The Parasol in Tibetan Buddhism


In nature, the dome of the sky arches above the mountain. The parasol in Buddhism is symbolically a device which casts a shadow, and therefore, offers protection from heat. Also, in Indian mythology, the parasol has traditionally been associated with royalty. Held above the head, it conveys honour and reverence, and hence the Buddha is often depicted sitting under a decorative parasol.

The concept of the parasol providing shelter from the sun’s heat translates into the Buddha’s teachings protecting us from the “heat” of negative forces like greed, lust and suffering, obstacles in the path of the spirit’s journey towards enlightenment.

The Tibetan parasol is inspired both by Indian and Chinese designs used by royalty. Its wooden spoke is topped by a dome-shaped cover, with a silky “skirt” hanging from the rim. The dome represents wisdom and the skirt, compassion, both of these being essential Buddhist values.