Double rainbow meaning in Buddhism | Body of Light
What is the double rainbow meaning in Buddhism? I have put together a few thoughts on this after receiving quite a bit of interest for a past post called What do rainbows symbolise? Rainbows have become part of modern symbolism due to the prevalence of the LGBT flag, but rainbows have formed part of human history since the beginning of time.
From Noah’s Ark to the Chakras, humans have been fascinated by rainbows and what they mean. A double rainbow is a phenomenon that is caused by light refractions. Of course, if rainbows are rare, then double rainbows are even rarer. My friend captured a photograph of a double rainbow in Sydney, Australia, which you can see in What do rainbows symbolise?
What is the double rainbow meaning in Buddhism?
Because they are rare, and also beautiful, double rainbows were seen as an omen by Buddhists, for a variety of reasons. Often, they were thought to denote the departure of a spiritual person, and would symbolise his descent from this earthly plane.
I am not an expert on rainbows, or Buddhism, so I welcome any and all commentary to this post (please head to the comments section at the end of this post). There is lots that I don’t know about the double rainbow meaning in Buddhism but I have done some research and study for this post.
I have also previously studied Buddhist meditation at Vipassana courses (I have completed four 10-day silent retreats, one 1-day retreat and served at another 10-day retreat and you can read about my experiences in my post What you can expect at Vipassana meditation courses, Blackheath, Blue Mountains, New South Wales).
Indra’s Bow and the double rainbow
Historically and mythologically, the seven hued arc of a rainbow is known as Indra’s bow, one of the weapons of Sky God Indra, who is known as a Vedic deity in Hinduism and a guardian deity in Buddhism. The arch shape of the rainbow is like a bow, a weapon.
Indra used this bow to destroy evil, and therefore the double rainbow meaning in Buddhism is about spiritual growth, and the tools that we have in our arsenal to make this happen. The double rainbow bow is about empowerment. Check out this amazing light sculpture art installation that uses light to replicate Indra’s Bow.
Creating a Rainbow Body or a Body of Light
When a double rainbow occurs, the order of colours in the second rainbow is reversed. Tibetans believe that you take on a rainbow body at the time of your death. A rainbow is also seen to be a sign that Buddha is present in Spirit.
In Buddhism, you create spiritual bodies via correct spiritual practice and meditation. These exist on other planes of existence, and can be utilised by the Earthly Body for spiritual practices. You “transform” your energies into something purer.
“When a great master has attained the realisation of Mahamudra, the world is no longer perceived as a conceptual concrete dimension.”
To progress within Buddhism, you must eradicate the Self. “When the notion of an individual self has dissolved, leaving no residue of an intermediary ‘I’ between unmanifest consciousness and the appearance of a physical universe as light, the physical body is likewise perceived as merely an appearance of light.”
So, rainbows can often symbolise a person on Earth who is emanating spiritual energies, or a humanly body who is about to pass to a different plane of existence.
Double rainbows are an optical illusion
Remember – rainbows are a type of optical illusion. “It is patently not something real, but rather an ephemeral or transitory “object” produced by the interplay of light and water.”
By witnessing the rainbow, we come to grasp the concept that. “there is no Self, truly existing Self.”
Some say that the rainbow is a staircase that links the earth and the heavens. “Hence the rainbow links Samsara — the world of illusion and suffering, to Nirvana — formless Emptiness.”
How I first came to learn about our various Astral and Light Bodies
I have previously studied astral travel and was privileged to speak to Erin Pavlina about it in my blog What is Astral Projection and Lucid Dreaming? Erin says that, “There are other beings in the universe besides us – a whole plethora really. The astral plane is home to many beings of various vibrations, some high, some low. Some beings are highly conscious, like us, and some beings have low levels of consciousness and just respond to basic instincts like the way moths are attracted to flame.”
When we sleep, our consciousness leaves our earthy bodies and enters the astral; and it remains tethered to us by a silver cord, “Also known as the sutratma or life thread of the antahkarana, (it’s) a life-giving linkage from the higher self (atma) down to the physical body.”
According to Wikipedia, Alfred Ballabene an astral projector, observed that during his out-of-body experiences “glue-like strings” appear as the astral body tries to separate itself from the physical body.
There is more to us that the Monad
Have you heard of the spiritual concept of the Monad? The theory is that really, all you see of me is my Monad. This is like a singular point on a page; it’s all another earthly person can see of me. My Monad is like a little seeker, that has come to earth to gain knowledge and to see things from a human’s point of view; to gather information for my spiritual growth. But there is more to every human being than the Monad.
“When the principle awakened and activated in “animal man” the Monad can be considered to have become individualised and to have gained its own Ego, its own “I”. The Monad is a theory of Theosophy and Blavatsky’s teachings.
I like the fact that spirituality requires dedication and work, and the Monad is part of the Self that does this work. “Not everything can be handed to us on a plate; there are some things which we have to work out for ourselves, if we are sufficiently willing and interested to do so and to make the great effort required.”
Rainbows can symbolise spiritual transformation
If you see persistent symbols of rainbows, and even double rainbows, then this could be a symbol of spiritual growth. Throughout our humanly lives we can transform our energies and become something else. Erin Pavlina believes that we are here to experience joy and playfulness, and that we don’t need to suffer and prescribe ourselves to “learn lessons”. However, I see this humanly life as a place to transform and to grow and the double rainbow meaning in Buddhism may be a clue to this.
I welcome all feedback to this post and I would love to hear about your experiences of double rainbows. Please get in touch via the comments below!