Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dadar (མདའ་དར་) (Arrow Scarf) or Tsedar (ཚེ་དར་) longevity arrow

The Dadar or arrow flag dressed with rainbow ribbon is a teaching tool and a ritual instrument symbol. In a ritual ceremony, many of you must have seen the practice of this flag. Many Rinpoches uses this flag to bless the devotees.

So what does this flag represent?
A long life arrow (Dadar or Tse Dadar) represents our life force and life span or longevity. “Da” means arrow and Dar means flag. A Dadar is a ritual arrow decorated with silk ribbons.

It is used in many long Life practices for recalling all the aspects of our vital energy and protective energy that are damaged, lost or stolen. It is also used
to bestow empowerment of life or Tshewang and gathering of long life and wealth or Tshegug Yangug (ཚེ་འགུག་གཡང་འགུག་). The lama grips the arrow near its tip and waves the arrow letting the scarves fly in a swirling motion. The arrow with scarf is used as an instrument to draw the essence of longevity and wealth. To imply the bestowal of such essence, the arrow with scarf is gently placed on the head of the devotees who attend such a ceremony.
The manifestations of Guru Amitayus and his Yum hold Dadars and so do Mandarava and all the Dakinis in her mandala. 
Also we can use a Dadar when we do the Long life Practice of the Immortal Dakini Mandarava.

(Khandro Mandarava, holding an arrow, called a dadar, topped with a melong (just below the feather) and streaming yellow, blue, red and white ribbons. She is associated with a long life practice)

Dadar represents our life. Its main qualities are a stick and five silk ribbons or scarves, jewels or beads and a Melong or mirror.

The stick symbolizes our Yab aspect; it is firm and represents form, Thab (method).

The silk ribbons represent our yum aspect: they are light and move in the air and symbolize Sherab, wisdom and energy and the essence of the five elements.

The jewels represent concentrations of energy. The Melong is a symbol of our ancient potentiality. 

So these are the essential features.

The stick should be approximately 60 to 70 cm, but it doesn’t matter if it is a bit longer. Usually a bamboo stick is used because of its lightweight.

If you can get the best bamboo stick with five joints or knots is very good because they symbolizes the five main chakras.

If not three knots is also fine.

The ribbons should be one of each of the colors of the essences of the five elements: white for water, yellow for earth, red for fire, green for air and blue for space.
They can be tied on near the top of the stick making a kind of loop at the top of each one. They can hang down almost to the bottom of the stick.

The Melong can be tied on at the top of the arrow, at the point where you tie on the ribbons, using a narrow piece of ribbon or strong thread. It can be the same ribbon or thread that is used to tie on the five ribbons.


The Dadar symbolizes our life so we should try to make it as beautiful and as perfect as we can, according to our possibilities.

Mipham Jamyang Namgyal (1846–1912) describes the symbolism of the Dadar and its parts in the following verses.

