A forum dedicated to the Vajrayana is now up and running.
It is called ‘Vajracakra’ and is to be found at: www.vajracakra.com .
Spread the word. Better still, join! 🙂
A forum dedicated to the Vajrayana is now up and running.
It is called ‘Vajracakra’ and is to be found at: www.vajracakra.com .
Spread the word. Better still, join! 🙂
GARUDA AS PRACTISED IN THE DZOGCHEN COMMUNITY
Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
The Garuda emerges from its egg fully formed and ready to fly. Within Dzogchen, this is symbolic of our primordial natural state. It exists within us, already fully formed, for us to reveal.
Garuda also exists as an enlightened deity who can help us. We need help as we still exist within a world of duality and there is the potential for harm to us from other beings.
All Dzogchen Community deity practices are Anuyoga and offer a path to enlightenment. They can also be incorporated into Atiyoga practice used to reveal our true nature, the path leading to Dzogchen. We should always remember that the principal purpose for practices of an enlightened deity such as Garuda is total realisation. We should also remember that Garuda practices and mantras, like those of other enlightened beings, can be used for all purposes as long as we have confidence in using them.
There are Garuda practices for the removal of obstructions to our practice, especially illnesses and other harm from different classes of spirits, which can affect our physical and mental well-being. It is important to understand how provocations may arise and how to avoid our own negative actions.
These practices include powerful, sometimes wrathful, mantras and invocations to link us with the Garuda and his power.
There are Eight Classes of beings which may harm us through negative forces and provocations.
All Garuda forms are Enlightened Beings and can help us in a general way, and are depicted with Naga serpents held in their beaks. However, some are especially effective for particular classes.
White Garuda ( No picture available)
This Garuda is especially connected with harm from the Naga class.
The Red Garuda practice is especially useful in dealing with harm from the Tsen class, which may include cancer.
Dark Blue or Black Garuda
Dark Blue Garuda practice is particularly helpful with provocations from the Yaksha class.
There is also a form called Takhyung Kilaya which is a dark blue Garuda with 3 faces and a kilaya lower body, like Guru Tragphur. (This is a form of Garuda incorporating Hayagriva, Vajrapani and Vajrakilaya). This is my own poor effort at an image:
Guru Tragpo (Dragpo) is a wrathful form of Padmasambhava, combining Garuda with Hayagriva and Vajrapani. Vajrapani is for controlling celestial negative forces, Hayagriva is for controlling terrestrial negative forces, and Garuda is for controlling subterranean negative forces.
Guru Tragphur (Dragphur) is a very powerful and wrathful form combining Garuda with Hayagriva, Vajrapani, Vajrakilaya and Yangdag Heruka. It is especially useful for extreme negative harm from the Gyalpo class.
Garuda with other Deities
Garuda also appears with other wrathful and protective deities such as Dorje Drollo (Drolod):
There is a Dzogchen Community book and mp3 on ‘THe Practice and Action Mantras of Dark Garuda, an Ebook of the same practice and a book relating to Red Garuda. They are available to members of the Dzogchen Community who have received the relevant transmissions:
Dark (Blue) Garuda Book & mp3 CD: http://www.shangshungstore.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=490
Dark Blue Garuda Ebook and mp3 Downloads: http://www.shangshungstore.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=491
Red Garuda Book: http://www.shangshungstore.org/index.php?l=product_detail&p=112
DZOGCHEN COMMUNITY EVENTS
There are many events relating to deities which you may attend, including Garuda ‘lung’ empowerments and Retreats for the development of good and stable practice. Familiarity with the main practice and mantra is especially important before using ‘action mantras’.
Many of the events are broadcast via internet webcast, giving access to those people unable to travel to attend in person. Some of the webcasts are ‘open’ and anyone can have access. Others are ‘closed’ and only for Members of the Dzogchen Community. Often, ‘lung’ empowerments are given during open webcasts.
