First and foremost allow me to set the facts straight. 😉 The gift was not actually for me. It was given to my BF by his former colleagues who were recently in Manila. He met them during his training in Japan some years ago. Sine he knows that this is my thing of interest, he gave it to me as a gift [monthsarry]. Having a very little knowledge about other countries’ culture, he told me that this cute little Japanese doll is called DARUMA and that I am supposed to draw its eyes. One eye first as I make a wish and then the next eye upon the grant of it. How cool!?
And as per usual, a bit more info about this magical Japanese doll taken from, I believe, our best pal on the net, Wikipedia:
” The Daruma doll (達磨, daruma?), also known as a Dharma doll, is a hollow, round, JapaneseBodhidharma, the founder of the Zen sect of Buddhism. These dolls, though typically red and depicting a bearded man (Dharma), vary greatly in color and design depending on region and artist. Though considered an omocha, meaning toy, Daruma has a design that is rich in symbolism and is regarded more as a talisman of good luck to the Japanese. Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them a popular gift of encouragement. The doll has also been commercialized by many Buddhist temples to use alongside goal setting. doll modeled after
Relevant History of Bhodidharma
Most accounts agree that Bodhidharma was a monk from the southern region of India and founded Ch’an, Zen Buddhism. Bernard Faure, Professor in Japanese Religion at Columbia University, explains in his article, Bodhidharma as Textual and Religious Paradigm, that the events behind Bodhidharma’s life are “very obscure,” thus history concerning him is viewed more as a “literary piece.”  There is mention of Bodhidharma in many historic records, but no direct biographical records. They show Bodhidharma spending days in silence or several hours in songs of praise. Based on these citations, Faure concludes that “historians have harmonized these conflicting images of Bodhidharma as a devout and somewhat senile monk.” Most people in Japan are more familiar though with the legend of Bodhidharma. Helen B. Chapin explains in her article Three Early Portraits of Bodhidharma, which was published in 1946, that Bodhidharma is believed to have been born as the third son to a king in South India. He then, following the instructions of his old master, left his kingdom to live in China. He immediately gained a reputation for, among other things, his practice of wall-gazing. Chapin mentions that the legend also claims that he sat facing a wall in meditation for a period of nine years without moving, which caused his legs to fall off from atrophy. Another popular legend is that after falling asleep during his nine-year mediation, he became angry with himself and cut off his eye lids to avoid ever falling asleep again. His discarded eyelids are said to have sprouted the first tea plant.
History and commercialization
The current popular symbolism associated with Daruma as a good luck charm in part originated with the Daruma-dera (Temple of Daruma) in the city of Takasaki (Gunma Prefecture, north of Tokyo). Josef Kyburz, Author of “Omocha”: Things to Play (Or Not to Play) with, explained that the founder of Daruma-Dera would draw New Year’s charms depicting Bodhidharma. The parishioners would keep these charms to “bring happiness and prosperity and ward off accidents and misfortune”.Daruma dolls at Shōrinzan Daruma-ji, Takasaki, Japan
It is believed that the Daruma figurine then originated from this region when the ninth priest, Togaku, found a solution to handle the constant requests of the parishioners for new charms. The charms were always given with an effectiveness of one year, so the people required new ones every year. He solved this by entrusting them with the making of their own Daruma charms near the beginning of the Meiwa Period (1764–72). The temple made wooden block molds for the people to use. The peasants then used these molds to make three-dimensional papier-mâché charms. Kyburz notes that though it is unknown when the Daruma figurine combined with tumbler doll, the two were well recognized as synonymous by the mid-nineteenth century. The doll quickly grew in popularity, becoming a mascot of the region. This was due greatly in part to fact that the majority of the families were silk farmers, a crop which requires a great deal of luck for success.
There is an annual Daruma Doll Festival (達磨市, daruma-ichi?) held by the city of Takasaki in celebration of being the proclaimed birthplace of the Daruma doll. The celebration is held at the Shorinzan, the name of Takasaki’s “Daruma-Dera”. According to the Takasaki City website, “Over 400,000 people from all over the Kanto Plain come to buy new good-luck dolls for the year. Takasaki produces 80% of Japan’s Daruma dolls.” The festival also features a 24-hour reading of sutras by the Shorinzan monks for world peace.”
I hope you found time to read. 🙂 [maybe if this is your thing too!] But what I really hope is for you to have one Daruma doll of your own. Oh gee, if only I could hand you one! hehe
Have a blessed and joyful weekend pressers!
P.S. I’ll let you know when my wish does come true!