Myths and Legends 

of Dzi Beads


This Page Explains The Common Legends of Dzi Beads

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Myths and Legends of Dzi Beads

The history of the mysterious Dzi Beads is filled with mythological and legendary stories. The following is a list of commonly believed Tibetan Dzi bead legends:


(1) Dzi beads are the weapons of the Asura: An Asura belongs to one of the six classes of living beings. They are opponents to Sakyamuni Buddha and do not listen to the Buddha's words. Therefore they are considered to be non-godlike, non-divine and non-human entities. They use Dzi beads as their weapons.

(2) Plankton from the ancient seas: In the original form, the Dzi beads were like mollusks and conches with a fleshy body protected by a shell. They could move about freely. After the Himalayan Mountains arose from the shifting of tectonic plates, no more seas existed in the region. The plankton died and their shells subsequently become Dzi beads.

(3) Dzi Bead are precious jewels of the demi-gods: Tibetans say that Dzi beads are the precious jewels of the demi-gods who discard the blemished ones upon the human world. This explains why no one ever finds a perfect dzi bead.

(4) Painted stones from nearby India: A couple who lived in the Himalayan Mountains painted designs onto a unique kind of Indian stone. Since the skill required to paint the stone was very difficult to imitate and kept within the family, the skill was lost after they passed away.


(5) Dzi beads originated from the Dzi stream: Legend has it that there were Dzi beads flowing continuously like a stream from a mountain near Rutog in Ngari. One day, a wicked woman with the "evil eye" conjured towards the stream, from that day onwards, no Dzi beads were ever discovered from the stream.

(6) Meteorites from outer space: Meteorites fell from outer space onto the fields. These were picked up and used by yogis in their practices. After the yogic practitioners' refinement, they became Dzi beads.


(7) Dzi beads are the magic beads cast by Vajravahari Buddha (Tibetan: Dorje Phamo): During those early years when Tibet was overwhelmed by severe epidemic, Tibetans were plunged into an abyss of misery and they led a very hard life. Fortunately, the compassionate Vajravahari Buddha came to relieve them by dropping magical Dzi beads from the sky. Anyone predestined to obtain them would be relieved from disease, calamities and bad luck.

(8) Snake-like living things: Dzi beads are living things that can move about like snakes. When they are found and touched by human hands, they stop moving and turn into a string of Dzi beads.


(9) Celestial flowers sprinkled by Manjusri Buddha: It is said that a severe epidemic spread across the Himalayan region around three thousand years ago. Many people died and great losses were incurred. Manjusri Buddha, the former incarnation of Manjusri Bodhisattva, happened to pass the sky above the Himalayas. When he saw that the Tibetans were living in great turmoil, a great feeling of compassion arose from his heart. He then spinkled Dzi beads down to the human world. Whoever found them and picked them up would be cured of their diseases.

(10) Appearance in fields: Dzi beads were buried deep underground, after long-term geological movements, Dzi beads were created, and then discovered and picked up by farmers during fieldwork.


(11) Dzi beads are the precious stones in the treasury of the Tagzig kingdom: After King Gesar of the Ling Kingdom had defeated the Tagzig kingdom, he found many precious items, including Dzi beads, in the treasury of Tagzig. King Gesar rewarded his victorious soldiers with Dzi beads who then carried them back to Tibet. After that, Dzi beads spread all over the Himalayan region.


(12) Dzi beads are insects that can crawl, run and fly: Tibetans believe that Dzi beads used to be insects which live in nests. When the insects have been unearthed, they continue to move around and then solidify into various types of Dzi beads. The insects may become petrified after they have been covered by a Lama’s long robe, or touched by human hands, people with good karma or covered by a woman’s skirt. The crawling ones, become solid when human beings sprinkle sand upon them, if not, they will disappear.

(13) Dzi beads are hidden treasures of Guru Rinpoche: 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 a specific prayer blessing or spiritual insight. This reinforces the Tibetan belief that only people with good karma are destined to own dzi beads.

(14) Dzi can be discovered in the Dzi meadows: People with good fortune can see Dzi beads flying above the Tibetan meadows. They become Dzi beads after capture by humans.