However, the primary empowerment within the Dzogchen Community is that of sharing the natural state with the Guru, called Direct Introduction. This should always be a first step, in accordance with the First Statement of Garab Dorje. More information on this is easily obtained from the Dozgchen Community.
It is helpful to read an introductory text, such as’ The Crystal and the Way of Light’ by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, which introduces all the main Dzogchen concepts and also offers an entertaining and informative autobiography. Copies are available from Amazon.
Membership also offers many other benefits, including access to restricted books and other media, and some discounts.
DZOGCHEN COMMUNITY LINKS
For information, books and resources:
Links to Dzogchen Community Centres: http://www.dzogchencommunity.org/links/internationalcommunity.html
The Mirror, Newspaper of the Dzogchen Community, for articles, news and events:
Other useful sites, not operated by the Dzogchen Community:
All content remains the copyright of the original holder, and I am most grateful to Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and to the Shang Shung Institute for their kind permission to use and summarise content from Dozgchen Community teachings.
I have received this message today:
”Hi, my name is Uthayakumar, I am glad I found you. My page http://www.facebook.com/MightyGaruda is also dedicated to Garuda worship. Hope to hear from you.”
Please visit and ‘like’ this page and help support it. Thanks. 🙂
I am delighted that Michael Slouber has been in contact with me and informed me of his wonderful website on Garuda Medicine:
Michael, already a distinguished lecturer and author, is completing a PhD thesis on the subject and the information on his website alone is simply astounding, applying academic rigour and real enthusiasm to the subject.
We share to conviction that Garuda is a deity who deserves to be elevated in terms of the perception of importance to both Hindu and Buddhist practice.
I look forward to the thesis and the book which I hope will follow, which must surely be the primary source of information about Garuda.
I am reproducing images from himalayanart.org, a wonderful site full of images and information. I have included their copyright information at the foot of this post, and am making use of their images strictly for educational non-profit purposes.
Firstly, an overview of the Bon Deities. The full chart may be seen on the original website, and each deity has a link to further information. Khyung (the Garuda Eagle) is classed as a Wrathful Deity:
1800 – 1899
Collection of Garuda Virtual Museum (copyright holders)
Khyung Ngonpo (English: the Blue [King] of Birds), a tutelary deity from the Zhang Zhung Meri cycle of Tantra.
Staring forward, with three bird faces, blue in colour, the central face has two round eyes, two horns and the head crowned with a precious jewel, yellow hair flows upward. The face on the right is white and left red. The central beak clutches the torso of a snake held in the first pair of hands. The remaining hands extend to the sides each grasping a snake. Blue unfurled wings stretch outward. Bone necklaces, bracelets and armlets adorn the upper body and the lower torso is covered with yellow feathers. With the two taloned feet standing upon two serpent (lhu) creatures (half human-half snake), atop a multi-coloured lotus blossom he is surrounded by a circle of orange flames. Four attendant Bird Deity (khyung) figures surround the central deity, one faced, two-armed, green, red, blue and yellow. Each clutches a snake with the hands and beak. A red table filled with offerings stands in front.
At the top center, the Enlightened One Kuntu Zangpo is black and naked, surrounded by a sphere of light. Directly below is the wrathful tutelary deity Walse Ngampa with nine heads and eighteen hands, blue in colour. Lama figures sit at the right and left.
Four additional retinue figures stand at the bottom center. Each has a human body, animal face and khyung wings; the hands clutch a snake. At the bottom right is a red Khandroma (Sky Goer) with a tiger face, holding a curved knife and skullcup. At the bottom left is a worldly protector in the appearance of a red Rock (tsen) daemon wearing armour, carrying suitable weapons and riding a horse. The lush green mountain landscape scene is populated with wild animals and the sky filled with blue and white billowing clouds.
Jeff Watt & Lee Hartline 1-2000 (copyright holders)
Copyright Information for Himalayan Art site:
Materials and Content: Text and images made available on the Himalayan Art Website, created to provide an educational resource to the public, are the property of the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, unless otherwise noted, and are protected by copyright. The reproduction, redistribution and/or exploitation of any materials and/or content (data, text, images, marks or logos) for personal or commercial gain is not permitted. Provided the source is cited, personal, educational and non-commercial use (as defined by fair use in US copyright law) is permitted.
