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      The Happy Buddha: Symbolism across Cultures

      The Happy Buddha: Symbolism across Cultures

      The jolly laughing Buddha is based on an eccentric Chinese monk who lived over 1,000 years ago–a benevolent and joyous man who came to be regarded as an incarnation of the bodhisattva Maitreya, the “world teacher”.  The laughing Buddha is known in China as the Loving or Friendly One, and his image graces many temples, restaurants, and amulets as a deity of abundance and contentment. He always has a big and friendly grin, as well as a largely exposed pot belly stomach, which symbolizes good luck, joy, and prosperity. While laughing Buddha consistently has these qualities, there are several different variations to bring an abundance of all kinds into your life.

      As Buddhism has become popular in countries all over the world it remains a predominant spiritual belief in Asia. It is practiced in China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, and many more countries. Here in the US it is said that Hawaii has the highest population of Buddhists.

      Let's dive into the different forms of Buddha that we see around the world!

       

      The Spiritual Journey Buddha carries a gourd of enlightenment in one hand, a fan in the other, and wears a necklace of prayer beads. The fan is a symbol of happiness and joy used to banish troubles and misfortune, while the prayer beads (also known as mala beads) represent a consistent meditation practice and mindfulness in daily life.

      The Traveling Buddha is ready for adventure and is often toted as a talisman for safety in travel.  There are several variations of this worldly Buddha.  The Traveling Wu Lou Buddha carries with him the gourd of enlightenment, a wealth ball, and a sack which he uses to collect people’s sadness and woes. It is said that the sack, or ‘Hotei’, transmutes all of that negative energy into wealth and good fortune!  The wealth ball is sometimes seen as a pearl and symbolizes the most valuable ‘pearls’ of all treasures: wisdom and health.

      The Traveling Music Buddha is sure to attract new and wonderous experiences and ensures they will be met with as much exuberance as one would have when dancing to their favorite songs.  He also carries a sack for transmuting troubles, wears enlightening mala beads, and carries a small ukulele to bring joy with his beautiful music!

      The Safe Travels Buddha is a protective deity and carries with him his Hotei sack and wealth ball, to bring joy, prosperity, and wisdom in your travels.

       

      The Abundance Buddha and Prosperity Buddha

      While all happy Buddhas bring an abundance of good things, some are specifically focused on attracting a wealth of money, love, and spirit.  The Buddha of prosperity can be sitting or standing; either way, he holds two wealth balls over his head in a victorious stance, ready to WIN at all aspects of life!

      There is another variation of the Buddha of prosperity who carries the Ru-Yi pot of abundance, as well as a talisman to Nepal which attracts wealth and worldly wisdom.

      The Buddha of good health and abundance carries a Ru-Yi pot to attract prosperity, a wealth ball to bring abundance and good health, and he wears prayer beads to maintain a connection to mindfulness and spirituality.  His compatriot, the abundance Buddha holds a Ru-Yi “bowl of plenty” high above his head to attract wealth, health, and wisdom.

      The happy Buddhas are also sometimes meditating or simply sitting and being jolly, to attract luck and prosperity.  It is said that rubbing the belly of Happy Buddha will bring good fortune to you with even more speed and strength!  Try carrying one with you as a lucky talisman or place a few in your home; the bright smile and positive energy attraction of happy Buddha just might bring some surprising goodness your way!

       Mexicali Blues Buddha Backflow Incense Burner

      If you're looking for other home decor items or accessories to bring you the peacefulness that symbol of Buddha carries you can shop the full collection here!

      Elephants: Symbolism Across Cultures

      Elephants: Symbolism Across Cultures

       

      Elephants are regarded as symbols of wisdom and strength across cultures throughout the world. In India and Africa they are symbols of great strength and wisdom. In the Ashanti traditions, elephants are considered to be their past leaders, reincarnated into the stoic and powerful beings. In Buddhism they represent one's inner strength, but perhaps the most well known is the image of the Hindu God, Ganesh. 

       

      Ganesh is the patron of arts and sciences, deity of wisdom, and is worshipped in Hinduism as the bringer of auspicious beginnings.

       

      There are a number of legends that describe the birth of Ganesh. He is said to be the son of Lord Shiva, the god of death and destruction. One of the most popular stories of his birth is that he was magically created by Shiva’s wife, the goddess Pavarti. Needing someone to guard her door while Shiva was away in battle, she created her son Ganesh out of clay. Ganesh took his job seriously and he refused to allow anyone to enter his mother’s house.

       

      All was well until the Lord Shiva returned home from war unexpectedly. He was so angry at being stopped at his wife’s door by a stranger that he cut off Ganesh’s head. Pavarti was the only person in the world whom Shiva was afraid of, and she was outraged by what he had done to her son. The God of death and destruction became remorseful, and he promised to make amends. He decided to remove the head of the first animal he could find, and then used this to replace Ganesh’s amputated head. The first animal he came across was an elephant. Ganesh was thus restored to life and rewarded for his courage by being made lord of new beginnings and remover of obstacles.

       

      When we wear or decorate our homes with images of Ganesh, his powerful energy attracts abundance and helps us to be wise and discerning in our decision-making.  He helps us to overcome obstacles through calm determination, and to think big while also recognizing the importance of tending to details.  Overall, he is an auspicious symbol and a powerfully positive deity, and it is no wonder he is one of the most revered in all of Hinduism!

       

      If you're looking for a bit of this strength to bring home check out our Ganesh wall hangings. Don't miss our collection of other elephant inspired items on our online store!

