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Dukkar, The Divine White Parasol Goddess: Most Important Beacon of Protection

The White Parasol Goddess in Tibetan Tradition

In Tibetan Buddhism, devotees revere “Dukkar,” known as the White Parasol Goddess, for her potent protective powers. She was formerly “The White Parasol Goddess Emerging from the Crown of All Tathagatas”. As the primary deity among the Five Buddha-Crown Protectors, Dukkar embodies Buddha’s ultimate wisdom.

Symbolism of the White Parasol

The White Parasol Goddess is named after her distinguishing feature – the white parasol. This symbolizes a samaya or a sacred vow in Buddhism. It analogous to the symbolic objects of other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, such as Avalokiteśvara’s lotus and Vajrapani’s sword, which represent their spiritual commitments and teachings. The “Great White Parasol Dharani Sutra” depicts her as an effulgent entity; whose virtues offer a protective shelter to all beings. This sutra includes potent mantras and has been revered through the ages.

dukkar
Dukkar

Historical Devotion: Kublai Khan’s Reverence

Kublai Khan, the founder of the Yuan Dynasty, deeply venerated the White Parasol Goddess. He placed a white parasol beside his throne, symbolizing his wish for the Goddess’s protection and the enduring stability of his empire.

Thangka Portrayal: The Thousand-Armed, Thousand-Headed Goddess

In Thangka paintings, artists depict the White Parasol Goddess as the “Thousand-Armed, Thousand-Headed Goddess,” highlighting her boundless ability to protect and assist beings from all directions.

  • The Profusion of Heads: Her central 200 heads are white, symbolizing the origin of all forms. Additional heads in yellow, red, green, and blue colors represent the attributes and energies of the Five Dhyani Buddhas.
  • The Thousand Legs and Arms: The depiction of Dukkar with 1000 legs and arms symbolizes her supreme dominion over natural and supernatural forces. Her right side’s 500 legs trample over celestial deities, while the left side’s 500 legs subdue demons, indicating the protection she extends to all beings under her care.

The Significance of Her Attributes

Dukkar’s attributes in Thangka paintings carry deep symbolic meanings:

  • The Vajra and the White Parasol: Her right hand holds a vajra, representing internal and external harmony, while her left hand wields a large white parasol, her most iconic symbol, signifying the protective nature of Buddha’s pure virtues.
  • Attributes of Other Arms: Her arms bear various objects like the Dharma wheel, symbolizing the path to enlightenment, and the bow and arrow, representing the penetrating wisdom of her teachings.

Invocation for Longevity and Wisdom

Believers who worship the White Parasol Goddess and chant her mantra often find that their lives extend and their wisdom deepens. The “Tibetan Tantric Scriptures” state that chanting her mantra on specific lunar days significantly boosts longevity and wisdom, leading towards Nirvana.

In her myriad forms and profound symbolism, the White Parasol Goddess stands as a guardian and nurturer within the divine feminine spectrum of Tibetan Buddhism. Her depiction in Thangka art offers not just visual splendor but also a profound insight into the complex fabric of Tibetan spiritual beliefs and practices.

About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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