All parties using, printing or downloading the materials and/or content of the Himalayan Art website in any manner, represent and warrant (1) that they understand and will observe the limitations on the use of the materials and/or content; and (2) that they will not infringe or violate the rights of any other party.
Here are some links to resources about Garuda for use with children:
First some images on Youtube to the backing track of Amy Lee (Evanescence) – one of my all time favourite artists:
Next, the story of Garuda:
Finally, some episodes form the tale of Garuda:
Some legends which may easily be simplified for children:
This content appeared in a very early post with kind permission from Khandro, but was not copied over very well, and didn’t include all the relevant info and pictures.
Garuda (Jap. Karura) is a mythological bird usually described as having a human form with the head of a bird. Created from the cosmic egg that also hatched the 8 elephants supporting the universe, he was fully mature when hatched. Garuda can easily traverse the universe from end to end. It can kill and eat poisonous snakes with no harmful consequences to itself.
The oldest collection of Indian hymns, the Rig Veda says:
Garuda and the Sacred Kusha Grass
Garuda and the Kumbh Mela
The Hindu festival, the Kumbhmela, is held at a different spot on the shores of the Ganges every 12 years. At the beginning of 2001, Allahabad was the focus for this largest of the world’s gatherings. It is one of four spots where Garuda is believed to have rested during a battle with demons over the pot of divine nectar of immortality. Garuda’s flight lasted 12 divine days, or 12 years of mortal time, so the Kumbh Mela is celebrated at each city of 3 towns, alternating among them every three years.
According to South Indian legend, in Kanchipuram an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu, who was a sculptor, carved a Garuda image out of wood. Having been correctly carved according to the Shilpa Shastras, the figure came to life. It flew into the air, heading towards the south. At the village of Parakkai, the Garuda took a dip in the tank in front of the temple there, exclaiming with delight. Then he rose again and hovered around the temple deity as if doing pradakshina (Tib. kora, devotional circling.)
An artisan working on a pillar at the temple saw the bird and for some reason, hurled his chisel at it hurting its right wing. The bird fell to earth crying, “Madhusudhana,” to the man’s disbelief. The famous 4-armed stone image of Vishnu was later carved and installed on that spot.
< Kite for annual festival in Parakkai.
Near Nagarkot in Nepal there is a Vishnu temple dating to the time of King Manadeva, who is also associated with the stupa of Bodhnath. In the courtyard is a pillar inscribed with one of the earliest histories of Nepal. The place is called Changu Narayana. Atop the pillar is a kneeling figure facing the shrine known as the Manadeva Garuda since the moustached face is believed to represent the king.
Buddhists also worship at this temple, where the deity is called Hari-vahanodbhava-Lokeshvara.
Śakra (or, Shakra) is the name that Buddhist scriptures give to the king of the god realm, Indra. He appointed the garudas to guard Mount Sumeru and the Trāyastrimśa heaven from the attacks of the ashuras (“titans” or opponents of the gods.)
Garuda the Compassionate Observer
In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Garuda is a guardian of Lord Shiva. A tale is told how once, perched on Mount Kailash, Garuda noticed a tiny bird. He was struck by the contrast between the majesty of Kailash and Shiva’s palace, and the delicacy of ” . . . a beautiful creature, a little bird seated on the arch crowning the entrance to Shiva’s place. Garuda wondered aloud: “How marvelous is this creation! One who has created these lofty mountains has also made this tiny bird — and both seem equally wonderful.”
Just then Yama, the god of death appeared, riding his black buffalo. Garuda noticed that the gaze of the Master of Death briefly fell upon the bird, but then he continued on his way into the abode of Shiva.
