Red Scarf in Buddhism

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Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby wisdom » Tue Dec 13, 2011 2:45 am

Whats the symbolism of a red scarf in Buddhism? I had a dream recently where I was talking to a highly realized lama who was laying out the entirety of my path, including how I am to proceed, where to begin, down to details about when and why I can marry and so forth, when he was finished and I had no questions he placed a red scarf around my neck. I know red is associated with fire, and that scarfs are used for receiving blessings from high ranking people. In this case though I didn't give him the scarf in the first place to be blessed, and I didn't even know about that until I did research on it as a result of this dream anyway, but I can't find anything on red scarfs (except that chinese school girls wear them!) :rolling:

It was the second dream involving this individual.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby catmoon » Tue Dec 13, 2011 4:53 am

Well, why not write the lama a letter and ask him?
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby wisdom » Tue Dec 13, 2011 5:18 am

catmoon wrote:Well, why not write the lama a letter and ask him?


Thats a good point. I aught to do that. The worst that could happen is I never get a response, and the "worst best" that could happen is he makes a joke about me being cold and needing a scarf or a comment about the unreality of dreams or some thing.

Though I did find that prayer shawls come in different colors, so that explains something at least.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby Konchog1 » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:38 am

wisdom wrote:Whats the symbolism of a red scarf in Buddhism? I had a dream recently where I was talking to a highly realized lama who was laying out the entirety of my path, including how I am to proceed, where to begin, down to details about when and why I can marry and so forth, when he was finished and I had no questions he placed a red scarf around my neck. I know red is associated with fire, and that scarfs are used for receiving blessings from high ranking people. In this case though I didn't give him the scarf in the first place to be blessed, and I didn't even know about that until I did research on it as a result of this dream anyway, but I can't find anything on red scarfs (except that chinese school girls wear them!) :rolling:

It was the second dream involving this individual.
Hmm, well the hats in several schools are red. Red also is the color of magnetizing power.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby Josef » Tue Dec 13, 2011 6:52 am

Red represents enlightened speech as well.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby Tilopa » Tue Dec 13, 2011 7:50 am

And monks wear red robes........
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:51 am

In some Gelugpa sanghas the red prayer shawl is presented to those who have taken their Bodhisattva Vows and they may then wear it during classes etc. Maybe the dream was an indicaiton of you following the Bodhisattva path.

In my sangha prayer shawls are worn around the shoulders by some because the room is cold. Others cover their crossed legs for reasons of decency - the shawl also provides a sort of apron when used this way, so sadhanas and malas can be placed on the lap instead of on the floor, which is considered disrespectful.

However, my Lama is very relaxed about such things in beginners classes and places little attention to such details.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby dakini_boi » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:32 pm

Cool dream. Red also represents Padma family. Maybe you are especially connected to padma family yidam(s)? Usually thought of as emphasizing the transformation of afflictive desire into discriminating wisdom.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Dec 13, 2011 9:59 pm

If you can show me the scarf I will tell you what it means.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby mint » Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:01 pm

Have you already seen this?

http://www.religionfacts.com/buddhism/symbols/red.htm

Would have been cool to have woken up and discovered the scarf actually around your neck! Are you doing dream yoga?
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby sangyey » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:01 am

I have a red katag.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby wisdom » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:17 am

mint wrote:
Would have been cool to have woken up and discovered the scarf actually around your neck! Are you doing dream yoga?


Yeah that would have blown my mind to be honest. I started having lucid dreams when I was 12. I have slowly just adapted to dreaming and learned things like how to retain important information in dreams and such. Over the past 7 months, since I got into Buddhism, I have had a lot of "teaching" oriented dreams, being taught by obscure monks or by specific figures (its a dream like this that actually drew me to Buddhism in the first place). I find that they are authentic, because when I wake up and research what is being taught to me, I discover its an actual teaching. Sometimes the dreams might be prescient as well, because then two weeks later I will read a book describing exactly what I was told in my dream. I have a book on Dream Yoga by ChNN, I haven't read it yet though because over the past couple weeks I have fallen behind in my practice of dream awareness and have been worn out from work. But Dream Yoga is an ultimate goal of mine.

Greg, the scarf was just a plain scarf, made of a fine material. It had no special symbols on it and such like prayer scarfs. It was very much like the white scarfs that people give to Gurus for blessings, but rather it was red.

Blue Garuda, hat the Gelugpa use this scarf to symbolize Bodhicitta is interesting because the monk is actually associated with the Gelugpa school (a fact I learned a few weeks later).

Ultimately I am being drawn to both Nyingma and Gelugpa it seems. Most of what I have read has been Nyingma or Kagyu though, but I really enjoy what Madhyamaka I have read and find that the realization of emptiness, and the union of emptiness and bliss, are important factors in my path. It seems that both the Nyingma and Gelugpa have this in common, at least according to a commentary I am reading on the Treasury of Precious Qualities.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby Adamantine » Wed Dec 14, 2011 1:44 am

wisdom wrote:
mint wrote:
Would have been cool to have woken up and discovered the scarf actually around your neck! Are you doing dream yoga?


