Daruma-doll 達磨


Today I want to tell you about an interesting souvenir from Japan.

It is the Daruma doll, which personifies Bodhidharma (the founder of Zen Buddhism in China), in Japanese syncretic mythology – a deity that brings happiness. An ancient Japanese legend says that the monk Bodhidharma was born in the capital of the South Indian kingdom of Pallava. In search of truth, he spent nine years meditating alone. Before his eyes there was only a bare wall … But it was important not to fall asleep! At the time when the desire to close his eyes was extremely strong, Bodhidharma tore out his eyelashes and threw them on the slope of Mount Cha. Where they fell, a new plant has grown, which we all know and love – fragrant tea. After nine years of meditation, Bodhidharma’s hands and feet atrophied, he lost his sight, but he gained enlightenment …

After the death, Bodhidharma was buried in the Songshan Shaolinsa monastery, but the court dignitary returning from India met the monk on the road, which told that he was returning home.Then it was decided to open the grave of Bodhidharma and there was found only one sandal …After that it is believed that he walks around the world fulfilling the desires of people.

Daruma is used in the annual New Year’s ritual of making wishes: an owner, after making a wish, draws a pupil in one of the puppet’s eyes. During the year Daruma is kept at home in a conspicuous place, next to other domestic objects of worship, for example, the home Buddhist altar. If, by the next new year, the desire comes true, an owner draw the second eye, and if not – the doll is taken to the temple, burned and purchased a new one.

The burning of the darumas is a ritual of purification, so that the Kami realizes that the desire has not abandoned its goal but is looking for other ways of its realization. The current popular symbolism associated with Daruma as a good luck charm in part originated with the Daruma-dera (Temple of Daruma) in the city of Takasaki (Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo). Indeed, a very interesting change of image for the founder of Zen Buddhism.

Depending on the color of the doll, the sphere of life in which you want to achieve a special result is determined: The red color of the Daruma doll is for happiness and good luck; The purple color of the Daruma doll is for health and longevity; The yellow color of the Daruma doll is for safety and protection; The golden color of the Daruma doll is for wealth and prosperity; The white color of the Daruma doll is for love and harmony.

However, in Kyoto stores I saw mostly red dolls, which are the most traditional and popular.

Also in Japan, there is a tradition, when the young are married, they use the daruma for their wishes. First, the Daruma family dolls (black-white, bride-and-white) are symbols of a long family life, and secondly, they help to fulfill the desire and achieve the goal.

Really cute and kind doll, which fulfills desires! Do you agree?