Arya Dzambala

19 Apr

This is extracted from a fantastic teaching that H.E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche gave in 2004 at a Yellowdzambala2006A Dzambala retreat.

Dzambala was a yaksha, a type of being that existed before that is very fat, very short and very stout and very strong. They are celestial and they have the power of wealth. They are very, very wealthy. 

So Dzambala was one of Buddha’s disciples and students who travelled with Buddha for his sermons and teachings and he was very strong and very powerful. He had attained  certain level of meditational powers already, a certain level of bodhisattvahood. 

So as Buddha was crossing, Devadatta threw the rocks down, hurled them down to kill Buddha. When Dzambala saw this, to protect his Guru, without thinking about himself he stood in front of Lord Buddha immediately and blocked the boulders, and as he blocked them the boulders were crushed. Pieces went flying, and one piece went and hit Dzambala’s head. When it hit Lord Dzambala’s head, he collapsed. 

He collapsed; he fell down to the ground. Lord Buddha came over to Dzambala and blessed him - Lord Buddha stood over him and from Lord Buddha’s hand came a white, nectar-like substance of wisdom and compassion and love and touched Dzambala’s head. When it touched Dzambala’s head it made him feel very blissful, very happy, very calm, and cleaned his impurities and cleaned his obstructions and healed his wounds. Immediately Lord Dzambala bowed down to Lord Buddha and thanked him. 

And the Buddha said to Lord Dzambala at that  time: 

“As I have healed you and I poured this holy nectar onto you, in the future anyone of my students or student’s students who invokes your power and pours water onto your head - bestow on them wealth, give them the two types of wealth, material wealth and spiritual wealth, more importantly spiritual wealth.” 

Immediately when he said that Lord Dzambala folded his hands in respect to Lord Buddha again and said “I will do as you have said and I promise that I will do that.” 

So from then on Lord Dzambala, one of Buddha’s main disciples, became a very powerful figure. He became a very powerful Buddha for students to propitiate to get the wealth that they need in order to practice Dharma. 

His lineage has come down like that. So Lord Dzambala’s practice is not a Tibetan practice. It is not something that originated in Tibet; it originated during Lord Buddha’s time, commanded by Lord Buddha and spoken and accepted by Lord Buddha. So it is a tantra that’s very, very old – over 2600 years old – that has been passed down from Lord Buddha to Dzambala, from Dzambala to his students, from his students to their students, to their students, to their students, to their students, unbroken until now.

Why does he look like that…?

fat is fabulous…

Ok, now, Dzambala is fat, he’s stout, he’s thick and he has a beautiful golden color. His  being thick and stout representing his lineage which is the yakshas; he’s a yaksha, that’s his lineage. Once he becomes enlightened he can manifest many forms, he can be gorgeous and whatever, but he chooses that, why, because in ancient times, the representation of wealth was obesity. If you have the luxury to be fat, it means you are rich because everybody else is working out in the sun, slaving away, pulling and working in the plantations and in the fields and being a slave – excuse me – to their stomach. So if you were fat and corpulent and you have a huge stomach, everybody worshipped you and in fact, up to recent times, fat was in. Yeah, you know, in Tibet, if someone is fat and huge, they say, wow, he looks really good – all the time they say that. When I was as fat as a rhinoceros, running around the monastery, everybody said, you are great, you look like a real Lama, you are a real Rinpoche, wow. You are so magnificent, wow, wow, wow wow. I came to Malaysia: eeeewww, what kind of a monk is that, fat and ugly, and all he does is just eat, eat. Chinese culture same thing. Up until a few years ago, if you were fat, they were like oh wow, prosperous, they want to marry off their daughters to the fattest guy in the village, why, got money. Even now in Tibet, if you are fat, they think you are fabulous. It’s only when we come out into the light and smell non-cheesy air and non-yak air we realize fat is not in. When I go back there, some of the monks, they go like, “Ooh what happened?” One of my friends said, “What happened, times are hard huh?” 

So fat represents wealth. Dzambala is the wealth deity so part of that symbology of wealth is obesity. He has so much money that he can lay around and do nothing and let everybody around do it for him. He has the luxury of being lazy; he has the luxury of not having to do anything, to conserve any energy to burn up any calories. 

divine fashion statements

Then he is wearing the six ornaments of a Bodhisattva – not that he is a Bodhisattva, he is a Buddha manifesting as a Bodhisattva to show you the path that leads to wealth: the practice of the six paramitas (transcendental noble qualities) which you all know. Each ornament represents one paramita. Then he wears a beautiful shawl and it’s flying and radiant, princely and beautiful representing his divine nature, who he is, although he is corpulent and fat and golden and has a haughty look, his divine nature is that of a Buddha using that method to subdue you to become ‘wealthy’. 

