In Bhutan many people are seen wearing colorful Srungkue around their necks. And so am I. Of course there are reasons to be worn.
Bhutan and Tibetan has an old culture of wearing Srungkue or protection cords.
The moment one get Srungkue immediately it is worn around their neck, saying "Tshey Ring, Tsho Sa, Ney Nung" (Prolong life, accumulate merits, Reduce illness).
They are also known as Srungdue (སྲུང་མདུད་) or protection knots.
The blessed protection cords are believed to have been invested with spiritual power and said to help protect the person who wears it from problems and misfortunes.
String slightly longer than a foot of different color is chosen to make Srungkue. The five key colors, which represent the elements - blue, symbolize the sky and space, white the air and wind, red for fire, green for water, and yellow for the earth.
In the middle of string a knot is tied which resembles a Vajra or thunderbolt. This knot symbolizes the indestructible and adamantine nature of the ultimate reality. It also represents the innate power and essence of the enlightenment of the Buddha.
When knot is tied on the cord a Mantra (ཨོཾ་ཨ་མ་ར་ཎི་ཛཱི་ཝནྟི་ཡེ་སྭཱ་ཧཱ།) is recited and blown on the knot. Many religious traditions have this kind of process, where a Rinpoche/Lama imbues an object with spiritual energy and blessings.
Some cords are known as Tshedue or (ཚེ་མདུད་) life cords and are produced to help elongate people’s life and come with particular kind of knot relevant to long life.
Lamas generally give these blessed cords on important occasions. Subsequently the blessed string is placed around the neck of the receiver.
The cord then becomes symbolic of the protection of the Lama's compassionate embrace and allows you to take your teacher with you, even after they are long gone.
Legend has it that these cords can bring good luck or offer some kind of protection to you.
Srungkue also reminds the wearer:
- That one took Refuge Vows and lives mindfully.
- That one took Bodhisattva Vows that one's purpose is to spread compassion and wisdom, to save as many beings and bring as many to Enlightenment as one can.
- That one received additional teachings and reminds that there is always more to learn and there are always more right steps to take.
However, whenever there is religious discourse, devotees are seen preparing Srungkue by themselves. They think making knots is enough to get blessing. They then get that blessed by the lama. That is not the way.
It is very important that Srungkue should be given to a monk or lama to tie the knots. They will recite suitable mantra and blows the energy to each and every knot. After that the Srungkue is shown to the main lama and get it blessed.
The lama commands the harmful spirits against harming the people wearing blessed cords who are under his or her protection.
At the moment I have the following Srungkue:
1. His Holiness Dordup Rinpoche ‘s Srungkue
2. His Holiness 17th Karmapa, Oregon Trinley Dorje’s Srungkue
3. His Holiness the 70th Je Khenpo’s Srungkue
The purpose of the blessed protection cords is to protect the body and the life of the person who is wearing it from external mishaps, human and non-human harm-doers, and internal problems such as illnesses and misfortunes.
Since threads are invested with spiritual power one has to have faith in the efficacy of the cords and respect them in order to gain optimal benefit from them.
The used Srungkue should be burnt.