A gyalpo dharmāpala in peaceful aspect, Gangteng Monastery

Tibetan Buddhist mythology – Stories and characters

Tibetan mythology refers to the traditional as well as the religious stories that have been passed down by the Tibetan people.

Stories, characters & creatures

Tibetan mythology consists mainly of national mythology stemming from the Tibetan as well as religious mythology from both Tibetan Buddhism and Bön Religion.

These myths are often passed down orally, through rituals or through traditional art like sculptures or cave paintings.

They also feature a variety of different creatures ranging from gods to spirits to monsters play a significant role in Tibetan mythology with some of these myths have broken into mainstream Western media, with the most notable one being the Abominable Snowman – the Yeti.

This is a list of stories, characters and creatures related to the Tibetan Buddhist mythology.

Snow Lion

The , sometimes also Snowlion, is a celestial animal of Tibet. It is the emblem of Tibet, representing the snowy mountain ranges and glaciers of Tibet, and may also symbolize power and strength, and fearlessness and joy, east and the earth element. It is one of the Four Dignities. It ranges over the mountains, and is commonly pictured as being white with a turquoise mane.

Kings of Shambhala

The thirty-two reside in a mythical kingdom. They are part of the Indo-Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist tradition.

Cintamani

Cintāmaṇi, also spelled as Chintamani, is a wish-fulfilling jewel within both Hindu and Buddhist traditions, said by some to be the equivalent of the philosopher’s stone in Western alchemy. It is one of several Mani Jewel images found in Buddhist scripture.

Gyalpo spirits

are one of the eight classes of haughty gods and spirits in Tibetan mythology and religion. Gyalpo, a word which simply means “king” in the Tibetic languages, in Tibetan mythology is used to refer to the Four Heavenly Kings and especially to a class of spirits, both Buddhist and Bon, who may be either malevolent spirits or oath-bound as dharmapalas.

Four harmonious animals

Four harmonious Friends Thangka

The tale of the , four harmonious friends or four harmonious brothers is one of the Jātaka tales, part of Buddhist mythology, and is often the subject in works of Bhutanese and Tibetan art.

It is perhaps the most common theme in Bhutanese folk art, featuring on many temple murals, stupas, and as a decorative pattern on many daily utensils.

It is the best-known national folktale of Bhutan and is popular in Tibet and Mongolia: it is widely referred to in these cultures.

Kalapa

, according to Buddhist legend, is the capital city of the Kingdom of Shambhala, where the Kulika King is said to reign on a lion throne. It is said to be an exceedingly beautiful city, with a sandalwood pleasure grove containing a huge three-dimensional Kalachakra mandala made by King Suchandra.

Tibetan lucky signs

The Ashtamangala is a sacred suite of Eight Auspicious Signs endemic to a number of religions such as Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The or “symbolic attributes” are yidam and teaching tools. Not only do these attributes point to qualities of enlightened mindstream, but they are the investiture that ornaments these enlightened “qualities”. Many cultural enumerations and variations of the Ashtamangala are extant.

Gsumge Mani Stone Castle

The , or Songge Mani-Sutra City is a massive complex built out of Tibetan mani stone tablets located in the Zachukha Grasslands, Sêrxü, Sichuan.

Jvarasura

, also called Jwarasura is the Hindu god of fever and disease. He is the consort and sometimes attendant of the pox-goddess, Shitala.

Manjushrikirti

or Manjughoshikirti. Manjushrikirti is said to have been the eighth king of Shambhala and is considered to be the second incarnation in the lineage of the Panchen Lamas of Tibet. As his name indicates, is considered to have been an incarnation of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom.

Pha Trelgen Changchup Sempa

is a mythical monkey-ancestor of the Tibetan people. With King Gesar and Avalokiteśvara, of whom he is an incarnation, he is one of the most important figures in Tibetan culture. Pha means “father”, Trelgen “old monkey” and Changchup Sempa refers to the bodhisattva.

Shambala (song)

“Shambala” is a song written by Daniel Moore and made famous by two near-simultaneous releases in 1973: the better-known but slightly later recording by Three Dog Night, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and a version by B. W. Stevenson. Its title derives from a mythical place-name also spelled Shamballa or Shambhala.

Wind Horse

The is a symbol of the human soul in the shamanistic tradition of East Asia and Central Asia. In Tibetan Buddhism, it was included as the pivotal element in the center of the four animals symbolizing the cardinal directions and a symbol of the idea of well-being or good fortune. It has also given the name to a type of prayer flag that has the five animals printed on it.

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