He is golden in color, golden, like bullions of gold, like you break into Fort Knox and we shine the biggest spotlight in the world on it, you know, and the light that comes from that is the color of Dzambala’s body. Again, yellow represents increase. Psychologically, when we look at yellow: increase, spirituality, growth. 

Spirituality, if you translate it into modern terms, is personal growth, growing of yourself into a better person. 

sitting pretty

Alright. He’s so fat that he can’t sit in meditation posture. He can’t sit like that because he’s too fat, he’s thighs are too thick, he’s calves are too thick; he can’t get into that position so he sits at royal ease. So those who are very wealthy and rich and we go to borrow money from them or we want things or we want to ask for a job, they sit like that. Dzambala sits like that, very haughty – ‘I am somebody’ – and he is! He can sit like that… We can’t, if we sit like that we get slapped down. Somebody will get us. 

Dzambala sits like that because he’s showing you two things: that’s how we look to acquire poverty –arrogant- and he has the royal ease of one who is free fr
om samsara. He has no more worries, he doesn’t have to take rebirth: no more sufferings. 

He has all the money in the universe, so therefore he sits like that, why, he’s laid back. He’s got everything. He’s got chicks, he’s got food, he’s got money, he’s got jewels, he’s got everything anybody can want, anything and everything anybody can want, therefore he’s relaxed. 

Have you seen people who got everything, have you seen them, they are relaxed. They are relaxed, they kick back. They stick their big, ugly feet in your face; they are totally relaxed because they got everything. So Dzambala sits there telling you, I am relaxed, why am I relaxed, because I am out of samsara! Ok, that’s why he sits in the posture of royal ease.

VIP status symbols 

All fame, all name, all reputation, everything that we want that comes along with wealth – people want us, look for us, popularity – he’s got and it’s under him and he passed it. Therefore he stands on a conch shell; a conch shell represents victory over everything. So he steps on a conch shell with his right foot with nectar coming out, representing he is famous, he has everything that wealth can buy but he has overcome it, because in ancient Indian symbology, when you step on something it means you have overcome or you have subdued or subjugated. 

So when he steps on a conch shell, what has he subjugated, the ocean? I don’t think so. He has subjugated everything that can make him not wealthy again. You want to get caught up on popularity, name, you want to be famous, you want people to get a stupid book out on you, you want to look like a bimbo again, you know, and get another book on you, whatever, he’s overcome that, his wealth cannot bring him down to samsara again, so he steps on a conch shell; I am over that, I am over that, he is showing you. 

He holds a mongoose in his left hand and a bijapura fruit in his right hand. What is a fruit? A fruit is what we call result. So if we do something we want to get the fruit. If we do something, we want to accomplish it and we want our work to bear fruit. So fruit means result. What Dzambala holds in his right hand is not a jewel but a fruit, it represents that through Dzambala practice you can attain all results – Enlightenment, that’s what it represents. So when Lord Dzambala holds a fruit it is representative of him accomplishing all and having the fruit of his practice and similarly, if we rely and depend on Lord Dzambala, we will get the same. A very powerful symbology if you  understand it. Then in his left hand, in order to attract you to come to practice to bear fruit, he shows you jewels. He holds a mongoose spitting jewels, why, for people like us, “Oh I don’t want to get enlightened, forget it, you can keep your fruit, you can eat it yourself”. 

So he needs to attract us on two levels, for spiritual aspirants who want Enlightenment he shows a fruit, for samsaric people stuck in the black tar of samsara like us, we need to visualise that if we do Dzambala we get some money. So what does he have coming out of him? Jewels, diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and these jewels are not the ones you get from Poh Kong or from wherever, these jewels actually have the power of granting wishes, wish-fulfilling jewels. So he is holding a mongoose. In ancient India if you saw a mongoose running around your yard, it was a symbol of wealth coming in, a child coming in, anything that you wanted will be fulfilled, wealth, a child, good fields, good crops, because people looked for symbols, people needed hope, people needed something to liven up their dreary lives, so they looked for symbols, they wanted symbols, they wanted something to show them something good was coming – an omen. Yes, a mongoose was an omen for good things to come. So therefore, in order for Dzambala to attract the populace to practice and they can get prosperity and the fruit, he’s showing you an omen. An omen is the mongoose that brings luck. So there’s a little bit of culture that comes along with this. 

celestial furniture and hair-do

He sits on a lotus with a moon disc. 