Since a mere glance from Lord Yama presages death, Garuda’s heart was filled with pity for the tiny bird. He gently picked it up and flew off with it clutched carefully in his powerful talons. He took it far, far, away to a deep forest where he gently placed it on a rock beside a rushing brook. Then he returned to Kailash and assumed his customary position at Shiva’s gate.
When Yama emerged from his consultation with the Great God, he nodded to Garuda in
Yama answered, “When my eyes fell on the bird, I saw that soon it would find its death in the jaws of a great python. But there are no such serpents here, high on Kailash, and I was briefly puzzled.”
Himalayan Buddhist Tradition
In some cultures, the garuda acquired the lower body of a bird and became known as a kinnara or shang-shang. The shang-shang is associated with Buddha Amoghasiddhi (Unerring Accomplisher,) whose consort is Green Tara.
Amoghasiddhi is the Buddha of the northern direction and is representative of the skandha Samskara. He is depicted as green, with his hands in the abhaya — the “do not fear,” or protection, mudra. He is the conqueror of “thirst.” That is, working with visualizations and other Vajrayana methods that focus on him, we can transmute yearning that leads to attachment — that which is often simplistically expressed as “desire” or “greed.” Another of his symbols is the vishvavajra or double vajra that stands for Foundation and also, for resolve and stability.
In the Kalachakra tradition, Garuda bears the speech chakra. His mantra is Om Pa Kshim, Swaha.
The Shangpa lineage is named for the garuda and it is the lineage emblem.
Cha Khyung (Bird-Garuda) was a mountain deity of Rebkong, Tibet, an area on the west side of the river in Amdo province. After he was subjugated by Padmasambhava he became a worldly protector.
Kyunglung or, Garuda Valley, lies to the southwest of Mount Kailash. Once the capital of the land called Zhang Zhung, it was the site of the Silver Palace (Khyunglung Ngulkhar,) the ruins of which are still there in the upper Sutlej Valley of India.
When Buddha Was a Suparna
Garuda is king of the class of beings known as suparnas. To demonstrate and share his profound understanding of the lure of a woman with a monk who was having difficulty with his vow of celibacy, the Buddha is said to have recounted his own experience as King of the “sunbirds,” who once ruled the Isle of Seruma, a land of nagas:
Once while on a gambling junket to Varanasi (formerly anglicized as Benares,) he had a love affair with his host’s extraordinarily beautiful chief wife, Sussondi. She had been informed of the garuda’s gorgeous appearance by palace attendants, and he was smitten as soon as she entered the gaming room. Under the cover of a dark and dangerously violent wind that the suparna had stirred up, they flew away to his island home. There, they made passionate love, but then he had the nerve to return to the host-king’s palace — without her.
Meanwhile, Sagga, the magical minstrel of the King of Benares, was sent to search for the missing Queen. On board ship, his song was so wonderful that a makara emerged from the ocean depths in excitement and smashed it to bits. He drifted on a plank that finally landed under a banyan on Seruma. Queen Sussondi, walking alone by the shore, recognized the nearly-drowned man and took him to her quarters to revive him. She had to hide him in case the garuda should recognize him, of course, and with Sagga living in secret there in her quarters, one thing led to another.
Six weeks went by until a ship from Benares landed to provision there, and Sagga made it successfully back to his home having fulfilled, at least to a certain extent, his royal mission.
Skillfully and with delicacy, he sang of his adventure and his longing to the King and his faithless guest, the suparna, who even joined in with his wonderful voice. On hearing Sagga’s story expressed so skillfully, the garuda understood its significance.
Though he was the most splendid of all creatures, he had not been able to keep Sussondi for himself alone. Now filled with regret, he flew away to fetch her and returned her to the King. In that lifetime, he never again visited Benares.
There, in Jeta’s Grove, Buddha then told The Four Noble Truths and all about the births revealing also, that the long-ago King of Benares had been his own student, Ananda.
Today Indonesia is largely Muslim, but the culture is rooted in its past as the ancient playground of Indian rajahs. The legendary Isle of Seruma may well have been somewhere in that extensive archipelago. Hence, besides embodying stamina and determination, the garuda’s association with luxury and sensuality is probably why it was chosen as the emblem of Indonesia Airlines.
