind grew stronger and stronger and…from the energy of the wind, heat came into existence. From the clash between the heat of fire and the cold of the wind, moisture and water came into being. Subtle and coarse particles gathered in the water, and when their energy developed, they came into being as the Golden Earth that Supports Everything.”
~from the Yungdrung Bön text: The Precious Citadel where Everything is Brought Together as translated by Donatella Rossi in The Light of Kailash By Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

The Five Elements of Space, Air, Fire, Water and Earth are the basis for all the exists.  These elements are in constant relationship with one another, and it is this harmony, disharmony, balance or imbalance that determines the health or disease of organisms as well as the development or disintegration of dynamic systems.  Many cultures around the world acknowledge the importance of the Five Elements in both mundane and spiritual activities.  Within the Yungdrung Bön tradition, each element has its own distinctive qualities which are represented by a specific color, shape, sound, and direction.  Within our physical bodies, the Earth element is related to our flesh, the Water element is related to our blood, the Fire element is related to our internal  heat, the Wind (or Wood according to astrology) element is related to our breath and movement within the body, and the Space (or Metal according to astrology) element is related to our consciousness.

Among the Five Elements themselves, one way of describing their interactions is through the  five kinds of relationship: Mother, Friend, Self,  Child, and Enemy.  The relationship of ‘Mother’ is the one of greatest harmony.  The relationship of ‘Friend’ is very harmonious.  The relationship of ‘Son’ is considered to be neutral.  The relationship of ‘Enemy,’ as the name indicates, is considered to be the one of greatest conflict.  The relationship of ‘Self’ occurs when the same elements encounter one another.  This can either be good or bad depending upon the specific element involved.  Therefore, the possible relationship combinations for the Five Elements are defined as the following:

Mother: these relationships are considered the most harmonious

  • Earth is the mother of Metal
  • Metal is the mother of Water
  • Water is the mother of Wood
  • Wood is the mother of Fire, and
  • Fire is the mother of Earth

Friend: these relationships are considered to be very harmonious

  • Earth is a friend to Wood
  • Wood is a friend to Metal
  • Metal is a friend to Fire
  • Fire is a friend to Water, and
  • Water is a friend to Earth

Son: these relationships are considered to be neutral, and are in fact the ‘Mother’ relationships in reverse

  • Earth is the son of Fire
  • Fire is the son of Wood
  • Wood is the son of Water
  • Water is the son of Metal, and
  • Metal is the son of Earth

Enemy: these relationships are considered the least desirable and most destructive, and are in fact the ‘Friend’ relationship in reverse

  • Earth is an enemy to Water
  • Water is an enemy to Fire
  • Fire is an enemy to Metal
  • Metal is an enemy to Wood, and
  • Wood is an enemy to Earth

Self: When two of the same elements meet, the quality depends upon the elements involved

  • Earth to Earth and Water to Water are both considered to be a good combination, but not as positive as the Friend relationship
  • Fire to Fire and Metal to Metal are both considered to be a bad combination, but not as negative as the Enemy relationship

There are many ways to apply this knowledge in daily life.  For example, by understanding the relationship between the element of the lunar year and an individual’s astrological elements, it can be determined what kind of elemental forces will be active for that individual for any given year.  The year 2017 is ruled by the element of Fire, which is actually the energy of wangtang, or personal charisma for people born in that year.  For those born in Earth years, the Fire Element (lunar year) to Earth Element (individual birth year) is in a Mother relationship as regards the wangtang.  Therefore, these people might feel very strong personal power and charisma during this lunar year.  However, for those born in a Fire year, it is a Self relationship considered to be bad.  This indicates that it is possible for these people to experience a decrease of power and influence, and perhaps even encounter bad luck.  Knowing this, before any negativity develops, this individual could benefit from activities and/or practices that would increase their wangtang such as wealth practices, making offerings, or other virtuous spiritual activity.  This is but one example of how the Five Elements directly influence our daily lives.  With this knowledge, we can support our health and prosperity as well as support our spiritual practice and growth.