The moon disc represents that he has achieved fully enlightened Bodhicitta. During initiation our Lama will visualize the moon along with the vajra and plant it in your mind, symbolizing planting seeds in you to meditate on Bodhicitta and to attain it. So him sitting on a moon disc represents he has attained full Bodhicitta. Yes, he has completed the stages and the paths and the lotus he is sitting on symbolises that although very high and exalted, he may emanate, appear, go and do anything and he will never be sullied or dirtied or polluted by samsara again. Hence, him sitting on a lotus represents above samsara yet compassionate and not arrogant. His hair is tied up in a knot, half down, half up, blue-black representing the true Dharmakaya nature. Blue-black is the representation in color of Dharmakaya. Dharmakaya is the realisation of shunyata, the emptiness of inherent existence. He has fully achieved shunyata and because he has achieved shunyata, has reached the highest state, the pinnacle – Buddha. Half of his hair is tied, representing the highest point and half of it is down, representing he still works for the sentient beings and if you solicit and pray to him, he is not just sitting up there on a cloud enjoying himself. He is still able to hear your prayers. So if little Milly does Dzambala practice correctly, Dzambala will help her, that’s what the hair coming down means. (You know, not like MTV – they got the hair all over; they don’t even look at you.) 

People who want to take Dzambala as their main practice will gain Enlightenment. Temporary you can solve your problems of poverty by holding the vows that come along with it – the Bodhisattva vows – and doing the sadhana and practice daily. And the sadhana and daily practice can be transmitted to you with or without initiation. 

take me home!

Even having an image of Dzambala somewhere, someplace is very beneficial, very, very beneficial. Why, having any image of a Buddha is very beneficial and Dzambala kind of transcends everyone because he means ‘fook’, money, wealth, gold – everybody likes Dzambala. Why, who doesn’t like money? I love money – throw some at me! If people throw money at you, you love it. No matter how much you have, you like more. Everybody loves money, you just say “Money!” and they are there. Yeah, money. So therefore, Dzambala is universal; it’s very beautiful because he’s well-known for money. 

(That’s a very low and cheap level of approaching him but it’s ok, because if that’s what it takes it’s ok.) 

7 Responses to “Arya Dzambala”

  1. Duke Okkelberg April 20, 2010 at 1:57 am #

    David, this article is just great! I learned a lot. Your writing style is just the type of writing that pulls me in….informative and engaging at the same time.
    Thank you,

  2. Maggie Chang April 20, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

    How about fat women? Will fat women welly loved?

  3. Pavlos of Money Buster July 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm #

    As described in bible you dont need to worry about feeding or living or having the basic to live, just trust in god or universe or whatever spirtual power you believe in, this is so true, actually meditating is a way of faith reinforcement, a reminder that the spirit is still alive in you and can manifest into anything you really want, still cant manifest something that you are not clear about, and of course you cannot make things happen if you try to detail plan the roadmap or have a conflict between your goals. Generally speaking you should walk your thought.
    Also what the mind does when we not thinkin? is putting things together, using high consiousness, just by turning off the logic and the self talk we let the universe/god come into our existence and enrich us, this inside light gives power to our thoughts and goals to manifest and strengthens the communicative bound with the higher consousness…

  4. David Lai July 28, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    Dear Pavlos,
    That is beautiful but for us Buddhists, we believe in the law of cause and effect. Hence, we believe that by being generous of mind, body and speech, we create innumerable cause towards wealth. For us, that is a more practical approach and Dzambala, a manifestation of this awakened wealth helps us awaken ourselves towards this ‘richness’ within ourselves. That is our method. Our method may appear to defer superficially but it is really very much the same.

  5. Marek November 4, 2010 at 11:23 pm #

    I have a Dzambhala pic I carry in my wallet, my wallet is in my right trouser pocket, is it disrespectful to have Dzambhala there?

  6. David Lai November 5, 2010 at 4:06 am #

    Dear Marek,
    I have Manjushri and H. E. Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s pictures in my wallet too. I think it is alright because I think of it as a blessing and a convenient to have a Buddha image wherever I go.

  7. Wan Wai Meng August 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    Dzambala is a very popular buddha in the East. But the path of Dzambala leads to buddhahood.

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