Why The Peacock?

peacock-feathersIn Hindu and Buddhist traditions, the peacock is a symbol of purification.  It is said that the peacock has the ability to turn poison into its beautiful colors.  This is how I envision the strength, humor and wisdom that arise amongst so many LGBTQ youth I know, in those that have experienced grief, and in psychotherapy.  So often the world offers us poison whether that suffering is in the form of discrimination, loss, or even the daily suffering of our lives.  When we find our own strength we are able to turn this poison into our own colors.  We become stronger, more vibrant and more lively when we survive suffering and make meaning.

“Peacocks thrive on poison like bodhisattva thrives on negativy. Peacocks live in forests with poisonous plants, they eat the poisonous plants that no other animals can eat, and instead of being poisoned, peacocks transform the poisons they eat into beautiful, colorful and vibrant plumage and thrive. Similarly, a Bodhisattva, while dwelling amidst all the negativities and sufferings of samsara, is not affected negatively at all, being pulled down, or drifting along the samsaric current, instead, a Bodhisattva thrives in it. Not only is he not being afflicted by the negativities, but he can help others who are in samsara to get rid of their negativities. Such is the unusual quality of a Bodhisattva, just like a peacock.”   —Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Often what most helps my clients who suffer from the “poison” of our world is to use what they’ve learned about surviving and thriving to help others. This is what the quote above says. Not only do peacocks possess the ability to turn poison into beauty, but they use this ability to help others avoid poison.  How have you experienced poison turned to beauty in your life?

One response to “Why The Peacock?

  1. That’s interesting about the transformation of poison. An acquaintance mentioned yesterday that she feels the earthquake in Italy and the volcanic activitiy in Alaska have released uranium into the air and that she is being poisoned by it. In my mind, she has developed this poetic metaphor for the debilitating noise inside of her. Perhaps, in her mind, I am being insensitive to the very real toxicity of our environment.

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