Prayers for Peace and Harmony

Prayer Flags at Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. Photo credit: Unknown

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Garuda

Tibetan astrological chart and symbols

In Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements is sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal is associated with a specific element for its life-force as well as a specific direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

A bronze image of a Garuda

Feb 27, 2017 begins the Tibetan New Year and the year of the Fire Garuda.  (For the Yungdrung Bön, it is the year of the Garuda.  Others use the symbol of the rooster.)  The Garuda is a bird both historical and mythical in scope similar to the Thunderbird.  It is intricately associated with Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoché and the ancient kingdom of Zhang Zhung and Mount Tisé a.k.a. Mount Kailash. People born during a Garuda year will have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with Garuda.  (These years correspond with the Tibetan lunar calendar and begin sometime between late January and early April.)   In astrology, the element which governs the life-force of the Garuda is Metal (space) and its direction is West.  So, if a Garuda person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of Metal internally and externally.  Because the positive direction is West, facing this direction while meditating, engaging in healing practices or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general as an astrological symbol, the Garuda person has a zest for life and is uncomfortable with the limitations of tradition and convention.  The Garuda has confidence in itself and is ambitious with goals that can often seem unrealistic to others.  However, it is a perfectionist and a master of organization that is able to find a way to accomplish difficult tasks.  The Garuda‘s joy and charisma attracts many friends who benefit from its spontaneous generosity.  Its flair for life and confidence in itself also attracts the attention of powerful people who help the completion of its goals.  In some, this unshakable confidence might lend itself to conceit and self-centeredness.  The Garuda finds the most joy when it remains balanced rather than caught in a cycle of highs and lows.

The Garuda‘s soul day is Friday and its life-force day is Thursday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Tuesday.  This day is best for purification and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new activities.

Garuda years include: 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, and 2017

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Ancient Symbols

The chakshing, hand object of Lord Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche, and the Yungdrung Bon flag atop Menri Monastery in Dholanji, India. Photo credit: Unknown

The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Snake

Tibetan astrological chart and symbols

In Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements takes sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal is associated with a specific element for its life-force as well as a specific direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

snake image

People born during the year of the Snake  will have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with Snake.  (These years correspond with the Tibetan lunar calendar and begin sometime between late January and early April.)  The element which governs the life-force of the Snake is Fire and its direction is South.  So, if a Snake person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of Fire internally and externally.  The positive direction is South.  Therefore, facing this direction while meditating, doing healing rituals or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general, the Snake is can see the depth of things and spends a lot of time thinking and processing.  The Snake can recognize the underlying motivation of others even if they do not recognize it within themselves.  The Snake can use this to their advantage and can be underhanded at times.  The Snake enjoys the good things of life and loves to be in elegant and beautiful surroundings.  The Snake can have an intolerance for hardship or discomfort.  The Snake can be magnetic and charming but can also be vengeful when angered.  The Snake has a good sense of humor, is socially graceful and often surrounded by admirers.  The Snake could benefit from the practice of tolerance and openness.

The Snake‘s soul day is Tuesday and its life-force day is Friday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Wednesday.  This day is best for purification and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new activities.

Snake years include: 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001, & 2013

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Lunar Calendar: Cutting Hair & Nails

moon phases 4

According to Tibetan astrology, the lunar cycle has a strong influence upon our daily activities.  Therefore, on certain days of the lunar month some activities are avoided while others are emphasized.  For example, the hair and nails are believed to be connected with the vital life-force.  Therefore, when a practitioner is performing longevity practices, the hair and nails are not cut for the duration of the retreat.  Special attention is also paid to which day of the lunar month is favorable for cutting the hair and nails in general.  It is believed that if they are cut on an unfavorable lunar day, it could diminish the vital life-force.

According to Tibetan astrology, the favorable lunar days for cutting the hair and nails are: 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 26th and 27th.  If they are cut on the 8th, it promotes longevity.  If they are cut on the 26th or 27th, it brings good luck.  Unfavorable lunar days for cutting the hair and nails are: 4th, 6th, 15th, 17th and the 30th.  If they are cut on these days, it is thought to be detrimental to vitality and/or good luck.  This belief is especially true when pertaining to a child’s first haircut.

