Totems and Symbols of Dzi

This page explains the Totems/Symbols of Tibetan Dzi

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The Totems of Tibetan Dzi beads include the following general symbols such as :-

  • Dots
  • Lines
  • Circles
  • Triangles
  • Squares
  • Polygons
  • Oblongs
  • Irregular ones
  • Symbols
  • Animal figures
  • Special abstract ones

The four most common Totems are the circle, the square, the triangle and the moon. 

Based on one's knowledge of Tibetan Tantra, Tibetan Buddhist Ceremonies and Bon culture, Tibetan Dzis can be said to have 4 general functions:-

  • 1. Ceasing from Disaster

Circular symbols represent the meanings of transmuting misfortune, eliminating hindrances and avoiding disasters. In the Bon tradition, circle symbols represent the sky.

  • 2. Enhancing One's Benefit

Square symbols represent the meaning of career advancement, good luck in generating wealth and the gaining of good fortune and wisdom. In the Bon tradition, square symbols represent the Earth.

  • 3. Achievement of Perfection

Moon figures represent the meanings of perfection in endeavours, being in excellent health, establishing good relations and having authority. In the Bon tradition, moon symbols represent the moon.

  • 4. Subjugation of Evil Spirits

Triangular symbols represent the meaning of getting rid of evil, controlling evil spirits and eliminating hindrances caused by evil spirits.

The above-mentioned 4 major symbols of significance may appear singly or together in groups on the surface of Dzi beads. 

The significance and functions of the Dzi beads also vary with the number of symbols found on each bead. This also has a bearing on the nomenclature of each Tibetan Dzi bead. For example, a Dzi bead with one circle is called a 1-Eye Dzi Bead and promotes wisdom or intelligence. However, a Dzi bead with two circles is called a 2-Eyed Dzi Bead and promotes the establishment of human relationships.

The symbols may be thought of as being akin to the individual letters of the  alphabet. Combinations of symbols may therefore give rise to Dzi beads with combined and deeper meanings and functions. For example, a Dzi bead with a circle and a square totem is called the Earth Sky Door Dzi. This combination is said to bring balance and serenity in the order of life, and turn an individual's potentiality into actual vibrant and useful energy.