COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

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COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby SuryaMitra » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:52 pm

I have a question.
Does anybody here knows and can explain why is it that the AIR element is represented by green colour ?
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby Sherlock » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:00 am

It is a traditional Indian attribution from the Five Buddha Families, maybe even earlier.
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby SuryaMitra » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:24 am

I know. And each Dhyani Buddha corresponds with each element. But that still does not explain why is green for Air.
While It is natural that red is for fire, or yellow for Earth, but why is Air green? I`m just curious ...
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby pensum » Sat Mar 29, 2014 12:48 am

One explanation would be that air is also wind, vayu, specifically prana vayu (srog 'dzin rlung) which sustains life (srog 'dzin), basically the difference between life and death is breathing, hence air is life, and growth and life are typically represented by green (think spring).
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby Vajraprajnakhadga » Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:11 pm

Symbols as they arise in the Sambhogakaya do not follow a logical pattern where "why?" can be suitably answered, nor do they have the quality of objective truth. They are symbols that point towards what is actually there, nothing more.
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby pensum » Mon Mar 31, 2014 12:58 am

Vajraprajnakhadga wrote:Symbols as they arise in the Sambhogakaya do not follow a logical pattern where "why?" can be suitably answered, nor do they have the quality of objective truth. They are symbols that point towards what is actually there, nothing more.


Except in the case of Vajrayana where all the symbols of the mandala and deities have very specific meanings and purposes. Anyone doing yidam practice would greatly benefit from owning a copy of Robert Beer's Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs (http://www.shambhala.com/the-encyclopedia-of-tibetan-symbols-and-motifs.html) or at least the Handbook (http://www.shambhala.com/the-handbook-of-tibetan-buddhist-symbols.html). Unlike other yoga traditions, most Buddhist mantras also have "objective" meanings as well, such as the Hundred-Syllable mantra, the Vajra Guru mantra etc.
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby Vajraprajnakhadga » Mon Mar 31, 2014 1:19 am

pensum wrote:
Vajraprajnakhadga wrote:Symbols as they arise in the Sambhogakaya do not follow a logical pattern where "why?" can be suitably answered, nor do they have the quality of objective truth. They are symbols that point towards what is actually there, nothing more.


Except in the case of Vajrayana where all the symbols of the mandala and deities have very specific meanings and purposes. Anyone doing yidam practice would greatly benefit from owning a copy of Robert Beer's Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs (http://www.shambhala.com/the-encyclopedia-of-tibetan-symbols-and-motifs.html) or at least the Handbook (http://www.shambhala.com/the-handbook-of-tibetan-buddhist-symbols.html). Unlike other yoga traditions, most Buddhist mantras also have "objective" meanings as well, such as the Hundred-Syllable mantra, the Vajra Guru mantra etc.


They are mostly consistent in meaning yes (though the colors and elements do vary depending on tradition), but that is not what I was referring to when I spoke of "objective truth".
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby pensum » Mon Mar 31, 2014 3:01 am

Vajraprajnakhadga wrote:
pensum wrote:
Vajraprajnakhadga wrote:Symbols as they arise in the Sambhogakaya do not follow a logical pattern where "why?" can be suitably answered, nor do they have the quality of objective truth. They are symbols that point towards what is actually there, nothing more.


Except in the case of Vajrayana where all the symbols of the mandala and deities have very specific meanings and purposes. Anyone doing yidam practice would greatly benefit from owning a copy of Robert Beer's Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs (http://www.shambhala.com/the-encyclopedia-of-tibetan-symbols-and-motifs.html) or at least the Handbook (http://www.shambhala.com/the-handbook-of-tibetan-buddhist-symbols.html). Unlike other yoga traditions, most Buddhist mantras also have "objective" meanings as well, such as the Hundred-Syllable mantra, the Vajra Guru mantra etc.


They are mostly consistent in meaning yes (though the colors and elements do vary depending on tradition), but that is not what I was referring to when I spoke of "objective truth".


However, my point is that the symbolism does follow a very logical pattern and "why?" in fact can be "suitably answered" as evidenced time and time again by the traditional commentaries and the pith instructions, as well as by even the most basic scholarly research.
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby oldbob » Mon Mar 31, 2014 4:19 am

:namaste:

:twothumbsup: :good: :twothumbsup:

All excellent posts.

My 2 cents - in the context of this being the Dzogchen thread.

For me, the 5 lights are really just a way to speak of how physical reality - the elements - can be represented in a useful way so that there is a handle to use when working in the physical dimension. Name and form, form and name - you (I) really can't say which came first, but in the conventional reality of the physical dimension, these serve a useful function.

In Dzogchen, in the spiritual dimension, all 5 lights are really contained, as an unnamed awareness, in the clear light of "pure from the beginning" AND co-emergent "spontaneously arising" awareness / consciousness of infinite possibilities.

In this dimension, the 5 lights are not defined as any one element, 5 elements or as anything.





In practice, (for example in the sending of light from a white ah in a tigle of 5 colors) the individual colors need not be seen as anything other than a swirl of clear light, which by undefined definition contains the 5 colors and all other intellectual fabrications. It is the dissolving of ordinary consciousnesses (the 5 colors, or differentiated colors) that is set to rest in the undifferentiated clear light consciousness.

It's a kind of value added, equivalancy table, where normal consciousness is informed by certain intellectual understandings (for example - the 5 elements equal the 5 colors of light,) and then --- from this normal consciousness, amazingly, clear light consciousness spontaneously arises.




So perhaps from the point of view of the clear light consciousness, there is no thought, or recognition, of any differentiation of anything, and so perhaps it is not so important what element is represented by which color. :smile:

All of which is easy to say and hard to do. :smile:

Which is why we seek a Dzogchen Master, take direct introduction, receive transmissions of practices, and then do the practices. :soapbox:

Hope this explains, one answer, as to why air is represented by the colo(u)r green. :smile:

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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby Vajraprajnakhadga » Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:39 am

pensum wrote:However, my point is that the symbolism does follow a very logical pattern and "why?" in fact can be "suitably answered" as evidenced time and time again by the traditional commentaries and the pith instructions, as well as by even the most basic scholarly research.


I would dispute the notion that they follow a logical pattern if you are referring to the notion of intellectual logic. First of all they are not contrived concepts that are created to explain reality. They arise spontaneously within the Sambhogakaya, and are not constructed by the mind logically. They are not non-sensical but they are also not conventionally logical. They exist outside such notions.
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby lobster » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:33 am

pensum wrote:One explanation would be that air is also wind, vayu, specifically prana vayu (srog 'dzin rlung) which sustains life (srog 'dzin), basically the difference between life and death is breathing, hence air is life, and growth and life are typically represented by green (think spring).


This and the air around green, lower areas would be more of a healthy association. Yellow is not necessarily the colour of earth outside of Asia. In my tradition the air element is white and a crescent, rather than half circle. In Western elements, Earth is sometimes divided into four colours, one of which is green. It is a good question and does not ring any obvious associations for me . . .
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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby Gwenn Dana » Mon Mar 31, 2014 9:07 pm

Blue and green were not always clearly separated in the asian world. Early languages even don´t have separate words for blue and green. Japanese "aoi" for example can still be translated to blue and green.

I would probably not put too much meaning in this.

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Re: COLOUR of 5 ELEMENTS

Postby SuryaMitra » Tue May 06, 2014 11:56 am

Thank you all :smile:
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