The brown and white "Buddha-eye" or dzi beads are nice, especially if you can find old, authentic ones, but they are now very expensive. Because of their long shape, they tend to be used alone as amulets. They have a characteristic design of white lines produced by a resist or etching process or sometimes, by the mix of two materials used in their formation. Few of those on the Internet or for sale in shops today have the true "eye" design, and it is very unlikely that you will find any ancient ones.
People used to say that they are the petrified bodies of heavenly insects. Others, that dzi [or Zi] beads just manifest from the soil of Tibet, or that they are the product of a lost Tibetan technology. In the 1990s, it was shown that the original place of origin was South India, although Persia [Iran] has also been cited as the source. Today, they are being manufactured in China.
June 26/05, The Star Malaysia by "Jaguar Speaks":
Around six months ago, I came across some Tibetan eye crystals. They really called to me. Over the last six months, as I have added more of these crystals to my, I have discovered that they are also called dzi. The meaning of the word dzi is Shine, Brightness, Cleanness, Splendour. The dzi (zee) is a uniquely Tibetan stone. It has a shiny black and white design, characterised by a “strong eye” pattern – circle and square or double wave.
The most valuable dzi are those with three- or nine-eyes, the best being those with sharply contrasting patterns, shiny and with a faintly oily surface. The land that the Tibetan eye crystal is associated with, Tibet, is a mystical land in itself. The nine-eye Dzi has nine merits – compassion/glory/ everlasting brightness/fame/dignity/power and authority/control/reputation/removal of obstacles.
The three-eye dzi gives prosperity, happiness and longevity. It enhances the ability to see a good opportunity and obtain it. There are many theories concerning the dzi’s origin. Since they are usually found buried in the ground, it is generally thought that they were made and worn by people in prehistoric or Neolithic times.
There are more mystical interpretations, some suggesting that the dzi were once worm-like insects which, when frightened, froze and turned to stone. Other stories relate how the dzi were once ornaments of the demi-gods, and they were discarded after they became damaged, which accounts for why so few of the beads are in a perfect unblemished state. They were said to appear in miraculous ways, sometimes as presents from local deities to humans who had rendered them service and appearing out of rabbit holes or in bushes, which bore them like fruit.
The dzi is either worn as a single bead about the neck, mainly for its auspicious or medicinal value, or in a traditional necklace interspersed with coral, pearls, amber or turquoise, or even, if the owner is fortunate to have a collection of dzi, a whole necklace is made from the stones. Dzi is also used when applying gold to thankas or writing in gold, to burnish it and bring out the sheen.
Tibet is of course the Land where spiritual seekers believe Heaven and Earth meet and the occupation of Tibet by China has had a detrimental effect on the spiritual enlightenment of the entire world. Many belie[ve], and I am one of them, that the return of Tibet to its true spiritual past will bring the commencement of the age of true peace to the world. Many jewels are worn for their medicinal properties. It is said that dzi protects its wearer from strokes and other illnesses, as well as from evil influences.
The dzi bead is one of the most mysterious of all the beads known to us today. Not much is known about these stones, or even how long they have been an important part of Tibetan culture. What is known is that these shiny stone beads patterned with mystical eyes and stripes are now of one of the most treasured beads in the world. The land they are associated with, Tibet, is a mystical land in itself. It and the surrounding Himalayan countries of Nepal, and Bhutan, are all within Central Asia, which has off and on been a cultural and trade centre for millennia. Jewellery has always been of great significance in this area. It was used as a way to show status, and also had great religious significance. Even the poorest families had some type of bead.
All of these stories confirm the belief that the dzi are magical, and will protect the wearer from harm, both from sickness and from evil spirits. The dzi are even considered to be of medicinal value. Traditional medicine in Tibet for epilepsy includes grinding up a previously unbroken dzi to mix with other substances to make a pill for the sufferer. An unbroken dzi is used for this because it is believed that once a dzi is broken, its power has been used up. Dzi beads are now becoming available in Malaysia and I will try to share more in a future article about the different types of dzi and their healing and spiritual properties. If you decide to get one, make sure it is a genuine Tibetan dzi and not a manufactured version.
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