Today, I have a quiz for you. This quiz is about a unique creature.
When mentioning this creature: most people hate it because they don't know it well enough. They hate it because it has "a face that only its mother can love".
But after discovering more about this creature, you would learn not only how perfect it is in nature but also how beneficial it could be for our eco-system.
You will also learn how it relates to prayer beads.
Can you guess what this creature is?
- First, it can fly for an extended period without flapping its wing, just like an aeroplane. When an eagle flies, it flaps its wing. When this creature flies, it rarely flaps.
There was a mountain in India was named after this creature.Once upon a time, on top of this mountain, Buddha preached many lessons to his disciples. Here is the sign view of that mountain
- In the natural world,
- This flying creature is rarely eaten by others when it is alive.
- It does not eat others when they are alive.
Eat or be eaten, that is a predator and prey relationship. A predator is an organism that eats another organism. The prey is the organism which the predator eats (New England Complex System Institute N.A
). The creature I am referring too is NOT prey. It is NOT a predator either.
- In the law of nature, especially with animals, they either kill for food or be killed for other creatures' food. This creature does NOT kill for food. It does not get killed either, to become food. Killing is NOT its nature.
- It is NOT a herbivore either (animals that eat on plants). It lives outside a typical food chain.
- It helps the environment: to "clean up" the death. It is a scavenger.
- Without death, it would not exist.
You might already have the answer. But if you have not here is some additional information.
- Eagle can spot a rabbit from 3km away. This creature can spot a 1-metre length animal from 4 km away.
- Just like a funeral service home, it operates on the final stage of other creatures' lives.
Because it cleans up carrion, it helps to stop spreading diseases. It works in a team. When one discovered carrion, it called the team to come and feed. They could clean up large carrion quickly
- What if the dead animals had a disease? Don't worry, this creature is resistant to many diseases like tuberculosis or brucellosis. So they don't carry and spread the diseases. They have a strong stomach so they can consume the dead without issue. (*)
- It is perceived dirty, but it likes to bath daily (if the water is available) more than any other animals.
- Scientists were baffled because they struggle to categorise this creature taxonomically.
Allow me to reveal a bit more: it had some features of an eagle, but it shared a common ancestor with storks.
Have you guessed it right?
It has a scientific name CATHARTES AURA which means Golden Purifier or Breezy Purifier (Gosh Ford 2009)
The creature is The Turkey Vulture.
Roosa, D. M., Stravers, J. W., & Patterson, R. (2013).
And per above, a mountain where Buddha preached his lessons was named after the Vulture.
Why am I telling you this?
Around the 5th Century, King Bimbisara has been suffering from anxiety. He was worried about the famine and disease that were taking place in his country. Knowing Buddha was around, so he sent a messenger to him.
On the GijjhakutaRajagaha (now Rajgir),known as Vulture Peak, Buddha told the messenger of the King to make a 108 mala for King Vaidunya to use when reciting the Three Jewels (Kieschnick, John (2003)). The purpose is to help the King deal with anxiety.
The Vulture Peak (Source: Wikimapia)
Life is full of unpredictable events. Many of us have been suffering. Also, there are many of us overcome these life challenges and became a better version of ourselves. We felt compassionate to help others to go through these sufferings.
Let me shared with you a story of a Chef who was working in a hotel.
He was easily upset and anxious all the time. His relationship with his colleagues depreciated because he often said something he should not have. He offended many people. One day, he changed his job and moved interstate.
Time flew, years later, I met him again on the street. He greeted me with a big smile which I have never seen him doing.
- "What drugs have you been taking? Please give me some !" I tried to test his reaction
- "How about we sit down and talk. Have you eaten yet? My shout"
Another surprised by me: This man was a hothead, short-tempered. He had never had time before. And now he asked me for lunch.
We talked a lot. But curiosity had eaten me, so I asked him what made him changed so much, in the right way.
He told me that he learnt from the turkey vulture in New Jersey.
Here is how he did it.
- Imagine the anger, the anxiety inside him were devils.
- He didn't want these characters are part of his life. He wants to be free from them all. He wanted his anger and anxiety "dead."
- Usually, he prayed for the strength so he could manage his anger. Unfortunately, It did not work for him. So in his mind, he called the turkey vulture to help, to eat away the "death", consume the anger and anxiety in full. He borrowed the help from the Golden Purifier to purify his soul.
It worked for him although it was not perfect. Sometimes, things were out of his control. But by "calling the vulture" he could manage it better.
We are all human. We all have emotions. And we all want to be happy.
But often, the unhappiness, the anxiety, the anger, the negative emotions will come into our lives when we face obstacles. When these arise, we meet them as part of living with an understanding that they are just temporary. They exist to make it stronger.
So when I learnt that.
"The Vulture is a very powerful emblem and is a promise that all hardship was temporary and necessary for a higher purpose (Armorial Gold NA)"
I think of agarwood, the resin that forms from the suffering and the pain. Just the like Vulture, the pain of the Aquilaria tree is only temporary. It is necessary for a higher purpose: to form agarwood. The glory of the pain
This was the inspiration for me to name this japamala as the Golden Purifier.
I hope you can achieve what King Vaidunya achieved: Using the japamala to free himself out of anxiety and worry of life.
About this mala
Source: Binh Phuoc plantation
Selected fine 100% cultivated agarwood.
Age of the trees: more than ten years
Age of infection: 3 years
Here you have it: Cultivated agarwood beads with wild agarwood quality.
(*): National Geographic
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