༈མདའ་དར་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཀུན་འཛོམས་འདི།
།གནས་མཆོག་རྣམས་ཀྱི་སྨྱུག་མ་ལ།
།མདའ་མགོ་ལྔ་ཚོམ་ལྡན་པ་འདི།
།རྒྱལ་བ་རིགས་ལྔའི་མཚོན་བྱེད་ཡིན།
།དུག་ལྔ་གནོན་པའི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡོད།  
This Dadar endowed with all auspicious conditions, a bamboo from holy sites with five heads symbolizes the five families of the Buddhas, and holds the auspices to suppress the five poisons.
མདའ་སྐེད་ཚེགས་གསུམ་ལྡན་པ་འདི།
།ཚེ་ལྷ་རྣམ་གསུམ་མཚོན་བྱེད་ཡིན།
།འཆི་མེད་ཚེ་ཡི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡོད།  
The arrow body, which has three nodes, symbolizes the three Buddhas of longevity, and holds auspices for longevity and immortality.
མདའ་རྩེ་རྣོ་ངར་ལྕགས་ཀྱིས་བརྒྱན།
།དཔའ་རྩལ་བརྟུལ་ཕོད་ཆེ་བ་དང་།
།ཚེ་སྲོག་སྲ་བའི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡོད།  
The tip of the arrow being adorned with hard iron symbolizes valour, vigour and courage, and holds auspices for stable life and life force.
མདའ་སྟོང་དགུང་ལ་གཏད་པ་འདི།
།མངའ་ཐང་དགུང་དང་མཉམ་པའི་བརྡ།  
The nock of the arrow rising towards the zenith is sign of one’s power becoming as high as the zenith.
དར་མཚོན་སྣ་ལྔས་བརྒྱན་པ་འདི།
།མི་རྒྱུད་དར་ལས་འཇམ་པ་དང་།
།མཁའ་འགྲོ་སྡེ་ལྔས་སྲུང་བར་མཚོན།  
The adornment with silk scarves of colours symbolizes the character of the people to be as soft as silk and the protection by the five kinds of ḍakiṇi spiritual beings.
ཐང་དཀར་ཐང་སྨུག་སྒྲོ་ཡིས་བརྒྱན།
།དཔའ་བོ་དཔའ་མོ་མཚོན་པ་དང་།
།ལམ་སྣ་བསུ་བའི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡོད།  
The ornamentation with feathers of a vulture indicates the heroic nature of people and holds the auspices of being well received on the path.
རྣོ་ངར་ལྕགས་ཀྱུས་བརྒྱན་པ་འདི།
།ཆོས་སྐྱོང་སྲུང་མ་མཚོན་པ་དང་།
།ལས་བཞི་འགྲུབ་པའི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡོད།  
The decoration with a hard iron tip symbolizes the protector deities, and holds auspices of accomplishing the four activities.
མདའ་ལ་མེ་ལོང་བཏགས་པ་འདི།
།སྨེ་བ་དགུ་དང་སྤར་ཁ་བརྒྱད།
།ལོ་བསྐོར་བཅུ་གཉིས་ཚང་བ་ཡིས།
།སྲུང་བའི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་མ་ཚང་མེད།  
The mirror on the arrow indicates the auspices of being protected by the nine mewa, eight parkha and twelve lokhor animal powers.
ཤེལ་གཡུ་དུང་གསུམ་བརྒྱན་པ་འདི།
།དཀར་ཕྱོགས་ལྷ་ཀླུ་གཉེན་གསུམ་རྟེན།
།ཁ་འཛིན་སྡོང་གྲོགས་འབྲལ་མེད་ཀྱིས།
།མི་ནོར་ཟས་གསུམ་འཛོམས་པའི་བརྡ།  
The ornaments of crystal, turquoise and shell symbolize being protected by gods, ngen and naga spirits and of possessing people, food and cattle.
རིན་ཆེན་རིགས་ཀྱིས་བརྒྱན་པ་འདི།
།འབྱུང་བཞིའི་བཅུད་གཡང་འགུག་པར་མཚོན།  
Being decorated with varieties of jewels symbolizes the attraction of the essences of the four elements.
ཚེ་གཡང་འགུག་པའི་ཚེ་མདའ་ཡིན།
།དཔའ་བོ་མཁའ་འགྲོའི་ལྷ་མདའ་ཡིན།
།ཆོས་སྐྱོང་སྲུང་མའི་བླ་མདའ་ཡིན།
དགྲ་ལྷ་འཁོར་བའི་རྟེན་མདའ་ཡིན།
།དབང་ཐང་དར་བའི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡོད།
།བསོད་ནམས་རྒྱས་པའི་རྟེན་འབྲེལ་ཡོད།
།བདེ་སྐྱིད་ཕུན་སུམས་ཚོགས་པར་ཤོག  །།
This is life-arrow to attract longevity and wealth. This is divine arrow of the heroes and ḍakiṇis. This is Lah-arrow of the protector deities. This is the relic-arrow, which attracts the Dralha war gods. This has auspiciousness for the charisma to rise. This has auspiciousness for the merits to flourish. May peace and happiness prevail in abundance. 

Reference:
·       Dr. Karma Phuntsho 
·       Okar Research

·       Zambala Dadar

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