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Anniversary of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s Supreme Attainment

Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche

The 13th day of the 4th month on the Tibetan lunar calendar is the anniversary of the rainbow body of Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen.  In 2016, that date is May 19th.  Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen was a Yungdrung Bön monk, teacher, scholar and realized practitioner of the modern age.  In 1934, he attained the rainbow body, Tibetan jalu, which is a sign of high realization in the practice of Dzogchen.  Essentially, the practitioner has purified their karma and realized the ultimate state of mind such that at the moment of death, the five elements which construct the physical body dissolve into pure light rather than degrading.  In this way, over the course of a few days, the physical body proportionally shrinks and, in some cases, completely disappears leaving only the hair and nails.

For more details about Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche’s attainment of the rainbow body, see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2015/05/31/anniversary-of-shardza-tashi-gyaltsen-attaining-the-rainbow-body-2/

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Shardza prayer with background

Time to Practice The Great Lama

drenpa namkha prayer flag with watermarkThis prayer flag contains the image of The Great Lama, La Chen Drenpa Namkha and contains prayers and mantras specific for his practice.  According to the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the 10th lunar day of each month is designated as the time to devote to his practice.

Offering Everything to the Field of Refuge

In the foreground, a Yungdrung Bon style mandala offering set at the Khyungkar Yungdrung Tengyeling Monastery in Tibet

The Power of Prayer

Tapihritsa prayer flag with blog url

This Yungdrung Bön prayer flag has a center image of Tapihritsa.  He was an historical person of the 8th century who attained full realization and is seen as being merged with the primordially enlightened Küntu Zangpo.  Tapihritsa is an important figure in the lineage of the Zhang Zhung Aural Tradition of Dzogchen.  The direct lineage of this tradition was never interrupted in any way and continues to this very day.

This prayer flag contains the “Invocation of Tapihritsa” as well as the Bön ‘SA LÉ Ö” heart mantra which is said to contain the complete introduction to the natural state of the mind.

“Lord Tapihritsa, protector of migrating beings, I offer this prayer to you!  May the beings of the six realms of cyclic existence be held within your compassion, and may my mind be liberated!”

-From The Invocation of Tapihritsa.  Translated by Raven Cypress Wood.

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The Twelve Animals of Tibetan Astrology: The Monkey

Tibetan astrological chart and symbols

In Tibetan astrology, there is a twelve year cycle.  Each of these years is characterized by a different animal and associated with one of the five elements.  Therefore, a full cycle of the twelve animals being associated with each of the five elements takes sixty years.  The twelve animals according to the Yungdrung Bön texts are the Rat, Elephant, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Horse, Snake, Sheep, Garuda, Monkey, Dog and Pig.  Each animal is associated with a specific element for its life-force as well as a specific direction which is determined by the life-force element.  Not only are these twelve animals associated with a particular year, they are also associated with particular months, days and hours.

monkey astrology

2016 will be the year of the Monkey. Therefore, people born during this year will be a Monkey and will have an emphasis of the specific qualities associated with Monkey.  (This year corresponds with the Tibetan lunar calendar and begins February 08, 2016.)  The element which governs the life-force of the Monkey is Metal (space) and its direction is West.  So, if a Monkey person wanted to strengthen their life-force, they would focus upon strengthening the element of Metal internally and externally.  The positive direction West.  Therefore, facing this direction while meditating, doing healing rituals or just relaxing and taking deep breaths is beneficial.

In general, the Monkey is friendly, adaptable, playful and thinks outside of the box.  The Monkey does not like to be trapped in any way and can use its ingenuity and keen sense of strategy to keep itself free.  Although the Monkey has a good sense of humor and a sharp mind, too often it is tempted to use these qualities to elevate itself while lowering others.  The Monkey is skilled at finding ways to benefit from an opportunity.  Even when faced with difficulty, the Monkey most often lands on its feet.  The Monkey has an insatiable desire for knowledge and study, but can grow bored once it has reached a level of mastery.

The Monkey‘s soul day is Friday and its life-force day is Thursday.  These are the best days for beginning new projects and activities that are meant to increase or develop something.  The obstacle day is Tuesday.  This day is best for cleansing and letting things go.  It is not a favorable day for beginning new things.