Yeah that would have blown my mind to be honest. I started having lucid dreams when I was 12. I have slowly just adapted to dreaming and learned things like how to retain important information in dreams and such. Over the past 7 months, since I got into Buddhism, I have had a lot of "teaching" oriented dreams, being taught by obscure monks or by specific figures (its a dream like this that actually drew me to Buddhism in the first place). I find that they are authentic, because when I wake up and research what is being taught to me, I discover its an actual teaching. Sometimes the dreams might be prescient as well, because then two weeks later I will read a book describing exactly what I was told in my dream. I have a book on Dream Yoga by ChNN, I haven't read it yet though because over the past couple weeks I have fallen behind in my practice of dream awareness and have been worn out from work. But Dream Yoga is an ultimate goal of mine.

Greg, the scarf was just a plain scarf, made of a fine material. It had no special symbols on it and such like prayer scarfs. It was very much like the white scarfs that people give to Gurus for blessings, but rather it was red.

Blue Garuda, hat the Gelugpa use this scarf to symbolize Bodhicitta is interesting because the monk is actually associated with the Gelugpa school (a fact I learned a few weeks later).

Ultimately I am being drawn to both Nyingma and Gelugpa it seems. Most of what I have read has been Nyingma or Kagyu though, but I really enjoy what Madhyamaka I have read and find that the realization of emptiness, and the union of emptiness and bliss, are important factors in my path. It seems that both the Nyingma and Gelugpa have this in common, at least according to a commentary I am reading on the Treasury of Precious Qualities.


I know a guy who had lucid dreams of a man he thought was Native American giving him teachings for a while and then encountered him in real-life.. and it was HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche who immediately began quizzing him on the teachings he'd given him in dreams.. I have had a similar experience with a monk and others I know have had such things happen as well. There is not much difference between the bardo of waking-life and the bardo of dreaming for those who are true bodhisattvas-- they can emanate in whatever dimension will be of benefit. However, sometimes a dream is just a dream, or negative beings appearing in the form of our Lamas, etc. so it is good to clarify with an actual Lama when you get the chance.

There are kataks (the silk offering scarfs, not really "prayer scarfs") which are made in each of the 5 colors. White ones are the ones often presented to lamas as an offering because white symbolizes water and purification which is the essential thing we really need help with initially. Also people commonly offer yellow kataks which is the color of earth and relates to enriching, since often people may wish to engender this quality in their lives. But there are kataks of all 5 colors, including red, and in some ceremonys the sangha will offer kataks of all 5 colors to the Lama.

The red color as others have said represents both fire element, as well as the padma family of the 5 Buddha families which relates to the negative emotion of desire and the wisdom called "discriminating awareness wisdom". Buddha Amitabha is the Dhyani Buddha of the padma family, and his sambogakaya emanation is Avalokitesvara and his nirmanakaya emanation is Padmasambhava- also known as Guru Rinpoche who is the root Guru of the Nyingma lineage and specially related to the Dzogchen teachings.

So you could conclude any number of things from this scarf: that your main affliction is desire, the fulfillment/liberation of which brings discrimination-awareness wisdom ..
or that you have a special connection to Amitabha, Avalokitesvara or Padmasambhava or maybe all three, or perhaps another Yidam that is related to this color such as Kurukulle, Red Tara, Vajrayogini or Vajravarahi, Red Manjushri or his consort Red Saraswati, etc.

Or it could just be a compassionate gesture meaning "keep warm, winter is coming!" like you suggested. . hahaha

Definitely read the dream yoga book-- it will be helpful.

~A
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:08 am

wisdom wrote:Greg, the scarf was just a plain scarf, made of a fine material. It had no special symbols on it and such like prayer scarfs. It was very much like the white scarfs that people give to Gurus for blessings, but rather it was red.
What I was trying to say (and failed miserably :tongue: )is that the entire situation is merely a construction of your mind, that it only has as much meaning (or the meaning) that you give it. Maybe it should be dealt with like all other thoughts: liberated into their natural state, and maybe you should spend less time clinging to it and trying to give meaning to something which, ultimately, has no meaning?

It reminds me of a zen story:
A monk goes to his teacher and says: "Teacher, every time I sit down to meditate a demon appears and distracts me."
The teacher gives the student a brush and some ink and replies: "Next time the demon comes to distract you, take this brush and draw a circle on its belly. It will banish the monster."
The monk leaves with his new tools and goes to meditate. During his meditation the demon appears again, so the monk takes the brush and paints a circle on the monsters belly and the demon vanishes leaving the monk to sucessfully complete his meditation. Having completed his session he rushes off full of joy to his teacher to tell him the news: "Master, master, I did what you said and it worked, the demon disappeared!"
To which the teacher replies: "And what is that I see under your robe?"
The monk, lifts his robe and, to his surprise, finds a circle drawn on his own belly.
(or words to that effect)
:namaste:
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Wed Dec 14, 2011 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby LastLegend » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:45 am

Thanks for the zen story father.

I have heard of it before.
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Re: Red Scarf in Buddhism

Postby wisdom » Wed Dec 14, 2011 9:10 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:What I was trying to say (and failed miserably :tongue: )is that the entire situation is merely a construction of your mind, that it only has as much meaning (or the meaning) that you give it. Maybe it should be dealt with like all other thoughts: liberated into their natural state, and maybe you should spend less time clinging to it and trying to give meaning to something which, ultimately, has no meaning?


The *entire situation* is indeed a construct of my mind. :spy:
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