Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Four Powerful Animals: Tak (Tiger), Seng (Snow Lion), Chung (Garuda), Druk (Dragon)

Most Bhutanese people are aware of these four animals: the Garuda, the Dragon, the Snow Lion, and the Tiger as they are deeply rooted in our culture. They are seen in the corners of many prayer flags, painted on building walls inside monasteries, crafted on four corners of the buildings, embroidered as hanger and made in masks to display.

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).

The Four Dignities are mythical animals, which represent various aspects as under:

Tak (Tiger)
The Tiger abides in the South, symbolizing unconditional confidence, disciplined awareness, kindness and modesty. It is relaxed yet energized; resting in a gentle state of being that has a natural sense of satisfaction and fulfillment, referring to the state of enlightenment. 

Associations: main quality is confidence, dominance over forest, and the air element.
Seng (Snow Lion)
The Snow Lion resides in the East and represents unconditional cheerfulness, a mind free of doubt, clear and precise. It has a beauty and dignity resulting from a body and mind that are synchronized. The Snow Lion has a youthful, vibrant energy of goodness and a natural sense of delight. Sometimes the throne of a Buddha is depicted with eight Snow lions on it; in this case, they represent the 8 main Bodhisattva-disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha.

Associations: main quality is fearlessness, dominance over mountains, and the earth element.

Chung (Garuda)
The Garuda is daring and fearless and abides in the north. With great strength and power it soars beyond without holding back. It symbolizes freedom from hopes and fears, the vast mind without reference point. It is a powerful antidote to the negative influences of Nagas (spirits), which can cause disease and all kinds of harm.
Associations: main quality is wisdom, dominance over the sky, and the fire element.

Druk (Dragon)
The Dragon thunders in the sky with the sound of compassion that awakens us from delusion and increases what we can know through hearing. Dragons have the power of complete communication. Just as we do not see sound, we do not see dragons -at least not usually. Displaying a dragon banner is said to protect one from slander and enhances one's reputation. 

Associations: main quality is power, dominance over the sea, and the water element.

No doubts, Tak, Seng, Chung, Druk are four powerful animals and considered highly symbolic and powerful. As such one should have such symbol at home.

Cultivate Generous Thought and practice giving gifts to the Sanghas.

The Buddha once explained that it is a meritorious act even to throw away the water after washing one's plate with the generous thought:...