Monkey years include: 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016

Tibetan Astrology: The Five Natal Forces

prayer flags cropped

According to Tibetan astrology, we each have Five Natal Forces within us that are characterized by one of the five elements of earth, water, fire, wood or metal.  (Metal is the astrological equivalent of space and wood is equivalent to wind.)  These Five Natal Forces are the Vital Life-force, the force of the Body, Personal Power, Lungta and Soul.

The Vital Life-force is the force within an individual that is responsible for maintaining the connection between body and mind.  As long as this connection exists, there is vital life-force.  This force can be stable or unstable.  The force of the Body is the force of our bodily health.  The force of Personal Power, or wangtang, is the natal force of personal power or charisma, and is associated with prosperity.  When this force is strong, it can lead to accomplishment of one’s goals with few or no obstacles, protection of the vital life-force, and general protection from any kind of danger or loss.  Lungta is the force within an individual that is associated with good luck.  Lungta literally means ‘wind-horse’. This symbolizes something that can move very fast and with great power.  The Lungta has the ability to strengthen and uplift all of the other natal forces.  The Soul is the mother of the vital life-force.  When the Soul is strong, it gives the individual the ‘glow’ of health.  This force can be variable depending upon whether it is strengthening or declining.   According to texts, “Virtue is the mother of the soul.”  Therefore, acts of virtue strengthen the force of the soul.  This force cyclically moves through the entire body each month.  See previous article, “Movement of the Soul Through the Body”.

Because each of these natal forces are associated with a specific element, they not only characterize these forces in general but are also affected by the elemental qualities of each calendar year.  In this way, it is possible to anticipate the potential for one or more of these forces to encounter circumstances of support or decline.  This is due to the fact that the five elements interact with one another according to their unique qualities.  For example, water is the enemy of fire, but wood is the mother of fire.  There are four possible relationships between elements: mother, child, friend or enemy.  A person born in 1973 would be a Water Ox and the force of their lungta would be ruled by the element of water.  For 2015, the force of lungta is ruled by the element of fire.  Fire is in the friend relationship to water.  This is considered a very good position and, in general, this person could expect their force of lungta to be strong during 2015.  Calculations such as this are possible for each of the Five Natal Forces.  If someone wanted to strengthen one or more of the natal forces, the texts prescribe methods of doing so including numerous rituals and practices.  In general, virtuous activity, sincere spiritual practice and a mind of loving kindness protect these forces and keep them strong and well-developed.

The Precious Human Life

The deity of longevity, Tsewang Rikdzin

EMAHO! Praise to the unborn, self-arisen tulku!  Praise to the supreme gathering of all of the buddhas of the three times!  Praise to the eternal, unchanging deity of longevity!  Praise to the manifestation of Tséwang Rikdzin!” -from the Tséwang Jarima

According to the teachings of the Yungdrung Bön, a human life is rare and precious.  Because of this, there are spiritual practices with the purpose of healing any damage to the lifespan and for removing any obstacles that could interfere with the complete fulfillment of the lifespan of an individual.  One of the most common practices to attain these results is The Practice of the King of Longevity, Tséwang Rikdzin’s Supreme Collection that was received upon Jarima.  Commonly referred to as the Tséwang Jarima.  Within this text are rituals for healing as well as instructions for practicing with the King of Longevity, Tséwang Rikdzin.  This deity holds a Tibetan letter AH which symbolizes his realization of emptiness and the highest of all teachings regarding absolute reality.  He also holds the symbol of a yungdrung which represents changelessness and ceaselessness.  In this context, these qualities are associated with his power over the lifespan.

Tséwang Rikdzin was an historical person.  He was the son of Zhang Zhung Drenpa Namkha and his twin brother was Pema Tongdrol.  Although an emanation with great knowledge and realization at his birth, Tséwang Rikdzin received many teachings and heart instructions from his father.  In addition to composing many ritual texts in order to alleviate the suffering of sentient beings, he is also an important lineage master of the highest teachings, called Dzogchen, The Great Perfection.

The Tséwang Jarima text contains a long life mantra that is recited by Yungdrung Bön practitioners throughout the world.  During the week-long longevity retreat, this mantra is recited 100,000 or more times in order to obtain the power and energy of the mantra and the yidam, Tséwang Rikdzin.

