The 4 Harmonious Friends
The Buddhist legend of the four harmonious animals has lineage to the Vinayavastu that constitute the first few sections of the Kangyur, under the canon of Tibetan Buddhism.
In Bhutan, this figure is the most well-known national folktale in Buddhist mythology and available on many temple murals, and stupas.
The illustration of the animals standing on each other’s shoulders portrays social and environmental harmony, enjoying the fruits of the tree.
Four animals were trying to determine their seniority using the tree as a reference.
- The Elephant's claims
The tree was huge when he was young.
- The Monkey's claims
The tree was young when he was small.
- The Hare's claims
Saw the tree as a sapling when young.
- The Partridge's claims
Excreted the seed that bears the tree. Thus became the most seniority animal despite its sheer size, strength, and power.
Moral of the Illustration
At no circumstances is hierarchy a mean to determine one's worth and prestige. But be respected for their experience because their maturity of age is the sign of experiences. However, in the context of religious life, it is determined by the number of years ordained as a monk.
Bhutan National Emblem
Bhutan National Emblem is a national symbol in the Constitution for official government publications. Its Buddhist iconography has significant meaning to the people of Bhutan for centuries.
- The Lotus
Signifies absence of defilements
- The wish-fulfilling jewel,
It symbolizes the sovereign power of Bhutanese and their traditions based on the four spiritual undertakings of Vajrayana Buddhism.
- The Two Dragons (Male and Female)
Symbolizes the Kingdom
The Snow Lion
The Snow Lion, also known as Seng in Dzongkha, is one of the four dignities of Bhutan.
The four dignities are:
- Tiger - Tak in Dzongkha
- Snowlion - Seng in Dzongkha
- Garuda - Kyung in Dzongkha
- Dragon - Druk in Dzongkha
It symbolizes the earth element, representing power and strength, and fearlessness and joy.
The Dharma Wheel
The Dharma Wheel signifies the turning wheel of Buddha's doctrine, both in its teachings and realizations, for all realms and eternity. When in motion, the Dharma Wheels signify Buddha's teachings.
The first turning of the wheel after Buddha's enlightenment was the instruction on the four noble truths:
- The Truth of Suffering
- The Origin
- The Ending
- The Path that leads to the end of suffering
Note: The wheel denotes Man’s moral and the eight spokes of the wheel is the eight ways to a cessation of all sufferings. By placing the Dharma Wheel in one’s home is the best way of attaining lasting happiness.
The Precious Umbrella
The Precious Umbrella signifies the current preservation in the three lower realms: sickness, Naga, and obstacles. It also extends to the realms of men and gods in the future lives.
According to Tibetan Buddhism, there was once a very powerful deity emanated from the forehead of the Buddha, known as the White Umbrella Goddess. This Goddess protects against every form of black magic, and it is her white umbrella that signifies this protection.
The Auspicious Drawing
The Auspicious Drawing signifies the union of wisdom and compassion; the inseparability of the Emptiness, the Path, and the Enlightenment
These associations surround the mystical knot with mysterious powers said to bring happiness and attainments.
The Endless Knot has no beginning or end, therefore symbolizes the infinite wisdom of the Buddha. As a secular symbol, it represents an assured continuity of love. The knot is also the infinity symbol shown thrice. The infinity symbol also corresponds to the symbol of 8.
The Golden Fish
The Golden Fish is an auspiciousness sign of all beings living freely without fear; originated from India based on two sacred rivers, the Ganga and the Yamuna, that signifies the human's lunar and solar channels.
The Golden Fishes represents fertility, abundance, conjugal fidelity, and unity. Carp is the often the presentation for the Golden Fishes, because of its beauty, its size, and its long lifespan.
The White Conch Right-Coiled
The Right-coiled direction signifies the triumphant chorus of Dharma teachings; enabling enlightenment from ignorance to fulfill their Dharma destiny.
The White Conch Right-Coiled is believed to echo the celestial motion of the planetaries. It is a symbol for the fame of the Buddha's teaching, which spreads in all directions like the sound of the conch trumpet.