The Garuda

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Ngawang Drolma
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The Garuda

Post by Ngawang Drolma » Tue Mar 09, 2010 8:10 am

In Buddhist mythology, the garuḍas (Pāli: garuḷā) are enormous predatory birds with intelligence and social organization. Another name for the garuḍa is suparṇa (Pāli: supaṇṇa), meaning "well-winged, having good wings". Like the Nāgas, they combine the characteristics of animals and divine beings, and may be considered to be among the lowest devas.

The exact size of the garuḍa is uncertain, but its wings are said to have a span of many miles. This may be a poetic exaggeration, but it is also said that when a garuḍa's wings flap, they create hurricane-like winds that darken the sky and blow down houses. A human being is so small compared to a garuḍa that a man can hide in the plumage of one without being noticed (Kākātī Jātaka, J.327). They are also capable of tearing up entire banyan trees from their roots and carrying them off.

Garudas are the great golden-winged Peng birds. They also have the ability to grow large or small, and to appear and disappear at will. Their wingspan is 330 yojanas. One yojana is 40 miles long, so you can see how long 330 yojanas must be! With one flap of its wings, a Peng bird dries up the waters of the sea so that it can gobble up all the exposed dragons-big, little, young, and old! With another flap of its wings, it can level the mountains by moving them into the ocean.

Garudas have very great spiritual penetrations, and dragons used to fear them more than anything. But since the garudas have taken refuge with the Buddha, they live in peace with the dragons and don't eat them anymore. Chapter One of the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Flower Sutra explains the four kinds of garudas.
There were also the four garuda-kings : Great-Power-Virtue Garuda-King, Great-Body Garuda-King, Great-Fulfillment Garuda-King, and Free-At-Will Garuda-King, each accompanied by hundreds of thousands of attendants.

The garuḍas have kings and cities, and at least some of them have the magical power of changing into human form when they wish to have dealings with people. On some occasions Garuḍa kings have had romances with human women in this form. Their dwellings are in groves of the simbalī, or silk-cotton tree.

The garuḍas are enemies to the Nāgas, a race of intelligent serpent- or dragon-like beings, whom they hunt. The garuḍas at one time caught the nāgas by seizing them by their heads; but the nāgas learned that by swallowing large stones, they could make themselves too heavy to be carried by the garuḍas, wearing them out and killing them from exhaustion. This secret was divulged to one of the garuḍas by the ascetic Karambiya, who taught him how to seize a nāga by the tail and force him to vomit up his stone (Pandara Jātaka, J.518).

The garuḍas were among the beings appointed by Śakra to guard Mount Sumeru and the Trāyastriṃśa heaven from the attacks of the asuras.

In the Mahasamyatta Sutta, the Buddha is shown making temporary peace between the Nagas and the garuḍas.

The Sanskrit word garuḍa has been borrowed and modified in the languages of several Buddhist countries. In Thai the word for a garuḍa is Krut (ครุฑ). In Burmese, garuḍas are called ga-lon. In Kapampangan the native word for eagle is Galura. In Japanese a garuḍa is called Karura (however, the form Garuda ガルーダ is used in recent Japanese fiction - see below).

For the Mongols, the garuḍa is called Khan Garuda or Khangarid (Mongolian: Хангарьд). Before and after each round of Mongolian wrestling, wrestlers perform the Garuḍa ritual, a stylised imitation of the Khangarid and a hawk.[citation needed]

In the Qing Dynasty fiction The Story of Yue Fei (1684), Garuda sits at the head of the Buddha's throne. But when a celestial bat (an embodiment of the Aquarius constellation) farts during the Buddha’s expounding of the Lotus Sutra, Garuda kills her and is exiled from paradise. He is later reborn as Song Dynasty General Yue Fei. The bat is reborn as Lady Wang, wife of the traitor Prime Minister Qin Hui, and is instrumental in formulating the "Eastern Window" plot that leads to Yue's political execution.[8]



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Re: The Garuda

Post by plwk » Tue Mar 09, 2010 9:36 am

'Harihariharivahana Lokesvara' - a rare form of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva (Avalokitesvara on top of Vishnu on top of Garuda on top of a lion...)
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Colour White Arms Six
Vahana Sithha, Garuda and Visnu

The composition of the deity is so queer that great difficulty is experienced in recognizing the images of this form of Avalokitesvara, called by the peculiar name of Harihariharivahana.
The Sadhana gives a description of the god, but is practically silent as to why such a special name is given to this particular variety of Lokesvara.
India has not given up until now any image of Harihariharivahana and it is rare even in Nepal.
There is only one sculpture at Svayambhuksettra and a bronze in one of the monasteries at Pattan, and both of them follow the Sadhana faithfully.
The lion is lowermost, on it rides Garuda.
On the back of Garuda, again, rides the Hindu god Visnu with the four symbols, the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. On the shoulder of Visnu rides Lokesvara.
The lion, the Garuda and the god Visnu, all have 'Hari' as their synonym and because the vehicle of Lokesvara is composed of three 'Hari's, the principal god acquires the name of Harihariharivahana.
Two Sadhanas in the Sadhanamala are devoted to the worship of this form of Arya Avalokitesvara and the Dhyana in one of them describes the god in the following terms :-
Harihanharivahanodbhavam Bhagavantarh Arya-Avalokitesvaram sarvangasuklam jatamukutinam santavesam daksinakarena Bhagavantarh Tathagatam saksinam kurvantam dvitl>ena aksamaladharinam trtlyena duhkuhakam lokam upadesayantam vamena dandadharam dvitiyena krsnajinadharam trtlyena kamandaludharam simha*garuda-visnu-skandhasthitam atmanam dhyatva..." Sadhanamala, p. 77

"The worshipper should think himself as the Harihariharivahana form of god Avalokitesvara, white in all limbs, with the Jatamukuta (crown of matted hair) and clad in graceful garment?.
He cites the Tathagata as witness with one of his right hands, carries the rosary in the second, and instructs deluded people with the third.
He carries the staff in one of his left hands, the deer-skin in the second and the Kamandalu in the third.
He sits on the shoulder of Visnu below whom there are Garuda and the lion. Thus meditating..."

Ngawang Drolma
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Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 8:44 pm

Re: The Garuda

Post by Ngawang Drolma » Tue Mar 09, 2010 10:06 am

What a great find! Thanks :)

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