SO DRUM AH KAR MU LA TING NAM Ö DU MU YÉ TSÉ NI DZA

SO is the changeless space of all phenomena

DRUM is the unequaled palace of the deity

AH KAR is the nature of birth-less wisdom

MU LA is the seed syllable of the rikdzin, specifically Tséwang Rikdzin

TING NAM is the self-arising water of nectar

Ö DU is the bringing together of all of the attainments of longevity

MU YÉ is the mantric vibration of luck and prosperity

TSÉ NI is the essence of a human being

DZA is the iron hooks of light

 

Increasing the Positive Forces

Raising prayer flags and tossing lungta papers into the air at the Yungdrung Bon Monastery of Nangzhig in Tibet. Photo credit: Unknown

Movement of the Soul through the Body

soul through the body image 2

In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the soul is known as la.  According to sutra, the soul is defined as the innermost, subtle essence of the five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth. The primary locus of the soul continually moves throughout the body and completes one full cycle each month in accordance with the cycle of the moon.  Within Tibetan medical texts, it is advised to not bleed, damage, or conduct surgery in the area of the body in which the soul is located at any given time.  The exact location of the soul differs slightly between texts.  The translation below is from the medical text, Menbum Karpo.

movement of the soul color chart 3

 

The Five Buddha Families of the Yungdrung Bon

Salwa Rangjung and consort

Within the Yungdrung Bön tradition, there are the Five Buddha Families.  Each deity is associated with specific colors, hand objects, wisdoms, elements. organs, impure aspects that are purified, etc.  Here are listed a few of these characteristics along with a line of scripture from the prayer known to Western students as The Precious Garland, an aspirational prayer to support those who have recently died.

Salwa Rangjung is associated with the Eastern direction. This deity is yellow in color, associated with the pure dimension of the element of earth and the consort is the khandro of the earth element.  This deity is associated with Mirror-like Wisdom and the Yungdrung Family.

“When the energy of the earth element dissolves into the water…and the yellow light of one’s own self appears, may I recognize it as the enlightened dimension of Salwa Rangjung.”

Gawa Dondrup and consort

Gawa Döndrup is associated with the Southern direction. This deity is blue in color, associated with the pure dimension of the element of water and the consort is the khandro of the water element.  This deity is associated with All-accomplishing Wisdom and the Precious Jewel Family.

“When the energy of the water element dissolves into the fire…and the pure essence of the water arises as a blue light, may I recognize it as the enlightened dimension of Gawa Döndrup.”

Jetak Ngome and consort

Jetak Ngomé is associated with the Western direction. This deity is red in color, associated with the pure dimension of the element of fire and the consort is the khandro of the fire element.  This deity is associated with Discriminating Wisdom and the Lotus Family.

“When the energy of the fire element dissolves into the wind…and the red light of one’s own self appears, may I recognize it as the enlightened dimension of Jetak Ngomé.”

Gelha Garchuk and consort

Gelha Garchuk is associated with the Northern direction. This deity is green in color, associated with the pure dimension of the element of wind and the consort is the khandro of the wind element.  This deity is associated with the Wisdom of Equanimity and the Dharma Wheel Family.

“When the energy of the wind element dissolves into the consciousness…and the green light of one’s own self appears, may I recognize it as the enlightened dimension of Gelha Garchuk.”

Kunnang Khyappa and consort

Kunnang Khyappa is the central deity of the Five Buddha Families. This deity is white in color, associated with the pure dimension of the element of space, and the consort is the khandro of space. This deity is associated with the Wisdom of Emptiness and the Suchness Family.

“When consciousness dissolves into the base-of-all…and the intermediate state of clear light arises, may I recognize it as the enlightened dimension of Kunnang Khyappa.  Having recognized these experiences as illusory, may I awaken into the self-aware absolute reality!”

Translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood

Developing the Five Elements

landscape of prayer flags in Nepal

Each of the five colors of prayer flags correspond with the five elements.  Hanging them in clean, high places where the wind activates their qualities is a way to develop and strengthen the five elements within one’s own body, speech and mind.

Raising Prayers to the Sky

raising lungta at Nangzhik monastery

Tibetan New Year celebration at the Yungdrung Bon monastery of Nangzhik in Eastern Tibet. Photo credit: Unknown

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