Myth of Garuda recounted by an Indonesian Airlines pilot.
In Nepal, the “mask of protection” is the face of a garuda-child called Chhepu. Folklore tells of his origin. He was one among the three brothers, Garuda, Chhepu and Hitimanga. Their mother had requested her husband to help her produce a son
Hybrids, or what we might call monsters such as creatures like the makara, originated, according to Buddhist tradition, during the time right after the Buddha’s Awakening when all hatred vanished from the world. Then, animals that had been foe and prey mated with each other, and produced offspring such as these.
~ Loden Sherap Dagyab Rinpoche. Buddhist Symbols in Tibetan Culture. Wisdom Publ.,
Garuda in its form as part-human is certainly in this category. Garuda Bherunda is a double-headed form that may have led to the Austro-Hungarian and American forms called the Double Eagle (as in the title of J. P. Sousa’s famous march.)
There was once a hunter who caught a pair of kinnara alive in the Himavanta forest. (As you know, the body of such creatures is human but the feet, wings and tail are those of a bird.) The hunter took them to the king, who asked why he had brought them. Were they offerings? Could they be roasted and eaten?
The hunter answered that kinnara have two interesting qualities: they have sublime voices, so if you can get them to sing they are able to do so more beautifully than people. The second interesting point is that kinnara dance wonderfully, much more beautifully than people.
The king commanded the kinnara to sing and dance, but even after being ordered two or three times, they just stood there looking at the king. The king, seeing that the kinnara would neither sing nor dance, then ordered his minister to have them roasted for dinner. Confronted by this dreadful situation, the female kinnara (called kinnari cf. canary) sat last spoke up:
Some etymological speculations: kinnari = canary, the warbling yellow bird; kinor is Biblical (and modern) Hebrew for the melodious ancient harp or lyre, the musical instrument whose shape provides the name for the freshwater lake at the north eastern tip of Israel, “Gennaseret” ie. the “Sea” of Galilee, source of the Jordan river. What is relevant here is the association with sweetness, either in the sound of its waves lapping the shore, the sweetness of its water or that of the fruit which grows by it.
The garuda is certainly related to the simurgh of Persian mythology. A related creature is the rukh or roc of The Arabian Nights’ Entertainment ( a.k.a. A 1000 Nights and a Night.) Both these mysterious creatures of a class known to mythologists as wundervogel, are distinctly but entirely birds.
Vishnu: In one version of the Indian cosmogony, Vishnu is the ground giving rise to the lotus upon which Brahma sits and through whose agency the world arises. Lord Vishnu sleeps and dreams, all the while sweating universes through his every pore. He lies comfortably upon the Tortoise, Kashyapa, who floats on the Profound Ocean which is the ground of all existence.
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Robert Beer’s handbook of Tibetan Symbols: http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=-3804Ud9-4IC&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&dq=robert+beer+garuda&source=bl&ots=FQBITTOcHy&sig=X-iwphcwMaL6qcDg7YBxV7wLImI&hl=en&ei=DgujTpK-HYzssga69tn9Ag&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CBwQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=garuda&f=false
Bird Headed Beings
BUDDHIST TEXTS AND PRACTICES
The Fire Sword of Black Garuda (Highest Yoga Tantra Empowerment required):
The Threefold Wrathful One (Vajrapani, Hayagriva, Garuda):
FPMT Booklet $1: http://shop.fpmt.org/Vajrapani-Hayagriva-Garuda-bkltlttr_p_1216.html
Garuda Multi-colored, Sadhana of Transcendental Wisdom
HINDU TEXTS AND PRACTICES
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garuda_Purana (In the Hindu text the Garuda Purana, Shakyamuni is described as the 21st incarnation of Vishnu. )
Bhagavad Gita (10 verse 30)
“Among the Daitya demons I am the devoted Prahlada, among subduers I am time, among beasts I am the lion, and among birds I am Garuda.”