Various beliefs about turquoise are shared by Tibetans and Tibeto-Nepalese. In many Asian societies the color
blue is considered auspicious and protective; blue turquoise, therefore, possesses these qualities. Worn in a
ring, it assures a safe journey; worn in the ear it prevents reincarnation as a donkey; appearing in a dream,
it is auspicious; when found, it brings the best of luck and gives new life (in contrast, it is not considered
lucky to find gold or coral); when changing its color to green, it indicates hepatitis, yet at the same time it
draws out jaundice. Most importantly it can absorb sin. Strings of prayer beads should include turquoise. In
fact, when worshipping the popular goddess Tara in her green form, because of the color association, it is
desirable to do so with a rosary entirely composed of turquoise beads.
There exists as well the concept of living and dead turquoise. Living turquoise has a healthy blue color,
whereas dead turquoise has turned either white or black. In the natural aging process of turquoise, exposure to
light and body oils darkens the color, eventually turning it black. Tibetans compare this to human aging and
death. Wearing "living" turquoise is therefore very desirable, as it will give long life to the wearer.
In general terms turquoise is a symbol of the blue of the sea and the sky. Infinity in the sky speaks of the
limitless heights of ascension. The stone is opaque as the earth, yet it lifts the spirit high, laying bare to
us the wisdom of both the earth and the sky. It is old, yet young.
Turquoise has also been held as a sacred stone by ancient cultures other than the Tibetan. It was sacred in
Egypt along with malachite and lapis lazuli. It was sacred to the Persian culture, where it symbolized purity.
American Indians believe it to be a protector and guardian of the body and soul. Gypsies wear this stone in
their navels, believing it to be good for everything.
The Vajra is the quintessential symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism, which derives its name from the vajra itself. The Sanskrit term vajra means 'the hard or mighty one', and its Tibetan equivalent dorje means an indestructible hardness and brilliance like the diamond, which cannot be cut or broken. The vajra essentially symbolizes the impenetrable, immovable, immutable, indivisible, and indestructible state of enlightenment or Buddhahood.
The form of the vajra as a scepter or a weapon appears to have its origin in the single or double trident, which arose as a symbol of the thunderbolt or lightning in many ancient civilizations of the Near and Middle East. Parallels are postulated with the meteoric hammer of the Teutonic sky-god Thor, the thunderbolt and scepter of the Greek sky-god Zeus, and the three thunderbolts of the Roman god Jupiter. As a hurled weapon the indestructible thunderbolt blazed like a meteoric fireball across the heavens, in a maelstrom of thunder, fire and lightning. In ancient India, the vajra, as a thunderbolt, became the chief weapon of the Vedic sky-god Indra. It controlled the forces of thunder and lightning, breaking open the monsoon storm clouds, bringing the welcome rains to the parched plains of an Indian summer. According to legend, Indra's thunderbolt was fashioned from the bones of the great Rishi Dadhichi, who was decapitated by Indra in sacrifice. Dadhichi's 'indestructible' skull-bones gave Indra the most powerful of weapons. By its energy he slew innumerable of his enemy demons. In mythological descriptions, Indra's thunderbolt or vajra is shaped either like a circular discus with a hole at its center, or in the form of a cross with transverse bladed bars.
The Rigveda, the most ancient text in the world, identifies the vajra as a notched metal club with a thousand prongs. What is significant is that all these descriptions identify the vajra as having open prongs, unlike the Buddhist one, which has closed prongs. According to a Buddhist legend, Shakyamuni took the vajra weapon from Indra and forced its wrathful open prongs together, thus forming a peaceful Buddhist scepter with closed prongs. The Buddhist vajra hence absorbed the unbreakable and indestructible power of the thunderbolt. The vajra is indeed the most important ritual implement and symbol of Vajrayana Buddhism. It is so important that many of the Vajrayana deities have the word vajra prefixed to their names, two of them being Vajradhara and Vajrasattva.
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