The Origin of the Dzi

Like many, I am fascinated by the Dzi. The Dzi is a stone, the origin of which is unknown and is believed to bring upon the wearer positive spiritual benefits. Dzi or Gzi (pronounced as “zee”) in Tibetan word mean “good retribution, dignity and perfection”.In Chinese, the bead is called “heaven’s bead” or “heaven’s pearl” (天珠).



The Origin of Dzi Bead


The dzi bead is one of the most mysterious of all the beads known to man today. Numerous attempts to trace back to their source yield fruitless although many dzi beads have been passed down from generations to generations. They exist seemingly in isolation, as if snapped from a chain, with no links to their past. It is unclear to many bead scholars the exact origin of dzi bead, why, when and how it was manufactured. The fact is these tiny stone beads patterned with mystical eyes are one of the most treasured beads in the world today. The Tibetans believe the dzi beads are the precious jewels with supernatural origin.

There are many myths and legends in Tibet describing the origin of the bead. Among the many myths and legends that follow the dzi, the main belief is that the gods created them. The Tibetan theorized divine origin rendered the dzi to be precious and powerful talismans. Most Tibetans will not let go of it because this may cause bad luck to them. In addition, the rarity of the bead makes them as valuable as diamonds in Tibet.

Most Tibetans believe that the dzi were once insects that lived in a kind of nest call “dzi tshang” in Tibet. When the insects were unearthed they will continue to move for a while and eventually become petrified in the form of dzi that exist today. These insects became petrified by the touch of human hand, or by the people with good karma, or by woman’s shirt.

Another legend said that there was a time when Tibet was overwhelmed by severe epidemic and the Tibetans were facing very hard life. Fortunately, the compassionate Vajravarahi Buddha came to rescue by releasing the magical Dzi Beads from the sky. The beads are believed to bring good luck, ward off evil, and protect the wearer from physical harm. One of the stories describes the dzi were once wore by semi-gods in heaven as ornaments during ancient times. When the dzi gradually blemished, the semi-god threw it to the earth. Therefore, no one can ever find the beads in perfect condition.

It is also believed that the dzi beads were made from meteorites fell from outer space thousands of years ago. The magnetic field of dzi bead is three times stronger than the normal crystals.

Another legend tells the story that after Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) built the first temple (Samye Monastery) in Tibet, he was blessed with dzi beads by the heavenly beings. Guru Rinpoche then buried the dzi beads all over Tibet, each with specific prayer, blessing or spiritual insight. Hundreds of year later, King Gesar of Ling Kingdom had defeated the Tagzig Kingdom, he found maps that led him to discover rare treasures, including millions of dzi beads. King Gesar brought them back as the spoils of military conquest to reward soldiers.

Sometimes shepherds and farmers pick them up in the grasslands or while cultivating fields, and because some dzi are found in the earth, some Tibetans don’t conceive of them as man-made. One reason the beads may be found near the surface in places such as freshly tilled fields, for example, may be because ancient monks were burned in funeral pyres (wearing the beads), and long after the remains were gone the beads remained, and were found at later dates. This however is unlikely, because only high monks were cremated and people collected the ashes, bone fragments and “dzi” and the spiritual tradition would have led them to look especially for any naturally formed jelly-like gems believed to be sometimes found within the ashes of an enlightened being. The ashes are then mixed with clay and formed into clay statuettes (Tsa-tsas).

Another more plausible reason to find the beads in soil might be that the beads were lost in times when the stringing cords weren’t as durable as they are today. Most dzi don’t have a large enough hole for a thick leather string to pass through. Before silk was widely available, the stringing material would have been plant fibers that easily broke.

Since knowledge of the bead is derived from several differing oral traditions, the beads have provoked controversy concerning their source, their method of manufacture and even their precise definition. In Tibetan culture these beads are believed to attract local protectors, dharmapalas or deities or maybe beneficial ghosts, ancestors or even bodhisattvas. Because of this, dzi beads are always treated with respect.

Sources: Wikipedia

Well, the mysteries of the Dzi remains with the ancients. What do you think about the origins? What are your theories? I, will be looking out in fields and valleys in North Sikkim for Dzi. I really want to find one badly.

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