       

      TREE OF LIFE: SYMBOLISM ACROSS CULTURES

      TREE OF LIFE: SYMBOLISM ACROSS CULTURES

      The Tree of Life is a universal symbol found in many spiritual and mythological traditions around the world. Sometimes known as the Cosmic Tree, the World Tree, or the Holy Tree, the Tree of Life symbolizes many things— including wisdom, strength, protection, abundance, beauty, immortality, fertility and redemption. It also illustrates the interconnectedness of life, here on Earth and also with the spirit world and the Universe at large! While most philosophies hold this concept of connectivity in common, there are a wide variety of meanings of this tree across different cultures.

       

      In Buddhism, there is what's know as the Bodhi tree, the great Tree of Enlightenment, that Buddha (at that time known as Siddhartha Guatama) completed his spiritual quest to reach enlightenment. Vowing not to rise until he was enlightened, he sat under the tree for many days, not moving, not eating, just meditating, until finally he arose as a fully enlightened being. Soon after, he attracted a band of followers and, as the Buddha, spent the rest of his life traveling and teaching the path of awakening he had discovered. This tree became the religious site of Bodh Gaya, now over 2,500 years old. Due to this belief, the tree of life has become a sacred symbol of the path to enlightenment for those practicing Buddhism.

       

      The Irish Druids believed that the Tree of Life had the power to reveal messages from the gods. Believing that all living things were spiritual, mystical beings, they believed that trees in particular were a source of great wisdom and power. With branches and roots stretching between earth and sky, trees bridged the gap between the upper and lower worlds and brought blessings from the gods. The wood of many trees was also considered magical, particularly that of the oak tree, which was thought to symbolize “axis mundi”, the center of the universe.

       

      The Celtic Tree of Life was also a symbol of a person’s quest for spiritual fulfillment. The Celts believed that at the center of each of us is a “golden child”, a being more valuable than all the gold in the world. They knew that in order to find our inner golden child, we must each first recognize our connection to the Earth, and the Tree of Life and all other trees were a clear and tangible symbol and reminder of that part of the quest.

       

      Nordic cultures believed that Odin, the ruler of all magic, guarded the great well of wisdom and knowledge at the root of the World Tree, whose strength supports the whole universe. Under the branches of the World Tree, known as Yggdrasill, Odin came into his magical and Shamanic powers, obtaining inner sight and healing abilities.

       

      Yggdrasill’s branches reach across the Nine Worlds (the lands of the gods, humans, deceased, etc.) to the spiritual realm Asgard, which also represents an individual’s higher self. The trunk of the Tree is the world of Midgard, the realm of the human ego and persona. The roots reach down to the underworld of elves and tree dwarves, the place of unconscious shadow senses and instincts. Yggdrasill, thought to be yew or ash, which unifies the Nine Worlds (the lands of the gods, humans, deceased, etc.) together through its branches that touch far into the heavens. The Poetic Edda, a compilation of Norse legends, mentions the tree several times, the first of which reads:

      An ash I know there stands,
      Yggdrasill is its name,
      a tall tree, showered
      with shining loam.
      From there come the dews
      that drop in the valleys.
      It stands forever green over
      The Ash Yggdrasill as depicted by Friedrich Wilhelm.
       
       

      Islam knows the Tree of Life as the Tree of Immortality, which does not decay and whose story parallels that of Christianity’s story of Adam and Eve. 

       

      In Judaism, the Hebrew translation is “Etz Chaim” or “Etz Hayim,” and yeshivas (Orthodox Jewish colleges or seminaries) and synagogues (Jewish place of worship) are commonly referred to by this name. 

       

      The North American Iroquois legend, The World on the Turtle's Back speaks of a magical tree growing on a floating island in the sky, where the first people live. When a pregnant woman falls from the floating island, she is saved by the creatures of Earth. Together, the woman and the animals form a new world on the back of a giant turtle, by planting some bark from the heavenly tree—which becomes what we now know as the continent of North America. 

       

      The Tree of Life connects us all in one way or another across the world, and that is no exception in the Mexicali Blues stores. We have a fond appreciation for the symbol and its many followings—as you can tell from our tapestries, jewelry, apparel, and macrame hangers. If you share this same appreciation and adoration for a global symbol of life, check out how you can bring them into your own space.

      Shop our unique items featuring the Tree of Life!

       

      Sacred Symbolism for Positive Energy: Tree of Life, Lotus, Elephant, and Spiral

      Sacred Symbolism for Positive Energy: Tree of Life, Lotus, Elephant, and Spiral

      We are big believers in the potent powers of energy, and love embracing the sacred symbolism of totems that have long been believed to attract or emanate certain energies. A few of our favorite positive symbols are the lotus flower, tree of life, elephants, and spirals. They are all strong and sacred in their own way.

      The post SACRED SYMBOLISM FOR POSITIVE ENERGY: TREE OF LIFE, LOTUS, ELEPHANT, & SPIRAL appeared first on Mexicali Blues Blog.

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      Buddhist Deities Explained: Tara

      Buddhist Deities Explained: Tara

      Tara is the goddess of peace and protection.  She is also known as the “Great Compassionate Mother” and the Buddha of enlightened activity. According to legend, Tara was a spiritual and compassionate princess who would frequently bring offerings and prayers to the nuns and monks in her village.  Impressed by her kindness, the monks told […]

      The post Buddhist Deities Explained: Tara appeared first on Mexicali Blues Blog.

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      Buddhist Deities: Mahakala–the Protector of Dharma

      Buddhist Deities: Mahakala–the Protector of Dharma

      Mahakala is the menacing & powerful embodiment of the bodhisattva of compassion. His purpose is to help in overcoming negative obstacles on the path to enlightenment, & protecting that path of righteousness (also known as “dharma”) from hindrances. Meant to scare bad spirits and energy away from the place it protects.

      The post Buddhist Deities: Mahakala–the Protector of Dharma appeared first on Mexicali Blues Blog.

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