Daruma Doll


One of the strangest and lucky dolls is he Daruma Doll. This is shaped like a ball and has a moustache, beard, and eyes but it does not have arms or legs. At the start, when you buy the doll, it has only round circles for its eyes. It will be blank. You must fill in the eyes for the doll when you use it. These Japanese dolls are very auspicious and a symbol of Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen culture and teachings.

Doll for goal

When you aim for something or want something in life, you buy a Daruma Doll. The goal must be something specific and measurable. You cannot use the doll for any vague wishes. Now, take some black ink and think hard about the wish. Fill in the right eye of the doll with the black ink.

Keep looking at the doll

Place the doll on a high perch where you can see it often. Whenever you see the doll, remind yourself of the wish. This will help you become firmly committed to the goal and achieve it. Now, when you have reached your goal or your wish comes true, take the doll down and with a thankful heart, fill in the other eye with black ink. Some people write the wish on the back of the doll.

Come upright always

The mechanism of the doll is unique. It has paper mache sides and the bottom is weighted by some solid object. Being round, the doll will oscillate but it will always come to upright position before stopping. It symbolizes the sentiment of never bowing to adversity. You must stand up to the problems only then you can conquer them. In Japanese, they have a good phrase for this – Nanakorobi, which means seven times down, eight times up.

Setting the kami free

Traditionally, the power of the Daruma doll lasts for one year. When the time is over, they take the doll to the temple for burning. By this tradition of burning the doll, the person sets the kami which is inside the doll free. The person then continues to carry on the wish with a new doll they buy. So, burning the doll does not mean that you have lost your desire to pursue your goal. It is only a way of strengthening your goal. When you buy the new doll, fill in the new eye with black ink.

Legend of Bodhidharma

Legend has it that Bodhidharma was intent on joining the monastery and travelled all over the country to find a place that would have him. He began at Jambudvipa and went through many countries before reaching China. In South China also, he was not accepted. So, he went to North China. Here he tried to get entry in the Shaolin Monastery but was unsuccessful. He retired to a nearby cave to meditate and sat in a cave meditating staring at the wall of the cave.

This method of meditating caused his legs to wither away and that is the reason why Daruma Dolls have no legs. He kept meditating but in the seventh year he fell asleep. He became angry and cut his eyelids off so it would never happen to him again.